More about Allure…which almost rhymes. Day three was another sea day and we had class from 9:00 to 12:00 and then we had lunch as a group in Giovanni’s Italian restaurant, one of Allure’s specialty places. (BTW: The pic above is St. Kitts from the ship. Looks pretty right? Not if you hate heat and humidity. More below.)
The class was fine but again, the conference room was so cold it gave Kathleen a migraine headache that was so bad she missed lunch and was in bed all afternoon. Entirely due to the frigid temps and the constantly blowing AC. Our instructor Nate asked to have it warmed up a bit and maintenance told them they had complied with his request but you would never know it. From now on I am bringing a small thermometer to conferences. She missed a great lunch and the best session of the classes we took.
We had two guest speakers that afternoon. First we got to meet a Royal Genie. If you are not familiar with the Royal Genie program, it is pretty much one-of-a-kind. It works like this: If you book certain VERY expensive suites onboard many of Royal’s ships (the big ones predominately) you get the services of a Royal Genie. Think of him or her as a super butler. In fact to become a Royal Genie you have to go to London to a butler school that is run by a former butler to the British Royal Family.
A Royal Genie’s job consists of contacting you about a month before your cruise to find out your likes and dislikes, whether you have any special requests and to generally make you feel ultra-special. They carry on a pretty detailed dialog with you via e-mail for the month prior to the cruise. In that time they might book shows for you or make reservations at specialty restaurants (in those suites, all specialty restaurants are included). Then when you arrive at the ship they meet you at your car and escort you through check-in and directly to your suite which is ALWAYS ready for you. After that, every wish you have (within reason but they can be pretty crazy) is taken care of. When it is time for you to go to dinner at your specialty restaurant, they come and escort you there. Same with shows. And if you don’t want to go out but want a meal from a specialty restaurant, then they can have it brought to your suite and they serve it for you. If you want a party for other guests on board, they take care of that as well. All at no additional charge. Of course a seven day cruise in a Royal Genie serviced suite will run you anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000, but hey, it’s worth it.
The Royal Genie that came in to speak to us was very interesting and described his job as well as telling us a bunch of stories (with no names of course) about crazy requests he had dealt with in his six years as a Genie. Hilarious and crazy stories you will have to ask me about later. Too many to tell here.
After our Royal Genie session we got to spend about 45 minutes with our Cruise Director Jimmy Rhodes, one of the funniest CDs I have ever had the chance to listen to. He has been an RCL cruise director for 17 years and was the first black cruise director on a major cruise line. He started with RCL as a dancer in their shows and moved his way on up. If you look up the word “Hoot” in the dictionary, you will see his picture.
He also told us some great stories and answered a bunch of questions about the ship. One of them was whether the water show would be performed that night. Allure (and all the other Ovation class ships) have a huge water show that takes place outdoors on the aft end of the ship. The day before it had been postponed due to rough seas and high winds. We were interested because many of us had reservations for that night’s show. He was quick to reply that they would probably postpone the shows for that night as well and they did end up doing that. We did get to see the show the next day at 5:30 pm and I can’t say enough good things about it. Our buddy Mike told us the shows were great on this class of ship and he has been right on so far (tonight we are going to another one and I will let you know if we go three for three). For this show, I got to take lots of pics and the light was pretty good, so you will be able to see what we saw. Suffice it to say, it was AMAZING. See the pics below.
The next morning we arrived on the island of St. Kitts. Kathleen and I had never been to this island before so we had booked a Royal Caribbean shore excursion to take a train ride around the island on a narrow gauge train that was set up for taking travelers to see the island. We were aware that we would have to take a bus from the ship to where we would join the train and one back as well. What we didn’t realize that we would be on a poorly air-conditioned bus for more than an hour to get to the train over some of the worst roads you have seen. On the train we were served water, rum punch, rum and cola, rum on the rocks, Pina coladas, rum and rum or just about anything with rum in it. Like a plastic cup. Just a note that we would NOT recommend this shore excursion to anyone. Hot and boring unless you like looking at grass, trees, ocean and the rest of your fellow travelers who are on board. The tour was also fully narrated but because of the age of the train and tracks, you couldn’t hear the narration. It was an extremely loud train trip.
A quick note here about the most overriding thing about this trip—the HEAT! And the humidity. Going outside of any air conditioned part of the ship is awful. And I fully take credit for that since we are total heat and humidity wimps. But that’s why we live in the Northwest. We hate heat and we hate humidity. More about this when I write about San Juan on Saturday.
Back on the ship we had a late lunch and I went to work out. Normally I work out in the morning but this cruise has really thrown off our schedules. We have late seating which means we eat dinner at 8:00 pm, then hang out until at least 11:00 to let our food digest and then go to sleep. That means that I am sleeping until 6:30 or 7:00 which doesn’t leave me enough time to work out, eat breakfast and make it to class or a shore excursion so I have been working out or walking later in the day. On Day 3 I walked five miles around the ship’s jogging/walking track in the later afternoon (and about died due to the heat and humidity) and on Day 4 (yesterday) I went to the gym around 3:30. Thankfully the AC was working better than it had been on Monday morning. I am somewhat worried what is going to happen to our schedules when we get home on Monday.
After the workout we were off to see the aforementioned water show that had been postponed. And as I said, it was excellent. After the show, dinner, then hang out and bed. Tomorrow (really today) is San Juan, Puerto Rico. More on Friday from the Nassau, Bahamas.
St. Kitts photos
Ocean Aria Aqua show photos
St. Kitts’ government is much more libertarian compared with the U.S. It’s not even close.—Roger Ver