Spain Transatlantic Cruise USA

15th - 27th October 2014

Itinerary: Southampton - Vigo - Fort Lauderdale

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As this was a transatlantic crossing with only one port day, what follows is more of a blog that a trip report. Most of the pictures are of the ship, rather than the ports.

15 October. Arrived at Southampton to a scene of utter chaos. It was just a scrum outside the entrance to the terminal building. It took me almost an hour to get inside, then another 20 minutes to get through security. After that was about 15 minutes to get processed and on board. Some people who arrived around the same time as me waited over 2½ hours to get inside the terminal building. Weather was cool and damp. I explored the ship and then was able to unpack and get myself sorted for the evening. After dinner, I saw the show and then hit a couple of bars. Apparently there are 40 Pinnacle members on board, that means that they have 700 points in the Crown and Anchor Society. Which means they've spent at least a year on a Royal Caribbean ship!

16 October. Woke up later than I expected, ate breakfast in Johnny Rockets and was joined by a couple of Canadians I'd met in the computer room yesterday. Read a book and then had a hot dog and a beer for lunch. Weather is still cool and the sea will be getting rougher tomorrow. Played mini golf and went on the zip line. Took part in the 'Where in the World am I' quiz and was rubbish! In the evening I ate at 150 Central Park and had a really nice meal, which was 50% off as they were doing a deal on formal nights. I was drinking in the Champagne Bar and chatted to a guy who it turned out I'd been talking to on Cruise Critic. He, his girlfriend and I are on the same bus in Vigo. We went to the nightclub and I finally got to bed at 3:30.

17 October. Had a bagel for breakfast in the Park Cafe and then to the Meet and Mingle, where I won a lightweight bag which I don't think will last very long! In the afternoon I organised the cabin crawl. There were 9 cabins and about 150 crawlers! We saw some suites which were amazing. As we we've been passing through Biscay, the seas have been fairy choppy

18 October. Vigo, Spain. Up early, met the tour group in the Champagne Bar and off the ship at 8:15. It was still dark and didn't get light until well after 9:00. Rode to an inlet (stopped at a small church overlooking the Atlantic on the way) and boarded a small boat for a short cruise to see the mussel grids. After seeing how they grow mussels, oysters and scallops and seeing the beds from underwater glass, we sailed towards land on the other side. On the way huge plates of steaming hot mussels and cold bottles of Albariño wine were delivered to the tables. Delicious! Then it was on to a winery, Fefiñanes, in Porta Vedra. We saw 120 year old vines and tried two of their three wines. After lunch we drove back to Vigo and went up to the highest point for a view of the surrounding area. Then we walked back to the dock, past O Castro de Vigo, where there are some Iron Age ruins. Jonathan, Sammi and I stopped and had a beer/wine before reboarding. We left Vigo at 20:00, but I never saw it as I was having dinner. Apparently about 6,000 people were on shore to see us leave. After dinner I went to the champagne bar and an American couple from Georgia (Bill and Wendy) and I drank off piste! The bar tender was mixing drinks not on the bar list. We had an Aztec martini (chilli chocolate, basically) a Moscow Mule made with fresh ginger and other stuff. I got invited to a cocktail party tomorrow in David and Rodney's Crown Loft Suite. Got to bed about 2:30.

19 October. Woke up about 10:15, I seem to be sleeping longer on board than I do at home, but the reason may be because I was up early yesterday and then went to bed late. I was having breakfast (coffee!!!), when one of the guys from the Champagne Bar gave me an invite to another party, this time in the nightclub. Still quite cool today, but at least I'm now in shorts. Came second in the afternoon trivia. These quizzes have some arcane rules, but whatever. Went to the party in Rodney and David's suite. They have a phenomenal view over the Boardwalk. Then it was off to see the ice show. After dinner Bill, Wendy and I went to the new Mexican restaurant for a jalapeño margarita. I couldn't feel my lips afterwards! Then went to Blaze, the nightclub, until closing time.

20 October. Up late, again. Junior, my steward, told me I should go back to sleep! As I've sprung for a balcony, I spent most of the morning on it. After lunch was the pub crawl/poker run. They were expecting over 100 people, in the end only 16 turned up. I didn't win. After dinner I was invited to the FOD party in Blaze. I thought it was starting at 22:00, but the doors were closed, so I went back to my cabin for the invite. It was 22:30! Had a great time and got to bed at 2:00, although the clocks had gone back an hour by then. The weather isn't as good as everyone was expecting, so many indoor spaces are crowded. As she normally sails the Caribbean, most people are usually on the outside decks. Because of a deep low south of the Azores, we're sailing north of the islands, so we're not getting the better weather yet.

21 October. Managed to get breakfast, but only just. Still quite cool and the Central Park floor was wet. Managed to finally discover the two gnomes hidden amongst the plants. After lunch I went to the Schooner Bar for the trivia. The first one was history and the team I was in won. Normally the prize is a key ring or some such. We won a baseball cap each, which was good as I'd left mine at home and I thought I was going to have to buy one. We then proceeded to win the 'Where in the World am I?' trivia. This time it really was a key ring. Formal night, so lobster tail and baked Alaska (and cheeseboard [blush]). Then just the champagne bar. Got to bed at 1:45, then saw the bedside phone and realised it was only 12:45!

22 October. Had breakfast in the main dining room for the first time. I was sat at a table with a couple who had checked in just before me, in Southampton. When we were waiting for our food, she asked me if I used to work at the OU? I said I did and it turned out she used to run the post room and he ran one of our warehouses. Spooky. Someone posted on Cruise Critic that some of the lifeboats on deck 5 had been damaged in the rough weather earlier in the cruise. I swear it wasn't that rough, and I hope it's not my lifeboat! Cruise Critic group held a 'Meet and Eat' at the Hot Dog Shack and then I strolled around the top decks. It was warmer but still quite damp. There was a really old guy with long grey hair and beard on one of the Flowriders. Jonathan and Sammi had invited me to Chops for dinner, where I had an excellent filet mignon. We then went to the Champagne Bar and then on to Dazzles as the nightclub was closed for the night. Didn't stay long and downstairs in the club, a lot of the kids seemed to be early teens. So much for the ship wide curfew!

23 October. Up early(ish) and had breakfast in Wipeout Cafe for the first time. It was warm enough to sit out, at last. I went up on to one of the top decks, but because it was so windy, I gave up and managed to find a place in the solarium, and there I stayed. I went to the bar for a drink, and the couple who were organising the scavenger hunt were sat there. I'd missed it and the scavengers were almost due back. It then threw it down, so after the results were announced and prizes awarded, the three of us decamped to the wine bar for tapas and wine. After dinner, I went to the comedy show and then Wendy, Bill and I went to the Jazz Club. When I got back to the room there was a message from Jonathan saying they'd missed me in the Champagne Bar, which wasn't surprising, as I hadn't been there!

24 October. Our last 25 hour day. Eggs Benedict for breakfast. Then laid out on deck 14 for the day. When I got back to the room Jonathan and Sammi dropped by. We decided to go to Sabor for margaritas and guacamole made table side. On the way we met Karen and Brenda and they joined us, too. We had to pass the carousel on the way to the lifts, so we rode it. After dinner, I had a booking for the aqua show. Unfortunately, it was cancelled because of the rough seas and was rebooked for Sunday. So after a chat with a few Cruise Critics on the Boardwalk, I went to the Champagne Bar, to meet the usual crowd. Discovered that David and Rodney got engaged a couple of days ago. It was the 70's party in the Royal Promenade. Always fun, but they were stingy with the flashing rings compared to the Serenade.

25 October. Warm but wet. We had another 'alpha alpha alpha' today, the second of the cruise. The first one was a lady who slipped and fell at the Aqua Theatre, hitting her head. She was carried off on a body board, apparently. Thee was also a call for blood donors yesterday. And, supposedly, there's a man under cabin arrest for trying to strangle another guy the other day. I was sitting on my balcony as the weather was still crap, heard my name being called and it was Jonathan and Sammi. They'd just had a free lunch in Giovannis. We sat on my balcony for a while then went up on top. It had stopped raining, but wasn't good enough to sit out. After dinner, we saw the first ever 'Cats' at sea. Unfortunately the orchestration isn't right yet, so we had a (very good) pianist. Lots of people left at the intermission. It was as boring as I remembered from London! Late night drinks in the champagne bar, where Rodney gave me my invite to their party tomorrow. J&S are invited, too.

26 October. Finally, hot weather. So sunbathed until about 15:00. Then went down and packed :( Jonathan, Sammi and I then went up to David and Rodney's suite for their party. Lots of people there and their neighbours opened their partitions, so we had four balconies to use. Saw the Flowrider competition and the Aqua Show, so didn't bother with my ticketed show at 22:30. Had farewell drinks at the champagne bar with most of the regulars. Was going to go to bed early, but actually got into bed at 12:45. Tomorrow I fly home and to the preparations for the biggie in January.

26 October. Fort Lauderdale, USA. Disembarkation day. Another nightmare. My departure time was supposed to be at 9:45 and my call number was 47. At 9:30 they were still disembarking call numbers 16 and 17. I sat in the Royal Promenade with Chiqui and Lino. I saw Jonathan and Sammi in the line up, so I queue jumped! It then took an age to get off the ship and forever to get through Immigration and Customs. Outside the terminal, there was very little information on where to go to pick up transport to Miami. I was supposed to go to a day room in a hotel near the airport. In the event, I didn't leave the port until 13:30, so decided to go straight to the airport. The flight home was OK, but I had a group of Dutch boys behind me, and they just chatted loudly all through the flight.

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Cabin number Bedroom Bathroom Balcony view Sculpture Solarium

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Boardwalk Boardwalk Helipad Central Park Lift well Central Park

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Statue Carousel Church Wall Atlantic Clouds

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Packing mussels Mussel beds Mussel boat Cleaning mussels Rope of mussels Oysters

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Scallops Winery Winery Oasis Iron Age ruins Reconstruction

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Reconstruction Vigo Car Wake Lifeboat Carvings

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Zip line Statues Oasis facts Shrek Gnomes Rising Tide

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Central Park Lifeboats Zip line Links Flowrider Balconies

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Flowrider Plant Rising Tide Rising Tide Towel animal Sammi & Jonathan

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Boardwalk Flowrider Sammi, Me, Jonathan

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