A lazy beautiful day, Meet and Greet, now the crowds appear

We’re sitting at the Solarium Bar on Deck 16, forward. The time is approximately 3:00 pm EST, the temperature is around 80 degrees F and there are the typical puffy tropical clouds and stiff breezes. We’re cruising off the north coast of Cuba heading to Labadee, Haiti, which is the private resort for RCI ships.

The Solarium is the “adults only area” or at least it’s for passengers over 16. I consider “adults” to be anyone older than 40, but that’s me! We slept in this morning on a very comfortable bed (cruise ships have now seemed to corner the market on finding comfortable mattresses), although I did ponder during the night how many beverages we had yesterday trying to scope out the bar situation. I think the two Ruby ports I had while riding up and down on the Rising Tide bar were probably not smart, but after some coffee and room service breakfast on our balcony we were both good to go. At 11:15 am we had our Cruise Critic “Meet and Mingle” event in the beautiful two-story Dazzle lounge aft of Central Park. There were about 30 people present (a very small Roll Call for a ship this size) and they had drawings for hats, wine and internet minutes. I won thirty minutes of free internet, but we already bought the unlimited plans yesterday so I traded with someone for a hat. We had fun talking with a nice family from North Carolina (he is a quadriplegic and has an amazing wheelchair that he can operate to go around independently). Another couple and their daughter and son-in-law were cruise fanatics and the older couple, from Santa Fe, has been on several nice Oceania cruises, with more planned.

We sat for a while at the Wipeout Cafe on the Sports Deck (deck 15) and had to have a hot dog, while enjoying a fantastic view of the Boardwalk and Aqua Theater, where the diving show is performed. You can also watch the idiots doing the 8-second zip line ride across the “canyon” and above the Boardwalk 10 decks below. Steve wants to do the zip line, which is free, but the wait for eager participants wraps around the Wipeout Bar at the back of the ship. Yesterday, the ship didn’t seem very crowded (except for the muster drill) and we wondered where all the people were. That question was answered resoundingly today - it looks like almost every deck chair and lounge is occupied on the gargantuan pool deck and I’m sure the lower decks are filled with folks wandering around. They’re showing NFL games on the big screens by the Aqua Theater and quite a few folks are watching those (no Broncos, alas).

Tonight we have reservations at Chops, the steakhouse on Central Park. More food!!! I’ll try to do an evening update and we do promise pictures, if we can ever get them downloaded. Tomorrow we have a private cabana at Labadee, which will be very nice.

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