Last week we went on a cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. Here is a journal of the week:
Day 1 - Embarkation
We spent the night at the Hampton Inn in Cocoa Beach. For $125, we got a night in the hotel (king bed with sofa), free breakfast, free shuttle to and from the port, and free parking. It is a wonderful deal! When I woke up, it was pouring down rain but by the time we finished breakfast, the sun was out and the temperature was wonderful so we walked on the beach. At 10:30, we met in the lobby for the shuttle. When we arrived at the port, we went right in to check in and boarded the ship. By 11am, we were eating lunch on the Lido deck. We walked around and had fun reminiscing about the last time we were on the ship. Our cabin was 7228. Finally we had a bucket of beer and watched people. I tried to switch our dinner time to early seating but the ship is full and the Maître’d couldn’t change us so we had dinner at 8:15 in the Scarlet dining room (upper level – table 679). We are at a table for 4 and met a wonderful couple from Louisville, KY. They are about our age and we had so much in common. I’m kind of glad we didn’t change our dinner time now. We laughed most of the dinner. After dinner we walked along the promenade deck and Don bought 4 bottles of Stolichnaya vodka for $40. I tried to talk him into the Grey Goose (in memory of Kay) but he didn’t buy it…yet. Looking forward to our time on this ship because we are already having fun!
Day 2 - Nassau
After breakfast in the dining room, we decided to walk around Nassau. We had thought about staying on the ship because we had been there so many times, but decided we needed the exercise. We met up with this young couple from another ship who had never been there before and they asked us what they should see. When I told them to go see the Queen’s Staircase, they ended up going with us (safety in numbers I guess) and we enjoyed talking to them along the way. I think we walked about 5-6 miles all day (just guessing). I think we left behind a couple in this port because they kept calling their names and we left 15 minutes later than usual. Before dinner we took a little nap and then had formal night. We really are enjoying our table mates, Lori and Al. Al is from Palestine/Jordan area and Lori is from Kansas. It was interesting to hear Al talk about his culture and religion (Muslim) and how it relates to the Chinese culture. It was about 10pm when we finished dinner so we called it a day.
Day 3 At Sea
When we weren’t sitting around relaxing, we were sleeping or eating! We did go to the cooking demonstration which I always enjoy. Then we went to the show before dinner and heard Jerome Dabney sing Motown. It was another delightful dinner talking and laughing with Al and Lori. I love learning about another culture and we learned about Muslim death and funerals. Also about how much responsibility the oldest male has if the father is dead. On the way out we met a couple from the UK (Sally and Graham) who lived in Greer but just moved to Tampa. After dinner we went to the comedy show and the comedian was John Wesley Austin who was good but I was up way past my bedtime and was quite tired.
Day 4 St. Thomas
At 11am, we arrived in St. Thomas. We did a shore excursion to St. John’s and Trunk Bay yesterday ($75 per person). Island time was 1 hr. ahead of ship’s time. This involved about a ½ mile walk to a boat and then a 40 min. boat ride to St. John’s. Then we got on a bus that took us to Trunk Bay. After a 15 minute orientation and rule talk, we had about 90 min. of snorkeling along the underwater trail. After about 30 min., Don had enough snorkeling so we bought a couple of beers and bags of chips. We left there about 3:30 and got back to the boat dock around 3:45 when it started to pour down rain. They made us wait until 4:45 before they left. We got back to St. Thomas about 5:30 (4:30 ship time) so we had 2 hours before we left but we were too tired to do anything else. Since we missed lunch, we were hungry and headed back to the ship. Dinner at night was a wonderful time and we laughed the whole time!
Day 5 St. Maarten
We spent yesterday at the beach and drank too much beer all day. We found the Caribbean Blend restaurant where we usually hang out. We rented 2 chairs, an umbrella, and 2 floats for $20. A bucket of 5 beers was $10. I didn’t realize that Corona had about an ounce more in the bottle than Carib. Heineken was sold in those small 7 oz. bottles so we avoided them. The water was rougher than usual so we didn’t spend too much time in the water. About 4pm, we were back on the ship. Dinner was another wonderful time and we laughed the entire time!
Day 6 At Sea-Thanksgiving
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We spent most of the day being lazy and just hanging out. We did go to the Marriage game where 3 couples (newlyweds, a couple married 25 years, and a couple married 51 years) tried to answer questions and match each other. Most of the day was spent reading, knitting, and eating. They had turkey at Thanksgiving but Don said it wasn’t very good so I’m glad I ordered the filet mignon. After dinner we went to the show and right before the finale they had technical problems and lost power. It took a few minutes to reset everything and finish the show.
Day 7 At Sea
Most of the day was spent relaxing. I sat on the deck while Don went walking on the track. We went to the dining room around 10am for the Punchliner Brunch so we could use our free drink coupons. It was weird to drink margaritas at 10am (but it had to be 5:00 somewhere!).Don ordered the hen which he said was delicious and I ordered the filet mignon. I expected it to look like a breakfast steak but it was a huge thick piece of steak and it was delicious too! Later we went out to the deck again and enjoy the sun. I was able to finish the heels on my 2 socks and now working on the leg. In the afternoon we packed our suitcases and watched football on TV. We found one of our cabin stewards to ask him to take our luggage in the morning to the new cabin but he said he couldn’t because he was leaving the ship too in the morning. I asked about the other cabin steward and he told us that that guy left the ship in St. Thomas! Then he suggested we put our luggage outside the cabin so it can be taken off the ship and they would bring it back on but we knew that information was wrong. If the luggage was taken off the ship, we would probably never see them again! In the morning we will try to find the new cabin stewards for this cabin and see what we can work out. I finally decided to buy a new bracelet for $25. After dinner we checked to see if the liquor we bought arrived but it hadn’t so we had to track it down. Apparently they hold it until our cruise ends next week but they never told us. That was frustrating.
I was up about 5am and watched us pull into Port Canaveral about 5:30. It was cool to watch the front cam on the TV and the port webcam on the internet to see us pull in. We went for breakfast in the dining room at 7am and had to meet our escort at 9:30am. I was a little stressed out about our luggage though so we went to our new cabin and found the steward to ask if we could bring our suitcases to the cabin. He called his supervisor and said that would be fine so once we got the luggage situated, we were happier. Then we sat in the lobby until after 10am before they finally escorted us off the ship. They didn’t seem to know what they were doing. We ended up at the end of the line at customs (and last time, we went right through in front of everyone). Then they brought us back to the ship.