Time for a new house

Time for a new house
Time for a new house

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Jan 23 First Day at Sea

Day 2 Blues Cruise (1) The Eurodam is a moderately sized ship, at 86,700 tons and carrying 2,104 passengers.  After being christened by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in July of 2008, she entered service as the 80th ship for Holland America. She has 11 passenger decks with a split 12th deck for sunning and watching morning sail-in’s.  Every day on the cruise has a theme, and today it was “Don’t Come as you Are”.  I had no clue what that meant, so donned a pair of shorts and a shirt for the moderately cool day ahead. 

On our first day at sea, we had a lazy morning and went upstairs to the Lido buffet for a delicious breakfast.  I often have oats and yogurt with fresh fruit on cruises, but this time I just relaxed and enjoyed the the made to order omelettes with my fruit.  The skies were no longer overcast but the air was cool and the seas were rough enough to keep the ship rolling around a bit.  Our cabin was in the very rear of the ship, on the 5th deck. It’s a spot I wouldn’t have chosen, but with this cruise you are lucky to even get a cabin at all if you aren’t a previous cruiser.  I had to jump through all sorts of hoops last year to try to get tickets for us.  The cruise is so popular it is usually sold out by the time the ship is back in port. Even though we were low in the ship, the rear location kept us rolling around a bit more than is usual.  Deb and I both wore wrist bands, and took ginger to help with seasickness, and Deb did just fine.  After that night rolling around, I gave in a put on a patch, but they make me feel so creepy I was really wishing I hadn’t.  I took it off after a couple of days and the wrist bands did their magic.  They even keep me from getting car sick in busses and back seats!

Day 2 Blues Cruise (6) free booze. unheard of on a cruise ship The parties started early in the day, with the “Virgin” party on the aft deck at 10 am and the “Veteran” party downstairs in the Queen’s Lounge at the same time.  We were entertained by one of my favorite bands on the cruise, “Big James and the Chicago Playboys”, and said “It’s five o’clock somewhere” when we were served our choice of unlimited glasses of champagne, bloody mary’s, and mimosa’s.  Free drinks on a cruise are not the normal way of doing things, and while I am not a particularly big drinker, I did enjoy the free mimosas. Even though we had breakfast in the morning, by 11 am the Legendary Gospel Brunch was in full swing down by the main stage, with honey dipped fried chicken, catfish, greens, mac and cheese, bbq wings, pecan pie and many more southern delights.  Maybe we could eat lunch a bit early?

not your everyday cruise ship bannersThe music was great, with the Holmes Brothers, Denise LaSalle, and Janiva Magness carrying on as if it were the middle of a Saturday night in Memphis. After all that food it seemed like a good idea to do some walking, so I checked out the 3rd deck, delighted to find that it made a complete circuit around the ship and only required 3 laps to get in a mile. I usually prefer doing my walking on the upper decks, but this ship doesn’t have a really good walking deck on top, so this would have to do.

pool deck in the morning.  Everyone is elsewhere on this cool sea day We explored the ship some more during the afternoon, checking out the Lido pool and the various bars.  I was a bit disappointed with the pool, it was terribly small for a ship this size, especially with the aft deck pool closed down for dancing, and there was no way to get to an upper deck from the pool deck without going back to the elevators and then back outside.  Because the roof slides open during the day and closes at night, we didn’t have the open decks above the pool to enjoy the sun and then run down the stairs for a cooling dip.  As a result, I noticed that the pool area was quite still, with no access to the fresh ocean breezes.  This was fine on a cool sea day, but when things warmed up enough to actually enjoy swimming, it wasn’t very pleasant.

Day 2 Blues Cruise (37) Day 2 Blues Cruise (31) After relaxing in the late afternoon with more music, we decided to try the reservations only “Cannaletto” Italian restaurant for dinner.  The meal was quite nice, as the restaurant is located in a quiet corner of the Lido deck.  There are two other specialty restaurants on the ship, but this is the only one that didn’t charge the extra $25 per person for dinner. With all the free food around, I find it hard to ante up that extra charge. The antipasto platter was especially good, although the surprise cotton candy dessert was a bit strange.  Cute, but strange.  It made us both laugh a lot.  We had some time to kill, so wandered around listening to various musicians in the various venues until my favorite, Joan Osborne, showed up on the Main Stage at 10:45.  My kids know it’s pretty useless to call me any time after 9 pm, so will be amazed at my stamina and ability to party into the wee hours of the morning.

Day 2 Blues Cruise (54) The main stage theater on the Eurodam is a bit subdued after the gorgeous Celebrity Solstice theater, and is even less pretty than those on the Princess ships.  The colors are dark and low key, and supposedly more sleek and modern.  Gimme glitz, I say.  Initially we sat down on the main floor to look up at the performers, but by the time the show started, fans were jamming the area in front of the stage and our front row seats were worthless.  We opted instead to climb up to the balcony where we had a great view.  Joan Osborne is a wonderful singer, but I was truly enthralled by the Holmes Brothers and their musical skills.  What a great bunch of old guys playing blues.  Wow!

Day 2 Blues Cruise (59) We ambled back to our stateroom, admiring all the decorated doors on the way.  It’s a “thing” on this cruise to decorate your door, and it is one of the many contest awards handed out at the end of the cruise.  Once in our cabin, Surprise!  We got towel animals with the turned down beds and little chocolates!!  I was glad for Deborah, since this was her first cruise, and many ships are no longer doing this silly special little touch.  We also received some of our Legendary Blues Cruise goodies, including a hot/cold cup, an insulated beach bag with the cruise logo, and last but not least, Legendary Blues Cruise logo condoms.  Ok.

Our stateroom steward was close to perfect.  He wasn’t visible much unless we needed him, yet every single time we left the cabin he was there cleaning up and refreshing everything.  His skill at towel animals was excellent as well. We had big bottles of water in the cabin, and the documentation said somewhere that they cost 3.39 a bottle, but I never saw a bottle charge on my bill, so I’m not sure if it was really complimentary, or if our steward just didn’t bother charging us. 

Yes, unless you were there, the photos are a bit boring, and won’t be otherwise until a couple more days when we actually get a port day.  In the mean time, you can still check them out here if you are so inclined.