The alarm went off nice and early so we could dress, have coffee and pack up. Chris went to get coffee while I dressed and worked on the suitcases. We were going to check our bags since our flight was at 7:20pm and spend most of the day in the park. It is a great perk that you also get front of the line the day you check out as well. After dropping the bags, we briskly walked to Islands of Adventure to see people already queued to get into the park when we arrived around 6:40am. The lines started moving around 6:45 so we did not have to wait too long. It was odd you didn’t have to show your resort key but later at the entrance between Seuss and Lost Continent you did have to have your key card scanned.
The crowd seemed to all head towards Hagrid’s Motorbikes as few took the left to go Velocicoaster. The queue started in the Lost Continent, worked its way through the Sinbad theater then out in front of train station until you get to the official queue. The line wasn’t moving and announcements were made that the ride was experiencing delays. We decided to wait it out as this would likely cause a two hour wait for rest of the day. When the ride started running, it did move quickly. It ended up being about a 60 minute wait with the delay taking up most of the time. I got to ride on the motorcycle this time and what a ride! Both were fun but I think the motorcycle is better.
The line for Velocicoaster was only 30 minutes so we decided to ride that again. One common annoyance this trip was at most waits yesterday and some today, people squeezed past to get to their parties. This is annoying to us. We always entered together when everyone was ready. I find this to be pretty rude and was surprised how often it occurred. Annoyances aside, it was another great ride and this time I tried to really spots the raptors along the path.
With the two big rides already done, we decided it was time for a little breakfast. I suggested a pastry from Honeyduke’s and Chris added the idea of a butterbeer. We both opted for a pumpkin pasty which did pair nicely with the butterbeer. It was very quiet on the deck behind the Leaky Cauldron with the exception of the occasional screams from the Velocicoaster.
The park was now open for all guests and the crowds were not too bad. We rode Forbidden Journey again since we were right there. Next up was Skull Island. We walked all the way through the Express queue to find one group ahead of us. This is more like it. Unfortunately, the ride was not running. We waited for a bit but decided to bail since we rode it yesterday. The water rides were up and running but we did not want to get wet either day. Next stop was Spider-Man. It was so enjoyable yesterday we wanted to try it again. The queue was much shorter with only about a ten minute or less wait. We felt pretty good about what we accomplished on this side so we went to take the Hogwarts Express to the Universal side.
It is such a cool train ride that connects the parks and you need a two park ticket in order to ride it. We shared a car with a family from England. It was cool hearing them point out the roads as our train neared King’s Cross. It was back to the land of muggles.
Since we did not ride the Simpsons yesterday, it was a must do today. It was another short wait of 15 minutes or so. Today was so much nicer in the park. This ride is one of our daughter’s favorites so it made me miss her. She happened to text me too right as we entered the pre-show. It’s like she knew.
Men in Black is right next door so how could we not ride. I love this ride since it is part game and part ride. Chris beat me both days but I beat him today in the training area for the first time ever. It all came down to the red button speed. Even though he beat me, I’m always glad to beat the other car and be Galaxy Defenders.
Lunchtime was nearing and so was Lombard’s Landing as we were walking. We both thought it would be nice to have a decent lunch and not worry about dinner. If we chose the patio, we were told it would be no wait. Sold! It was a gorgeous day, absolutely perfect to dine al fresco. We both chose the shrimp po boys that were a Mardi Gras special. Chris placed his order first and added French Onion soup so I decided to do the same. The soup and sandwich were very good. The sandwich was loaded with tons of shrimp. A walk after lunch was much welcomed to digest our lunch. We strolled around the park and felt like we were done with rides.
The online ordering was up for Voodoo Doughnuts so the new plan was to grab three to share and have a coffee back at the hotel as our dessert. The bakery was nothing like yesterday and we did not have to wait long for our order. The weather was so nice and it was a lovely walk back to Royal Pacific.
Chris bought two coffees and we enjoyed them with our doughnuts in the lounge area off the lobby. The sample of doughnuts included the Voodoo Doll, ODB and Oh Captain, My Captain. The Voodoo Doll is filled with raspberry jelly, topped with chocolate frosting with a pretzel stake. ODB was chocolate frosting with Oreos and peanut butter. The last one was vanilla frosting with Captain Crunch. The were good doughnuts but would they be worth a 45 minute wait? I would say no. They are really big and very sweet. We didn’t finish them but it was fun to taste them. We spent the rest of the time relaxing and charging our phones.
Around 3:30 we went to look for a taxi to take us to the airport. A taxi was dropping off guests so we used them to take us to the airport. The airport was busy but getting through security was much better using Precheck. It was slow though because a few groups were trying to use it without having it. The terminal was packed and people were sitting all along the window ledges. We eventually found a place to wait for our flight . I went to buy some gum for my ears during the flight but was shocked to learn they do not sell it in Orlando airport. I guess society can’t handle chewing gum. After seeing how dirty the airport was, I am not surprised. The bathrooms were disgusting. Toilets overflowing with waste, toilet paper all over the floor, it was nasty. Tables had trash still left on them. Between the cruise and this airport, I am wondering if people have forgotten how to be in public. I guess they were used to just throwing their trash all over their house for two years.
I was texting Ammie that we were waiting for our flight and found out some bad news. She tested positive for Covid. Ugh. I advised her to test only because she had a cough for two weeks that wasn’t Covid. I figured her doctors would make her test anyway and to eliminate that cause for them. I hoped the rest of us would be able to avoid it as we all had our boosters.
The flight home was much easier than the flight down. The attendants did not seem as concerned about masks as the other crew. Lots of noses out and some gaiters but after a cruise and crowds at Universal, I couldn’t worry to much about this. Halfway through the flight, the man across the aisle started coughing and sniffing so much. It was very sudden as we saw him when we checked bags and he seemed fine then and for the first hour of the flight. He was coming down with something for sure.
We landed in Philly and were glad to be back. It didn’t take long to get our bags and find our ride. It was late when we got home so we had a little snack and went to bed.
I will add that Chris did test positive on Tuesday for Covid. I tried my best to stay negative but I started feeling lots of allergy symptoms and tested positive on Saturday. It put a damper on our Easter plans with family but we are very thankful our cases are mild. We had fun with our besties and I am excited to cruise in October with them through the Mediterranean. It will be the first cruise on MSC for all of us so hopefully you’ll return to read all about it.
The last night of a cruise is not usually a great night of sleep for me. I usually feel nervous about missing my alarm or the upcoming travel today. The inside cabin helped with the darkness although I did have to remove the empty hangers from the closet around one as the ship was making them clang together. Chris usually bungees them together but I just quickly removed them and put on the floor. The alarm woke us so we could dress and finish packing before breakfast. We were meeting our friends to have one last breakfast as soon as the dining room opened at 6:30.
I knew what I was going to order with out perusing the menu, the masala dosa. To my surprise, Ammie and her daughter both ordered it as well. It was just as good as the first time I had it. Everyone enjoyed their last breakfast and typically I have found on my last cruises that breakfast the last day can be lacking.
We said our goodbyes when we reached our cabin. It was hard to hold back tears after my bestie let some fall. I focused on the fact it is not goodbye but until next time which will be in October when we will be together again on MSC celebrating our 25th anniversary. After big hugs from all, we grabbed our luggage and headed out.
I had been listening throughout breakfast and never heard a muster station called for walk off. Plenty though had been walking off with suitcases when we returned from breakfast so we asked a crew member who said it is fine to just go. So much for all that organization and directions on the information sheet about disembarkation. Chris made two trips since the elevators were jammed to get the suitcases since we only had two flights of stairs. It was very crowded and people were dragging big suitcases. It was nerve wracking hearing the thuds behind me as I was worried someone could fall onto me from above. We made it out though and although there was a bit of a line for those with passports, it moved quickly.
We were out about fifteen minutes before our driver was due. Chris called to make sure they knew to come to terminal three. Finally, he reached the driver and he said he was almost there. We waited more and eventually it was 15 minutes after he was supposed to arrive. Chris called again and he was at the Royal Caribbean terminal. Finally, we found our driver though. It was pretty chaotic though and people were already arriving for their cruise next week. Joe and Ammie were off pretty quickly after us and they had the luggage picked up. They were out of the garage before we were even picked up!
Chris and I were both excited for our short stay at Universal. It was such a welcoming site to pull up to the Royal Pacific hotel. We have spent many fun times at this resort and were happy to be back. A big surprise was that our room was ready before ten! We happily took our bags to the room and quickly walked to the parks. Although staying at this property can be expensive, the perk of express pass makes it worth it. We knew the park would be crowded since it was a spring break Saturday so after figuring the cost of buying express and staying at a further hotel, the cost wasn’t so bad. We both love the walk to and from CityWalk as well. It is very pretty and relaxing.
Our walk however was very brisk as we were ready to hit the parks. We started with Islands of Adventure. There was still a rather large queue to get in and this was the theme of the day, crowds. We have never seen the park this crowded before. It was hard to walk with any speed through the park as it was a sea of people. Our first stop was Hogsmede to see how long the wait for Hagrid’s Motorbikes was running. It was about two hours so we went back to check the wait for Velocicoaster which was 50 minutes. Both of these rides do not have express pass available yet but are available during early entry for resort guests. We thought 50 minutes was not bad so we decided to try it. What a ride to be first! It truly might be the best coaster I have ever ridden. I’m lucky I did not choke on a bug as my jaw was dropped the whole ride. At times, I felt to scared to even scream. It was great! It was close to our lunch reservation at noon so we decided to grab a butter beer and relax after the ride. The lines were huge for butterbeer. We tried our old secret inside the Hog’s Head Tavern but the line was out the door onto the back patio. I guess it is no longer a secret. The line wasn’t moving so we went back to the carts to wait. By the time we got our drinks, we walked towards Mythos.
I am really glad I made a reservation at Mythos because they were not taking any walk ups. We had to wait about five minutes or so for a table and upon entering the dining room I have never seen it packed like this. It looked like all sections including outside were full. The menu had changed since our last trip many years ago and we were excited to try some new dishes. I ordered the hummus and Chris had the mezze platter as starters. Chris had the Brick oven roasted chicken while I had the shrimp sushi Katsu roll for my main. We enjoyed all the dishes but they weren’t as good as we remembered entrees. Plus the seats are so uncomfortable. I truly could not wait to be done as my booty was aching. I think next trip we try another restaurant.
It was time for more rides. We rode Forbidden Journey, King Kong and Spider-Man after lunch. The wait time with express was about 20-30 minutes. The regular lines were very long, one hour or more. Both of us were super glad we had Express. After Spider-Man, which has been improved since our last ride, we decided to walk over to Universal Studios to see how the crowds were there.
Our first attraction we did was a new one for us, Bourne Stuntacular. It replaced Terminator and we thought is was a good improvement. We proceeded to Men in Black which is one of our favorites. Next stop was Diagon Alley which was pretty crowded. We hopped in line for Escape from Gringott’s. The line with Express was about 30 minutes but we heard others in line during the merge point who had been waiting two hours. Yikes. After riding it, we felt it needed the update the Spider-Man received. The sound wasn’t great plus people were chatting the whole ride in the row behind us. We shouldn’t have been surprised as the queue was so crazy loud with non-stop talking. After a stroll though Knockturn Alley, Chris suggested to go inside the Leaky Cauldron for another butterbeer and a little snack. We decided to share the mini pie combination and butterbeer potted cream. Chris also ordered a sticky toffee pudding as well. The pies were as I remembered but pretty bland. I preferred the beef to the seafood. I was glad Chris snuck the sticky toffee pudding order in as that was a much better dessert. The potted cream did not have much butterbeer flavor at all. It is very boring like vanilla pudding.
With a snack in our bellies, we exited Diagon Alley and walked through the park. I reminded Chris that we have not ridden Fast and the Furious ever so we should try it. The wait was less than 20 minutes and we thought it was a fun ride with some cool technology. We decided to walk back to Islands of Adventure to see the wait for Hagrid’s Motorbikes.
It was straight to Hogsmeade and the wait was 90 minutes. We didn’t really want to ride anything else so we decided to give it a go. The queue was pretty loud like Gringott’s on the inside part. The wait was shorter and only about one hour. I let Chris have the motorbike while I took the sidecar. I had avoided reading any spoilers about these new rides for us and I was glad. What a great ride! It has plenty of surprises and it is a fast ride. The hour wait was well worth it.
We felt pretty good about our day at the park and decided to hit CityWalk and try Voodoo Doughnuts. However, it was about a 45 minute wait to order. Nope. We had walked almost ten miles and decided to walk back to the hotel to relax and have a snack. By the time we made it back, we hit over ten miles. There is a new to us snack bar in Royal Pacific. We grabbed waters and some chips. Chris had the idea to get room service. I am never one to refuse room service. There’s just something fun about it to me. We ordered wings and a pizza. I took a shower and was in my pjs before the order arrived. Our legs were tired but it was so nice eating and watching television. We watched some more television and both fell asleep way earlier than our cruise nights. The parks opened at seven for resort guest the next morning so we wanted to be in line before that so we called it a night.
Today was our last day of the cruise. We went to the casino very early as it is so nice in there when it is almost empty. Everyone played a little bit then decided to put our name in for brunch. It didn’t take too long to get a table for the four of us as the girls were already starting to pack.
When we arrived at the table, Ammie noticed there was lipstick on her coffee mug. This prompted everyone to inspect theirs and the inside of Chris’ had some dirt. I’m not sure how well these dishes are being washed. I really wished I could have another dosa but tried the lobster Benedict which was a fifteen dollar charge. It had a nice sized piece of lobster on each one but in addition to Hollandaise sauce there was this odd, tasteless white sauce all over the lobster and muffin. It was unnecessary and gross. One egg was cooked perfect and the other hard boiled. I ate all the lobster and some of the good egg. I ordered fries as a potato but they were super dried out. They literally would crumble. This was another miss for me. Honestly I would prefer a simple meal at the buffet but skipped due to lack of hygiene.
I decided to go pack while the others went to the Havana pool. I wanted to get a head start although we were going to carry off our bags since we wanted to leave early in order to get to our hotel at Universal and hit the parks. I met up with the others and did some blog writing. Since our next cruise is with Joe and Ammie, I am getting a recorder to give thoughts I do not want to forget since it was hard to keep up with the blog since having fun with my besties trumps blogging any day! I know I will be super busy on that cruise.
The group decided that one more chicken sandwich was needed before the end of the cruise so that was our lunch. Chris wanted to try the shawarma so he went for a beef one. He really liked that as well. It has been fun trying all the various lunch options around the ship.
The afternoon activities were trivia. Shocker. The “movies explained badly” sounded fun so we went to Limelight for that. The prior activity was running late so we waited outside for that to finish as there were no seats. This was such a fun trivia and some of the descriptions made us laugh. We did pretty well but not good enough for that win. The next trivia was TV theme songs. The moderator was having lots of technical difficulties but finally figured it out. We did really well on it only missing two out of 18 questions. The same thing happened after a decent delay and seeming like we won, a team would say higher. Wouldn’t they know their score straight way? They yelled they had twenty. Umm..there was only 18 questions. They changed to 18 even though the one member kept saying 20. No worries because we would have given away the prize since you can’t split a trophy and do not really need it. I know this type of trivia would never have made it on Crystal. They were so hard core. You also had to switch papers to stay honest. With the scores I saw all week, I’m sure some assistance was used some of the time. But I play trivia to learn new things so the win or score is just bragging rights. We never said anything and just laughed amongst ourselves. It was just odd how many times different hosts thought we won which was about three times.
It was already about that time to get ready for the evening. Joe and Ammie wanted to do some packing as well. Chris and I went to Brass Magnolia to wait for them to join us. I think this was the best bar for pre-dinner as we enjoy a more classic cocktail that is not sweet. I repeated last night with a gin martini while Chris had a Sazerac. It was sad knowing this would be some of our last drinks of the cruise with our dear friends. Chris and I did share one dance on the tiny little triangle in front of the stage. We did a rumba to My Cherie Amour. The band seemed so happy to have dancers to their music. This was the least amount of dancing I have ever done on a cruise. We did sneak in a jitterbug in the area behind our barstools as well before dinner. I think in total I only danced to four songs. Jason had told me earlier to go on Holland America for dancing. I probably would vibe better there to be honest so I think it is a good suggestion. I have been wanting to give them a try.
Dinner in the main dining did not enthuse me much so I convinced everyone to try Chibang. This is another included specialty that is Chinese and Mexican. It is not fusion of the two but two separate sides of a menu. We waited until we could use the app and the wait was only about 15 minutes. I started with the dumplings and shared some queso fundido with Chris just to try something from the Mexican side of the menu. Both were very good starters. Joe ordered the pork belly and liked it. Ammie had spring rolls and they shared a shrimp starter. No complaints about the appetizers and we were enjoying this meal much more than the Italian restaurant. The service was very good as well. For dinner I had the mapo tofu which was super spicy even though not one pepper was listed next to it on the menu. Chris ordered the Diablo shrimp with three peppers and it was not spicy at all. I even tasted it and tasted nothing. Mine was very hot even to Chris who eats some of the spiciest dishes around. I ate a few bites but also had Hakka noodles which filled me up. For dessert, it was Crema Catalana all around. It is the Spanish version of creme brûlée. It was also served with a small dish of sorbet. I have never seen that before but it worked in my opinion. Our servers chatted with us at the end of the meal and I took a picture of all the names of his team for the survey that he encouraged us to fill out.
The only activity tonight was comedy or piano bar. We went to the comedy but it was completely full with not even standing room so we proceeded to the Piano bar where one table for four was open. We listed to a few songs and had one final round of drinks. I was going to request a song and buy Eden a drink but he had at least four drinks lined up. I don’t know how he can drink that much each night and decided to help his liver and not buy that drink. I would have used cash but did not have it on me so no request. He is super talented so if you see him on a cruise, you should stop by for a few songs at least. We wanted to be up early to eat breakfast and leave quick so we called it a night.
Day 7 - Second Sea Day
After a less than stellar evening, I was hopeful a sea day would be so fun that we would erase the bad. There was plenty of promise for that to occur as we had reservations to ride Bolt, the first roller coaster at sea. It is an electric powered coaster that holds two riders. Riders straddle the seat that reminds me of a jet ski. The front set has handlebars with a throttle and boost. I let Chris “drive” our coaster. Each set of riders gets two laps. It was very fast and thrilling. It was so cool seeing the ocean views as we zipped around. I will say that two laps is plenty as a third would have made me queasy. All four of us had lots of fun riding. It does cost fifteen dollars but I think it was worth it.
The ride really worked up an appetite for all of us so we used the app to request a table in the main dining room for sea day brunch. I wished I could get the same breakfast as yesterday but there is a different menu on sea days. We all went to the brunch except one of the teens who chose sleep over food. Most of us started with the chia seed pudding. I’m glad I encouraged my friends to try it as Ammie really enjoyed it. She ordered the breakfast board which she liked and I ordered the tower. The tower is a bagel with your choice of two salads or smoked salmon as well as tomato, cucumber and cream cheese. It did not come in the tower presentation so I had a bunch of different plates in front of me. The smoked salmon was nice and I enjoyed that with the vegetables. The bagel itself was not the best ever but it worked. I think maybe you should get two if that is your whole breakfast.
It seems like the big daytime activity is trivia. I enjoy trivia but there is no way I could attend this much. Also, most are very specialized such as Big Bang, Friends, Country music so that limited ones that we were all interested in. Today’s was music from the 50s and 60s. Ammie, Chris and I lost one teammate but we decided to give it a go. The host was Kay (I think) and she was very fun. We once again scored decent but it wasn’t enough for the win. After a five minute or less break, it was Tri Bond trivia. Chris is very good at these so we stayed. If I recall, he got them all right except two but someone had a perfect score. Close yet again. We were very good at getting second place. It is fun to play though and I enjoyed a nice Aperol Spritz while working out my brain. The next was TV Commercial trivia and Joe joined us. We once again did decent but that win still alluded us.
It was after one so we decided it was time to try an actual Shaq’s Big Chicken sandwich. The breakfast one was so tasty I really wanted to sample this offering. I would normally eat most my lunches on cruises at the buffet but I had avoided it all week because I am not a fan of not having a crew member help remind guest to wash their hands. They did have lots of hand sanitizer stations but I did not see people use them. This seemed like an ideal Norovirus situation. I really missed my giant salads because my normal routine on ships is to eat plant based and breakfast and lunch but I will just enjoy being more lax and hopefully avoid Noro. Now, onto the chicken sandwich. It was excellent. All four of us were impressed by how good the sandwiches were. Chris really liked the spicy one and I liked the MDE.
The remainder of the afternoon was spent trying some more libations at the Fortune Teller bar. Jason is the best bartender. We had a few drinks we had not tried yet, enjoyed laughs and conversation. To round out the afternoon, we spent some time up in Havana before dressing for the evening.
Tonight is the second elegant night of the cruise. After fixing ourselves up, we met at our usual spot, Brass Magnolia. The bartenders here have been outstanding. If you enjoy any classic cocktails, this is your spot. Ammie and I both ordered martinis, gin for me and a dirty one made with vodka for her. This was her first ever traditional type martini and she enjoyed it. Washboard Joe was performing and Ammie requested Bella Ciao from Money Heist. The keyboard player played a few verses and we all excitedly clapped. The musicians have been excellent this cruise which is probably why I really miss dancing.
The second elegant night in the dining room did not disappoint. We were joined by both girls so I liked catching up with them. Chris decided to order my favorite wine, Caymus to share with our dinner since everyone was ordering the filet mignon. The server returned and poured some for Chris to taste and Chris said it was excellent. When I tasted mine, I was hit with a nasty smell. I figured it must be the glass so I switched with Chris figuring it would likely not bother him at all. He thought it was horrible and asked for a clean glass and then it was fine. It was a shame that happened but no wine was wasted and we all enjoyed it. That was the only miss of the meal. The crab cake starter was very good as was my salad. The filet was great and everyone enjoyed their meal. One of the girls ordered the Indian vegetarian plate and it looked and smelled fantastic. Dessert was a Grand Mariner soufflé which made me happy. Soufflés are one of my favorite desserts and you do not find them on menus often. Showtime tonight was Sweet Caroline another elegant classic.
Chris is a glutton for punishment sometimes and we all went to see Street Magic with him which was right before Voodoo Moon that I had read good reports about. Joe and I decided to grab a coffee before the show and I commented that the Mardi Gras show going on prior was not too good. A guy in line said, “Are you talking about the Broadway show? That was horrible.” We all had some laughs and we went back to the seats with our coffee for the Street Magic. I’ll let Chris talk about the magic. The Voodoo Moon show probably would have been better from a higher vantage point than deck six where we were. If there is any aerial parts to the show, the ceiling blocks the view. I saw there was Adult Game night so we unanimously decided to leave to get seats. When we arrived, the room was packed. We could awkwardly stand to side but decided against that. Using the app, a new plan was made to visit Jason then go see the late night comedy in the main theater.
Jason at the Fortune Teller never disappoints with his drinks and personality. He was a highlight of the cruise for sure. We left around 11 to get seats for the comedy in the theater. We opted to sit in the first row of the elevated back section. It was a row for just four which was perfect. Our new pal from the coffee shop came in and sat across the aisle. After hearing his glowing review of the Broadway show and since our seats were high up, I joked we are like the old man muppets in the Muppet Show.
The comedy was pretty good. I cannot remember who they were and it wasn’t listed on the app. Earlier Joe Marlotti and Lenny Schmidt had shows so possibly that is who we saw. We had a bunch of laughs but mainly because a gentleman a couple rows behind us had the deepest, jolliest laugh. It made all the jokes funnier. I think it was the hardest Ammie laughed all week. It really added to the show. We all were ready to return to our cabins to rest up for that final cruise day.
Day 6 - Roatan
Chris and I were up early since our room has a big vibration while docking but we are early risers so it did not bother us. The sun was coming up so we took some pretty shots. It was 8:30 or so ship time but 6:30am in Roatan. Perfect to see a sunrise later. It was strange at first not to adjust the clocks but I have to say I enjoy staying on ship time. This is better than NCL.
We went to the dining room for breakfast and I had the the best breakfast so far. It was a masala dosa that was outstanding. I have a friend who prepares this typical Indian breakfast/brunch dish for me and I was excited to see it on the menu. If you enjoy Indian food, give it a try.
Our group decided to go ashore after breakfast to explore the port area. We have all been to Roatan but not docked here. It is a very nice port area. We walked to the beach and thought it would be a nice port for a beach day. It was really hot for so early in the day. I was drenched in sweat so Chris and I went back to the ship while our friends went into a shop near the beach. We went through the nature trail which is not too long and more shaded. It’s a nice short cut from the beach. Chris convinced me to see the other shops to make our walk longer. We ran back into Joe and the teens and found out Ammie went back to the ship. They kept shopping while we went back to ship to jump in the Havana pool that we figured would be super refreshing. It did not disappoint and the three of us enjoyed a nice soak.
Joe met up with us and after relaxing for a bit, the guys went to get some paninis. The sandwiches were very good and we all enjoyed them. We went to change our clothes to try some activities.
The first activity was reverse charades. Everyone was on teams and one member of the team guessed while the others acted it out silently. We didn’t win but we had some laughs at ourselves and the other teams. We stayed and did 90s trivia. We had a decent score of 16 but someone had a score of 19. No ship on a stick for us.
There wasn’t any other activities we wanted to do so we went and played a game we brought, Saboteur. We taught Joe and Ammie how to play and they enjoyed it. Time went quickly and it was time to go get ready for the evening.
We met up at the Alchemy Bar before dinner. Chris went to grab drinks at the bar and ordered himself a manhattan and me a Negroni. He watched as the alchemist pawned the order off to a bar server who proceeded to grab one of the syrup bottles at the bar and pour something into the mixing glass to start the drink. Chris new immediately that the drink would be wrong and when it was served to him he tasted it. The drink tasted very sweet (not how a Manhattan should taste at all) and he told the bar server that he thought this was an Old Fashioned and not a Manhattan. The bar server sternly told him, “no, it’s a Manhattan.” Chris asked him if he used a maple syrup to which he replied, “no, a Manhattan is bourbon, sweet Vermouth and bitters.” Chris agreed as he has made plenty of Manhattans but repeated that this drink was way to sweet to be a Manhattan. The bar server then said, “well, we don’t have any bourbon so I used Southern Comfort.” Chris laughed and said, “No, you cannot make a Manhattan with Southern Comfort!” The bar server then offered to make it with Scotch! Chris refused and just asked him to take the drink off the tab so he could replace it at another bar. The bar server refused so Chris just asked for a Negroni. Chris feels that since this is supposed to be one of the Carnival flagship bars that the bartenders should be the only ones making the drinks and that if one of them had known there was no bourbon at this bar then they should’ve made that clear up front and suggested a solution then and not just guessed at making something else. Also, the attitude of the bar server was really unacceptable as he should’ve never talked down to a guest the way that he did.
The guys went to put our name in for a table at Cucina Del Capitano. This is the specialty Italian restaurant that is included. If you use the app and have a dining time you cannot register until 8pm which is why they went to ask. It was only about a 15 minute wait so we did get to eat just a little bit earlier. We were seated and placed a drink order. The server who took our order tried to get us to each take a large bottle of water. I had read these are not included and have seen reports that the servers act as if they are so we passed. We never saw this server again after that. A different server took our order. I had the farro salad and Chris started with the meatball. The salad was spicier than I thought it would be and Chris thought the meatball was ok. I tasted it and didn’t care for it. While we waited, the best part of dinner happened, the table side magician stopped at our table and did some tricks. He did some decent trick and I really enjoyed his personality. Our mains arrived after a long wait. Chris and I both ordered the pistachio pesto and I didn’t care for it at all. It was more a carbonara with some pistachios sprinkled on top. With my plant based eating, I”m not huge on creamy sauces so I chose to skip dessert and go get a little bit of sushi. Joe and Ammie didn’t really care for their dinners either. Ammie ordered clam pasta which she didn’t find too special. Joe had the chicken Parmesan and said it wasn’t special and lukewarm. It also did not come with any pasta so he did order some but it took awhile to appear. He also ordered a glass of wine that never came to the table. They stayed for dessert while we went for some sushi for me.
The sushi restaurant was not too busy and we were seated right away. We both wanted to try the kakuni because we watched a video prior to the trip and the man said it was the best thing he’s ever had on a ship. I ordered a salad and a tempura roll too. The salad was fine with a nice dressing. I ordered water though and never got any until I flagged down a server. They were running around the restaurant and seemed overwhelmed. We definitely were getting a short staffing vibe tonight. The kakuni was ok but not something I would get again but YouTube made me do it. I mean this guy had been on Crystal with a Nobu restaurant and raved this was the best item ever on any ship, how could I not try it? The sushi was nothing great, in fact it was rather bland. It also did not have any wasabi. I eventually saw a server to ask for some after it was two thirds gone. Tonight was the first big miss of the the cruise with food.
We wanted to go see the Classic magic show in the atrium area. Tonight was a Vegas themed night for the shows. We grabbed two seats in the front and watched the Residency. Chris and I love Vegas and have seen many shows there. We enjoy lots of music as well so we thought this would be fun to watch before the magic. It started out with some Frank Sinatra but it went a little strange after that. I can’t say they picked the best residencies or the best song choices. The show really took a big turn during the Prince number, Let’s Go Crazy. The vocalist was super over the top and awkward to even watch. It is one of my favorite songs and it was terrible. Joe equated it to the early days of American Idol when someone thinks they are amazing and Simon tears them apart. I am not really a fan of this Center Stage for shows. The sight lines are good from the bleacher type seats so if you are into shows that is the place to sit. We probably would have left in the middle of the show but we wanted to see Classic Magic.
The magician again made some odd choices for such a large space. He started with some magic with a dollar bill changing into a $100 but it was really impossible to see what was happening and we were only about 30 feet from the stage. He then did some coin magic and more card magic with some volunteers from the office. A closeup camera was used to project the magic onto a screen, but why not focus on effects more suited for a stage, and not a close-up situation. There was one box illusion where a dancer was produced and that was really the only effect that would be appropriate for this venue. For an act to be billed as classic magic, there are so many things he could’ve done that would have fit the theme and played much better in this large space.
We had some time before Liar’s Club so we went to the Piano Bar. It is a pretty popular venue and rather small. Joe and Chris sat together and Ammie and I sat at a table. Chris ordered two Stingers for us but mine had this horrible smell. It smelled kind of moldy. I went over to the stools were the guys were sitting and tried Chris’ and thought his was not great either. I wasn’t too worried about it as I was no where close to hitting the 15 drink mark. I would just get a drink in the Punchliner’s. We could see a large queue through the window so when it started to move, we left to get in line.
The comedy club was crowded but we like the upper booth section in the back. We nicknamed it the VIP area. It is not the best sight lines but it’s not that visual of a show. Chris and I ordered Manhattans to replace our drinks. The server returned with some pretty anemic looking drinks and I whispered to Chris that I bet these are Old Fashioned. Chris said no and I will say it wasn’t crazy sweet like some can be. About ten minutes later, the server returns and says you ordered Manhattans and those were Old Fashioned. I don’t think he heard me say it but I’m impressed he fixed it when he realized. The show had Percy, Jim and a member of the Carnival staff. He was the head of entertainment according to Cookie who hosted. I feel he was the weakest link of the show. He had some funny moments and had a persona he created but I thought his bits were way too long and not always funny. I usually enjoy a Liars Club but this was a pretty weak one in general. I was truly fighting to stay awake as was Ammie. We ducked out early through this very covert door near our VIP seats. VIP has its benefits. Since we were all tired, we returned to our cabins to rest up with two sea days left to our voyage.
We love to travel and experience new places and cultures.