Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Transatlantic Cruise - Part 2 - Barcelona to Ft. Lauderdale - 10/17

Having spent last week trekking around Seville and the beautiful Canary Islands, we're VERY ready for a little rest and relaxation.....ahhhh....a full week at sea....perfect.

But  Royal Caribbean has so many "things to do" on their Daily Compass (i.e., newsletter and schedule of events), it's hard to find time to nap!

The Ice Show, the hypnotist, the ladies "pamper party", our day at the Spa, the Master Chefs at Sea shows, our personal favorite - Halloween, the Headliner shows, $2 mimosas at the casino, the disco dance party, the Las Vegas Tenors, the guest talent show and even -- wait for it -- the liquor box folding contest!

Let's start on the second week of the  Transatlantic ---

Day 8 - Sunday - 10/29/17

The highlight of today was the Ice Show in Studio B.  Pictures say a thousand words so here they come...

Earlier onboard, we had to go to the Promenade and order these tickets.


Beautiful costumes, talented skaters, wonderful show!  It was only shown a couple of times on our cruise so we were glad we picked up our tickets early.

On Monday we also made reservations for the Ladies Pamper Party which was a short seminar given by the spa manager and we each got to try a few products, cleansing and moisturizing our tired faces.

At the end of the seminar, the manager offered a "head to toe spa treatment session" to all attendees  at a reduced price and we signed up for it tomorrow morning.  Ahhh, our spa day -- just what we've been waiting for!

We also attended a workshop by David Knight, the hypnotist we saw last tight.  It was held in the theater to a large crowd and was very interesting,,,,we intend to go to his website and read more.

David gave us a short session on self-hypnosis and it was very helpful -- almost like meditation for relaxation and stress relief.

Day 9 - Monday, 10/30/17

10:00 am and time for the spa!  We signed up for the "Head to Toe" special which included a full body massage with hot stones (which we both love), a mini facial, scalp massage, and a foot and ankle massage at a nicely reduced price.  Peggy's husband gave us each a "spa day" as a birthday gift -- we enjoyed every minute of it-- thanks, Dick!


Formal dinner tonight but we opted to go to the Windjammer buffet instead -- the food is varied and delicious!  We were greeted by this pumpkin display as we entered the buffet!  It's the day before Halloween

This is the display of beautifully carved pumpkins outside the Windjammer Buffet.

As you can see by the way we're dressed, we opted out of Formal Night at dinner.  We were anxious to watch the crew decorating for Halloween.  Note:  Each of us packed 2 formal tops and a pair of black dress slacks for formal nights....these 3 items are items of clothings we could have left at home and had a little more room in our luggage for everyday wear.

Several cabin doors were decorated on our deck.....

A big "thank you" to the gals who decorated this door.  There were candy treats in the bag and their cabin was directly opposite the elevators on our deck -- easy to spot when we got off the elevators so we knew which side to head for our cabin!

And, since we've been on several Halloween cruises in the past, we knew the crew would be decorating the promenade deck the night before Halloween and we wanted to check it out before the huge crowds appeared on the actual day!

Day 10 - Tuesday, 10/31/17 - HALLOWEEN

Our favorite day on cruises!  We usually wear our costumes but, since we traveled so light to Barcelona, we decided to leave the costumes at home and just enjoy the party.

We started our day on Deck 11 (pool deck) with coffee and pastries served at 7:00 AM.  This is the life!  (I think we started each of our 15 days on board with that same phrase as soon as we got our first cup of coffee!)

This seems like a good time to talk about Room Service on Royal Caribbean.  It's available by picking up the phone and calling a is brought directly to your cabin after a short "wait"time.  This service was free at Royal Caribbean up until a few months ago.  Now there's a $7.99 room service charge added to your bill.

Don't's only one $7.99 charge for the cabin....both of us can order and the room service lunch and dinner menus are quite good.

Continental breakfast room service is free of charge and includes beverages, pastries, fruit, juice, cereal  and even hot oatmeal and grits.  If you'd like a larger breakfast with eggs, pancakes, sausage, bacon, ham -- the charge is $7.99.  There's a convenient door hanger on which to order your breakfast (continental or larger), and indicate the time you'd like breakfast delivered in the morning -- just hang it on your cabin door in the evening.  You'll receive a call in the morning from room service and they'll let you know "breakfast is on its way".  A wonderful service we love!

On our daily walk through the ship, we noticed a group of ladies in a conference room -- Lili Ann's Knitting Circle and we stopped by to say "hello".  This was a group of about 20 women who meet everyday to work on their own knitting projects -- beautiful work!

Here's a sampling......

After lazing around in the sun, it was time to shower and get dressed for our big Halloween parade and party. 

The crew had transformed one of the bars into a Haunted House and that was our first stop!

Zombies jumping out, ghosts grabbing our ankles -- thank God neither of us had a pacemaker!  We literally ran out of there as soon as we got the chance.  Great job, crew!

And then it was time for the parade down the Promenade.  Don't ask us how these people got their costumes on board -- must have taken an extra piece of luggage (or two) for some of them!  For us, it was fun not to participate this year so we could take lots of pictures.

No extra packing involved in these costumes.

Can you imagine blowing up all these balloons?

                                We have no idea what these costumes were...nametags on tee shirts??  We gave them an A" for effort.

Paper tablecloths - ingenous!

The Addams Family -- our favorite!

Day 11 - Wednesday - 11/1/17

Today was the third show in the Master Chefs at Sea series.  Our new friend, Mary from Mason City, IA told us about it and strongly suggested we attend.  We've skipped the first two -- too much to see and do on this huge ship -- but we headed for Studio B and we're glad we did.  

For one thing, Studio B is also where the Ice Shows are held so they must be able to roll out a floor to place over the ice -- amazing.  

The Master Chefs are crew members who concoct a recipe from a table of ingredients.  Today there were four chefs left in the contest -- at the end of the meal, two chefs would remain for the final contest scheduled later in the cruise.

Mercedes - the terrific Cruise Director

An audience member anxious to be a judge

After the Master Chef Show, we were, of course, starved!  So we decided to try Johnny Rocket's for an afternoon milk shake.  We had received a coupon when we boarded the ship -- buy one shake and get one free.   It's located on one of the top have to look for's hidden away near the kid's arcade.  

You can eat inside in a diner-type setting or outside in red plastic booths and take in the salt air of the Atlantic.

This waitress was adorable and most accommodating!

When the cute waitress waited  on us, we ordered 2 chocolate shakes and she said that the shakes weren't available on the Transatlantic cruise out of Barcelona.  But we could order anything on the menu for a total of $7.99.  "Each?" we asked.
"No..anything you want for both of you."  We then grabbed menus from her and had a great time ordering.  A cheeseburger for each of us, onion rings, French fries, a tuna melt for Mary K and a chicken salad for me.....oh... and 2 cokes and 2 sundaes!  Yup, $7.99.  I seriously don't think this is available on every Royal Caribbean ship but it was a great service on this one!

The first thing the waitress did, was bring our cokes, sundaes, onion rings and French fries along with a plate of catsup (she painted a smiley face on the plate with the catsup!)

We asked her if we could take the rest of the food back to our cabin,  She explained they don't have carry-out containers
on-board but she'd be happy to wrap up our food for us.

She came out with two big bags of food!  We were stuffed so decided to put it all in the small refrigerator in our cabin.  All of the food was wrapped in wax paper (nicely, of course) -- including the salad.  And there was enough salad for both of us.

The huge salad came in a great big ball of wax paper but, as you can see, there's enough for two salads.  We're not complaining!

We thought we had our laugh for the day after visiting Johnny's but wait just a minute  We checked our Daily Compass (the schedule of events) and what do you know?  There's a LIQUOR BOX FOLDING CONTEST going on near the liquor store on the Promenade Deck!  Yes, some genius at the cruise line actually thought up a contest for the guests to fold liquor boxes -- this is a job we're sure the liquor store employees hate on the last night of the cruise....hundreds of boxes for the passengers to take their purchased liquor home with them and a mob of passengers were happily folding them.  

A couple of employees were laughing along with us....someone said on another ship they had a tee-shirt folding contest!  What people will do for a keychain or a baseball cap!  We would have joined in if a nice bottle of brandy was involved as a prize!

Time to get ready for tonight's Headliner Show -- the first show with singers and dancers (and the only singing/dancing show on this 2 week cruise!).  The show was called "Once Upon a Time" and it depicted several fairy tales.  The costumes were magnificent and there was even a mini cirque-de-soleil show with trapezes at the end!

A beautiful show, the singing and dancing were great and again, the costumes were fabulous.

Day 12 - Thursday - 11/2/17

Whew!  Yesterday was a busy day so we decided to wear the dreaded swimsuits and take in a little sun and rest on the pool deck.

With "the drink of the day", of course!  Then we got out our kindles and, yes, the words were a little blurry.

We caught the early show of this evening's Showtime Headliner...extremely talented and energetic violinist, Analiza Ching.  She performed with such fervor, it was difficult to catch a photo.

Nightime meant the 70's Dance Party in the Promenade....Dancin' in the Street....

Day 13 - Friday - 11/3/17

We're beginning to lose track of the days and are so happy to know the day of week because it's on the carpet of every elevator.  Thanks, Royal Caribbean!

This is the final day of the Chefs at Sea Contest so we were anxious to go back to Studio B.

After Master Chefs, we were hungry so we decided to have lunch in Leonardo's Dining Room.  The waiters sat us at a lovely table next to a window and we met a lovely couple from Jacksonville along with Susan and her sister from Australia.  The sisters are planning to arrive in Fort Lauderdale and sail on another Royal Caribbean ship -- the Allure of the Seas.  They are looking forward to buying clothing in the U.S. because of our polyester blends -- no ironing.  They can't find them in Australia.  We should have told them about all of the beautiful clothing we sometimes put on eBay....each of us has a name on eBay -- tigerlily1989 and the other is pegdick.  So, Susan, if you're reading our blog, let us know what you need and check us out on eBay -- we're happy to ship to Australia and have plenty of clothes and swimsuits for your next cruise in all sizes -- most brand new with tags!

After lunch we decided to sit outside on deck 4 -- there are lots of comfy lounge chairs and we wanted to take advantage of a another beautiful day....we just relaxed and read our kindles.

In an hour or so, we realized we were missing the passenger talent show so we walked just a few steps to the theater (one entrance is also on deck 4) and caught the last couple of acts.

We really liked the singer/songwriter with his guitar and were happy to hear he was holding a small seminar on songwriting the next day.  We'll be there!

Later on that evening we decided to try our luck (??) in the casino and had our first "win".

$250.00 for a $1.00 bet - we grabbed our money and ran!

Day 14 - Saturday - 11/4/17

Home in Florida tomorrow after our three week vacation.  We'll pack this afternoon to have our luggage ready for pick-up outside our door beginning at 7 PM tonight.  

 We headed to the seminar about Songwriting and thoroughly enjoyed the friendly, knowledgeable man who participated in the talent show yesterday.

We decided to grab our kindles and finish our nice nap time (and our books) outside on deck four.  The captain surprised everyone by pulling into Nassau, Bahamas for our first look at land in a week!

We didn't dock or get off the ship in Nassau but it was great to finally see "land" after 7 days at sea.

After dinner, we headed to the theater for the Las Vegas Tenor Show.  We found seats in the front row and it was a great show with three talented singers who sang songs from the Doobie Brothers to Josh Groban to Pavarotti.  Front row seats, this time!

It was very refreshing to attend their show -- unlike other headliner shows on-board, they said to feel free to take pictures, use the flash if we want to.....a group of nice guys who know how to market their talent.  They had just signed a contract to perform on lots more Royal Caribbean cruises in 2018.

After the show, we decided to go to the Piano Bar and catch the talented Paul O'Shea.  People had been raving about him during our entire cruise and, somehow, we didn't make it there yet.  Could we have been sleeping?  or just keeping too busy?  This, being our last night on Freedom of the Seas, we popped into the bar for some liquid refreshment and loved his music.

Paul played and sang lots of oldies and there were many couples on the dance floow.  This couple was up for every dance -- must have been to Arthur Murray right before the cruise!  They were terrific!

Day 15 - Sunday - 11/5/17 - Arrived in Fort Lauderdale

Freedom of the Seas docked in Fort Lauderdale around 5:30am while most of the passengers were still sleeping (including us).  As soon as we woke, we dressed for our short trip home and went up to Deck 11 to check out the port and have coffee.  Our plans were to meet our fellow passengers, Ken and Ginger from Port St. Lucie, FL in the Windjammer and share a shuttle home with them.

After a long, long wait in line for customs to check us through, we were finally in the shuttle van and on our way home to Palm City.

What a wonderful 3 week adventure -- and yes, we wouldn't hesitate to take a 2 week transatlantic cruise again.