Trip Day 3: To The Ship! – Cruise Day 1

Trip Day 3: To The Ship! – Cruise Day 1

What a great day.

I wasn’t sure what time to leave the shore this morning, so I figured I’d best be early rather than be in a rush. My rental car was due back at 9am, and with traffic from the Toms River area to Newark Airport being an unknown I decided to play it safe. I wound up arriving at the car rental dropoff quite earlier than I was expecting, and I was even able to push my transfer to the cruise terminal earlier as well, so it all worked out.

I wound up getting to the cruise port at around 9am or so. This gave me ample time to take some pictures, and I couldn’t have asked for a better area to do so. As it turns out,  Cape Liberty is also the home of the 9/11 teardrop memorial, so I was able to take some pictures there as well.

But, turning around from this beautiful sight, is another beautiful sight:’

This ship is big, and beautiful. I couldn’t wait to board.

I walked back to the terminal around 10:15am or so, and found they had already started checking people in. I went through security, and proceeded to wait. This is my first cruise as a Platinum status member of Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society loyalty program, so I was able to board in group #3.

There were 9 groups showing that I could see, and a bunch of chairs (the white ones) with no group number that appeared to handle the overflow. The room appeared to seat quite a few people or so; needless to say, having status does have its perks.

Once getting on board, I headed to the Solarium, which is the adults-only pool area. I know kids can be cute, but not when they are running around causing quite the ruckus. I like my serenity when it comes to relaxing on vacation, and the Solarium is the perfect place to do just that.

 

 

 

After taking a dip in the pools and hot tubs, the announcement was made that the rooms were ready, so I headed down to find my cabin. I’ve got a separate post about my cabin which you can check out here.

I then went exploring the ship for a bit, and taking some pictures.

We had our muster drill which, on this ship being so big, consisted of everyone gathering in their respective stations and then watching a video with some safety information in it. The captain gave us the all-clear just a few minutes before 4pm, and I had just enough time to get outside for sail away!

One downside to large cruise ships, is that they can occasionally be a bit…crowded at the elevators, especially just after the muster drill. Such was the case here, so I opted to just go out by the lifeboats and watch from there. Turned out to be a great spot.

I eventually made my way up to the top deck and started snapping some more pictures. (Do you see a theme here?)

After my picture-taking extravaganza, it was time for dinner. I headed down to Deck 4 where I enjoyed Royal Caribbean’s “My Time Dining” option. Unlike the traditional dining, which has pre-set times, My Time allows you to choose when you’d like to go for dinner.

One of the most impressive experiences I’d had on the ship so far was a venue at the rear of the ship called two70.

As its name implies, one can have a 270-degree view directly out the 2-story floor-to-ceiling windows. This room is a technological wonder, in that it can be transformed into an incredible live performance space. I attended an introductory show there tonight called The Two70 experience, where the cruise director gave us a little sneak peek at the capabilities of the room.

The windows along the back can be covered with white screens to create a huge projection surface, with an astounding 12K resolution.  There are also 4′ x 6′ LED monitors mounted to robotic arms, and these screens (called Roboscreens) can be positioned into many different configurations to suit the show.

To say that I was blown away is quite the understatement. It was an unbelievable show, and it was just little snippets of whats to come. I have a feeling I’ll be spending a good bit of time catching more shows in there over the course of this cruise.

After the Two70 experience, it was time to catch “We Will Rock You” – a musical set to the music of Queen. I enjoy Queen’s music; I’m not a superfan by any means, but I know the words to half a dozen or so of their songs. I was more curious to see what they were going to do with it as a musical.

Well… I got my answer.

Let me just say this…I’d have been perfectly happy with a simple concert setting, because the talent was out of this world incredible. Royal Caribbean does an amazing job with entertainment; they didn’t have anything to do with writing this show, it came from London’s West End. Evidently it did very well, but I didn’t care for the storyline. It was ridiculous, and completely inane. It was like 1984 meets The Wiz, with a little bit of Tenacious D’s “The Pick of Destiny” mixed in. It was also presented without an intermission, so over 2 hours it was borderline torture to sit through. What kept me in my seat, though, was the incredible talent from the performers. From a musical performance standpoint, I’m sure Freddie Mercury would be proud.  From a dialogue and story writing standpoint… I don’t know who would be proud of that.

I finished my night by heading back to my room to see a fun surprise:

There was also a pack of Red Velvet Cupcakes waiting for me as well – thanks to Eric for the thoughtful gift! Definitely made me smile, and made me glad to be on this trip celebrating another year.

I’m definitely tired so I’m going to wrap this one up… but thanks to all who had tuned in on Periscope today – see you all tomorrow for more fun!

 

 

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