First, details leftover from yesterday. (I said I'd talk about dinner and the cocktail party).
It turns out that the accomodations booked correspond to where you dine by default. There is a Lido restaurant, available to all passengers, and we can also eat en-suite anytime we like. However, the "Queens Grill" is specifically restricted to passengers of the highest lodging. I had the good judgment to change into my tuxedo before going to dinner after we disembarked. We were far-and-away the youngest table in the room, although the atmostphere wasn't stuffy or annoying.
Because only so many passengers can dine there, the Queens Grill is on the small size. There were fresh flowers at our table, linen napkins, crystal classes, plates with gold leaf (or I sure thought it was gold leaf). It was all in line with some of the nicest restaurants I've ever been to. But... between excitement and exhaustion (at least on my part), I didn't really even attempt to meet anyone new at this time. I was still full from my rare Anchorburger, so I just ordered the tomato soup with fresh basic, and a coke. Almost as nice as Jessica makes it!
My camera is acting up, actually, but there are pictures of the Queens Grill here
if you are interested.
The cocktail was quite relaxed. I even managed to say "hi" to a few people; I think on of the reviews of this ship said the makeup was about 1/3 American, 1/3 British, 1/3 From Elsewhere, which seems to be the case. I'm not altogether unsurprised, however, by the disproportionate number of New Yorkers here. My mission: There's someone from Michigan about this ship and I intend to find them
. The bar does not stock Old Overholt, but they do have Maker's Mark, and that worked until I got back to the suite where they had procured, to my delight, some fine Rye.
Now, as for today.
I'd think after having been so exhausted from the last few days of preparation, I would have slept in until noon. As it turns out I was so excited that I woke up again at about 3:30, (after maybe 2 hours of sleep) and couldn't get back to sleep. After 45 minutes of try, I decided to just get up and explore the ship.
It was kind of eerie. Most of the services were closed, of course, but I was surprised to find a fair number of people still up and about. I took the elevator up to the Sun Deck and worked my way down. There's a small cinema there but not a whole lot more. One floor down, the Boat Deck seems to be where a lot of the action was last night, although this late the Promenade was almost empty. It's also where the Queens Grill is located, some sports stuff, and the "board room." I went through the Grand Lounge on this deck and went down a floor to the Upper Deck, which probably had the most people up and about of any deck. There was the Grand Lounge, and two bars, the Crystal Bar and the Golden Lion Pub, which were doing a brusk-for-5 AM business. I really think the Casino was the reason the place was hopping. There's another bar, (I think) the Yacht Club which I could not find (although now, back in the suite and looking at the map, I don't see how I could have missed it), the Theatre, which was closed, and the Mauretania Restaurant, where the plebs eat.
Mwa ha ha!
Another floor down, the Quarter Deck, had more restaurants, the Caronia, the Princess Grill, the Britannia Grill. Further back is the Queens Room, a room with a large dance floor (but I didn't go in), a bookshop
And a library and "Club 2000," which I thought sounded awesome
until I realized it was geared toward teens. Blah. And the Lido Deck, which is easily the most chill outpost on the ship. I kind of wanted to check out the Chart Room, but I think it was closed and anyway, the sun was coming up on the Port Side, so I picked a seat in the Lido and ordered a cup of orange juice and an English muffin with butter. Keep it simple, right?
The sea went from purple to gray, but the sun was taking a long time coming up, so I continued my walk.
The next five decks were primarily staterooms, but there were shops and salons along the interior of the ship. The sixth and seventh deck were just the site of a spa and pool, but it was cool... you know... being in the bowels
of the ship. I was tired again, and by now it was well after six.
Now I'm up again and just finished brunch. Will be interesting, trying to stay away until an un-embarassing hour...
Probably won't post tomorrow. I'll be busy in what is evidently the "Venice of America."