Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Our 1st Day at Sea on the Allure! 2/9/15, Central Park Tour!

It was a great night sleep, and as I always seem to do on vacation, especially on a cruise, I wake up bright and early! I guess part of it is that I usually crack the curtains a bit the night before. I love waking up to the sunshine (hopefully!) on the sea. But more than that, I love starting the day on vacation! It's not so much that I have to be busy, but I'm also not one to spend my vacation sleeping in a ship cabin or hotel room. If I wanted to just sleep, I could do that at home.

So, first up for today, I knew I wanted to to the Central Park Walking Tour. I wasn't sure if anyone was going to join me since it started at 9:30 am, but I was going! Keith decided to come along, and I decided to wake the kids up so at least they could start getting up for the day.

They told us to go ahead and get breakfast and maybe they'd meet up with us for the tour. I really didn't think we'd see them again until at least lunch. They seemed pretty out of it!

Keith and I went to the Windjammer for breakfast and much like lunch the day before, we really weren't impressed. Again, nothing really bad, but just not really good either. Much of the food wasn't really hot and I do like an omelet for breakfast. Keith likes salmon and capers, and unlike almost every other buffet we've been to, none of that was available. So, we decided to try other food venues going forward. No problem - plenty of choices!

We got to Central Park a few minutes early and waited for our tour.

Our tour started and was really quite interesting. I'm not 100% sure on the title of the crew member who gave it, but he is up there on the horticulture staff. He was involved directly in creating the Central Park on the Oasis and was part of it's development and installation and then of course on the Allure as well. He really overseas both Central Parks and everything about them. Everything that goes into maintaining the live plants in the ecosystem on a ship was fascinating!

This Living Wall was one of the most ambitious features on the ship - and how they maintain that was pretty interesting as well.

At some point during the tour, the kids actually popped by! I was shocked. They had gone and had breakfast, were totally dressed for the day and everything! They were heading up to go play shuffleboard I think. We told them we'd meet them for the Move It! Move It! Parade....and back to the tour we went!

These birds are really pretty, and adding to the bird theme, during the day you actually hear bird sounds. At night, crickets. You really feel like you're in a true park.

Speaking of birds, we were told they have had several stow away birds over the years as well. Especially during major storms. The birds will come and live in the trees or the living wall for a few weeks. They just hitch a ride and then off they go. 

There are also several sculptures in the Park

This is right, smack center of the ship. The guide said if you ever feel a bit sea sick, which by the way is pretty unlikely on a ship built like this - go stand right on this disc. It should help being right in the center!

Not only did he tell us about the Central Park, but being in the position on the crew he was, and I believe he said he had an engineering background, but I may be wrong.... He told us quite a bit of details about the design of the ship itself and also a bit of the pretty cool safety features that help to make the Allure one of the safest ships sailing!

This is the horticulture headquarters - the computer system for the watering system is here and so are the tools

And this little known device on top of the ship? It's actually a crane! Should one of the trees in the Central Park have to ever be replaced - since they can't be replaced as seedlings because it would be aesthetically incorrect, a full size tree could be lowered into the Park with this crane while the ship was docked. This was added just for the Central Park on both the Oasis and Allure. Neither have ever been used.

The tour was really very interesting and so much more than a tour about plants! I really recommend it!

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