Happy New Year! Celebrating the new year on the ship was a new experience for me. After a long and tiring day in the Falkland Islands, we had to get dressed up in our formals for the night. We all met for cocktails before dinner, took lots of pictures, and then proceeded to dinner. Dinner itself was unimpressive (if that's even a word). Afterwards, we all went up to the disco to ring in the new year. I had been there a few times earlier in the trip (we all know how much of a night club fan I am) and there was always room to sit. Well, the place was practically standing room only. It was so hot in there it was overwhelming. I lasted about a half hour more before I had to crash.
Yesterday was a sea day and I woke up "early" for a reflexology massage. Afterwards, I participated in our group's annual slot tournament (no money reqd) and quickly was eliminated. The skies were gorgeous and the weather was starting to get warmer, so I then parked myself on a lounge chair upstairs w/ a bunch of folks from our group. I read, chatted, and slept for several hours up there. I then made it to bingo for the FIRST time this trip. I didn't win, of course. Tomorrow is the big jackpot, so I might try it one more time.
Folks went to the casino last night after dinner, but I turned in since the smoke was really bad in there. That is probably my main gripe on this trip (well, that and the food and dining room service). An entire side of the ship in the public areas is devoted to smoking. This is the same side that the mid-ship elevator lets you out so you end up walking through clouds of smoke all the time. This has been bugging me the whole trip. No one goes outside to smoke and since there are a lot of south and central americans on this trip, there are a lot of smokers! I must say that I much prefer Princess over Celebrity. The food was better on Princess and I'm not just talking about the dining room. The cruise staff does not provide port updates before the ports of call, nor does it provide you with maps of the area like other lines have done. The only time I have seen the cruise director (who has to be in his 60s, at least) is on TV and that is very random at best. The promenade deck, in my opinion does not exist. I much prefer the promenade decks on Princess where you could walk around the ship or sit out. There is no place to sit out on that deck. It's more just a place that is under the tenders. The rooms and balconies are also much smaller. I know this is just my opinion, but after having such wonderful experiences on Princess and even that one time on Royal Caribbean, I was disappointed.
However, as disappointed as I am with the ship, the group I am with is great. Folks are already talking about the upcoming trips that I will now have to start saving for!