Cruising Day 3: All at sea with Covid tests

Day 3 was our first sea day, as we sailed from Palma de Mallorca to Toulon in France, and we were very happy to have it. The itinerary for this trip had three sea days, which is not many on a 14 day cruise. We were still feeling pretty wiped out – despite the previous evening’s fun – and made the most of our day of no commitments by sleeping until midday, letting our bodies kick more virus butt, and deal with the Moderna booster vaccine.

We did actually wake up early to receive our room service breakfast which we ate, then promptly went back to sleep. The first photograph I have on my phone of this day was at 1:37pm, so we got a good rest!!

Our first port of call after some snacks at the Oceanview Cafe was the Celebrity Theatre, where ‘The Ultimate Boy Band’ was performing a matinee show. We’d enjoyed them so much when we caught the end of their show on Day 1 that we wanted to catch a full show, and fill in some time by doing something other than sleeping or eating.

They performed an homage to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (The Four Sea Sons … geddit?) and were just as good the second time around as they had been the first night.

The Four Sea Sons.

After that we stopped off for some gelato, which is where we realized my SeaPass card was wrong. AJ got her gelato for free, as her card showed her as a member of the Captain’s Club, but I had to pay for mine. I’m also a Captain’s Club member, so after eating our gelato we headed down to the Concierge Desk to get that fixed. They resolved the card quickly, but it looks like there is still something confused with my account online, so I still need to get that fixed – but at least on the ship I was now fully entitled to anything that came free with membership!

Pistachio Gelato

Next stop was to the Medical Bay, because AJ needed some more cough medicine. She always suffers from a persistent lingering cough after she’s been sick, and the cough medicine helps, so off we went. It turned into a longer trip than planned because of the SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) protocols that have been tweaked to deal with Covid. As AJ had a cough – a symptom of Covid – we were immediately masked up and given Covid tests as a precaution. We spent about 45 minutes in there, after which we were cleared – thankfully! – and allowed to purchase some cough medicine.

The medical bay lacks the flair of the rest of the ship, but is very well appointed

We were reassured to see the level of equipment throughout the medical bay – not that we intended to need it, but it was good to see how throughly prepared they were.

That evening we tried out the ‘San Marco’ restaurant for the first time. Each set of cabins has recommended times to attend the restaurant, for a better chance of everybody getting seated when they arrive, so we went down for 7:15pm (as recommended in the paperwork in our cabin) and were promptly seated amongst a number of other two-people tables. We shared pleasantries with those next to us – paranoid about our occasional coughing – and eyed the huge windows at the rear of the restaurant that looked directly out of the rear of the boat.

The food was really very good. AJ had the pate to start (and I was jealous as it was freakin’ delicious) whilst I had a very decent crab cake. We both had steaks for our mains and finished up sharing a creme brûlée. The portion sizes were healthy but not over-large, the food was cooked to perfection, and it tasted great. We also chose to try the wine – a red and a white – from the ‘Celebrity’ collection. Once poured it kept flowing, and being able to finish up and just walk away without paying a penny was weird, but a very nice experience all the same!

We finished up the night back at the Reflections Lounge – this time seated in front of the bar for a better view. The actual ‘main act’ was only on stage for about thirty minutes, after which an amazing Argentinian band came on stage, called Magnifica. They’d played the previous night – and would go on to play almost every subsequent night – and we absolutely loved them. All the musicians on stage were great, but the lead singer had the most killer voice. Throughout the cruise they’d go on to play all sorts of different genres, each time nailing it. The crowds gradually got bigger throughout the cruise as word spread, and we wish they’d been put on the main stage in the Celebrity Theatre!

The Reflections Lounge from the bar
Magnifica! Click through to YouTube to watch.

At the end of the night we returned to our cabin to find chocolates on the pillow (well, on the bed) alongside the itinerary for the next day. We were due to be in Toulon, but wanted to check out all the evening options as we were realizing that there was a lot more to this cruise than just the destinations!

Listed on the evening itinerary was a ‘Chef’s Table’ experience by Daniel Boulud, the renowned french chef. It wasn’t clear if he was actually going to be there, but it seemed somewhat plausible given that we were going to be in France the next day. I’ll say that when we had this discussion I’d had a couple of drinks. It turned out that Daniel would not be there.

I called down to the Concierge to see if we could get a seat at the table, and was told that the night was unfortunately booked, but that there would be another Chef’s Table later in the cruise – assuming they could get enough people together for it. I thanked the concierge and hung up. The next morning we received a call, and were told that one of the couples had pulled out of the event, and would we be interested in going that night?

We said yes, and I’m very very glad that we did. But more on that in the next post.

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