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Ahhh. What a difference a good night’s sleep can do. I awoke at 8:00, turned on the TV and in a few minutes my pre-ordered coffee and croissant were delivered. Royal Caribbean has a fabulous bakery…and the croissants are always good. I call this my “pre-breakfast” because an hour later I go to either the dining room or upstairs to the buffet and start over again.
Something different at 11am: a pasta-making demonstration at Sorrento’s Pizzeria on the Promenade. OK, I’ll go. With passengers seated around his presentation area, Chef Michael Sabourin carefully explained his recipe and technique for making pasta dough. Once he formed the dough, he turned on the pasta machine and carefully transformed the Nickelodeon slime-green ball of dough into a four foot sheet of spinach pasta. Then, laying the dough onto a ravioli mold, Chef Michael stuffed each ravioli with his own mixture of sautéed peppers, salmon, ricotta and parmesan cheeses. The tiny green pasta squares, each with a light dusting of flour to absorb excess water, were ready to be boiled. As there were over fifty hungry spectators and only twelve little raviolis, Sorrento’s treated each of us to buffet-style rigatoni and marinara sauce and a glass of Pinot Grigio.
A bit of browsing in the shops and I was ready for a bit of sun time out by the pool. The Solarium pool is a wonderful adults-only area with plenty of chairs, shade and a pool bar. As on most ships, the home-steaders had left their belongings on lounge chairs for well over the 30 minute unattended rule, but such is life. There was still an errant chair here and there to be found.
A quick trip to the gym in the late afternoon and I’d be all set for the Crown and Anchor cocktail party for returning guests (affectionately called the “Repeaters Party.”)
At the cocktail party, the Captain announced that there were approximately 1,900 past passengers onboard. With a sailing capacity of nearly 4,100 guests, that means almost half of the passengers were returning to Royal Caribbean. That is quite a loyal following. Unfortunately most of the 1,900 seemed to show up for the free cocktails and presentation so I did a quick about-face at the entrance and went upstairs to the private lounge for Diamond Members (+26 cruises on Royal Caribbean). No surprise, this too was standing room only. But I found a secluded chair in the corner, filled a tiny plate with hors d’oeuvres, was given a glass of merlot and all was good.
Dinner was casual; a selection of roasted pork loin, panko-encrusted cod, braised lamb shank w/roasted vegetables, and vegetable vindaloo-the Indian dish of the evening. I opted for the broiled salmon from the alternate menu and was not disappointed. For dessert, our waited concocted a very rich and chocolatey brownie topped with vanilla ice cream and fudge sauce. It was a big hit with everyone.
The promenade entertainment was “Dancin’ In the Street” a 70’s disco party. People packed the promenade well before show time to get a good vantage point. I’d suggest arriving thirty minutes early, get a “street” view cafe table at Vintages, order a glass of wine and enjoy the show.