Thursday, August 14, 2014

Somewhere Beyond the Sea... Sea Day #1

Summer Cruise 2014 
Exploration of the Navigator 
Monday, August 4, 2014

This morning came bright and early as Chris and I both did not get a good night's sleep due to the hardness and stiffness of our so called bed. In fact, Chris woke up before 5:30 AM to get in 6 miles of jogging on the upper deck jogging track. I was awakened by the room service breakfast delivery at 6:30 AM. We ate this "below average" room service breakfast on our balcony while we watched the sun continue to rise and we were even able to witness a rain storm falling on another cruise ship traveling on a similar path as us. We laughed at them as we sailed with crystal clear skies and waters. 

The room service breakfast was so unsatisfying that we decided to go back to the Main Dining Room for a more formal breakfast around 8:15 AM. While this breakfast was remarkably better than that of the room service, it was still lacking in our opinion compared to our previous cruises. After we finished our breakfast we headed toward Studio B, an indoor ice skating rink on the lower decks of the ship to get tickets for the Ice Show Spectacular on Night #4.

We went back to the room to put up our tickets and found our "Classic Romance Package" waiting on the bed. This consisted of a bottle of champagne, gourmet cupcakes, capers and desserts on a formal night, a romantic breakfast in bed later in the week and beautiful crystal frame with a picture taken of us on a formal night. This was an added cost to us but I decided it was worth the cost to surprise Chris for our anniversary (he WAS surprised because our anniversary is in March)! The champagne and cupcakes were on the bed and we thoroughly enjoyed them! Yummy, yummy and it was so romantic!

The "Classic Romance Package".

Happy Anniversary honey! I love you! 

Since this was a new cruise line and a new ship we wanted to be sure we took time to get to know the ship in the beginning of the week so we could ENJOY this ship the rest of the week. We walked around deck 4 to the very forward of the ship to see the "helicopter" pad and have a TITANIC moment at the very front of the ship. This was our first experience with this type of thing and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. We then went all the way around deck 4 to the very aft of the ship to see the wake of the ship as we passed through the royal blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. In fact, as we were walking to the back of the ship we saw a SCHOOL of dolphins jumping up and out of the water (Of course, I could not get the camera to work in time to take pictures). This was so cool because it was an entire SCHOOL jumping and swimming alongside of us! Another moment to ponder on God's wonderful and magnificent creation!

Chris in front of the Schooner's Bar on Deck 4. 
On the very forward part of this ship... getting ready for my TITANIC moment! 

In front of the Metropolis Theater!
On the helicopter pad at the very forward of the ships. Don't those rooms look spectacular?

At 10:30 AM we went to the Cosmopolitan Club for a Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle with a bunch of other frequent cruisers. This was really special because we were able to meet lots of new people who have cruised before and we even met a couple who will be on our boat in March. They served small appetizers and drinks for free and I even won a door prize. This might become a ritual for us on our subsequent cruises. 

During this Meet and Mingle we learned about a Chili Cook-off that was going to take place at 11:30 AM on the Pool Deck. I was thinking it would be a traditional "Chili cook-off" with bowls and crackers and cheese. Instead it was a nacho style cook-off with all kinds of southwestern fixin's. Being from Texas and loving Tex-Mex it was not impressive to us but the experience was neat nonetheless. Afterwards we went back to the Main Dining Room for lunch and it was much better than breakfast and we were starting to feel like we were back on a cruise ship with the international fare and amazing choices.

The "Chili" was made with SOY beans but it was still pretty tasty! 

We decided we needed to chill-out and relax so we headed towards the hot tub. The Navigator of the Seas had 4 hot tubs on the main pool deck, 2 very large Jacuzzi hot tubs in the Adults Only Solarium and an Olympic size Whirlpool Jacuzzi in their fitness center. Naturally all of them were pretty full so we went to the fitness center to relax in their large whirlpool. This was nice because it was completely indoors where we would not burn our delicate red-head skin.

This Adults Only Hot Tub was AMAZING! And burn free!

We headed towards the FlowRider immediately following the hot tub since we were already wet and in our swimsuits. Chris was able to "WOW" the audience once again with his natural surfing abilities for 3 separate times and I was able to feel more comfortable with a shirt on and was even able to finally get up on my knees and steer in the waves for a while. The lines were very long (20-30 people deep) so we went to lay out and dry off.

I felt much more comfortable wearing the shirt and was able to get up on my knees! 

It was time for an afternoon snack because where else besides a cruise ship do you get to eat for what feels like EVERY hour! We changed clothes first and then went back up to Cafe Promenade to see their daily selections. They had a lot more sandwich options and the pizza was ready and fresh. It was a much better experience than embarkation day and we were impressed. 

Besides eating every hour, what else do you do on a cruise ship? GAMBLE! So we went straight to the casino to try to make up for last night's less than stellar performance. This time we played Roulette and did pretty well. This was a table I could get used to because the inside numbers only cost $1 and there was no minimum, so you could literally just bet $1 at a time and play for a long time without losing everything like most Roulette tables! 

We got a message later in the afternoon that due to "technical difficulties" the Captain and Director of Food and Beverage were going to cancel the Captain's Dinner we were invited to and it would be rescheduled. We were disappointed but I would much rather arrive safely in Cozumel than eat dinner with the Captain. 

The sun was getting closer to the horizon and it was time to clean up for FORMAL NIGHT! We showered and got all "prettied-up" and then headed to the early show of "Now and Forever; a Tribute to Broadway". This was production with the Navigator of the Seas Orchestra and Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers. This was highly impressive and the orchestra was AMAZING! I have found my new DREAM JOB! Live on a cruise boat and play my sax. In fact, later in the week I met the sax players and asked if they had an opening (Sadly they don't... So back to my day job).

Chris and I at dinner on the 1st Formal Night.

With the Captain... He was Chris's hero because as soon as we got up there to "Shake his hand" he said "Oh no, I am a germ-aphobe and scared of the Norovirus". Chris hates having to shake hands at church so we totally understood the Captain.

One of our professional pictures taken on the 1st Formal Night. 

After the show was the Captain's Formal Welcome Aboard speech, pictures with the Captain and free champagne. We also took a few more professional pictures before heading to the Main Dining Room for a special formal night menu with filet mignon, silver corvina and so much more. It was the best meal of ours on the ship at that point and it definitely achieved the WOW factor Royal strives for.

Excuse the hair mess... it was WINDY!

My awesome looking hubby!

We got out of our formal attire and went to the Star Lounge to participate in a game show called Majority Rules. This was a neat entertainment show where you formed teams and answered questions for what you think the rest of audience would answer and then the majority rules. If you answered with the majority, you get points. Our team of other fellow Texans did not win but we had a great laugh at all of the audiences answers.

The Majority Rules game show was very entertaining!

The Adult Comedy Show was at 10:45PM and we decided to just stick it out and stay up late for it (we are not in our twenties anymore and we were beginning to feel the pain, literally, of the hard bed and lack of sleep). Rick Corso, the same comedian from the Welcome Aboard show, gave a second comedy act and it was just as average as the first but enjoyable nonetheless. 

It was late and we had a FULL day of Shore Excursions and activities planned for the following day in Cozumel. We recharged all the batteries to our many cameras and devices for the following day and turned in for what we hoped and prayed would be a better night's sleep. 

Tomorrow is Destination #1- Cozumel, Mexico and a full day of beach activities at Paradise Beach. 

God is good... ALL the time! 

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