Sunday, September 13, 2009

Farewell to the Jewel of The Seas

As we (okay, actually Kathy) start to pack, we’re thinking how much we’ve enjoyed this RCCL cruise. Yes, we’re still small-ship fans but there’s no question that there are plenty of activities on board.

We attended the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater in Portofino a few nights ago. The acting was over the top, which only added to the fun, the dinner itself was more than adequate, and the service was excellent. Starting with a glass of sparkling wine in an adjacent lounge, as we settled in for dinner the wine continued to be poured generously throughout the evening.

As far as our view of the dining in general, we signed up in advance to eat in one or other of the specialty restaurants almost every other night, as a hedge against possibly mediocre food in the main dining room. We found to our pleasant surprise that the food there was generally quite good. We chose the “My Time Dining” option which allows us to enter anytime, and we always snagged a table for two. The one exception to the generally good menu and food was the second formal night, with a somewhat strange menu. As another guest mentioned to us, “why did we bother to dress up?” Last night’s final formal night was much better, with Kathy choosing a quite decent Prime Rib and Brian selecting a “Thai-style” chicken dish, trading tastes halfway through.

Tonight, we eat our final dinner aboard in Chops, where we’ve enjoyed some excellent meals. By the way, it’s definitely a casual ship for dining, at least on this transatlantic cruise. Brian felt more than adequately dressed in a blue blazer and tie for the formal evenings. Men’s attire ranged from the very occasional dinner jacket (tux) to some frankly sloppy clothes better suited to Denny’s. Kathy was happy with a limited selection of formal outfits, since we were in different venues almost every evening.

We’ve been playing on a trivia team made up of a sociable mix of ages, from two honeymooners to at least one couple older than we. We’ve also managed to maintain our rank in the top 5 of 20 or so teams (2nd place yesterday!) throughout the progressive tournament. Do you know who Martha Canary was better known as? Brian knew… Calamity Jane.

Surprisingly few folks turned out for the progressive table tennis tournament that even joining in late Brian ended up winning second place overall (first place today) and Kathy coming in around fourth. There’s no way we’re that good on a ship with 2000 passengers, proving that there are many choices of activities aboard the Jewel. The athletes are probably taking turns on the Climbing Wall, the golf simulator, or any one of a number of other diversions.

We were almost flabbergasted by the three distinct coincidences that occurred. First, as mentioned earlier, we ran across former Hope teaching colleagues Vic and Stephanie Fast. Second, we ran into the Canadian “hotel manager,” Robert, repeatedly, and in chatting with him found out he’s lived in Harrison Hot Springs, as have we, and also that his mother lives in Chilliwack, where our older daughter and her family also live. Finally, the demon table tennis player who beat Brian lives in Birch Bay too, although not in “The Village.” Time for us to buy a lottery ticket?

We’re looking forward to a couple of days wandering around Boston, once we disembark, and then flying back home, which our next-door neighbor tells us has been experiencing great weather.

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