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Old November 19th, 2007, 09:55 PM
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Nov. 19 Cont’d
I enjoyed sleeping in a bit this morning. We moved our clocks ahead one hour before going to bed last night to prepare to be at the same times as our upcoming. Eastern Caribbean ports of call. In essence we lost an hour, but not to worry, we get it back after the port visits.
I sat pool-side, by the big screen, enjoying breakfast, and watching CNN to start my day. Today the chair hogs were out early - dropping evidence of their presence on deck chairs, with a towel and a book, or a lonely sandal, trying to forbid anyone from using them. Honestly as the morning progressed I didn’t see any shortage of available loungers, so the entire exercise of the early birds was not necessary.
Getting back to breakfast… we normally just have breakfast from the buffets on Lido Deck, and I have to give their breakfast buffet full marks. There are made to order omelet stations, and all they typical breakfast meats, and cereals. What impressed me the most is the French Toast, Pancakes and Waffles. The French Toast, pancakes, and waffles are thick and moist, and prepared fresh enough that they don’t seem to suffer from the dreaded chaffing dish syndrome that is normally so typical at buffets.
Later in the morning Todd Wittmer, the Cruise Director, hosted a horse race, and he auctioned off the horses for the Owner’s Derby, coming up later during the cruise. There was considerable interest in bidding on the horses, with several going into the $300 range. I enjoyed Todd’s version of the “Horse Races? as he has the horses race all around the pool deck, rather than on a mat with 10 lines on it, as I’ve seen most cruise lines do. This method seemed to create more excitement and participation from those gathered by the pool.
This afternoon we had a CruiseMates get together, with everyone bringing along a little gift representative of their home areas. We had a wonderful time, and some truly fun gifts were exchanged. I’m not going to name names, but the funniest moment was when someone opened a gift and the person who brought the gift admitted that they couldn’t find the gift they had brought, so instead brought along two new pairs of socks they’d brought for themselves. I think the person who chose the gift was going to let them keep their socks.
While at the gift exchange I asked the others in the group about their dining assignments and service in the dining room. Each and every one of them said they were delighted with the dining room, and their service, so far. This shows that my experience the last two days was mostly anecdotal, and not the norm. And all those future Freedom cruisers who were beginning to panic can relax and take their next breath.
We, and the other table of cruisemates from 8 P.M. seating, all moved to our new dining tables tonight, and it was an absolute pleasure to feel like we were dining in a restaurant again. Two tables, next to each other again, right at the aft windows looking out off the stern, with excellent service staff. Our dining experience tonight was what we normally love about cruising; dining with great friends, in a delightful atmosphere, with excellent food and service; A full 180 degree change in the experience, and therefore in our moods as well. The new service team not only had the time to provide great and timely error free service, they also had time to chat a little, to get to know one another a bit. Just the way we like it!
We’ve already asked them if they are going to still be on the ship when we get back here in January (on the next CruisMates Group Cruise), and in April when we sail on Freedom yet again for the CruiseMates 3 Cs Transatlantic group cruise.
And as an added bonus tonight the temperature, at least in this area, was much better than “the washroom? as well. It doesn’t appear it’s going to be necessary to ruin Carnival’s nice duvets after all.
The previous occupants of these tables had moved because they found the motion on the stern difficult to deal with. Tonight we felt absolutely no motion throughout dinner. Of course we were docked at the pier in San Juan.
Speaking of the day in San Juan… The Freedom arrived in San Juan at 3:30 PM, an hour and a half ahead of schedule. This is a good thing because an evening stop in San Juan is not always an itinerary highlight. Unless you are going to take part in some of the San Juan night life, it’s a very limited stop because of the timing. And honestly the real beat of San Juan’s night life doesn’t truly begin until after the ship sails.
We’ve been to several times, and do enjoy strolling in Old San Juan, so Mrs. Kuki and I set off for a stroll. After a short time I felt the humidity rising, and suggested we start back for the ship because I suspected a rain storm coming. And come it did! We made it back to the ship before the rain started, but from the ship we saw many poor souls coming back soaked to the bones.
The ship was somewhat quiet tonight after dinner. Marc Anthony, who’s a terrific entertainer, was performing in the main theater tonight. However we’ve seen him numerous times before so neither Mrs. Kuki nor I went to the show. For repeat cruisers this gets to be a bit of a problem, seeing the same headliners over and over. Yes, it is a nice problem to have, cruising so much you’ve seen most of the acts.
While no doubt the younger crowds still enjoyed the show, and the ship’s lounges and bars, we decided to spend the balance of the evening quietly relaxing in the cabin; with good intentions to head up to check out the deck party which is beginning at 11:30 for sail-a-way from San Juan. But instead, when we got back to the cabin Mrs. Kuki put on her sexiest lingerie (ok, that’s just my imagination running off – on its own). She put on her comfy jammies and climbed into bed to watch some television, and I’m here writing to you guys. Sorry I couldn’t make this more exciting for all of you, but some days, even on a cruise, that’s the life we lead. ?
Speaking to Hotel Director, Duncan Puttock, earlier today I heard there were approximately 1000 minors on this sailing (pretty typical of holiday sailings), but as I told Duncan, from my experiences on previous holiday sailings, this bunch generally seems to be quite well behaved. We’ve seen minor incidents of all the buttons in the elevators being pushed, and the very odd kids running loudly in the hallway. But haven’t found them gathering on the stairways, or blocking many passageways, or creating other problems. Either Camp Carnival or the parents, or a combination of both, seem to be doing a pretty good job.
Tomorrow we wake up in St. Thomas… better known as the land of 187 Diamond International stores. What do you think my chances are of convincing Mrs. Kuki that we should go to the beach?
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Kuki
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