Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Escaping Insanity: A Cruising Trip Report. Day 5: Tortola! - Spending our 20th Anniversary in a Bath(s) in Another Country, Part 3

Need to catch up?  The previous installment can be found HERE!

Eventually, we headed back inside.  Sheri felt a nap coming along.  I was still feeling great; besides, Eric was snoring on the bed where I usually lay, so I grabbed the camera and headed out to get some more pictures of the ship.  678 Ocean Place was my destination for pics.  I spent around an hour gathering pictures before heading back to the stateroom.  Sheri had a little nap under her belt and was reading a little bit on the deck.  The boys were still completely zonked.  We talked for a little bit, while I grabbed some more deck pictures as we passed the islands as we started on our way back west towards the U.S.  I know that there are a lot of pictures in here; please allow me this indulgence as I am writing this just a couple of days after Hurricane Irma went through the Caribbean, and much of the scenery will never be the same.  To avoid killing everyone's data, I'll send you to the folder that contains the pictures taken.  Please head to This link to view the pictures from around the ship.  They are, for the most part, chronological, so, once you get past the pictures from the Baths, you'll know you are close.

Around 4:15, we headed back inside from our balcony, to this sight.

Well…they weren’t waking up anytime soon…we decided that it was a good time to check out the Skyline Bar!!!

We bellied up to the bar and asked for a menu.  I honestly am not 100% sure what we ordered for the first round – I want to say I got a Bahama Mama, but I can’t be certain.

While there, we talked a bit with the bartender, but, as Skyline was a little busier, we tried not to distract him much.  Quite a few people came and went, tossing some money into the video poker machines embedded within the bar.  One gentleman sat down next to me, and the three of us struck up a conversation as he played.  He was from Minnesota, and he was on there courtesy of a Casinos at Sea offer.

Round 2!

We were hesitant to order this next round, but we were both looking forward to having a Caipirinha.  We learned about this drink at what Sheri and I consider “our” Skyline Bar…the one on the Disney Dream.  It’s impossible not to compare them.  Since the one on the Dream was the first one we visited, I think we’ll always rank that as our favorite bar on a ship.  The one we on the Escape is good…don’t get me wrong on that.  We’re just bigger fans of the other one.  Regardless, we did order one, and the bartender didn't seem too upset that we asked for a drink that involved muddling.

Sheri finished her drink first and decided to head back to the stateroom to prepare for supper; tonight was our anniversary dinner at Cagney’s.  She headed out, while I stayed back for a few more minutes to finish my drink and talk a bit longer with our new friend playing poker next to me.

The boys had awakened from the dead by the time Sheri had returned to the room, and they were already prepared for dinner.  Sheri and I were ready a few minutes later, and, knowing that we were cutting it just a bit close on dinner and our after-dinner entertainment, For The Record: The Brat Pack, we decided to head down to Cagney’s about 15 minutes before our reservation.  We were seated immediately, though the restaurant looked pretty packed.  Our servers were really enthusiastic as they greeted us, and, as I handed them the voucher for the anniversary cake, our main server asked if we were planning on something immediately afterward, like a show.

I mentioned that we had reservations for The Brat Pack, and she said they’d accommodate us to make sure we’d make it in time.

That, folks, is amazing service!!

One of the great things about cruising and dining is the opportunity to try out new items.  I decided to try Oysters Rockefeller for the first time.  Hey…it’s our anniversary…we have oysters…it’s foolproof!

Yeah, none of us really liked ‘em.

Crab cakes and shrimp cocktail were also ordered for appetizers:

The soup/salad course was up next, and there was a combination of the lobster bisque and blue cheese wedges – we were too busy enjoying the food to be bothered with taking pictures!

Now…the main course.  I had the smaller prime rib, while the others got strips and ribeyes (maybe one was a small porterhouse?).

Meat sweats were starting to appear…but we weren’t done!  Oh no – we also had a mountain of sides!  Baked potatoes, asparagus, au gratin potatoes, mushrooms, and more!

The timing of the service was about perfect!  We still had time for dessert (though we didn’t have room for it!) without having to rush to make it to For The Record.  The boys were struggling to decide on what dessert to have; although Sheri and I were going to share the anniversary cake (we had no idea how big it would be, but we were both stuffed), I helped the boys out by ordering an additional dessert (without telling them that they could order multiple desserts themselves).

The desserts came, and I noticed a handful of servers surrounding our table.

Uh oh…Sheri’s not big on being the center of attention – that’s why I take the lead…to deflect the attention away from her (at least that’s what I keep telling myself).  Our server led the staff in an acapella version of Let Me Call You Sweetheart.  Of course, the entire section was watching, and Sheri squirmed a little.  As they approached the last stanza, the server told me to finish it…

…of course, I messed up the lyrics a bit, though, like a true professional, I covered it so that nobody would notice.  It was supposed to be “I’m in love with you”, and I changed it to “ ‘Cause I love you.”
The servers got a round of applause for their rendition of the song (Shh…don’t tell Sheri that a couple of them applauded for us), and several tables asked how many years we had been married.

We split the anniversary cake 50/50…well…it was intended to be 50/50, but Sheri was so full from the meal that she had a total of 3-4 bites and pushed the rest of it to me.  I took a deep breath, unbuckled my belt, and mumbled that “sacrifices must be made” as I worked on finishing the rest of her cake.

Past reviews of Cagney’s have indicated that sometimes the staff seems to have too many tables going or that they try to rush you through the meal.  Granted, we were on a time crunch, but we felt like the staff was absolutely awesome, and we showed our appreciation with the gratuity.  Oysters aside, the food was great and the service was excellent!

View from our table at Cagney's

We were all falling in love with this ship, and I mentioned that I was going to sing Let Me Call You Sweetheart to the ship…Sheri didn’t think it was nearly as funny as I thought.

We asked the boys to head to the Theater to snag a few seats for us for the show.  They headed off, and we talked for a couple of minutes before making our way to the forward area of the ship.  She peeled off to freshen up while I searched for the boys.  They were a bit farther back than I was hoping for, but, since I didn’t ask them to shoot for a closer view, I couldn’t be upset.  A few minutes later, Sheri texted us from the NCL app trying to find us, and we all started waving when she looked our way.

We had about 15 minutes or so before the show started, so I tried to explain to the boys a bit about what the Brat Pack was and who John Hughes was.  I had previewed a number of videos from the show, since they suggested that the show was appropriate for ages 14 and up.  Considering Aaron was already 14 and that Eric was already cracking “that’s what she said” jokes, we thought that the boys would be fine.

I won’t spoil anything…all I will say about the show is that it was AMAZING!!!!!!    The plot isn’t the greatest, but the acting…the singing…the music…the raw emotion that sent all of the adults in the audience back to our teenage angst years…wow…just…WOW!  There were some absolutely hilarious moments, and there were moments where you found yourself fighting back tears.  The reprise for In Your Eyes from one of my favorite movies of my teenage years (Say Anything) saw a bit of dust appear in my eyes.  Mind-blowingly good – that’s all I’ll say.  I had reservations for the show for the next night in case we couldn’t make it to the show this night, and I seriously considered going back to watch it again.  It’s not for everyone, but, for those who were teens in the ‘80s, it will cause a flood of nostalgia to hit you like a ton of bricks.

After the show, we walked through the atrium to see what was going on.  Groove Addiction was in full swing, but we were starting to all feel a little wiped out from all that we did today.  We packed a lot into our little celebration.  Orly Penate wasn’t playing until 11, and I knew that Sheri wasn’t going to make it that long.  We went back to our stateroom and changed clothes.  The other three were ready to hit the hay, but I had a little more research to do in Spice H2O.  The 70’s and 80’s Dance Parties were scheduled that evening.  I grabbed the GoPro and headed out around 10:15 to catch the end of the 70’s party.  I had about 20 minutes of footage, but I wasn’t sure about the copyright issues of the videos that appear in the recording; because of that, I decided not to post anything from the dance parties.  The 70’s party was good – lots of music, and a decent amount of participation.  The 80’s party got the dance floor nearly 100% full, though!  Oh, and there is a bit of audience participation and/or special appearances by some of the biggest stars of one of the greatest decades of music!  I videoed a little from the floor, and after I put the GoPro away, I may or may not have swayed a couple of times to a song or two.

Zoomed in - there were a LOT more people on the dance floor!

I headed back to the room around 11, where I saw Sheri out for the count and the boys flipping through channels to find something to watch.  I got ready for bed and was out in a heartbeat.