Here we be, on the Legend of the Seas.
This section, Part Two, covers the cruise itself, which we loved.
We’ve cruised before, but have never have had so much fun. Several factors prevailed to make this happen.
The cruise director, the maître d’ of ship entertainment, was Topi Ylonen from Finland. He knew how to get things rockin’ and rollin’ at the many events and dance parties held on the boat. Whatever Royal Caribbean pays him isn’t enough. He was masterful.
We had buddies on the ship — Jack and Lisa Hanrahan. During the time onboard, we all did our own things, Kevin putted, I wrote in my journal, Lisa walked the deck and Jack excelled at Trivia. But every night we dined together.
And when we dined we were served by Dario, from Croatia and an assistant, Carolina, from Chile. They were attentive, always pleasant and fun. This picture says it all.
Carolina wore a wedding ring and admitted to me that her husband was on the ship. She wouldn’t tell me who he was, so I searched name tags all week. In a crew of 700, I never found anyone who seemed a likely candidate. The last night she said “don’t you know who it is yet?” and looked at Dario. Right under my nose. Of course. They were so playful together, I should have known.
Our 2nd level cabin was in the bow, so if we hit a ridge, we could kiss all our body parts goodbye. It had a nice big window.
Our very sweet cabin-keeper was Noel from the Philippines. These cruise ships have discovered a unique way to make hitting the cabin at bedtime fun…folded towels.
Everyone got the same folded work of art in their room, but I venture to guess, not everyone got a monkey like ours. Noel cleverly used the rotting banana I saved just in case I got hungry (!?)
First things first: we bought a 5-bottle wine package. THIS is where they make a ton of dough! Our 5 bottles ended up costing $26 each…far cry from our $4.99 fare from Trader Joe’s.
In our explorations on board the first day, we found the gym, various restaurants, entertainment venues, the casino and Tom the Pyper. He played the bagpipes as we pulled out of port. Seems it’s good luck and Tom, a passenger, had his pipes with him.
His location, the 9th deck right outside of the spa, caused problems that first day. Seems the people having massages didn’t care for the music. But when they learned he was there with the Captain’s blessing, there was nothing they could do.
We were some of his biggest fans on the ship. We never missed him. The last night, he showed up in his full regalia.
The very first morning, we sat with a lovely couple from Australia: Gaena and Dave George. Although we tried to finagle having dinner with them later, there was “no table-changing allowed”. So we never managed that. We did have breakfast together a couple times anyway. She works in a private school and he is a school teacher.
The first day, I spotted a fellow carrying a small guitar. He told me it was answer to a mid-life crisis. Although there were many people we never saw on board, he seemed to show up all the time. But he wasn’t a bad penny, he was just Jerry.
On May 11th, our first full day on board, we went to the fancier restaurant to celebrate both Mother’s Day and Kevin’s 64th birthday.
I read a ditty I wrote to the tune of When I’m 64 and gave him two Elizabeth George paperbacks. (She was the marquis author at the writers’ workshop we attended in Eugene, Oregon.)
I didn’t have wrapping paper, so made use of the decorative barf bag from the flight.
We went to the first of many putting contests. There was a sweet putt-putt course on the top deck.
This was located right next to the Climbing Wall, to which none of us ever gave a second thought.
We entered the putt putt competition every single time. Once we won with Jack and Lisa.
Another time with a sweet Danish couple.
But the big individual winner was always Kevin, as demonstrated by his Mark Spitz-ish medals.
Not to be outdone, I entered the Wii Golf competition. Got paired up with Sieki, from Japan, who had never even held a golf club. Didn’t matter…we had fun.
We loved being on the boat. Topi made the dance parties fun with his wonderful singing and dancing.
For the 70’s Disco Inferno Dance Party he was John Travolta-ish with an afro and white zoot suit.
That night, he was accompanied by the Legendary Macho Men
I danced up a storm.
Another night it was Topi and the Top Dogs. A 50’s & 60’s Rock n’ Roll Dance Party
And, just before St. Petersburg, Russia, we rocked at a White Russian Dance Party.
These two cuties entertained all with their swirling and kissing.
They held a Parade of Flags to celebrate the International crew. Seventy-seven countries were represented.
There was also passenger singing…as in Karoke. Lisa and Jack were brave taking on a difficult rendition of Somebody I Used To Know
From time to time, the staff also got into the act…of course, on command. But it made for great pandemonium and liveliness in the dining room.
Here are the shakers and movers on stage the last night. If the staff wasn’t having fun, they were good actors.
Day five we were supposed to travel overnight from St. Petersburg arriving in Helsinki at 9:00 or so. Kevin woke up and was surprised we were already in port, since we could see the dock.
Un uh, we were still in Russia. Yikes! All the talk and speculation at breakfast was we were being held hostage since the US-Russian relations were so tenuous. In fact, a Swedish cousin of mine was surprised we were even going to Russia.
But it was just bad weather. In fact, pilot boats had to sit on both sides of the ship to keep it from banging into the dock. We were oblivious, sleeping through the whole event.
The shows were amazing. We saw:
String Fever play electric violins.
The Russian Military Folkloric Ensemble from St. Petersburg, Russia
Other dancers and musicians performed throughout the week.
But our favorite was Soul Satisfaction who sang a mean Motown.
Once on stage, one of the players said, “We were waiting on the dock at Helsinki. Where were you?” They were supposed to board in Helsinki but ended up joining us in Stockholm.
There was a Cirque De Soleil-type show that performed in the 9-story Centrum. But I never watched them perform, having just heard the horror story of the eight aerialists who fell, while hanging by their hair. No thanks!
Here we are on “Formal Night”
…and look what else showed up! Usually, there were at least a couple ships in view. The beautiful Baltic is busy!!