The excitement is mounting – one week from today I will be stepping aboard Allure of the Seas in Fort Lauderdale, ready for a three-night cruise. Last time I was on board, in the shipyard at Turku, Finland, there were workmen crawling all over the vessel and I had to wear a hard hat and protective boots.
Now the ship is complete. US media, who don’t want to work over the Thanksgiving holiday, will be sailing this weekend, and it is being used as the location for scenes from Adam Sandler’s new movie Jack and Jill, also starring Katie Holmes and Al Pacino.
I am looking forward to eating dinner in the Samba Grill churrascaria restaurant, sipping a margarita and tasting the tortilla crisps in Rita’s Cantina, grabbing a snack from the Dog House, and sitting down in the theatre to watch the musical Chicago – all new features different from those on sister ship Oasis of the Seas.
It won’t all be relaxation and fun, however. Royal Caribbean are determined to put me to work for some reason. They have put together a series of challenges which they want me to tackle.
I’d settle for a giant bar crawl through the ship’s 30 eating and drinking venues, consuming my bodyweight in food and adult beverages, but there isn’t room in my suitcase for the XXXXL clothes I would need at the end of that marathon.
So it looks like I’ll have to choose from the tasks on their list. There won’t be time for all of them, so I’m looking for your help in picking the top three. Here’s what Royal Caribbean suggest I could do:
Delivering perfect drinks, snacks and meals at all times is the mission of the 2,413 crew on Allure. What happens when Captain Greybeard joins the team in the Cupcake Cupboard – one of the most popular venues onboard sister ship Oasis of the Seas – to ice cup cakes with artistic precision and creative flair?
Fish net stockings and top hats at the ready as Captain Greybeard slips into his dancing shoes to join some of the cast from Chicago. As the Broadway show gears up to its premiere onboard, could the Captain steal a headline role and learn how to tap his toes as well as he taps his keyboard when writing the Captain Greybeard blog?
After a Masterchef-style contest, Molly Brandt landed the job of a lifetime: Chef de Cuisine of the 150 Central Park restaurant on the ship. Will Captain Greybeard be able to cut it as he tests his cookery skills in his very own Allure of the Seas Culinary Challenge with Molly? Or would he be more suited to flipping burgers at Johnny Rockets, or cooking hot dogs at the Dog House?
He thinks he’s funny – some people think he’s a joke – but could Captain Greybeard have the audience splitting their sides with laughter during an improv set in the Comedy Club? Or would he be gonged off the stage in seconds?
Shrek, Princess Fiona, Donkey … and Captain Greybeard? The Captain takes part in the DreamWorks parade through the Royal Promenade. He may even be persuaded to fall under a magic spell and dance the length of the ship, but let’s not go ‘ogre’board
Hundreds of families will be celebrating Thanksgiving on board the ship in traditional style – with a turkey dinner. How many of the hundreds of turkeys to be roasted next Thursday could Captain Greybeard stuff in 15 minutes?
The suggestions all sound like fun – to varying degrees – but what I would really like to do is sit in the big black chair at the centre of the bridge, tell the ship’s master, Captain Hernan Zini, to take a break for a while, and assume command of the ship myself. No need to prepare my muscles to wrestle with a giant wheel, the ship is controlled by a tiny joystick, and I could have the time of my life throwing sharp turns, pulling an emergency stop, and then accelerating back to full speed again, while the Royal Caribbean bosses hold their breath as their billion dollar baby is at my mercy.
What do you think? Please add your comments below, or on Captain Greybeard’s Facebook page to help me decide. And if you have any ideas of your own, add those as well. I look forward to hearing from you.