We had a very relaxing day in the Solarium. It was the adults only pool area indoors but under a glass dome so you still got some warm sunshine but it wasn't as hot and it wasn't direct sun rays. The lounge chairs their had nice big cushions on them. We relaxed, read, ate lunch, and went on walks around the ship.
At 4pm we went to the bottom entrance of the Reflections dining room for a tour of the ship kitchen that our waiter had invited us to. This was not something published or announced so I believe the waiters were allowed to invite a certain number of people.
From what I could tell there were about 200 people there waiting and they took us back to the kitchen in groups of about 20 with a main chef as our guide.
We got to learn about the job of estimating enough supplies, coming up with the menus, preparing all the food, the industrial size appliances they had, and how fast some of this can be done.
|now that's a mixer!|
It is an extremely well organized process they execute each week under pressure and probably some chaos at times. They do a lot of cross training too. Something a project manager (and planner/organizer) like myself can really appreciate and enjoy hearing about... or maybe I'm just a nerd like that.
After that we got ready for our last dinner.
They had chocolate lava cake. finally. a little mound of heaven.
And then we went to the comedy show. It was actually quite funny and the routine was based around cruise stuff. The 10 stupidest real questions that the cruise director had ever been asked was especially hilarious (is there salt water or fresh water in the toilet? does this elevator go to the front or the back of the ship?). Great stuff.
We spent some time exploring the ship a little more and then it was time to pack up most of our stuff so we would be ready for debarkation in the morning.
On Feb 18th our flight wasn't until around 5pm so after getting off the ship we grabbed a taxi to Barrachina, a restaurant that also stores travellers luggage in a gated storage area. I heard all about this on cruisecritic from countless people that did it so we felt fine leaving our luggage there. It also has it on their website. They don't have prices for this but of course you tip. I think we gave them $20.
Then we walked to the first of two forts we would be seeing, Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morro). Along the way we saw many parks/squares and great architecture.
We bought a ticket at El Morro for $5 per person that was good for both forts. There was a decent walk from the road to the entrance.
This fort had many levels to walk around and great views.
Then we took a free trolley to get fairly close to the other fort. We probably could have walked but it was blazin out. We had lunch at a little restaurant with Puerto Rican food. They also had sandwiches and quesadillas and such. We didn't spend a ton of time deciding on a place because we were starving.
Then we spent time exploring Castillo de San Cristóbal (San Cristóbal Fort).
Then we leisurely made our way back to Barrachina's to get our luggage and catch a taxi to the airport.
We made it home with only a little bit of difficulty. Apparently they decided to change the plane for our flight and the new plane had a different layout of seats causing the need to move some people around however no one affected was told about this until they went to have their boarding pass scanned and were given a new one. No announcements were made and we were at the gate at least an hour before the flight. Eric and I were the last zone even though we were supposed to be on like row 12 (don't even get me started on how they do zones). We get our passes scanned and the scanner guy says "oh we had to move you". Then I had to inquire as to why we were being put in the last row of the plane and why none of this was announced ahead of time. Then he proceeds to give Eric and I both the same exact seat. So we realize that in the ramp area to get on the plane and have to trek back up so we can get a 2nd seat.
Honestly we have flown enough times that delays, cancellations, seat changes etc. are just a part of flying. Of course they suck but you just have to try to go with it or else it can ruin your day. What really irritated me in this case was the lack of communication. If you have to move our seats fine, but at least make an announcement to everyone or call up those affected to the desk or something! Thank you very much.
Any who... lots of turbulence (boy was I glad I still had that patch on) and one panic attack later (an older lady in front of us) and we were back in Charlotte after a wonderful week cruising around the Southern Caribbean! Cannot wait for the next big trip with our travel buddies!!