Well, Friday was another relaxing day at sea. A bit of a cold front went through overnight, so the nice, hot sunny weather gave way to scattered clouds and cool breezes. The people trying the Flowrider were all shivering while waiting their turn, and the ship crew was dressed in wet suits and still shivering. Lounge chairs around the sundecks were available, but the chairs protected from the wind in the sunshine were hard to get.
Because we have taken cruise vacations (this was our 8th) with RCCL, we were invited to a Crown and Anchor (frequent cruisers club) breakfast as a way for the cruise line to say "thanks" for your loyalty. Upon arrival in the main dining room, we were seated at a table with the Senior Engineer of the ship.
An officer was seated at each table. Victo was very interesting, and my husband was entertained the whole meal. Another couple from Ohio was seated with us, so there was a lot of conversation going on. Near the end of the meal, the guys asked if there was any possible way a tour of the engine room could be arranged. Victo told us he would meet us on Deck 1 at 4:00 pm, and if he had approval from his boss, he would give us a mini tour of his responsibility. WOW - a chance to see the inner workings of one of the largest cruise ships in the world - my husband was in heaven!
Since it was cooler (still better than the 20 and 30 degree temperatures in Ohio), we decided to play Bingo. The jackpot was $4000 and advertised that it had to go on this voyage.
Just Hanging Around
That was enough to lure us into the theater and purchase the big bingo pack. It has been some time since we played bingo either on land or at sea, so the "bingo for dummies" machine was intriguing. This machine did all the work for you - plays multiple cards, beeps when you need only one number remaining for bingo, and alerts you with onscreen fireworks and "winner" if you are lucky. All you do is sit and watch. Pretty neat! There were 4 games with the last being for the jackpot. Game 1 - we came within one number for bingo. Game 2 - we won! And so did many others, so we split the pot and received $37 big bingo dollars and a Royal Caribbean key chain! Game 3 and 4 were less than exciting, but having never won before, we left feeling pretty good! So far, two great things today - tour and bingo!
There were many places to eat on Independence of the Seas, and we decided to try lunch at Johnny Rockets.
So that's how the ship operates
So did everyone else! We were handed a pager and told it would be about 20-30 minute wait. The pager would reach other places on the ship, so we were ahead and took it and headed for the International Belly Flop contest at the main pool area. Scoring a couple lounges by the pool, we were entertained by the antics of the contestants and host until our scheduled time. The 20-30 minutes stretched to about an hour, but the hamburgers were very good and the waiters kept us entertained.
By this time, we only had about 45 minutes before our tour time. With this being the last day before disembarking, I used some of this time to get things around to pack while Bill headed off to try his luck in the casino.
Monitoring the controls
I went back to the cabin, opened the balcony door, and laid down for a nap - to heck with packing!
Promptly at 4:00 pm, we were met by Victo and escorted into the control room. The room was crammed packed with computers, monitors, dials, levers, books, and maps! He explained all that goes on in the room and a little about how the ship's engines operate. Just about every working part on the ship is monitored including the air conditioning in each cabin. There is a sensor on the balcony doors that they can see if the doors are open or closed! This way they can control the air system and make adjustments. He showed us electrical maps of each floor and just what is done in case of an alarm. We were told that the ship has 6 huge V12 engines that power the generators to provide the electricity to make the ship go.
One BIG Engine
One engine runs the generator for all the electricity on the ship. That day only one other engine was running since we were slowly making our way back to Fort Lauderdale/Port Everglades. He then gave us ear plugs, and off we went into the bowels of the ship. Down several flights of steps, we soon entered the engine rooms. Even with the ear protection, the roar could be heard over anything else. No conversation could be carried on, so everything was done by hand gestures. After touring the area, we ascended the steps and asked questions once we were back in the quieter area. What a great tour! I found this all very interesting, and my husband loved it! We all were greatly thankful to Victo and his crew for allowing us the tour.
Meeting the Senior Engineer
After that, the day went by so fast! We had to have our suitcases packed and out in the hallway by 11:00 pm as the crew began to collect them and get ready for disembarkation. I went to the online center, checked email one last time, and printed our boarding passes for tomorrow's flight home. Another wonderful cruise vacation with Royal Caribbean and the Independence of the Seas!