[[ The Social Feed – Day 3Wonder of the Seas Deck Plan

Like they say, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, but I don’t think that is in reference to the morning. For me however, it is 6 o’clock because we just sprung ahead over the weekend to daylight savings time and I fully intend to keep my body time on the current east coast time. No way this backfires, at least not today on a sea day. The concern will be later in the week when local time in Honduras is different from ship time and different from me time. This is the way.

To offset the increased caloric intake during a cruise, the goal is to take the stairs. At times, I will step into an elevator when I feel I can get someplace much quicker. At this time of the day, that is possible, every other time I tried, I stopped at almost every floor. This was not the case of inadvertent button pushing, this appears more to be a load management design of the elevators. From select areas on the ship, you can see half of the elevators, and it was obvious not all were in active status. The really point of showing the following photo is to show the touch panel where select decks are highlighted with a significant point of interest to help guests select the correct deck. Shout out to Emily who took the elevator only TWICE all cruise. She’s a stairway gal through and through.

While the Cafe Promenade was open, they were not yet serving specialty coffees. However, the free brewed (NOT FROM CONCENTRATE) Lavazza coffee was surprisingly good. Albeit lukewarm, it is the best tasting, complimentary, self-service coffee I’ve ever enjoyed on a cruise ship.

I settled into a quiet spot to sit and do some work while I waited for the espresso machine to catch up to my time. As time passed, my quiet spot was becoming noisy, so I moved. My initial plan was to sit at a table in Central Park, but on this morning the entire areas was undergoing a cleaning and crew members were still pressure washing which resulted in wet tables and chairs.

I continued by journey all the way up to the top deck where the sun was just starting to rise. I ended up walking into the Solarium on deck 15 forward where it was nice and quiet with one other passenger working on a laptop. I think I may have found my early morning spot. I also noticed these amazing signs on select lounge chairs around the pools.

Eventually, passenger activity picked up in the Solarium, so I headed out to grab an Americano from the coffee bar in Windjammer only to discover they are not open yet, so it was back to Cafe Promenade, which did not have a crazy line like yesterday morning. Caffeine in hand, I returned to the table on our stateroom balcony. Today, we did not have much planned aside from a brunch reservation. 

Central Park comes alive in the morning with the sounds of birds, a lovely touch, but after a prolonged period, my brain picked up on the repeated sounds and then the magic was gone. Walking around Central Park, you’d never notice, but sitting on the balcony for a long period of time, it was noticeably artificial. A slight adjustment to the background audio track to create more of a random ebb and flow would help create a more natural experience. Grant it, I am referring to my experience sitting on my patio at home (where I am currently typing) with the birds in the trees and at the bird feeder, I’ve have never been to the real Central Park in New York City. For all I know, this could be completely normal. Please, don’t get me wrong, I love the atmosphere and will happily take this over the music cascading down from the pool deck.

We met up at the Schooner Bar for Morning Trivia, which was packed as most passengers remained following the Sudoku challenge which was held earlier.

Who would have thought, morning sea day trivia was popular and the venue was not accommodating. We found the only seats left mostly because others were too respectful and would not sit at the Loyalty desk tucked in the corner. The loyalty ambassador was not scheduled until well after the trivia, so I did my best to share the operational hours to the three families that stopped by with questions during trivia. 

Kudos to Royal Caribbean’s trivia team, they include some tough questions, and even kept them updated. For example, there was a question about the Oscars which was held 2 days prior on the evening of our embarkation. Tough question for those who unplugged or didn’t find out who won the major categories by watching the limited news stations in the stateroom.

After trivia while we were walking around, Emily spotted an advertisement that caught us by surprise!

For $90 (plus 18% gratuity), she bought a 10 drink savings card which was sharable with friends and family. The drink card can be used across the ship for drinks up to $14. From what I understand, this is not always offered, especially so early on in the voyage. While we didn’t feel the drink package was worthwhile, this card was a no brainer.

We arrived at Spotlight Karaoke early to get seats as we were eager to play NextCruise Guest the Destination Trivia. This was such a great cross promotional trivia with NextCruise, which is the name of Royal’s onboard rebooking service.

Destination Trivial was all about destinations that the Royal Caribbean ships visit. Essentially, showing a picture of a port or significant point of interest near a port of call along with a clue. It was genius. Given Disney Cruise Line’s dialed back future cruise options onboard to just a placeholder booking, this seems like a great idea to spark new bookings for those seasonal deployments across the globe and new destinations currently bookable. In Disney speak, this is a great example of synergy.

I may not have mentioned this, but the NextCruise venue was fully staffed and there was always a flow of passengers stopping in to inquire, book or just pick up brochures. Yes, paper handouts and such about the destinations available so they could sit poolside and shop without a device.

Destination trivia could have been full on informercial for NextCruise, but it turned out to be a genuine trivia event that was a lot of fun. We did really well as a result of our travels with Disney Cruise Line. The only destinations we missed were those we have not visited, or confused with a similar looking port. For example, the images shown looking over a bay with a cruise ship anchored was Croatia, but it sure looked a lot like Villefranche.

The primary activity scheduled for today was brunch at The Mason Jar, a southern inspired restaurant and bar. I’ve told Art Smith multiple times at his restaurant, that he needs to collaborate with Disney Cruise Line, and open a Homecomin’ at sea. Talk about the ultimate indulgence at sea. Rise and shine brunch followed by a nice nap on deck 4! Where was I? Oh, The Mason Jar located on deck 15 aft near Windjammer and boasts unique offerings such as Low Country classics, Bayou staples, and some of the best BBQ you’ll find on a cruise ship.

The menu… well fun story, I cannot find a single picture of the menu in my library. Thankfully, the always dependable Derek Burgan had both the brunch and regular menu available to share!

The Mason Jar Brunch MenuThe Mason Jar Menu

Started off brunch with some cocktails to wet our whistles; the menu featured mostly whiskey cocktails with one moonshine offering. Beer and wine selections were also available. The Southern Belle was a refreshing bourbon cocktail, perfect for summer sipping. Emily loved this.

SOUTHERN BELLEBuffalo Trace Bourbon, fresh mint, lemon juice and blueberries topped with a splash of club soda

I’ve had a bottle of Screwball Peanut Butter Whiskey for a while now and haven’t given it much attention after an initial taste test. However, now I think I have an idea. I saw a peanut butter and jelly old fashioned on the menu and went for it. The PB&J Old Fashioned leaned to the sweeter side, but overall was a wonderful brunch cocktail. To top it off, there were two mini peanut butter and jelly sandwiches included as the garnish.

PB&J Old FashionedSkrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey mixed with Kentucky Bourbon, strawberry jelly and walnut bitters, garnished with a mini crustless PB&J

We started off with the shareable, Jalapeño Cornbread served with cajun, and whipped honey butter along with a side of pimento cheese which is normally served with saltines. Already, our server was going above and beyond hooking us up with the good stuff. This was absolutely devine.

JALAPEÑO CORNBREADserved with Cajun and whipped honey butter (also pictured: a bonus side of pimento cheese)

The 3 egg spinach omelet was elevated with the same pimento cheese as the starter, a side of nicely prepared breakfast potatoes was also included. Once again, our server hooked us up with the good stuff by adding on a biscuit.

SPINACH N’ PIMENTO CHEESE OMELETThree whipped eggs with peppered gooey cheese and sautéed spinach, seasoned breakfast potatoes and grilled tomato

Brunch for me is usually something from the lunch portion of the brunch menu and today was no different. I would not call myself a connoisseur of fried chicken sandwiches, but I do have my favorites from Homecomin’ and Splitsville which are an undeterminable #1 and #2 since they are both unique (Everglazed coming in at a close #3). Today’s offering from The Mason Jar was a worthy adversary, and could easily move into a solid third place. I opted for the Nashville hot because the hotter the better; but it was more along the lines of Nashville mild – flavor was good, but lacked the actual heat.

The Mason Jar – CRISPY CHICKEN SANDWICHButtermilk-brined and deep-fried until golden, served on Cajun buttered brioche with lettuce, tomato, spicy remoulade and crinkle-cut pickles Regular or make it Nashville hot!

The hidden gem on The Mason Jar menu are the Cajun Fries! WOW, just look at the seasoning on those fries in the picture below. No expenses spared in the seasoning department! Paired with the pimento cheese, and I was in sea day heaven.

Cajun Fries

The only thing that completely missed the mark was the sweet-tooth cinnamon roll. It was overcooked without a hint of a gooey center. Isabelle mentioned it also needed more cinnamon and pecans as the glaze mask over the seasoning.

SWEET-TOOTH CINNAMON ROLLGenerously glazed and rolled with chopped candied pecans and a healthy helpin’ of cinnamon

All things considered, our overall experience at The Mason Jar was amazing. Our server Alan was fantastic and a joy talking with during our brunch. We pre-booked this experience for 3 paying just over $60 including gratuity as part of a Royal Caribbean Black Friday promotion; this was a steal as it would have otherwise cost us $34.99/person. And, to note, we used the Drink Card that we purchased earlier for our drinks, which was awesome that it was accepted in the restaurant.

On the way out, I stopped at the bar to see if it is possible to causally walk in, sit down, and order some small bites with drinks. For example, can I get an order of the cajun fries with a side of pimento cheese? The bartender said no, and suggested I speak with the host to see about booking a reservation for another day. I later learned from Derek that there was/is a late night menu, but I couldn’t find any information on this in the Royal App. So, I made a note to try to check back later in the day.

Who needs elevators or stairs when there is a slide? After lunch, we were going to meet up with our friends who had lunch reservations elsewhere for another trivia session. This seemed like the perfect time to ride the Ultimate Abyss slide down to get to trivia starting at 1:15. The Ultimate Abyss is a dry slide that you sit inside a modern day potato sack made of heavy duty felt that starts on deck 16 aft and exits in the Boardwalk areas on deck 6 aft. The slide looks ominous from afar, as well as looking up from the Boardwalk area, but in reality, it was nothing of the sorts. Granted, it was a lot faster than walking down 10 decks worth of stairs. Frankly, gigantic cruise ships need more slides like this to make it easier to move around the ship.

Monuments of the World Trivia, Spotlight Karaoke at 1:15pm was our next stop. However when we arrived, the venue was overflowing. Hard pass. When will cruise lines accept that trivia, especially on sea days, is popular among guests of all ages, and schedule the sessions in accommodating venues? Smart people, figure it out.

Maybe this was destiny, as we then ventured into uncharted waters… Casino Royale. I’m not really the gambling type of person, and neither is Emily. Frankly, table games are intimidating, especially when the lowest bet Blackjack table was $15. Ideally, we should have stopped in for one of the introductory events on embarkation day, but one of the casino hosts was more than happy to explain the process to give them money. We started out in the non-smoking casino, but it was small and offered a limited amount of options. In the main casino, we found areas with exceptional ventilation and/or possibly just lucky with the time of day that it was not overly smokey as compared to when we walked through the casino on the Mardi Gras. We found a slot machine, and dove in, charging a whopping $20 to our stateroom account. I can see how this can easily become a slippery slope; the buy in process was too easy.

Time for the first bet at the slot machine… $150 winner! After one press of the button, we literally cashed out, and the went to Guest Services and handed $100 right back effectively covering the cost of the drink card purchase and saved the rest of the windfall to donate back to the casino another day.

I spent the rest of the afternoon on the Central Park balcony, the music from the pool deck had a lovely Caribbean steel drum band vibe at a reasonable volume!

As we sail further south, the temperatures started increasing giving me high hopes for water activities the next few days. Air temperature was around 80ºF with relative low humidity.

Tonight was formal night giving me an opportunity to break out the tux because cruising is essentially the only time I get to wear a tuxedo. For dinner, the main dining room was serving A Taste of France menu.

The main dining room food continues to be enjoyable; a very pleasant surprise given the additional dining options onboard. Our friend mentioned her escargot was extremely flavorful, but it was lacking on the main ingredient. I kinda wanted to take a chance and order it just for the slice of garlic bread and the dipping sauce. Besides, I recently rewatched Threes Company and wanted to embarrass the family by ordering like Mr Furley.

Baked French Onion SoupCrispy Buttermilk CalamariIceberg Wedge SaladEscargots à la Bourguignonne

Once again Vijay worked his magic securing a rare beef tenderloin for our friend. The Chicken Cordon Bleu was also lovely with layers of flavor between the proteins, not just an overpowering ham flavor.

Roasted Beef TenderloinSeafood LinguineChicken Cordon Bleu

It is nearly impossible for me to pass up a Crème Brûlée when offered on a dessert menu, but tonight, I should have opted for something else. For me, the best part is the lovely crack when smacked with a spoon. As a matter of fact, the crunch was absent with barely any caramelization. Vijay always brings extra desserts allowing us to each sample a few. The apple cobbler was delicious.

Service in the main dining room continues to be outstanding with an excellent pace to our meal.

After dinner, we had some time before our next planned activity, so we took this opportunity to visit the Rising Tide bar. We ordered drinks, and enjoyed the ride up to Central Park where we planned to walk around before our next activity.

Rol And RyeThyme For Gin

We were lost in conversation and rode the tide back down to the Royal Promenade. There was a departure schedule listed at the entrance of the bar moving about every 30 minutes. The bar takes roughly 7 minutes to move from one deck to the other so plan this accordingly if you are on a schedule.

Overall, the Rising Tide bar is a lobby bar, a place to grab a quick drink. I don’t see this as a destination or must do experience. I actually preferred the bar when it was on the Central Park level as it felt like you were sitting in a peaceful conservatory sunroom away from the hustle and bustle of the Royal Promenade.

It as back to the Music Hall for Name That Tune: Elton John Hits… Hits??? This trivia included some deep cuts well beyond the b-sides. We managed to get 10 out of the 16 questions which wasn’t terrible when grading on a curve as most of the room seemed to range from 10 to 12 correct. However, there was 1 couple who had a perfect sheet. Congratulations — that was impressive!

Screenshot

Our relaxing day at sea was coming to an end, and tomorrow were are heading ashore in Cozumel with plans to hang out at a beach resort.

I did take this opportunity to check in with Guests Services via the Royal App chat to inquire about the late night eats offering at The Mason Jar. The chat feature worked really well and I learned The Mason Jar would be offering late nite bites on days 5 and 6. I never (even on vacation) eat at night after dinner. However, here is a copy of The Mason Jar Lat Night Eats menu Derek also shared dating back a year to April 2023 (meaning pricing and offerings may be different).

I also tried to stream to the Stateroom TV, but it was not working for me. Keep in mind, I live mostly within the Apple eco-system and I have zero experience with Chromecast. Frankly, it was too late for me to figure this out, but it’s awesome there is an option to stream considering the cost of on demand content.

While it is 9PM ship time, for me it is 10:00PM, I’m going to rest up for my day out tomorrow in the Mexican sun.

Complete Trip Log Index

Day 1 – Port Canaveral, Florida
Day 2 – Perfect Day at Coco Cay
Day 3 – At Sea
Day 4 – Cozumel, Mexico
Day 5 – Roatan, Honduras
Day 6 – Costa Maya, Mexico
Day 7 – At Sea

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