Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Travel Blogging III

At sea, off the north coast of Cuba: No matter how often I make this journey, I am always impressed by how many hours are required to steam past Castro's socialist paradise. We are sailing into a quartering headwind today so the weather log says the wind speed across the deck is 45 knots or nautical miles per hour. That is 31 knots of wind to which the ship's own speed adds another 14 knots of apparent wind since we aren't headed directly into the wind. On the other hand it is quite warm, about 86 degrees F.

The Allure of the Seas is one of the most elaborate "confections" afloat. There are three long open walking areas, the open-air Central Park, and the roofed-over Royal Promenade. Both feature sidewalk cafes with tables for dining al fresco. Toward aft there is the open-air Boardwalk where today I saw both the carousel and the cotton candy machine in operation. Boardwalk explicitly caters to children of all ages and their parents or grandparents. There are plenty of things to do.

On the other hand, the Allure feels "urban" with too many people everywhere you go. The experience is much like a day in a Disney theme park, fun but tiring. In so many ways it is the antithesis of "real" cruising which is relaxing and gently paced. Running this ship and her sister, the Oasis of the Seas, on week-long cruises is smart, a week is about all one would want of this experience.

Tomorrow we visit Labadee, Haiti, a peninsula that Royal Caribbean controls, or maybe owns. It is their version of the Bahamas cays owned by Carnival and Norwegian. I don't expect Labadee to be an authentic Haitian experience, of which I am glad. Real Haiti is grim, I hear.