Monday, April 29, 2013

Cruzin the Caribbean - My 14 Day Travel Blog - Day 1

Sunday April 7, 2013 - Day One & Formal Night (1 of 3)

On Saturday all of our luggage arrived in our stateroom.  We got all settled in and put away our clothes.  The closet was a little tight and I wish it had been bigger, but there was some extra space over the bed which came in handy for us over packers!

Sunday we woke up relaxed and ready to get out there and have some fun!

Bring on the day's activities!!!

Here we are in the Ensemble Lounge and the band isn't there, 
so why not have a little fun?

The first event on our calendar was the meet and greet for the people of the Cruise Critic forum. I signed up for the forum online in July, right away I booked the cruise. We had been chatting away since then our meeting was at 10:15 on Sunday at the Cellar Masters - Is is a 24-hour wine bar—unattended in the morning hours—where about 64 wines are available by the glass, using Enomatic Wine Preservation machines that dispense wines directly from the sealed bottle (inert gas preservation minimizes the oxygen which would otherwise change the wine’s character). This allows relatively high-end wines to be dispensed days after opening without substantial alteration. - Many in the group already knew each other from traveling on previous cruises but this would be our first time meeting the group.

They turned out to be a really fun group! We are very happy to have met them. Everyone was helpful to us on the forum and also when we met them in person.  We had an opportunity to share some time together with many from the group. We are even planning another cruise with one of the couples we met. I have already signed up on the new Cruise Critic forum. I hope we connect with another fun group that we can look forward to meeting on our next cruise!

After the meet and greet we moved on to the cabin crawl. We had a chance to go from cabin to cabin checking out the different floor plans, It was very insightful (although I don't see us moving up to a suite stateroom anytime soon!)

We ended the cabin crawl in the beautiful, penthouse suite and the group posed for some group photos.

the living room in the penthouse suite

 Tony (one half of our hosts) takes a photo of the group

After the forum events, we went out exploring on our own. We took photos all over the ship and tried to see what was on every deck. The ship also had a lot of activities scheduled, so there was never a time when something was not going on somewhere.

(more on the ship to come)

Later that day we met some of the entertainers on the ship. We love jazz and just so happens, Ray Brown Jr was one of the featured entertainers. (Ray Brown, Jr. was born in New York City and is an American jazz and blues pianist and singer. He is the adopted son of Ray Brown and Ella Fitzgerald) We enjoyed him so much that we followed his shows around the ship like little groupies and usually ended up in the first row. He turned out to be a really nice, friendly guy.  We had some conversations with him and he even let us tape some of the shows (I'll talk more about Ray in a later post)  

The evening ended with dinner at our specialty restaurant, Blu (on the 1st of 3 formal nights) We booked this cruise as Aqua Class, so were assigned to a specialty restaurant called Blu, instead of the main dining room. The food in Blu is a little more health conscious and we felt it would be better for Lavanson's vegetarian diet. It turned out to be a very, very nice restaurant and we are looking forward to dining there again on our next cruise. We had a special waiter named Roberto (loved him!!) who would help Lavason select his menu for his dinner the night before (this way we could make sure the dinner would be right and avoid any ingredients that could cause complications) He had meals that he loved and they were beautifully presented as well!!

Lavanson rented a tux before hand and it was delivered to our stateroom. It included a black jacket and a white jacket, along with 2 bow ties, a vest, and a couple of shirts (plus the other little necessities needed). They picked the tux up on our final day. Very easy, economical and I would highly recommend it. (Plus every man looks GREAT in a tux, right?)

See you tomorrow for Day 2

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