Saturday, July 20, 2019

Moon Landing - 50 Years

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin steps down the ladder to become the second man to walk on the moon. [Photo taken by Neil Armstrong]

The moment that Neil Armstrong spoke the words "one small step..." I knew that this would be one of those indelible moments you would always remember.  Just a few months earlier I had purchased my first color TV, however the fact that the images from the moon were grainy and black/white did not matter. Try to think of another time when the entire world witnessed history unfold real-time.

Walter Cronkite speechless
The Lunar Landing (CBS News)
Earlier that day I watched as mission control reported the nail-biting landing while a collective nation and world held its breath. Even veteran CBS newscaster, Walter Cronkite for several moments became speechless as Neil Armstrong's voice crackled from the speakers at NASA's Mission Control in Houston. He said simply, "The Eagle has landed." 

About ten years later I was at a friend's home in Palm Beach and after dinner, he asks would we like to see some slides from his vacation. I said please as he got out the old Kodak carousel  projector and I set up the screen in his den. Even the kids stop playing and came to watch. This was not a typical vacation slide show. Dr. Edgar Mitchell was showing us photos he took on the moon during Apollo 14. He was telling us points you would only hear from someone that was there. Like moon dust was everywhere and got into everything. Ed was a very interesting man. He passed in 2016 on the 45 anniversary of his lunar landing. 

For a while so many of life's imponderables and difficult project were punctuated with, "Well, we were able to send a man to the moon.." - A time when nothing seemed impossible. As we looked back on that momentous event of now 50 years ago, let's return to a time when everything seemed possible. 


The Tampa Bay Tribune in a recent article put some of the irony of what has transcribe since in prospective. "We went to the moon and discovered something about ourselves":

Of the estimated 109 billion humans who have ever lived across the tens of thousands of years — and most of them assuredly have gazed at the moon in wonder — only 12 have ever walked there. And none have done so in generations. Right now, the United States can’t even send astronauts into space on its own, relying for the time being on the Russians to transport them [astronauts] to the International Space Station.
...And if you need a reminder, peek at the moon, and remember how the moon missions taught us to look up. Neil Armstrong’s footprints could well outlast humankind itself and are a testament, as the lunar plaque says, that “We came in peace for all mankind.”

Friday, July 19, 2019

Friend's Friday - July '19 Meetup

My July "Second Sunday Mixer" was well attended this past weekend.  We had between 40 and 50 in attendance at the Raindancer Steak House, West Palm Beach. This Sunday was special, with a professional piano player (Wayne Hosford) entertaining on the restaurant's white baby grand and a book signing "Fred Heagerty - Solving the West Palm Beach Murder". The book is written by local author Graham Brunk.

This group has been going for a number of years in various Palm Beach area venues, and I stumbled upon it a few years back.  I help the host with greeting, photography and inviting. If ever in the Palm Beach area, it is a monthly event.  All are welcome.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Is “Gender-Fluid” The New Cross-Dressing?

Absolute declarations -
Like painting yourself into a corner.
I remember my early day of venturing out as Rhonda in the early '80s. Attending support group meeting and conventions were a critical element in building confidence. On evenings when I was not well put-together I was asked:  “Are you transitioning?"  On good presentation evenings, I was asked: “How long since you transitioned?”

It seemed I could not escape, "The Question".  

Back then you were either a cross-dresser or a transsexual and transitioning bridged the two.  Everyone had to fit into either of those categories. There were support groups, of that day, that discriminated and excluded you from attending if you were transitioning or transsexual.  

Several groups that I attended were never comfortable with my presentation/attending and my not declaring which category I represented.  That is why the two groups I founded were open, allowing anyone to attend. No declarations needed.

As these two, “must-fit-all", terms finally fade into obscurity I personally like the transgender descriptor. We have all come to understand that gender is truly a spectrum and what may work for someone today, may not be best for tomorrow. Situations and desires change.  

I never thought I was a true transsexual (born in the wrong body), but always knew I was not just cross-dressing. My need for expression, acceptance and interaction runs much deeper than erotic relief.  

So is “gender-fluid” the new cross-dressing? 

Dictionary.com gives us insight into the etymology of gender-fluid.  

Gender-fluid is a non-binary gender identity that’s not fixed and is capable of changing over time.
The mid-1990's into the early 2000's was when trans identities, like gender-fluid identities, were finding their footing. Online communities, because of their private yet communal nature, were safe places for LGBTQ people and are where many first encountered the word gender-fluid.

The late 2000's and the 2010's were when the term truly began to be noticed, venturing somewhat out of online forums, especially in academic literature. This was also the time when millennials, of whom 12% identify as non-cisgender, were beginning to come of age. By 2011, gender-fluid had 37,000 hits on Google. In 2018, this increased to a staggering 2.3 million.

Social media has begun to catch up with the changing understanding, and growing acceptance, of non-binary gender. In 2014, Gender Fluid and gender-fluid were added as gender options to Facebook and OkCupid, respectively.

A person isn’t considered gender-fluid just because they like to wear typically masculine clothing one day and feminine clothing the next day—that is considered a form of gender expression. To be gender-fluid is chiefly a question of internal personal identity, and is, therefore, a psychological phenomenon.
Does "gender-fluid" fit for you? What is your opinion?  

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Would You Wear It? - Fashion Layouts

Seventy-five percent (75%) of the respondents to my survey said they like my “Fashion Layouts”.  I try and make then age-aware and conservative enough to be worn without attracting undue attention - "Blending" as a goal. They are fun for me to put together, either from my closet or items I purchase/see that I personally like.    

Being active and out, I make every effort to represent our community with a positive appearance. For many years I was casually inept, with most of my Rhonda outings being professional or event related. Life is more than “dress-up”, so being appropriately dressed in casual Florida can be challenging at times.  

Today I found a cute tag for my fashion layouts, “Would you wear it?”  I value your opinions and all readers will benefit from your "yes/no" comments.  

Also as a side note - I have kept the survey going and value your reactions/comments. The survey is short and it helps me know what you like/dislike. If you have not already clicked on the “Survey” tab above, please do.  Maybe your opinion has changed, so feel free to use it any time to express yourself. Your opinions can be anonymous (e-mail address is completely optional) and all comments are confidential.  Thanks.  


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

4 Year Blog Anniversary

My First Blog Post 

Rhonda's Escape started 4 years ago today, July 16, 2015.  I never imagined keeping it going this long with daily post. As of today there have been 1,531 post.  Another surprise - I enjoy writing - well, my definition of dyslexic enhanced writing. Thank you for your support, comments and patience. 

Above all else, what I stated in my very first post, still holds true:

"I love being a girl."

Monday, July 15, 2019

Cruise Wear Formal Night - The Fairy Tale

Cruise Ship Photographer's Photo
After observing that "Formal Night" really entailed all aspects of dressing to the nines*, I decided to make my last formal night special. What came to mind was Julia Roberts as Vivian in Pretty Woman - “I want the fairy tale.”

I like the feminine nature of the off-shoulder bodice and the fact that there is not a male equivalent.

This was a last minute packing decision and I saw this dress online at Macy's just a few days before leaving. I do not think I would have ordered this " X by Xscape" gown if it were not in petite, lacking time to get a regular length hemmed. It was the perfect length with heels and fit beautifully just as designed. The slit leg was not a look I had ever dared before, but also worked - stunningly!

That evening I put it on with a strapless bra and minimal under things and I felt alive, elegant and incredibly feminine. I walked slowly down the long cabin hall, down the stairs and into the main dining room at the front of the ship. The maitre d' that I now had come to know from already having eaten there four nights, gave me the up-down look and smiled. As I was walked slowly through the whole front of the dining room to my table, I took in every look. The attention that a red dress garners is electrifying and not for the faint-of-dress.   

Never before had I ever worn anything that attracted so much attention - an Escape to cherish!  

Here is what I wore the other evenings for dinner on the cruise.   

Staircase on the Promenade Deck 


Happy Anniversary Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. No celebration is complete without a little cake!  A Main Dining Room after dinner treat.  

*Term etymology: Dresed to the nines - "to thine eynes - to the eyes"

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Political Cartoons 7-14

The real 4th of July Fireworks!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Handstand In Heels

Katelyn Ohashi stunned on the red carpet as she launched into a handstand while wearing heels.

Former UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi dazzled fans once again on Wednesday as she launched into a handstand while wearing heels on the 2019 ESPY Awards red carpet. 

Ohashi, who was nominated for Best Play and Best Viral Sports Moment, became a household name earlier this year when her flawless floor routine became an internet sensation. The routine earned her a perfect score from judges.

The ESPY Award for Best Viral Sports Moment, which Ohashi won, was announced on the program’s pre-show. The gymnast called the award “an honor”...


For those of us mortals who just want to walk in heels, here is an excellent article "How to walk in heels: 12 tips and tricks from experts". 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Feminine Differential - Shopping/Gathering

Several Saturday ago I had some time to kill  between getting my hair done and heading to an evening wine tasting. With my hair done I felt good about how I looked and upon entering the mall immediately felt drawn to do some serious looking/shopping.

After a wonderful stop at Talbots and finding several item that I adored, a calm sense of accomplishment came over me. No buyers remorse yet and as I carried my multicolored very feminine shopping bag to the car, I ask why this sense of accomplishment?

I long ago accepted the premise that there is a strong feminine component to my personality. In some ways this allows me to understand some of the fundamentals of being what I am (inner-self) and how I relate to many female activities. i.e. I have a sensitive nature; in some situations I am less dominant; and love to shop

Psychology Today in an article written by Steve Taylor Ph.D. noted that "Men Don't Like Shopping and (Most) Women Do - These are the origins of our attitudes toward shopping."  

For hundreds of thousands of years, until around 8,000 B.C.E., all human beings lived as hunter-gatherers — that is, they survived by hunting wild animals (the man’s job) and foraging for wild plants, nuts, fruits, and vegetables (the woman’s job). I learned a lot of surprising things about the "hunter-gatherer" lifestyle in my research. Interestingly, women were the main breadwinners in hunter-gatherer groups. Anthropologists estimate that women’s gathering provided around 80-90 percent of the groups' food...

And this brings us back to shopping — because these instincts may show themselves in our shopping habits. When most women shop, they are in more of a 'gathering' mode — browsing from tree to tree (or shop to shop), looking for ripe and nutritious fruit. They spend a lot of time examining the food, checking its freshness and edibility, and they discard quite a lot of it. At the end of the trip, they return home laden with a wide variety of food stuffs (or shopping bags). 

In 2009, anthropologists Kruger and Byker found very clear similarities between modern men and women's shopping habits and our hunter-gatherer past. They found that women were more inclined to spend extended time browsing around shopping malls, while men more inclined to buy what they needed and then leave straight away.* 

A very interesting concept - So my successful gathering trip a few weeks back has historical justification.  That is my story.....  


*Daniel Kruger and Dreyson Byker. 2009. "Evolved Foraging Psychology Underlies Sex Differences in Shopping Experiences and Behaviors." Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 315-327.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Congratulation USA Woman's Soccer Team


Let's take a moment to talk about sports, 'cause today was a BIG day for the United States women’s soccer team, who won the Women's World Cup earlier this afternoon when they beat the Netherlands, 2-0, in a game in Lyon, France. FYI, this is the U.S. team's FOURTH Women's World Cup title overall (and there have only been eight of these Women's World Cup tournaments) as well as their second straight World Cup title in a row, so yeah, it's something to brag about.

Read all of the wonderful comments.


Team Captain Megin Rapinoe being interview by Anderson Cooper - Awesome!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Cruise Wear - 3 Evenings

Evening were special on board my latest cruise. There were two designated formal nights that allowed for cocktail attire or formal wear. From last year's cruise, I found many of the women took the opportunity to dress up, especially when eating in the main dining room. This year I planned around doing just that.  

The white Ralph Lauren dress, shown first, was worn the first formal night and the second (same but different color Lauren dress) was worn for at one of the specialty restaurants on another evening. The third outfit (blue skirt/white top) was worn for the last evening's dining in the main dining room. 

I planned each evening purse to be my Michael Kors Vivian Medium Leather Messenger. I tucked the shoulder strap into the bag and utilized it as a clutch and was only taking it to be an accessory.  Needed only was my Cruise Card - photo ID, room key, and on-board charge card. The only other item in my purse - a lipstick.        

Night after night, cruising, especially on board luxury ships, affords unequal exciting opportunities of being out and dress to be seen.  

Stay tuned, there is a wonderful photo of the long dress I wore formal night number two. That was exciting!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Going, Going, Gone - Mad

                             Mad Cover - July 1983                             
The demise of Mad magazine is hardly a surprise.  It was a matte of time.  Gone are PC Magazine, PC World, and many of the tech journals I would pore over at the book store magazine racks. When I found a relevant article, I purchased.  One of the magazine I would always pick up and read; Mad Magazine.  It never ceased to elicit a chuckle. There was some recess of my adult mind that would revert to adolescence when I saw a Mad cover.  

The Washington Post Describe Mad this way:

Yet the best of Mad stands as some of the greatest American satire ever, including fake ads and recurring features such as “Spy vs. Spy,” as well as film and TV takeoffs that were often appreciated by the Hollywood talents they spoofed.

Needless to say my favorite was the cover that spoofed the Movie Tootsie.  You know you are getting old when you say to goodbye to old friends for the last time. Thanks for the enduring adolescence flash backs.   

Spy vs. Spy’s Castro Connection
From MAD #60, July 1961 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Political Cartoon 7-7 (Unpleasant Content Advisory)

I started delivering The Richmond Times Dispatch Newspaper and the Richmond News Leader as a preteen and held the job for three years, until I went to high school. The route included my whole small village from end-to-end and I delivered both the morning and evening paper. The morning news took about a hour every morning before school and the evening news about a half hour. Those mornings gave me an appreciation for the news and I would read the paper as I rode on my bicycle.    

The daily funnies - Blondie, Dennis the Menace - Beetle Bailey - Nancy and Sluggo - were my favorites. I also learned that over on the opinion page in just a single "frame" the depth of a very complex subject could be illustrated and unraveled. My love for political satire was born. 

History in school helped me to understand that American journalism had a rich history in satirical illustrations like the one below.

A May 9, 1751, Benjamin Franklin's satirical illustration in the Pennsylvania Gazette

Which brings me to today's featured illustration. Did it go too far?  Some may have thought that the de Adder cartoon below, went too far by depicting the golf-loving Trump as oblivious to lifeless bodies. A desperate situation he has fostered. The subject even sparked a viral moment at the first Democratic debate. So can political satire go to far? 

My opinion: No good journalism can come from fear; fear of retribution; fear of losing one job or fear of political/social ire. Democracy demands that there be public debate. Even if you do not agree.  


According to the Huffpost, cartoonist Michael de Adder’s contract with four Canadian newspapers was terminated last week after one of his political cartoons lambasting U.S. President Donald Trump went viral on social media. His cartoons, de Adder tweeted, “will no longer appear” in the city’s four local papers — the Telegraph-Journal and its Saint John edition, the Times & Transcript and the Daily Gleaner".

De Adder, who’d worked for the newspapers’ publisher for 17 years before his dismissal, suggested Sunday that he was let go for being too critical of Trump. But Brunswick News Inc. said earlier in the day that it was “entirely incorrect” to suggest that de Adder’s freelance contract was terminated because of the Trump cartoon.  

De Adder did state further: “I will defend myself. And I will talk about why I think I was let go,” the cartoonist wrote, adding that he was sharing his perspective “reluctantly” and was only doing so because “I feel my credibility is on the line.”   


Another along the same vein.  

Saturday, July 6, 2019

A Femulate Tribute

Today brought a shock.  Stana on her blog "Femulate" stated: “That All Folks”.  My first reaction was “NO!” 

Memories flooded back starting with my first girlfriend Kay moving away when I was in second grade.  She may have been my first, but certainly not my last, loss. My morning ritual always entailed first making sure my blog post was up on schedule; then going to read Stana’s "Femulate".

The fact is, Stana inspired me to have a blog. For many years I read her blog and revelled in the diverse content and her insightful thoughts. She was/is the best.  Her editing skills were always superb (mine are not) and her depth of research was always current and thought-provoking. I learned so much about myself and our community.

My humble writing started with a guest posting on "Femulate". I wrote several posts and Stana graciously posted them. I commented to Stana that having my picture on her blog was my equivalent to “Getting My Picture On the Cover Of Rolling Stone”.  I had arrived. 

Sitting by my computer in the morning with my hot cup of tea will not be the same. There will be a gaping void and vacuum of enlightenment that I will miss.

WOW - What a Beautiful Person 
I have come to appreciate that writing and maintaining a blog requires a lot of effort and recognize there will come a day when I too will have to say, “That All Folks” as well.  Stana, all of your years of effort stands as a monument for the community. 

Stana, I hope you are OK.  Your post of a few days ago really scared me. Along with all of your readers (blog friends), we all have deep respect and love you. 

I hope you recognize the tremendous impact you have had on those of us in the transgender community. The term “femulate” will live on. We love you and only want the best for you.  Please post from time to time and let us all know you are OK. And, share more of your magical insights. 

Stana's enduring legacy:

fem·u·late (fem´ya-lat´) v., To imitate, copy, or try to be like a female

You will be sorely missed! 

Dalai Lama Quote

Friday, July 5, 2019

Who Do You Dress To Impress?

Betty Brosmer

Who Are Women Really Dressing For? The Answer Matters More Than You Think


Take a good look at the image on the right who do you think Betty Brosmer (the Barbie-proportioned 50s model and author) had in mind when she put that outfit together in the morning? We’re guessing it wasn’t her mother. Traditionally, women’s fashion has always been about drawing the male gaze. During an interview on Good Morning, America in 1979, sex-goddess Sophia Loren said that, “A woman’s dress should be like a barbed-wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view.” The popular sentiment was that clothes were there to protect the body, but not so much that they cover up a woman’s sexy curves. But whatever may have been true of the past, today women are no longer dressing to impress men. Rather than looking “attractive” in any traditional sense, the way women choose to wear their clothes is seen as an opportunity to satisfy a creative itch and show the world that they run with a creative group of friends. In 2011 a survey commissioned by Simple skincare found that the majority of women think about their girlfriends when getting ready, and would value a compliment from a female higher than one received from a male.

These days women’s fashion is decidedly less about “come hither” and more about “Look at me! I’m one of the cool girls.” At least, that seems to be the case for all those who’ve whole-heartedly signed up for this decade-long ugly-pretty man-repeller dress-to-depress new wave of fashion. For these cool girls, the foremost questions when getting dressed are: am I comfortable? Will my fashion girls love this? Would my favorite fashion blogger approve? Do I look like the kind of person I want to be? The male gaze hardly ever enters the equation anymore.


Read the whole article. A good narrative  and it raises a very interesting question.  

Thursday, July 4, 2019

A Bill of Gender Rights - JoAnn Roberts

JoAnn Roberts 1948-2013
My good friend JoAnn Roberts of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, never one to shrink from making a meaningful statement, wrote a letter to All Transgender Support Groups on March 1, 1991. She stated that, "It is time to speak up. Silence = Death."  We all need to read JoAnn’s manifesto, and pledge to continue her fight – our fight!

Her Preamble:
The Declaration of Independence says, 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, all men are created equal...' In reality, it is self-evident that neither all men nor all people are created equal. Rather, all people should be treated equally; no one should be denied the opportunity to live, work or play simply because they are different. Different does not mean deficient. Different does not mean less capable. Different does not mean less moral. Different does not mean less ethical. Nor does different mean less honorable. Different simply means not exactly like the next person.


A Bill of Gender Rights 

It is time for the transgender community to take a stand, a strong stand, against all gender-based discrimination simply because some people are different and simply because some people do not fit into current social norms of gender roles. It is time the gender-based community articulate this stand in words that clearly define exactly what their gender rights are. It is time to stand alongside other minority rights movements to declare these gender rights as follows:

The Right To Choose A Gender Role

Every human being has within themselves an idea of who they are and what they are capable of achieving. That identity and capability shall not be limited by a person's physical sex, nor by what any society may deem as "masculine" or "feminine" behavior. It is fundamental, then, that each individual has the right to chose a gender role that is comfortable for them, regardless of their genetic sex or sex role.

Therefore, no person shall be denied their Human and Civil Rights on the basis that their chosen gender role or perceived gender role is not congruent with their genetic sex or sex role. The Right To Freely Express A Gender Role Given that each individual has the right to chose a gender role, it then follows that each individual has the right to freely express that gender role in any manner that does not infringe on the freedom of another individual. 

Therefore, no person shall be denied their Human and Civil Rights on the basis that a private or public expression of their chosen gender role or perceived gender role is not congruent with their genetic sex or sex role.

The Right To Make One's Body Congruent With Gender Role

Given that each individual has the right to chose a gender role, it then follows that each individual has the right to change their body or alter its physiology so it better fits their chosen gender role. These changes may be cosmetically, chemically or surgically induced, provided these changes are supervised by the appropriate licensed professional and the individual accepts sole responsibility for their actions in this regard.

Therefore, no person shall be denied their Human or Civil Rights on the basis that they changed or wish to change their body, cosmetically, chemically, surgically or any combination of these, to better fit their chosen gender role.

The Right To Sexual Expression Congruent With Gender Role

Given that each individual has the right to chose a gender role, it then follows that each individual has the right to express their sexuality within their chosen gender role. Therefore, no person shall be denied their Human and Civil Rights on the basis of sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation. Further, no individual shall be denied their Human and Civil Rights for expressing their chosen gender role through private sexual acts between consenting adults.

Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Symphony of the Seas - Cruising '19

Symphony of the Seas in port - Roatan, Honduras

"When Royal Caribbean's gargantuan and game-changing Oasis-Class ships debuted as the then world's largest ship in 2009, people wondered if anyone would bother to get off the ship in port, as it could take a week to try out all the onboard activities." (Cruise Critic) 

The basics from my cruise last week: Symphony of the Seas is 1,184.42 ft. (almost one-quarter mile) long. It is the largest cruise ship in the world. It can handle 6,680 passengers, as well as a 2,200-person crew. There are 16 decks for guest use (18 total), 22 restaurants, 24 pools, and 2,759 cabins. I traveled out of Miami and my Western Caribbean destinations included Roatán, Honduras; Costa Maya, Mexico; Cozumel, Mexico; and Coco Cay, Bahamas. More coming on all the ports.

Solarium glass front pool
On my "world's largest cruise ship" escape, there was no way to be bored, given its variety of on-ship activities and attractions. There are seven themed "neighborhoods" plus the "Pool and Sports Zone". On the ship's upper decks there are 24 pools including a glass front whirlpool found in the glass covered, adults-only, Solarium area.

Symphony has three multistory water slides, along with the Ultimate Abyss, a side-by-side pair of the tallest dry slides at sea that plummet 10 stories (decks). The ultimate in water fun is the ship's two "FlowRider" surf simulation pools for stand up surfing and boogie-boarding. If you're not up for public humiliation, grab a drink, find a bleacher seat and enjoy the wipeouts in shaded comfort. Symphony also sports a zipline above Central Park, two rock climbing walls and a sports deck for basketball (full size), volleyball, soccer, Ping-Pong and mini-golf.

The deep AquaTheater pool/theater (technically part of the Boardwalk neighborhood) does double duty as a venue for scuba lessons and a stage for whimsical performances that feature acrobats, high wire walkers, and divers jumping from two 55 ft. platforms. There is an ice-skating rink which hosts two outstanding shows, including micro drones that open the show with an aerial ballet. The ice-skating rink is open during the day for free skating.  

Multiple daily lectures occur in the “Royal Theater” which seats over 1400 (18437 sq. ft.) where two major attraction are hosted on multiple nights.  Hairspray! The Broadway Musical and Flight - Dare to Dream were shown my week.  

Central Park
There is also an open-air “Central Park” which contains over 20,000 tropical plants. More restaurants are found there: Chops, a steak restaurant; Jamie's Italian, from British Chef Jamie Oliver; 150 Central Park, with a seasonal "farm to ship" menu designed by James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz; Zumi Hibachi and Sushi. Also my favorite sandwich/cookie/tea stop, the "Park Cafe" is there. Also one of the paths through Central park leads to an elegant wine bar.   

For shopping and imbibing, the Royal Promenade (Deck 5, amidships) is sized like a real mall and runs the length of a football field. High end duty free shops abound; Regalia Watches, Bvlgari, Cartier... There is the Rising Tide Bar (which slowly travels up and down three decks between the Royal Promenade and Central Park). Tucked in one corner is the futuristic Bionic Bar with drinks prepared by robot bartenders. The Promenade also hosts activities like flash-mob dances, (80’s Night) and parades with characters in colorful costumes, and music.  

Pop-Art On the Promenade 
All-Day Dining: You can't go hungry, what with 22-plus dining options. Beyond lunch in the Windjammer Marketplace buffet and the "Main" tri-level dining room, passengers can find midday eats at Sorrento's pizzeria; the Park Cafe, serving up salads and sandwiches; the Boardwalk Dog House with its seven varieties of wieners; Mini Bites for sliders and other grab-and-go snacks served near the pools; the Vitality Cafe or Solarium Bistro for yogurt parfaits, healthy sandwiches, salads and other light fare; Johnny Rockets, a fast-food burger joint; Sabor Taqueria & Tequila Bar for Mexican; and the Cafe Promenade for snacks and sandwiches. And don't forget all the empty calories you can consume with midday cravings; doughnuts, cupcakes and soft serve ice cream on the pool deck.

I am sorry this got so long and I have only touched on a few of the many amenities.  Needless to say, I was entertained for the total 8 day and seven nights. I will write more over the next few days about the destinations, outfit choices, my level of comfort, tips and some of the wonderful people I met. Nothing negative occurred from interaction with dinner mates, meal staff, ship's personnel or during off-ship excursions.  

A super, wonderful ESCAPE.  

Symphony of the Seas in the background
Coco Cay, Bahamas