If you know me in person, you’ll know that I don’t know how to relax. I’m constantly making to-do lists and checking things off. On vacations, I generally research all sorts of activities to do ahead of time. While I don’t like the kind of trip where I’m constantly rushing to the next place, I find that I don’t have entire travel days where I do nothing at all. When you’re on a cruise ship, there generally aren’t ports to visit every single day. There could be several places to stop, but sometimes it takes time for the ship to sail from one port to the next. This cruise itinerary had four ports in total (Princess Cays, Sint Maarten, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk) leaving a couple of days where we wouldn’t be stopping at all. These days at sea truly forced me to relax and appreciate that I was on holiday. Whether you need to be forced or not, I think that everyone needs some peaceful times now and again where there are no expectations, no lists to check things off, and no plans at all. This was my day at sea aboard the Caribbean Princess – day 3 of our cruise.
The alarm went off on my phone in the morning at what was meant to be 9:00am. Yes, I still set my alarm on my relaxing day off. Truth be told, I could sleep straight through until noon if I didn’t set that alarm. I wanted to keep a regular schedule of waking up early as we would be doing that during all of our port days. Anyway, what was supposed to be 9:00am actually ended up being 8:00am. My phone decided to jump one hour ahead on its own to adjust for the time zone change, and the ship’s clock had already jumped an hour ahead the night before. As it turned out, Robyn’s alarm clock went off slightly earlier than mine, and her phone also jumped ahead an hour…so we were both operating on the wrong time for the first little while. I left her a note and decided to wander around the ship on my own until noon.
I spent the first little while wandering all around the decks of the Caribbean Princess, from the top to the bottom. At 8:00am, there really weren’t that many people outside, just a few die-hard sunbathers staking out their favorite loungers for the day. Now, let me tell you, it was extremely windy that day! I found out that there was a small three-hole mini golf course on one of the highest decks, though I could barely stand up there without feeling like I was going to blow away. I spent most of my time admiring the view of the ocean as our ship sailed through it. All I could see was the deep blue ocean stretching off to the horizon. The force of the ship combined with the wind created some pretty spectacular waves, splashing all around. My favorite spot on the entire ship was at the back of the boat on the Promenade Deck (deck 7). It was peaceful and silent, with only the sights and sounds of the wake endlessly trailing in our path, in varying shades of white, light blue, and turquoise.
As I made my way down to the lower decks, I stumbled upon a fruit carving demonstration in the Piazza. There were two galley artists carving through various fruits, including watermelon and even a pumpkin! They were creating all sorts of creatures out of the fruit as many guests admired from all three floors of the Piazza. It was amazing how quickly they worked.
I met up with Robyn at noon because we decided that it would be fun to attend the Festivals of the World: Mardi Gras Mask Making in the Piazza on deck 5. When we arrived, there were several long tables covered in plastic. There were piles of plastic masks, white glue, and different types of sparkles and sequins. The tables were filled with ladies (I don’t think I saw a guy there, unfortunately!) decorating their plastic masks. Sparkles and sequins were being passed around, and I think half of the sparkles ended up on my hands rather than on the masks. I felt bad for whoever had to clean up after we were done. We took the masks back to our cabin and put them in a safe place as to not get sparkles everywhere. You’ll just have to wait and see what our masks looked like as we ended up wearing them on the Mardi Gras festival night on board later in the cruise!
Next, we went to the Champagne Art Auction as we had enjoyed the art lectures and didn’t mind that free champagne was being passed around. The art auction was interesting for the first while, but it seemed to drag on for far too long. We ended up leaving early. The sun was beckoning me to go back outside. Robyn had decided that she would use her spa raffle prize on a massage. While she was getting her massage, I read outside in the sun. It was really windy, which I didn’t mind as it kept me from becoming overheated. However, it was a little bit too cold to swim in the pool that afternoon.
We had to go back to our cabin and get dressed up as it was the first Formal Night on the cruise! I should mention that on the formal nights, you must dress up in a suit or cocktail dress/gown to dine in the main dining rooms. However, if you don’t feel like bringing formal clothes with you, you are free to eat at the buffet on those occasions. We had fun getting all dressed up and it was a great opportunity to wear fancy clothes that we rarely get to wear.
There was a Champagne Waterfall in the Piazza that night where many, many glasses were arranged and champagne was poured over them. We were standing right behind the velvet rope where the champagne glasses were located. The cruise director introduced the event and he said that people could line up to help pour the champagne. Then, he said, “Beginning with these two ladies” meaning us! I guess we were at the front of the line without even knowing it. We stood on the raised platform and helped to pour the champagne bottle (in other words, we posed for a photograph and held the arm of the man who was pouring the champagne). Afterwards, we received another free glass of champagne and headed off to dinner. Apparently, the Captain was going to make a speech after the champagne had been poured, but we were ready to eat our meal.
To start, I ordered the Risotto Cakes with fava beans, sun-blushed tomatoes, and broccoli, prepared vegan. The cakes were light and flavorful, perfect as a starter. For the main course, I ordered a coconut vegetable curry with Basmati rice, which was already vegan. The coconut curry was presented in such an interesting manner: there was a huge papadum (a thin, crispy disc made from black gram bean flour) with rice in the middle, behind the vegetables in a curry sauce. It was spicy and delicious. We were also surprised with a blueberry mojito sorbet with candied lemon as an intermezzo.
And when I assumed that I could only order fruit for dessert, the head waiter, Joao informed me that one of the desserts could be made vegan for me! One of the servers was preparing a special dessert table-side: bananas soaked in a caramelized sauce. The sauce is caramelized sugar in orange juice with almond slivers. Typically, it was served with ice cream, but they simply omitted the ice cream and gave me extra bananas! It was really yummy, and very nice to enjoy a sweet treat.
After dinner, Robyn and I went to Club Fusion for the Marriage Match Game Show. This is one of my favorite game shows on cruises, and clearly, it was also everyone else’s favorite one, too! When we entered the lounge, there was not a free table or chair to be found. Thankfully, we found two seats at the back by the bar. When we sat down, we realized that a couple that we had chatted with the day before was sitting there, too! It was really nice to see some familiar faces. The show itself was hilarious. There were three sets of couples, and first, the men are asked questions about their relationships while the women were out of the room. When the women return, they had to try to guess the same answers as what the men had said. The questions were hilarious and designed to create tension or slightly embarrass the couple. But, hey, it was all in good fun! The cruise director, Paul, made the show even more funny with his witty comments.
As it turned out, I ended up doing some things during my day of relaxation. I guess I didn’t simply take it easy. However, I did enjoy some time outdoors, relaxing in the sunshine and reading my book (the Dalai Lama’s autobiography, in case you were wondering). I was glad that there were a variety of activities on the ship…or I could choose to do nothing at all. That’s the beauty of cruising – it truly is a holiday that you can enjoy any way that you’d like.