I’m trying to figure out how to cleverly continue to talk about our days at-sea. In all honesty not much as changed on our second half of the six days at-sea. Like the days before it we woke up, Jenn busied herself with trying to get the Royal Caribbean internet to first connect and then at some point load a website. I promise you I haven’t had this bad of internet since we first got AOL in the early 90’s. It’s dreadful.
I went to work out and got my normal morning cappuccino. We went to lunch a little after noon. I got my salad bar and Jenn had the Singapore Noodles (sort of like a stir-fry). We went from lunch and did a mile walk on the track up on the pool deck before going to find a spot to lay out on. We both read and enjoyed an afternoon in the sun. We made our way back to our cabin and enjoyed by far the most gorgeous sunset of our cruise.
We went to dinner at the Italian restaurant Giovanni’s. We had an eggplant parmesan and flat bread to start. Jenn also had a lentil soup. We then split the Pappardelle pasta with a creamy meat sauce This was easily the best pasta either of us had on the ship. It paired nicely with the couple of glasses of red wine we had with dinner. Why do meals always taste better with a good red wine? For our main entrée Jenn got the lamb again and I had their filet with French fries (great combo). Jenn skipped dessert and I had their Tiramisu.
After dinner we did another mile on the track on the pool level, played a game of ping pong before ending the night with a couple episodes of The Big Bang Theory.
For all intensive purposes today’s, the last real day left of our “cruise vacation”. Sure we have tomorrow which is a full day at-sea but much of it will be packing and getting prepared for our last bit of vacation in Dubai. So today we wanted to make sure we enjoyed as much of our last day at sea as possible. To do that we did exactly what we’ve been doing. Relax.
We woke up around 9AM today. I continued to plow through The Way of Kings, while Jenn (who had finished four books) decided to continue to fight against the internet aboard Royal Caribbean. We had our normal lunch after I worked out and got my cappuccino. Jenn got the lamb skewers (that she had earlier in the trip) which were my favorite lunch item she ordered, and I had the salad bar yet again. We left lunch to go do our walk on the top deck and then followed that up by laying out. When we got back from laying out we sat down for another game of Head and Foot. I came out victorious again, however this was easily the closest game we’ve ever had. I think we might be addicted to card games again.
Tonight was the last formal night. Jenn wore a gorgeous tan dress she got in Venice and I wore my suit again with a red tie. We had dinner at Chops Grille for our final formal night, and once again Jenn turned heads with every step we made throughout the ship. For dinner we went with our favorites from the trip. Jenn started with the mushroom soup, and I their Caesar salad. We did try the chef recommended crab cake which was really good. Jenn had the shrimp and potatoes while I had their filet with the béarnaise sauce. We ended up splitting our entrees each having half of the others. It was a great surf and turf combo. For dessert Jenn had a strawberry (vanilla was mad) ice cream and I had their chocolate lava cake. I also polished off our bottle of red wine from the previous night.
We left dinner feeling overly stuffed and did our longest walk on the top deck we’ve done. We came back to our room afterwards, full, relaxed, and sad that our cruise was coming to a close.
And we’ve made it. The end of our cruise journey is upon us. Today marks the last day of our 14-day voyage that began in Barcelona and will find us docking into Dubai tomorrow at 5AM. But before I get all reflective, lets talk about our last day at sea. Yesterday we did a little bit of a financial analysis on our cruise account. We received some on-board credit when we booked our cruise, a refund of our Israel tour, and some compensation for our missed cruisestop . All things had totaled to a positive balance (Royal owed us) of 80 dollars. How to spend 80 dollars on our last day?
Before we made that decision we threw away our normal daily routine and instead went for pure and utter laziness. We skipped working out, walking, going out to eat. Basically everything. Instead siding with lounging in our stateroom, sitting on our balcony, and not doing a whole lot. I did get my cappuccino this morning. Our boat docked right outside of Oman this morning to drop off some “equipment” but other then that the seas were calm and we made our way to Dubai.
We got room service for lunch. Jenn got a cup of soup and fries and I had a steak sandwich. It wasn’t great but it did the trick. At this point we had a decision to make. Do we wager the 80 bucks on Bingo or does Jenn go get her second massage of the cruise? It wasn’t really a decision, Jenn called down and went to get her hour long Swedish massage. While she was gone I managed to complete my 1000+ page fantasy epic, The Way of Kings which was a feat of itself. 14 days and 1000 pages. I’m pretty proud of that.
We spent the rest of the afternoon, enjoying our balcony, and watching random stuff on the TV. At around 5PM we got the suitcases out and began to pack up our stuff. We packed it all up in a half hour. Then we ordered room service for dinner (our burgers and fries) and called it a night.
And thus ends our 14-day cruise that began in Barcelona and will end tomorrow morning in Dubai. I was just telling Jenn that it feels like a lifetime ago we were scrounging enough money together to pay our taxi in Barcelona before boarding the Explorer of the Seas. 14 days later I feel relaxed, well rested, and beyond happy to have gone on this journey with Jenn. Would we have liked to have ported into Jerusalem? Yes. No doubt about it. But instead I got to spend more time with Jenn then I have since we were in college. Genuine time. We weren’t doing anything else. There wasn’t anywhere else to be. Or anything to distract us. We spent time together. We talked. We laughed. We walked a lot, and we slept a lot. We got dressed up, and we spent a ton of time lounging around. A lot of our time was spent reminiscing but even more of it was looking to the future. It’s probably the most relaxing two weeks I’ve ever had in my life. I know when I look back years down the road on the last 14-days I will inevitably be drawn to the first few moments we witnessed the beauty of Petra, or having lunch and shopping with Jenn in Crete. Or even the countless lunches and dinners we shared staring out over the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez canal, the Gulf of Aden, and the Indian Ocean. But the memory I will cling to when I look back on the last 14 days are the quiet moments, the ones that you can’t quantify, and that writing about won’t capture. So I will end with this. Its been an incredible journey. But its not over. Tomorrow we will disembark the ship, and with the Explorer of the Seas at our back we will finish our journey together in the desert of Dubai ready for whatever adventure awaits us.