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Old November 14th, 2011, 04:03 PM
Jason Leppert
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This past evening was formal night aboard the ship, and with it, I chose to take in an early headline show and a later dinner in the main dining room. For a formal night, I was very surprised to find a fun variety show instead of the usual lavish production that is typically reserved for such evenings. Instead, a trio of Motown singers, dubbed Horizon, took to the stage backed by the shipís very talented orchestra. Itís difficult for me to place it. These singers, performing numbers from the likes of the Four Tops and the Temptations, were good, but they just lacked a certain vocal punch. I found myself more impressed with the band than the singers themselves. Even when they sang a cappella, their vocal profile as a trio just didnít strike me as very impressive. This was their first of two shows for the evening. So itís possible that they could have been saving their voices, but I doubt it. The group did play extremely well to the audience, however, and used a great deal of humor and interaction to get a rise from the crowd. In many ways, their comedy was more entertaining than their singing. When you exit the main show lounge to be more delighted by the great band playing in the Royal Promenade than the show you just saw, it definitely tells you something.

The formal dinner in the dining room was very good and remains consistent with my past culinary experiences aboard Royal Caribbean. While the food is not to the level of premium lines like Celebrity, the dishes were still satisfying. My lobster bisque was just a couple degrees cooler than I would have liked, but the flavor remained bold to the taste. The caesar salad consisted of sporadically cut lettuce drizzled with very little dressing. But the main course was excellently prepared. My medium-rare filet mignon was cut into two thick slices set atop a pile of rosemary mashed potatoes and finished off with a delicious gravy sauce. The meat was easy to cut and very pleasant to the tongue. The meal was concluded with a light and airy strawberry cheesecake that was a perfect send off.

Today we are docked at Cozumel, Mexico just down from a grouping of shops and restaurants including Senior Frogs. I have been tied off at this diminutive dock before aboard the since retired Celebrity Mercury Ė which had then appeared to dwarf the moorings. Suffice it to say, the Voyager of the Seas and the Jewel of the Seas just across from our ship overwhelm this dock on a far grander scale.

My tour today was Salsa, Salsa and Margaritas. The tour began by checking in pier side before being escorted to taxis which took us all of eight minutes away to a local hotel. Upon arrival, we were brought to a raised patio overlooking the colorful waters of the coast just below. There were a number of tables all outfitted with ingredients which we were invited to sit down at in pairs to learn how to make salsa and margaritas. This is a really fun tour. The double reference to salsa in the title refers not only to salsa making but also to salsa dancing. Our cooking and dancing session was emceed by two very energetic women who took us step by step through the process of making two margaritas and seven salsas.

In between sampling our creations with chips, quesadillas, and taquitos, our table captains (somehow, I was randomly chosen) and later those not currently dicing ingredients (again, somehow me) were instructed to salsa dance for the instruction benefit and general amusement of the remaining table-mates. Even having had a couple of margaritas, Iím not certain my dancing skills had improved, but I did enjoy my silly dance time nonetheless which is certainly the objective here.

Today was mostly an overcast day with a substantial amount of cloud cover making for a very humid climate. So spending time under cover with a nice cool breeze making salsas and margaritas, and yes, even dancing, was a nice change of pace from the usual fare of lounging in what was today a relatively nonexistent sun. We started by making margaritas, one traditional and the other a blended strawberry version. On an empty stomach at 9am in the morning, the margaritas were thankfully followed quickly with the salsas and snack foods. Our salsas included simple ones like pico de gallo to tomato red and tomatillo green. The green salsa acted as our base for what became our guacamole. That was easily the tastiest of our creations today, in my opinion, but that could very well be because Iím known for making a mean guacamole of my own back at home. We also learned how to make some fruit salsas and even a dessert salsa consisting of fruits and a sweet vanilla rum liqueur. Even those who chose not to drink any of the alcohol were equally included in the fun and welcomed to at least make the food and drinks, and those guests were also offered non-alcoholic drinks to enjoy with their salsas instead. This tour gets a solid A in my book. I would highly recommend it.

Tomorrow our ship will be in Grand Cayman where I will be going on a Stingray Swim excursion which should be a blast. Iím bringing my waterproof digital camera, so I should have plenty of great photos to share from that journey with all of you later on.

Last edited by Jason Leppert; November 14th, 2011 at 04:09 PM.
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