Reading through our notes, it looks like we woke up early and hung around the cabin until about 10. I can hardly believe the boys skipped breakfast two days in a row, but that’s what I have in the notes.
Anyway, we took Jack to AO, and they made sure we knew to pick him up by noon. On port days they take the kids to lunch and supper as needed, but at sea it costs something like $1/minute for every minute past the closing times at noon and 5pm. We went back to the room and had Max set two alarms so he wouldn’t forget to pick up Jack. Later we found he picked Jack up on time with no trouble.
After setting Max straight, we proceeded to the MDR for our galley tour and bottomless brunch. It was amazing to see how much space the galley for each floor takes up. I was surprised to see the galleys on different floors don’t have identical setups. I’m sure there’s a good reason, and probably the waiters work on only one level anyway.
On other ships I got the impression the drinks were coming from one of the ship’s public bars, but we got to see there are bars for each level of the MDR. They’re in cages, presumably to keep the alcohol from walking off, and they seemed to have everything needed to make my Old Fashioned and Elle’s amaretto sour every night.
After the tour, we moved on to the bottomless brunch. Waiters were walking around with trays of mimosas, and I had my share during the meal. The brunch was handled like an MDR meal: we picked a starter, main course and dessert right at the beginning. The difference today is that some items were breakfast-like and others were less so. Elle and I chose the same things down the line: cream of mushroom soup, yet another amazing 6oz filet mignon, and what was advertised as “éclair swan with chocolate mousse.” The swans greatly disappointed us because they came with vanilla sauce instead of chocolate mousse, but the rest of the meal was enjoyable. We had more great conversations with our neighbors.
As we left the brunch, I saw the MDR lunch below with a chocolate fountain. I tried to get Max to go there for his lunch, but all he wanted was the Windjammer and its endless supply of rolls and Freestyle Coke.
We got back to the room and saw that Max had picked up Jack on time. The boys were ready for lunch, and they went with Elle to the WJ while I went back to the Library to see the loyalty ambassador. I mentioned before that Elle was Gold status while I wasn’t, after the same number of RC cruises (1). I explained this to the loyalty ambassador, who was able to quickly verify that I indeed had been on the cruise with my wife. He couldn’t explain why my account hadn’t received the points, but they weren’t able to retroactively apply them for an 18-year-old cruise. He said it’s not a huge deal because I’ll be Gold by the end of this cruise, but you know I’ll be fuming 20 years from now when Elle makes Platinum one cruise before me. She better still be cruising with me by then! 😊
It seemed like we had enough time to zipline after lunch, but it turned out to take longer than expected. I already knew about the nothing in pockets rule, and Max had agreed to be our mule. The problem was the workers there came up with all kinds of rules not on the sign. For example, the sign said all riders must wear shoes OR socks, but they said Elle couldn’t ride because she wasn’t wearing socks under her shoes. To demonstrate how easily her shoes would come off without socks, this big guy stepped on her heel and made them come off. Naturally this got Elle a little mad, so she stepped right on his shoe too! Then they wanted her jewelry off. Then after he was suited up, they said Jack’s clear glasses were sunglasses and needed to be removed. They fussed at Elle about her skirt, which went below the knees and was held tightly closed by the harness.
All of this would have been less annoying if the rules they were enforcing matched what was posted, but their seemingly arbitrary rules caused a short, fun trip to turn into a big annoyance. If it weren’t for Jack’s enthusiasm we’d have given up, but we pressed on. All the commotion and the embarrassment of watching his parents gripe at the workers caused Max to be stressed out. Elle told him to go to the other side and “take pictures or not,” something that was supposed to lower his stress level. I assumed he would know we wanted pictures of our zipline experience, but Max took that to mean “sit down somewhere and play games on your phone.” Elle was far enough behind us that I could have grabbed the camera and taken a shot of her, but I couldn’t find Max. I swear this whole thing was like the Keystone Kops, and it took me about 50 times longer to type this than it took to ride the zipline. We might do it again if it’s offered on a cruise, but we’ll plan ahead for the annoyances.
By the time the zipline fiasco was over, we were nearly late for Cats. We managed to get decent seats even though we missed the 15-minute early time. I knew going into this Cats wasn’t going to interest the boys, and honestly, I wasn’t giving it much of a chance. The fact that I had half a gallon of mimosas at the brunch and a drink at the start of Cats probably didn’t help, either. Oh, and I also knocked Jack’s coke over onto Elle’s skirt, so she had that sensation to enjoy during the 3-hour show!
According to Elle, Cats on the ship was just about how she remembers Cats on Broadway from years ago. I felt like I had a hard time understanding what they were saying and singing a lot of the time. Elle already knew all the songs, so it probably sounded ok to her. More than once during the performance I found myself dreaming, and apparently I gave out a snore or two. Elle tried hard not to roll her eyes at me when I offered to take the boys out at intermission. I knew it was going to be a busy day because of the MDR dinner right after Cats and the rescheduled Oasis of Dreams show. See, I’m not just an uncultured swine. I was also slightly tipsy and leery of being busy ALL DAY on our last day here.
Max split as soon as Elle gave the word. I took Jack up to the room and recorded the video I posted earlier in the cabin description. I’m a little hazy on what else we did after that, but before we knew it the dinner bell was ringing. As predicted, Elle didn’t have time to go anywhere but the MDR after Cats. Max met Jack and me on the way, and the three of us had to wait only a few minutes before spotting Elle. We went in for our last MDR dinner and really enjoyed it. We were surprised the waiters didn’t give us envelopes like they had in the past. Our room steward gave us one on day 5 and then another on day 6 when he wanted to be sure we’d seen the first one. Anyway one of the supervisors scored a couple for me so that we could leave tips for Albert and Ida.
After dinner we went to the Aqua Theater. On the way I took some 360 pictures of the Promenade and the Boardwalk. They’re in this album, here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/aXs5NyT8GJjhzENv8
We arrived at the Aqua Theater earlier than the other time, and our seats were better. It was a nonstop display of people exhibiting amazing physical skills.
After the show, Max took off for his last night of teen activities while we let Jack play on the bus and boat toys on the Boardwalk. He saw MikeandCheese for one last ride on the carousel, and then we went to see our pictures from the week. Normally I’d fall all over myself to buy one or all the pictures, but I felt fine passing up all the photos this time. By now it was pushing 9, and we went back to the cabin to pack.
One of the advantages of living so small is we packed much lighter than we have in the past. We managed to fit clothing for 2 adults, one teen and one shrimp into the 28” Shanghai special and my work 22” roller bag. We also had enough room in the backpack we carried on and the RC backpack we won to carry off our last dirty clothes and toiletry bags. That meant we could give both suitcases to the porters and walk off with just two backpacks.
We finished packing by 9:40 and put our bags in the hallway. We did the last ship’s Sudoku page and then one or two more on our phones before dozing off. I think we both woke up when Max came in around midnight, but more likely it was Elle.