TRAVEL HERE: EMBARKATION, LIFE BOAT DRILL & SAIL AWAY
Once we were aboard, the first thing we did was go to our room to drop off our stuff. It was fine. Plenty of storage, enough room not to trip over each other every moment and by some sort of miracle, more than enough hangers. That hangers part was most amazing. Then it was time to eat.
The Embarkation Buffet
Theoretically, this meal should be a showcase of all the good things to come. This buffet gave us a preview of what to expect in the upcoming cruise – we just didn’t want to accept that reality.
Travel is a learning experience and I never learned about the embarkation buffet until I took the cruise with my bestie back in 2015. She made sure we took advantage of the culinary offering and I was wowed. Can you say seafood and lots of it?
The Embarkation Buffet on Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas was just a mess. Yes, we rolled in there at the last minute, but it looked as if no one on the staff had even looked at it for a few hours. We wandered around and around and around looking but not finding anything that appealed to us. We were hungry, no meal since breakfast, but it looked like they had just taken all the leftovers from the previous cruise and slapped them out on the buffet tables. It was bad.
We picked up a few items that were the least bad of the bunch and tried to make a meal of it. It was about 2:30 and the buffet was supposed to be over at 2:45. Bill decided to go back for some bread and I went to check out the desserts. We were too late. Everything was gone. At 2:35 Bill asked a member of the crew, “What time is the buffet over?” The answer, “2:45.” Obviously, not exactly.
Life Boat Drill & Sail Away
Next up was the Life Boat Drill and that was fairly painless. Our SailPass Card had our location on it. There was fantastic signage and helpful crew all the way along. We stood on the deck a few minutes and then it was all over. We wandered the boat a little, getting our bearings and then it was time for the Sail Away.
Bill loves the Sail Away. Some of our favorite moments on cruises happen then. Like when we sailed away from Budapest or Kauai or Miami. This was not one of our favorites.
I’ve already mentioned how ugly Galveston’s port is and there is really nothing Royal Caribbean can do about that. They really couldn’t help the weather either. A little foggy and misty. Lots of wind. Sort of miserable actually, but we gave it a brave try.
However, they could do something about volume – as in the volume of the music. Everywhere we went on deck was LOUD! Someone needs to explain that louder is not better. A poor singer is only made worse when you turn up the volume. Bad weather does not disappear because you turn up the music. This tendency to blast away everyone’s eardrums was not limited to the Sail Away. It was one of my biggest complaints about the whole cruise. If there was a microphone and a speaker, whatever was being amplified was too loud.
Perhaps we could have stood the weather if the music hadn’t been so loud or we could have put up with the loud music if the weather had been better, but we couldn’t tolerate both.
And then there was my glasses. I was still traumatized from thinking I had lost my sunglasses in the embarkation madness. Standing on deck fighting the wind as Bill looked over the railing, I decided to take a look at the day’s schedule to find a better place to enjoy the Sail Away, but first I needed my glasses. I frantically started looking for them and soon I was telling Bill I had to go back to the room. He asked what for and I said I needed my glasses. As we stood there discussing it in less than pleasant tones, I realized my glasses were actually on my face. You’ll notice I realized it, instead of the person who was looking at me.
That little crisis over, we headed inside for a better vantage point and found the Park Cafe. I scored a Chocolate Chip Cookie and it was pretty good. Bill got a cup of coffee and it wasn’t so good. I had been trying to discover where one got one’s cup for the soda program since I got on board, but I wasn’t having much success. The cup was supposed to be in our cabin, but just as I had run into on a past cruise – it wasn’t. Finally, a female crew member, who was supposed to be selling the soda program, took pity on me and gave me one of the cups she had. Finally, a little Diet Dr Pepper!
We eventually gave up on the Sail Away and then went to talk about wi-fi privileges.