It happened. The thing you never want to have happen when you’re on vacation happened. Ian got sick. All night, a tickle in his throat kept him up and coughing. The throbbing headache from Jamaica turned into a full on stuffed nose sinus infection. To top it off, muscles I strained while attempting to climb the Arawak Water Park floats in Haiti had begun to ache ferociously. On a good note, what better day to be sick than a day when you have nowhere you need to be?
Our second full day of cruising began with us (trying) to sleep in until almost 10am, and opening the curtains to our balcony to see an ocean glinting from the late morning sun. With nothing specific planned for the day, and Ian not feeling the best, we flipped open our Cruise Compass to see what was happening. Downstairs at On Air, another round of Bingo was about to get underway at 10:30, so we got dressed and made our way down to grab some bingo cards and find seats in the packed bar. A non-alcoholic mango daiquiri made for a suitable breakfast smoothie substitute while we played, and helped us to wake up a bit more, and sooth Ian’s sore throat. We played three games, and though I got to the point where I was one square away again, we still didn’t win a round.
Now fully awake, we decided to take a trip up to Windjammer for some brunch, and were lucky enough to find the dining room fairly empty before the lunch rush. Ian seemed pretty miserable with his stuffed up, runny nose, and I managed to talk him into drinking a cup of mint tea to help clear his sinuses. Feeling a bit better after eating, Ian headed down to the casino, while I went out to the Boardwalk to stop by the World Wildlife Fund T-shirt Sale. I purchased a shirt and a stuffed turtle, with a portion of the proceeds going towards sea turtle conservation. About to turn around and head back to the room, I heard a loud round of cheering coming from the Aqua Theater, and stopped to check out what was happening.
As luck would have it, I was right in time to watch the Men’s International Bellyflop Competition. Eight men, of varying ages, heights, and weights were introduced by the commentator, and walked down the amphitheater steps to songs like Boombastic, by Shaggy, and I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred. Comparable to WWE entrances, it was very entertaining seeing each competitor strutting their stuff and “intimidating” the others. Each contestant was given one chance to flop, and the audience held up their hands to show a number between one and five, judging two factors, “surface contact” of belly on water, and the displacement of water (splash size). After round one, the five competitors with the highest average moved on to the final round, a leap off of an elevated platform dubbed “The Hurt Box”. Two of the competitors botched their second flops. One, by throwing out his arms to “catch his fall”, and the other by going in for a cannonball instead. Third place, a Royal Caribbean hat and bronze medal, went to a man with a respectable girth, tattooed pink by the water. Second place, a Royal Caribbean hat and silver medal, went to the dark horse competitor, a skinny Irish guy who couldn’t possible have weighed more than 120 pounds dripping wet. Originally blindingly white, he proudly showed off his bright red stomach and chest as his medal was put around his neck. Finally, first place, a Royal Caribbean hat, gold medal, bottle of champagne, and enormous trophy, was awarded to a gentleman from the east coast I had been rooting on from the moment he swaggered down the steps and did a little dance for his wife in the stands.
Stomach aching, and cheeks stinging from laughing so much, I walked the length of the ship to sit through another Shopping Seminar in Amber Theater. Though Jeff (the port shopping guru) did cover some new things, like Mexican Fire Opals and a few watch makers, it was roughly the same information I was given in the previous seminars. It would have felt like a waste, had they not given out a complimentary charm for the Diamonds International bracelet I picked up for free in Falmouth.
Ian and I had made plans to meet up for one final round of Bingo, so I began my search for him in the casino. After circling the Casino twice with no luck, I figured he must have gone up to the state room to relax, so I headed up to continue my search. Upon inspection, I could tell that our Ninja had been in to change the sheets, but I also noticed that the sheets were mussed, like Ian had been there already. With no Ian in sight, I left a note on the bed (a practice I think we will use more often on future cruises) telling him I would meet him in Amber Theater for Bingo, and headed back downstairs. The line for Bingo stretched out the doors, and almost into the Casino, because this was the piece de resistance, a chance to win a free cruise. Before I even made it through the doors, Ian met me in line with two more of our favorite mango daiquiris. Taking our seats on the upper balcony, it was fun checking out some of the guests who had dressed up early for formal night that night. The higher stakes had brought out far more people than previous games, and our odds weren’t looking good. Even after purchasing the largest bundle of Bingo cards, and getting a few for free because we had been to so many games already, we still did not win a game.
With Ian feeling worse as the night progressed, we decided to skip formal night, since we already dressed up for the first one, and just went back up to Windjammer for dinner. The formal dining rooms had a different menu every night, and some of the same foods from those menus would be served up at Windjammer. I was able to find my favorite type of bread (the sunflower and pumpkin seed), and the chilled soup for the evening (roasted peach with strawberry); but, for the rest of my meal, I chose roasted turkey and mashed potatoes. Dessert, being unlimited at the buffet, was always difficult to choose from, so Ian and I grabbed what felt like one of everything to share. Another cup of peppermint tea did Ian some good, but we decided we wanted to try hitting up the hot tub to get his body temperature up as well. So back down to the room to change into our swim suits we went.
It was really quite funny to walk through the ship dressed in our flip-flops and pool wear, while everyone else around us was dressed in their evening finest. Once up to the pool deck, there were only a few people milling around taking pictures, so we had the Solarium hot tub to ourselves. Despite it being exceptionally windy, the Solarium windows blocked out most of the noise, and we relaxed into the bubbling Jacuzzi. The jets and warm water helped to relax my aching muscles, and I was able to maneuver in a way that allowed a jet to massage a pain in my lat and ribcage. Tired out from a long day at sea, we pulled ourselves from the warm water, and dried off.
On our way back to the elevators, we looked out over the Boardwalk to check out a couple minutes of the late night outdoor movie, The Fate of the Furious. Never having the time to stop and watch a whole motion picture, we didn’t get a chance to sit through any of the onboard movies, but the Aqua Theater did look like an awesome place to kick back and relax. Next time we cruise on an Oasis class ship, we’ll be sure to make time for one of the featured films.
As we meandered back to our room, we passed through the Royal Promenade, and Ian picked up a bottle of NyQuil to help fight his cold, and we grabbed a few mosquito repelling bracelets for our next day in Cozumel. Finally in our home at sea, we showered off the chlorine, and stretched out in bed for the first time all day. Our next day’s Cruise Compass showed an early morning arrival in Mexico, and the meeting with our tour group was set for 7:45 in Amber Theater, so we ordered our room service breakfast and put the order form out on our state room door knob so it would be picked up by an attendant. Exhausted, we shut off the lights and slipped into an easy sleep, ready for a busy day in Mexico.