I just got out of our first session. It is about 1:00 PM and I am sitting at my perch in the Ellington’s Lounge topside. This is a sea day and the pool area below is in full swing. In the brief time I was there, they played “Staying Alive” and YMCA” We are fortunate enough to have a very nice day. There is a little haze but no clouds to speak of. The captain said that we drove right through the minor storm. He also said that we were going to see some big swells as we encounter the Atlantic. Eight to ten foot swells are in the forecast. It is hard to believe at this point because the Mariner sails very smoothly.
This ship is super sized. There are an amazing amount of venues interspersed from top to bottom. The interesting thing is the way that they move people around. There are bottleneck times and areas. This can be seen especially at Dinner. The dining room has three different levels. We are on the third one a few tables away from the window. The group is about 25 with 12 seminar attendees. They have two seatings only. There is no stagger so the area in front of all three dining rooms gets really congested. The solution is to resist the urge and show up about five minutes late. There are other places that are really crowded, but I am learning to avoid them at peak times.
On to the positive. The ship is really great. All of the public areas are very comfortable and during the day they are empty. There are so many things to do and see aboard the ship, that one could not expect to do it all in a week. The amount of incremental revenue capture is not obnoxious. There is plenty for sale, but it is not in your face. At least that is my opinion. Johnny Rockets has a $3.25 cover charge. I am told that it is mainly to control flow. The Promenade has quite a bit going on. There are several stores there. They include: Logo Wear, Duty Free Liquor, Jewelry and Caribbean type products. There are also some bars and kind of a food court that sells coffee, B&J Ice Cream etc. I think there is a small charge for those items. I don’t think that people really mind paying. I think RCCL has done a pretty good job balancing the all inclusive aspect with the additional revenue deal. Even at a land based resort or even a hotel, one needs to pay for specialty coffee etc. I think that it is up to us to prepare clients for some of these expenses. Of course, my account stands at $1.10. That was for two minutes of Internet time.
When I boarded, I took the elevator to my room. There was an occasion yesterday when I needed to get someplace in a hurry and I took the elevator. Otherwise it has been only stairs for me. There have been many so far but I will try to stick to my routine throughout the cruise. I have been watching what I eat and am trying not to consume too much or too often.
I will sign off now, I will report more later.