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Old March 28th, 2007, 09:29 AM
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Kuki Kuki is offline
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Brilliant Cruiser
March 27 - Day at Sea

I’d ended up coming back to our cabin quite late last night; the casino had been treating me reasonably well, so I’d stayed on to play and meet some of the staff. Oddly, at least as yet, I haven’t come across any casino staff I know from previous RCI cruises. It’s usually one department where I know someone from the other RCI ships I’ve sailed. But, even if there aren’t any old “friends? onboard, those I met last night seemed very pleasant, and friendly.

My routine for writing these Virtual Cruise Reports is to make notes (both mental and written) during the course of the day, then write the report late at night before retiring to bed. So, that will help explain some of the bad grammar, and demented sentence structure you’re going to encounter over the next 11 days.

Last night the satellite connection was simply not cooperating, and after several attempts to send in my report failed I gave up and went to sleep.

The program for replacing/upgrading the beds on the Brilliance is now complete. The new beds are much better than the old cot style beds that were replaced. Though fairly comfortable they don’t compare to some of the other lines Euro-top mattresses. Nor have they yet moved to using the higher quality linens and duvets that are becoming common place in the industry. The bed do have the curved edges at the foot of the mattress, which opens up more space in the cabin, but they are a bit of a challenge for those, like me, who are over 6 ft. tall; my legs just run out bed.

That said, after going to bed after 2 A.M. I was going to sleep in late, and enjoy the blank schedule I had for this first sea day. Just prior to 10 A.M. Ashley, the CD began a set of morning announcements. They didn’t come on the in cabin speakers, but were loud enough in the hallway to wake us. It was probably time to get out of bed anyway… at least Ashley thought it was. \

The look of despair in my face must have become obvious to Mrs. Kuki when it became clear I’d already missed the adult shuffleboard tournament, the Pathway to Yoga, and the Burn Fat Fast Seminar. In reality I was ever so slightly disappointed I’d missed the Gourmet Cooking demonstration in the Centrum.

As I was browsing the Cruise Compass, both yesterday and today, I noticed meetings posted for the First Time Cruiser’s Club. I don’t recall seeing this on previous cruises (though it could be my lack of observatory power, rather than something new). At any rate, I think it’s a wonderful idea to get first time cruisers together, and give them a bit of informative assistance as to what they can expect onboard. I’ll have to attend a session to see that that’s what it is, instead of a sales pitch of some sort (sorry for the skepticism).

Once we did get dressed and made it out to the pool deck, I was surprised by the apparent large number of children onboard. It is spring break in some areas of the country, and approaching Easter as well, but the “normal expectation? is longer cruises attract less children. With this being an 11 night cruise, the large numbers of kids onboard certainly seems to buck that trend.

The main pool on Lido Deck was occupied mostly be children, as were the two hot tubs. After a bit of time I did notice a staff member approach the hot tubs to check with the kids on the whereabouts of their parents; and several were asked to leave the hot tub.

On the subject of kids… there’s a notice in the Cruise Compass announcing that there’s a 1 A.M. curfew in place; “All guests under the age of 18 years must be clear of all public areas“. Considering this ship does not have a teen dedicated disco, and considering Royal Caribbean’s recent marketing campaigns are geared so heavily towards attracting families, I’m a bit surprised by the policy. For safety purposes I don’t think it’s a bad idea, just a surprising one. But now Mrs. Kuki and I have an excuse for being in bed early, other than being boring people; we can simply say we’re not old enough to be out by ourselves.

Another policy point, and one I’d never thought I’d encounter on a cruise ship; in the Cruise Compass, where it lists the evening’s showroom entertainment, it notes “Please refrain from using cell phones during the performances?. Could this possibly mean that soon we’re going to see passengers in the dining rooms with their cell phones lying on the tables waiting for that all important call?

How grand technology can be to allow me to report back to CruiseMates on a daily basis from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and how bad can it get that we can’t be away from our voice mail even in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

I’m a huge fan of the Radiance Class ships (Radiance, Brilliance, Jewel, Serenade). They are particularly beautiful ships, and large enough to allow most of the amenities we passengers expect on today’s cruise ships, yet not so large you get entirely lost in the crowd. There are a couple of what I consider to be design flaws on the Lido deck, most probably caused by trying to fit so much onto this deck. For a ship carrying as many passengers as this ship does the outdoor, central pool and sun lounger area is quite small. There’s a large area, on the stern, outside of the Windjammer for al fresco dining. However there’s none out by the pool. A prefect spot for these would be an overhang area in front of the Sky Bar on Deck 12, but this area is filled with loungers. No doubt people will think I’m being picky, and they are absolutely correct. I personally enjoy sitting out a table in the sunshine, with drinks or food in front of me, people watching. The one other thing I miss is a pool side grill. One of the stations inside the Windjammer Café is a grill area, but both days I’ve gone by the hamburgers and hot dogs have been sitting in warming trays looking dried out, as opposed to being reasonably freshly made.

Of note, is something I haven’t seen before. In the dining room at lunch they are offering lunch they’ve dubbed Brasserie 30, promising a sit down lunch in 30 minutes. We didn’t try it yet, but I’m going to have to make a point of trying it for lunch one day.

As we were having lunch today outdoors on the stern, aft of the Windjammer we noticed our assistant waiter, Rolando, from the dining room, working the area. We had a moment to chat and learned that last night was his first shift working the dining room. He had just been promoted to ass‘t waiter, having previously been training by working in the SeaView Café, on Deck 12. It was a bit obvious last night that he was nervous, so I suspected he was relatively new, but he’s a nice fellow and very enthusiastic, so with time I’m sure he’ll be just fine at his job. By Day 2, tonight, he was already much more relaxed, and doing a better job.

This evening was Formal night in the dining room, and a nice variety of offerings on the menu to chose from. I’m enjoying the reasonably sized portions of the meals on the ship. After 5 days eating in U.S. restaurants where portions always seem gigantic, it’s rather nice to not be intimidated by the amount of food on my plate (even if you can eat 16 times in one day on the ship).

I didn’t make tonight’s headliner act in the act in the showroom, Renato Pagliari, “International Singing Star?, but Mrs. Kuki did go, and she didn’t know he was either. The two of us did meet up afterwards to attend Phil Tags midnight adult comedy show. We enjoyed the act, and enjoyed it even more because he was able to be funny without ever having to rely on the “F word?.

Tomorrow is our first port of call, RCI’s private stop at Labadee, Haiti. The forecast is for a high of 90 degrees, so we’ll be doing a bit of baking on the beach.

Note : I had intended on posting lots of pictures as well along with the daily reports, but to this point the Internet connection is simply not allowing that to be possible. I began a gallery to load them to, but gave up after the first picture I tried to upload failed after a 20 minute wait. I will add pictures as soon as it becomes possible.
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