The sailaway party was fun, had a fun feeling to it. I think if we were to do it again, we would be up on the higher deck, looking down on the action, though that might impact DS's dance floor. Or maybe I would be up there, enjoying myself in my way, while DH and DS could be in the thick of the action, enjoying themselves in their way. The main party is on the pool deck, of course, with the pools all covered up. but there is the spa sitting off to the side, and I saw people in there. Now THAT would be a nice way to sailaway. On the other hand, it seemed like a bunch of random people in there, and that takes away from the "ooh that's nice" feeling. Maybe the BEST way to do sailaway would be to have the BIG suites with the hot tubs on your own private balcony! Woo! And now let's laugh at the idea of us ever being able to do that. In a phrase I keep repeating because things just flew by, "soon enough" it was time to get ready for shows and dinner. My aunt and I had, separately, decided we did not feel like going to the shows. This worked out nicely, because it gave us a chance to hang out together, and to drink the wine I had brought for her. I helped the guys get ready for the shows (our dinner was after the shows so they were ready for dinner, too) and then they went off one way and I went the other. Mmm, wine... If you ever get to OR or WA, pick up some McMenamins Black Rabbit Red. Tasty stuff! We had good talks, though sometimes a bit melancholy (it's hard for us to keep away from the subject of my mom/her sister and how terribly we still miss her). While everyone else was at the show, Auntie and I checked out the open house at the kid's club. Open house is when adults can go in, even without kids. It was pretty cool! Really loud, even without tons of kids, but still seemed to be fun. This is the hand-washing station. You stick your hands in, and it washes them for you. Not sure how it works, since there's no chance in heck I could do that. I've watched Firestarter (and read the book) too many times to stick my hand in something like that. In between show and dinner, they turned down our room. (for early seating, I assume it's between dinner and show) The box contained two (two?) DVC member lanyards. I wanted to wear one, but they were scratchy. Drat. Then it was dinnertime! We had all decided that we would be on the same seating *schedule*, but not at the same table. That was a brilliant decision, as we would see the following morning when we tried to have breakfast together. The kids eat a LOT better when separated. But that first night it was hard, because all Eamon wanted to do was be with his cousins, and they weren't following the logic the grownups were explaining. Oh well. We were all at Animator's Palate. On the older ("classic" ships), this restaurant goes from black and white to color, including the staff outfits, as you dine. On the Dream and Fantasy, it's different. I'm sure others have taken great pictures, so I won't feel guilty that we didn't take any (though actually I would have sworn I did...hmm...maybe they are on Robert's camera, which he still has not remembered to hand over, LOL). There are neat things going on with the walls. It's like the Crush "show" at DCA (and Epcot, though I haven't been to the one at Epcot), where sea creatures talk with you, move around, and interact. We weren't at a table where we would be interacted with, but from where I sat I could see the sea creatures moving from one wall area to another, which was pretty neat. At the time we didn't feel like we were in a good spot, but gosh, we were rushed and a bit tired and really overwhelmed. It might have been a primo position; we just weren't aware of it at the time. Our server was Leslie from India (a traditional use of the name, for the record, as he was a man) and our assistant server was Ludovic from France. Leslie ended up being pretty great, but we adored Ludovic from the start. Eamon was starving the whole trip, and got a variety of items, some from the kid's menu, some from the grownup side. I think it was weirding out the server, but oh well. And I was weirding him out because I wasn't eating huge quantities of food. I just was not as hungry as I wanted to be. I had given myself permission to gain, this is seriously what I said repeatedly, up to 15 lbs and not feel bad about it. Now, I realized later this was a dangerous proposition, as I went on the trip with all BRAND NEW clothes in a brand new size down, so if I had gained 15 it would have caused wardrobe problems. But anyway, I came back .4 lb lighter. That's how little my appetite was for almost the entire trip. And the cruise was no different. So that first night I got the salad and the mushroom risotto. Salad was tiny. Risotto was delicious. Salty, but very tasty. And with risotto, it always looks like it's not going to be enough, but it usually is. He gave me basically a hidden mickey serving, 3 balls of risotto, and I think I got into the second one and had to give up. It was too filling. Robert got the black bean patty, which is generally held in disdain on the Cruise forum. When he tried JUST the patty, he agreed. When he swirled it all together with patty, salsa, sauce, etc, he said it was quite tasty. He did give suggestions, like they should use a touch of habanero instead of the chipotle. I was in the restaurant biz when chipotle really came into fashion, and it was used then as a way to add a little heat along with a really unique flavor. Alas, the chipotle, he said, didn't make sense in this dish. A tiny bit of habanero would, Robert says, really bring out the flavors while not adding its OWN distinct flavor (like the chipotle does), and with just a tiny bit it wouldn't be horribly hot. He and Eamon also tried the truffle pursiette thingies, which were like ravioli with cheese and truffle (oil?). E liked them, but didn't go that far out of his comfort zone after. At some point during the meal, family found us, and after dinner we all met up at their table and made our way out. But before that happened, while chatting with our server, he expressed concern that I hadn't eaten much. Since I had liked it, that wasn't the problem, but in that conversation I did ask if Indian food was at all possible. He seemed thrilled at the idea, and said he would get a low-spice curry going for me the following evening. How exciting! For the cruise, Robert was still injured and was going to bed early. I know that my peer-cousin (as opposed to cousin's children, who are my first cousins once removed, and are Eamon's second cousins) and her husband and I went wandering the *next* evening, but I think this first night we all had a relatively early bedtime. As always, I will update if I figure out that I was wrong about that. And hopefully I'll be able to find Robert's camera soon and see what gems he's got on there! I am most pleased to announce that more pictures were found, and the post including pictures from Animator's Palate, along with some more info, is found here for your reading pleasure. Enjoy.