Devine site

A little bit about my day, my family, and my knitting.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Land, HO!!

We're back from a wonderful cruise - 7 nights to the Western Caribbean on Royal Caribbean. WHAT A SHIP!!! I kept a diary while we were gone. It's a bit long so you can just look at the pix and skip over the other stuff that probably only matters to me:

Day 1 January 20
It looked as if I packed everything in the house. By the time I woke this morning I my two formal outfits out of my suitcase and opted for a really nice skirt/blouse. My travel agent said that we should not wear jeans to dinner so I packed either a dress or nice casual outfit for each night. Then I had to pack another bag with about 6 pair of shoes and 5 pocketbooks. Men are so lucky…they wear their brown shoes, pack a pair of black shoes and a pair of sneakers and that holds them for the week. Gerry packed this morning - by the time he finished he was exhausted. All in all we have 6 bags plus the computer backpack.
The weather is horrible…low 60’s and raining. We left at 11AM. Rusty, our dacshund, was so funny. We were about to leave and he got onto the doggie bed, turned his back to us and stared at the wall. We called him 5 times before he turned to look at us. Who says they don’t know what’s going on?

When we got to the terminal I called Becca. She said that they had a great time and gave a few pointers re: shows, dining, etc. (she got off the same ship this morning). Check-in was easy and by 1 we were in our room…and what a pleasant surprise. My travel agent requested an upgrade and we were given a handicap room….which just means that it is twice the size of a regular interior room (so wheelchairs can fit in). The bathroom is large too….wonderful for us!!! We got settled in…Gerry was amazed that I was able to find a place in the small closet and drawers for ALL that we brought. We even have a refrigerator, and knowing that we would, I brought 2 dozen bottles of water. Gerry drinks a lot of water and the tiny bottles they offer are $1.95 each. I got the 24 big sport bottles of water for about $5.00.

What a day to start a cruise….TWO major football games are on. While Gerry watched the Patriot/San Diego game I toured the ship a bit. There is a big promenade with stores, bars and restaurants (notably…Ben and Jerry’s….Sorrento’s Pizza). The casino is pretty big too (but not functional till we are over 3 miles from port). We did have lunch at the buffet earlier. Near the end of the P/SD game Gerry came out of his cocoon and we got some coffee on the Promenade. A band was playing the Electric Slide and some of the ship’s staff were dancing, so I joined them.

It was almost dinner time but we were 15 min early for the dining room, so Gerry decided to take pizza back to the room for the Giant’s game. I opted for the regular dining, figuring I would get to meet those at our table. WRONG!!! We are to dine at a table for two. The dining room WAS half empty - I heard others telling the waiters that the others in their parties were watching the game. So - I ordered a nice glass of Shiraz wine, salmon for dinner, and toasted the empty chair across from me. Then I had a fun text message conversation with Alison.
After dinner I brought Gerry one of the desserts….apple pie with ice cream. He was sooooo happy. Now I am working here on the computer while he watches the game….on a beautiful HD/satellite TV. I am just so happy to see him having fun, even if it’s just while watching the game so far. WOW - the weather must REALLY be awful out for the ship is rocking back and forth a lot. Thank goodness we are on a huge ship and not a little one.
Day 2 January 21, 2008
First day at sea….and the weather is horrible. It was windy all day with rain on and off. It didn’t stop people from going into the pool but it kept me and Gerry off of pool deck. Gerry was so tired and spent most of the day napping. I watched the movie Gigi on TV for a few hours. We did have a nice buffet lunch in the Windjammer Café, sitting by the large window watching…the rain come down. All day I had planned to go work out in the fabulous gym but…well, you know! I was a good girl though - everywhere I went I walked up and down the steps and did not take the elevator. At night we got dressed up for the formal dinner. Gerry wasn’t thrilled about it but agreed to it for me. Well, we went to dinner (his first time in the dining room) and he was happy that we sat at our own table. The meal was great…for appetizer we had shrimp cocktail, escargot (my favorite) and he had soup. For dinner Gerry had filet mignon and I had DUCK! It was good - tastes like chicken (dark meat). And for dessert I had a wonderful little cherry jubilee.

We went down to the Captain’s reception on the promenadebut it was just people mingling and having champagne, so we came upstairs, changed to comfy clothes and went to the theater for a fabulous Broadway review. The performers are so talented - it was like watching Broadway performers. Afterward Ger got so tired that we decided not to go to the casino and just came upstairs.

Day 3 January 22, 2008
Early to rise today - we landed in Labadee, Haiti this morning. We had breakfast brought to our room because we knew we wouldn’t have time to go to the restaurant to eat. Then we took the tender over to the shore - about a 5 minute ride.

The weather was beautiful…in the high 70’s and clear. Haiti is lush and mountainous, as seen from the ship. Labadee is a private beach owned by Royal Caribbean. We first went to the market where you are accosted by sellers every two seconds. There was nothing I needed or wanted. Frankly, it’s mostly carved wood and beads and I can get Haitian goods in Florida if I wanted them. We had paid for the wave runner excursion so we headed over there. What fun we had! There were 6 wave runners plus the guide and his assistant. Gerry was so happy that he was able to do this. It wasn’t to cold and I really enjoyed it, despite all the bouncing around. Afterward we went by the beach and market. Gerry went back to the ship while I enjoyed the BBQ set out by the ship’s crew, then lay on a lounge chair for a bit.
Back to the ship, a shower, and a short nap for Gerry. When he woke we went outside to see the Flowrider - a wave simulator where you can try your “feet” at surfing. The staff assists you in standing on a short surfboard, give you a few instructions and then let you go. The object of it is to stay up on the board (most people I watched made it for 2 seconds). When you “wipeout” you get pushed up the side by the “wave.” There was a really nice miniature golf course, big basketball court and a rock climbing wall on that deck. Gerry and I walked the jogging track once, got some low-fat frozen yogurt and sat enjoying our cones while listening to the steel drum band that was by the pool. We had a nice dinner (lamb shank…mmmm) followed by the waiters parading and then singing O Solo Mio (it was Venetian night in the dining rooms). Afterward Gerry and I went to the back of the ship where he enjoyed a cigar. Lucky for me he stood where he could blow the smoke away from me. He returned to the room while I went to the show. It was fabulous. The cruise director started it off and was so funny. The headliner was Finis Henderson, singer, impressionist. He was terrific. He had a good voice and did the songs/voices of many good stars.
I came back to the room. Ger was under the covers. He asked if I was going to the next show and I told him no, that I couldn’t stay up till midnight. I though that he was referring to the adult comedy show. He got into his pjs and into bed and I started to say goodbye, as I was heading to the 70’s Disco Party on the promenade. He said, “I didn’t know you were going. I had stayed in my clothes, thinking I would go too but you said you weren’t going.” Miss communication? You would think he would then say that he would put on his pants and come with me. NOT! So I went down myself. It was so much fun. The cruise director and dancers were on a bridge overhead, in costume and dancing to 70’s songs. He was dressed first as John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, then as the Indian in the Village People, and last as Austin Powers. There were costumed dancers where the people were too, dancing among us. One performer dressed as the construction worker took my hand and danced with me. We did hustle and a sort of lindy and it was great. I was so happy that I kept up with him (though my camera was on my arm and swinging all around). I came right up to the room when the show was over.

Day 4 January 23 - Jamaica
After a breakfast (where we had to scrounge for seats) we headed off the ship and onto the dock. We took a tour van: First to Fern Gully - it’s a winding road ride through lush flora. The area’s homes and shops look very depressed. There used to be a river but it’s dried up. We just drove to the top and then down again. Took a little time to get used to the driver staying on the left side of the road. He was great at maneuvering those narrow, winding roads. Next we drove to Shaw Park and Gardens. This was once a hotel and is now just a beautiful garden spot (Mick Jagger of the Stones lives nearby). We were taken through the gardens by one of the gardeners serving as tour guide.I took some really nice pix of the flowers and trees. At one point it began to pour so we had to stand under a big tree to keep most of the rain from drenching us. The rain only lasted about 3 minutes. After Shaw we were taken to Dunn Falls. There you can join a group at the bottom of the falls (on the beach) and hand in hand, climb the falls. Gerry wasn’t up to it and I didn’t want to leave him for over an hour so we opted to walk down along the outside of the falls and then back up. Before we started I did climb into the water on the side of the falls. The water was cold but felt good. We went down to the beach and I got to put my feet in the water before we headed back up. On the way I noticed two young couples who were on our tour. I took a few pix of them as they started the climb. I love pictures and know that if I could have some of me doing that I would be thrilled (Unfortunately, when we were packing to go home on Day 7 I cleaned the room and accidently threw out the paper with their e-mail information on it). I walked back to the top area with Gerry and then, since he was sitting down I went back down a bit and took more pix as the two couples got nearer to the rockier part of the falls. One couple gave up before heading onto the rocks with the rushing water but the other continued. I came back to Gerry after 10 minutes. We walked on and then I took another 3 minutes to walk through the craft market. Just like in Labadee, each vendor tries to woo you into their space, but I wasn’t buying a thing. We made it to the bus in the nick of time before a heavy rain, but that too lasted only a few minutes. Then it was on to the shopping area called the Taj Mahal (which does look like a mini version). Gerry got some t-shirts and cigars. I looked at some jewelry but frankly, while it was beautiful, it was expensive - even though I know most items are cheaper here than in the states. I am not that into jewelry that I need to spend hundreds of dollars on something.

Gerry enjoyed a cigar by the end of the ship (with me keeping him company), we went for ice cream (for him, not me) and he went up to the room while I went to the theater. They had a bingo game for about 15 minutes where the prize was a cruise for two. I am not a bingo fan but I figured, “What the heck!” and bought one card…..and lost (I did come within two numbers of winning). Then I stayed for the Love and Marriage Game, modeled after the Newlywed Game. It was HYSTERICAL!!! I got back to the room around midnight. We skipped the late night adult surfing dance party/buffet by the pool.

Day 5 January 24 - Georgetown, Grand Cayman
Waking early we got into our swimsuits and went to the dive shop onboard to check out the possibility of diving in Cozumel. They had 5 openings so we decided to wait until we saw how Gerry did on today’s snorkel trip. We ate breakfast, and before going out I checked out bill. There were HUGE charges for our online use, which I knew to be wrong. Gerry was really angry. We went to the Guest Relations desk to straighten it out. It seems that because I registered to use the WiFi on the ships computers it doesn’t transfer to the laptop, even though you are logging into the ship’s WiFi with the same user name and password (but no one tells you that fact). So we thought we were using the plan I had opted for but it wasn’t working on the laptop…AND it was logging in very long sessions, even though we would log out after each use. I got it all straightened out, and we were able to catch the tender to shore.We did some shopping…Gerry got a few shirts. I saw a bracelet I really liked, shown on a sign, but they didn’t have any in stock. I saw another similar to it but couldn’t get the woman to come lower than the 20% discount she had already told me about. I went in and out of several jewelry shops….and since I don’t need or desire anything I didn’t buy anything. I came back to where the bracelet was but she wouldn’t come down in price. Gerry, at least, got himself some cigars too and enjoyed one while I was looking around. It’s so hard to buy things because I can get a of the same beach/tourist things in Florida.

We next went on our excursion. We signed on for a snorkel trip to a wreck and a reef. We had to walk a few blocks to the boat and then wait about 15 min to get on because another boat was blocking ours. Once on we were given flippers and a life vest (I had my own mask and snorkel). The boat moved just slightly away from the pier and…we were there. The water was cool but nice and not very deep so you could see the wreck clearly, but there were too many people snorkeling. We stayed in the water for awhile and then Gerry got out, with me following a short time later. The boat moved a little further out (about 3 minutes) to the reef. Again we went in. I stayed in longer. It was ok but when you are used to diving and seeing GREAT things, it’s a little bit of a let down. But it was nice to be outside and in the water today. On the way home Gerry bought some more cigars. The line to get back onto the tender was enormous so I waited on it while Gerry rested. I have to say that he was great all day though (except when he was SO PO’d about the WiFi bill). He did realize though that he would have difficulty doing a dive tomorrow. No trouble with breathing, but his leg muscles aren’t what they used to be and he didn’t want to risk injuring himself.
Beautiful night out. We sat at the back of the ship while Gerry smoked part of his cigar. Then we walked to the front and wow - the stars were so bright there cause there was less light coming off of the ship. At 8:30 I went down to the show and had a front row seat. The performer was El Gaucho. He is from Uraguay, and was not only a comedian but a very talented musician - guitar, drums, piano. His main “thing” though was bolletos….small balls on the end of ropes that he spins around, sometimes bouncing them on the ground. He took a man from the audience, messed up the man’s hair, and then “combed” it down with the spinning bolletos. It was amazing.

Day 6 January 25 Cozumel
I am so glad that we decided not to go diving. Gerry didn’t feel too good this morning. We went to the breakfast buffet but he didn’t eat much. Then we came downstairs and he rested a little, then decided that we should leave the ship. The ship was tied to the pier so we had to walk a short distance to the cruise ship shopping area. In the first shop I entered I saw a lovely silver bracelet. The man wanted $72 but offered it for $65. I started to walk out but he quickly dropped the price to….$34. I told him I would think about it. We walked a bit and left that area, deciding to walk to the “original” shopping area where other ships were. It was a 3 ½ mile walk. As we went Gerry pointed out places he stayed the two times he had been to Cozumel. When we got into the downtown area we did some shopping. There was another area that was really nice, at the cruise ship area. I bought a little black pool shift for $19 - no bargaining, it was in a regular shop, but no tax. Gerry saw a chess set that he liked. We really don’t need it but he liked it and hey, maybe we will get to play chess once he gives me a refresher course. The young men were so nice and I got him down to $25 from $50 if we paid cash. He would not give it for that price using the charge card so we walked away. We walked down the street with me looking now and then at silver bracelets but none caught my eye. Gerry bought cigars, sun glasses , and I bought a bottle of pure vanilla. I went into a little “pharmacy” to buy shaving cream and mouth wash….$40 pesos = $4 dollars….$8.00 for those two items. AND….they had a sign stating that you could buy certain pharmaceuticals w/o a prescription…cipro, anti-depressants and more. I thought that was so funny! Gerry was good and he waited when I went into a few shops but I always feel pressured, knowing that someone is waiting. I would have liked to have been alone….nothing against him….ANYONE would have impeded me. We also priced the chess sets as we walked around but didn’t get any price lower than $30. We then walked back to the first place where we saw the chess set. They young man said that Gerry could have it for $28 if he was charging it. That was fine…but one piece was severely cracked. I told them I wouldn’t take it and they went into wherever and brought out a few pieces for me to choose from, plus a box to safely carry it in. Gerry then said to the young man, “Tell you what. You were so nice, I’ll give you $30!” I couldn’t believe he did that. He later said that he wanted to tip the boys. But YOU DON’T DO THAT here….not when you bargain the price down! I even told him later that he should have charged the $28 and then handed the kid two dollars!!!! OY!

We got a cab went back to the pier. I went back to where I had seen the silver bracelet. The man remembered me immediately. I picked up the bracelet, happy that it was still there. I also picked up two others. He quoted me $30 for the first (guess he forgot the original agreement), $40 for the silver one with two tiny opals on the ends and $38 for the one with three red stones. I offered him $90 for all three and he agreed if we gave cash. That was all that Gerry and I had b/t us (the rest of our money was back on the ship). I was a happy camper. He was exhausted and hungry so we went back to the ship to eat. I thought of going back down to the shop that had everything silver for $10, but only if you used cash. I would have bought some trinkets as gifts but would have had to go to the ATM on the ship and frankly, while I did want to bring back some things for a few friends and the girls, I don’t have extra money and they didn’t need it. Then I went upstairs and found an ADULTS ONLY pool and after a two second dip I laid in the waning sun and rested.

Another good dinner, Gerry enjoyed his cigar and then we went to the show. The Royal Caribbean performers did a musical comedy called Once Upon A Time. It was terrific, as expected. Gerry then headed to the casino and I went to Studio B (the ice rink) to watch Quest. I had no idea what it was all about…I had just heard that it was so much fun. I was sitting in the front row when it started. Turns out it was an interactive “game show.” I was picked to be one of 4 captains for our team….the group sitting where I was. Richard Spacey, the cruise director, came out and did his schtick. The object of the game was that Richard would call out an object that we had to get or something that someone had to do. As Captains we either did it ourselves or got someone to give the object or “do it.” I was with Carol, her husband Curtis and his friend Mike. We were competing against about 8 other teams. Things we had to do: holding our team number, run to Richard and do a split (I did that….not a full split, of course); bring two shoe laces, not in shoes, to Richard; a guy had to bring up two women’s bras…Carol and I pulled ours off and …; one of the men (on each team) had to take off his shirt, put on a bra, have a woman’s lipstick and pocketbook. Points were given out for having/doing and being first, second, etc. It was so much fun. Toward the end I turned around and Gerry was there. I was so happy to see him, and then, as the game was still going on, he told me that he won big in the casino - with only 3 pulls on the slot machine. WOW! I was so happy for him. He said that they announced his name over the loud speaking in the casino in congratulations. AND…he said I am not allowed to accompany him to the casino anymore because he loses when I go with him. Fine by me…anything to help him win! At the end of Quest we left and went back to the room.

Day 7 January 26
A quiet day at sea. It was a very windy, overcast day with some rain. We went to breakfast and then checked outside. It was still not great sitting out weather so we went back to the room. I went for a walk around the promenade for a bit, then came up, and Gerry and I went to the back of the ship. He had a cigar and I laid in the sun for a short time. When he went downstairs I went to the Adults Only pool, found a lounge and laid out for about 2 hours (fell asleep for a bit). At 4:30 I came downstairs, packed our things and then we got ready for dinner. We had another great meal, went on deck for Gerry’s cigar time and then to the last show. It was great. They had an aerial team who was terrific. Then Richard showed some funny things from the cruise, and then there was a parade of the heads of the ship’s staff. Richard announced that it was his last night on the ship, after 4 months. He was so terrific this whole trip….I think he really helped to make it the fun trip that it was. Afterward I FINALLY got to go up to him and say Hello and tell him that I was Becca’s mom. He remembered them from last week. I even took a pix with him. Then I joined Gerry upstairs and we watched The Green Mile DVD.

Leaving the ship January 27

We woke at 6 but stayed in bed till 7, when I heard the announcement to disembark. We got dressed and left the ship. There was a line but it moved fairly quickly and we got through customs fast too. But we then waited about 30 – 45 minutes for our bags. Miami was cool and very overcast. It was a wonderful cruise…now, back to reality. In two days we will be flying to TX again for Gerry’s scans!!!

2 Comments:

  • At 10:49 AM, Blogger Heather said…

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time! Aren't cruises the best? I can't wait to go on another one.

     
  • At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Sarah HB said…

    Looks like a great time. I am envious.

     

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