Friday, June 13, 2008

A Week of Cruising- Saturday

May 31, 2008
Friday night into Saturday morning was a very long night. Because of where we were situated on the 4th floor we could hear crew members working all night long for when we got into port. Things were rolling and thumping and pretty much just too loud.
To make matters worse people were coming down the hall at all hours of the night, laughing and talking loudly. Stumbling along as they head off to bed to get rid of their hangovers. This went on well into the morning and I think I heard the last one sometime around 2 am.

Saturday morning started bright and early. Laura was determined to see the sunrise so we got up at 5:45 am because the captain said the sunrise would be around 6:15. By the time we got up to the top deck the sun had already been in the air for awhile. I still got some pretty pictures before we went back to our room and fell back to sleep.

We would have stayed in bed had it not been for the noise that once again started up. Not only that, but for some reason the Steward thought we were out of the room so he started to come in.

I don't think I have actually mentioned our Steward. His name was Joel. He and his partner were amazing. They kept our room so clean and neat. Laura and I would go off to breakfast or something and we would come back to find our beds made and everything neat. Ever time we walked out the door and he was there, Joel would say hello and ask us how our days were going. He even remembered our names. We were pretty impressed simply because he remembered our names despite the however many hundreds of people he talked to every day. He made us feel like queens.
I finally knew that sleep was not going to happen for me so I got up. We had our last meal on the deck while watching New York City come into view. I got more pictures of Lady Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Empire State Building.

We also watched the tug boat The Cape Cod pull us into port and the seagulls flying behind us before heading down stairs to gather our stuff and prepare for Express Disembarking.

We seriously expected Disembarking to take well over and hour, but from the time Laura and I hit the line to the time we walked to the Taxi it was all of 45 minutes.

Our taxi driver this time around was a Much better driver and this time we really got a New York City driver. He weaved in and out of traffic so fast and he got us to where we were supposed to go in less time then the first guy. Laura and I tried not to pay attention or we might have had a heart attach just watching him drive.
We checked into our respective airways and while Laura was checking in, I was entertained by a pigeon who had gotten stuck inside. No one really seemed concerned. They just pointed and laughed and went on their way. Poor thing! Not sure he knew which side was up at that point.
We had about half an hour before I needed to go through me line and get to my gate. We stopped at Subway and had subs. It was rather a subdued conversation. Finally around noon we said good bye and I made my way through the line.
All morning we had been watching the weather. The sky was very cloudy when we got into port and it was progressively getting darker as we went along. By the time I sat down and was writing in my journal, I knew that we were in for a nasty storm and not twenty minutes before We were supposed to board our flight we had a nasty Lightening storm. The sky was very black and the rain came down in sheets. I called dad and warned him that I may be delayed, but by the time we were to board, the storm had stopped and the sun was out again.

What a fascinating ride that was: )
If you ever want to learn about the steward or stewardess on the plane, sit in the bulk head or the very first seat. I struck up an interesting conversation with the stewardess the entire way home. That was fun.

This time around I actually got to sit by the window and that was just amazing! I took a bunch of pictures out the window. Mostly of the clouds. Do you know how many dreams I have had of being above the clouds? Not only that, but we were going into big Fluffy clouds. We had a bit of a bumpy ride as we had a draft while going through the clouds. That was really neat because all I could see was white out the window.
I was so grateful to touch down. As the wheels came down on the runway I was grateful that my journey was finally over. I loved the trip and I loved the adventure, but it was so good to know that I was almost home.

Mom and Dad met me and together we got my suitcase before heading for the car. It was heavy. When I left on Sunday my suitcase weighed somewhere around 35 pounds. When I got home it weighed somewhere around 42. Where did I get all that stuff? :)
When I got home we had show and tell before I headed off to have my water cameras developed.
I also made a phone call at that time.
Saturday was the end of my journey, but it took me several days before my body realized that I was no longer on the ship. Every once in a while I would have to grab hold of something just so that I could balance myself. I felt like I was drunk or something : ) Sometime around Tuesday or Wednesday my body became used to the swaying of the ship to the point where my body was compensating for it. Now I know why Pirates really swaggered. It wasn't because they had too much rum, but because they were at sea for so long their bodies had started to compensate.
If any of you are thinking about taking a cruise, Do it! If you don't have the money, start saving up a little at a time. It is so worth every minute of it. I can't wait to do it again.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Week of Cruising- Friday

May 30, 2008
Heading home
"8:20 PM
'Oh Lord, my God, when I in Awesome wonder
Consider all the world Thy Hands have made.
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy Pow'r thro'out the universe displayed.
Then Sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee;
How great thou art, How Great thou art!'
There are no better words to describe what I have seen today.
You don't know the meaning of "as Smooth as glass" until you have seen it for yourself on the ocean. Tonight the water was so smooth it looked literally like glass. The sunset was spectacular with the sunlight shimmering off the water. Laura and I spent from just after supper until just after the sunset out on the deck. It was warm at first, but by the time the sun was gone, we were freezing.

We started the day a little late. Laura was going to see the sunrise, but set the alarm wrong. By the time I woke up and looked at the time, it was quarter after 8.
We went out to the Promenade this morning after breakfast before going to the meeting for disembarking. I got to be the time keeper because Darin said he wanted everything to go quickly. He said no more than 20 minutes and was done in 10.
We went final day shopping before lunch, then I sat out and got a suntan. . . er. . . um. . . burn. Oops!
Then we watched ping pong, ate ice cream, and talked.
We even saw a large sting ray swimming near the surface of the water. Really Cool!
Today we honestly did nothing but sit around and read. I can't tell you how relaxing it is to do nothing, but sit in the sun, read and watch the water while listening to the waves hitting the sides of the ship. We did walk around the ship.
I have pretty much everything packed now. Just a few odds and ends of stuff still sitting on the nightstand. I am so ready to go home.
Laura says she could live on the water. Now me, I love the cruising, but I know I couldn't live on a ship in the middle of the ocean for a long period of time. I'd miss too much of the world."
It was the last day on the ocean. It was rather bitter sweet. Laura and I both knew that in the morning we would be saying goodbye and going our separate ways. The week had gone by really slowly, but for some reason on that last day it felt like we had just gotten on the ship. I have to admit that at certain times of the day I had to catch the tears from forming. Laura and I had had such a wonderful week of feeling like queens and not having to work.
Sometimes there are no words to describe things. I was so thankful I had my camera because without it there are certain things that I have talked about in my blog that wouldn't have made any seance at all. Sometimes even the pictures don't do it justice. Sometimes you have to experience the winds blowing your hair, the smell of the ocean, the sounds of the ship, and the little things that make the ocean, the ocean to understand everything there is on here.
So close your eyes and smell the water, run your hand against the railings and feel the salt build up, face towards the wind and a little over the rail and feel the salt spray on your face and feel the wind. Taste the salt as it slips onto your lips. Listen as the waves slap slowly and methodically on the sides of the ship. Go to the back of the ship and watch as the ship makes waves and turns the water into a green foamy color and listen to the noise of the motor. Look out and see the strange creatures such as flying fish and stingrays as they swim beside the ship.
There is nothing like it. I was so blessed with the opportunity to celebrate God's creation out on the ocean. God must have used a very special paint brush when He created the ocean because He made sure you could see the curve of the horizon so that you know the world is round. He played around with every color of blues and greens and swirled them together to make the water. And every night He takes that delicate paint brush up in His hands and splash the beautiful colors of orange, yellow, blue, green, purple, grey, and white and makes an ocean sunset. How much more beautiful can creation be then that!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Week of Cruising- Thursday

Freeport, Grand Bahama Island
6 AM is officially too early to get up in the morning!
But a beautiful sunrise is worth getting up for.
We got up and threw on clothes before heading up stairs to see the sunrise. We stayed for about 15 minutes or so on deck 13 watching as the ship pulled into port and the sun began to rise behind the many machines loading a large barge possibly heading for the US.
Sometimes pictures are the only way to describe something.
We ate breakfast before getting ready for the day.
We were going snorkeling!
Neither one of us had ever been snorkeling before and we were both very excited about the prospect of taking pictures under water.
By 8 Laura and I were ready to go. It didn't take as long to gather everyone for a morning of snorkeling and we were off. Of course we found out later that we left two behind and they came with another bus.
After showing us how to put our gear on and the types of fish we might see in the reef we were headed out. It's so much fun trying to figure those stupid masks out. A bunch of us struggled with getting the snorkel to go on right and the mask to not leak. Whatever you do! Don't swallow sea water. It tastes nasty and gives you a big upset stomach. Yuck!
Besides the fact that I swallowed a lot of water before the knowledgeable guy fixed the mask for me, I really enjoyed seeing all the fish. Laura and I both had two cameras a piece and we took lots of pictures of the reef.
We were only out for about half an hour or so before we ran out of Film and became very tired of swimming.
We got to sit on the front of the boat where they unfurled the sail and we floated lazily back to shore while listening to Bahamian music. I have never been on a sail boat which has always been something I have wanted to do and so I was very excited. Laura and I closed our eyes because of the salt we had swallowed. I listened to the people as they talked. I heard some rather fascinating stories.
Just going up and down on the waves was relaxing. The sky had a few clouds in it and the water was once again every shade of blue and green imaginable.
It's amazing how the weather can change within a matter of a few minutes. We had gotten back onto the ship and were eating lunch when it decided to rain. It was big fat rain drops that came down and then were gone. It just made the humidity worse.
That afternoon the almost no sleep on Sunday and continuous activities of the week hit me. I was so tired, I took a nap before Laura and I went up stairs to the Spa. She had a massage while I had a manicure.
That night we sat outside and watched the sun go down as usual. Then we went inside and started making the room neater so that the next day when we packed we wouldn't have as much to do. We had every intention of going to the Chocolate night at 11, but I was so tired I knew I wouldn't be able to keep my eyes opened so we didn't go. I am sure that the little piece of Heaven would have been there if we had gone. Oh well. Maybe someday.
Here is just a cute little observation that I saw while on the ship. There were many families on board and a lot of little children. Every night Laura and I were entertained by different babies. They were so cute. The Fathers really seemed to enjoy the fact that they had time with their kids. One such father made me smile. He was at the kids pool with his two daughters who were around the ages of 1 and 3. They had just gotten out of the pool and there was a girl on either side of him. They were running along when he just stopped. Then he asked the girls if they could hop, so he started to hop and they followed. He did this several times asking them if they could walk a certain way. The little girls would look down at his feet and figure out what he was doing. It was so cute.
We were now officially head north once more. We said goodbye to the Southern waters realizing that when we got back it was going to be a whole lot colder.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Week of Cruising- Wednesday

Nassau, Bahamas
The day started out the usual way of Laura and I enjoying breakfast outside.
After lunch we watched as the ship pulled into the Port of Nassau. Another ship was already there and there were people coming in and out of the ship. We decided that our ship was without a doubt much prettier because it had colorful pictures on the sides and the other ship only had words. I should mention here that When we got off the ship we were both sweating bullets within just a few minutes because of the humidity.

We noticed once again that the water literally changed colors drastically. We could see the tour guides lining up to take us to our distinations. We even saw a pirate or two or three. (not real ones mind you. Here is an interesting tidbit of information if you ever go on a cruise. They will take pictures with dressed up people just to try to get you to buy the pictures.)

Our tour that day consisted of a city tour with stops out Fort Fincastle, Fort Charlotte, and the Queens Staircase.

It ended with a tour of the Pirate museum. A must see if you are ever there.
Our Tour guides name was Carvin. He told us that if we forgot what his name was to remember it's what you do with your turkey.... He was a big black man of about 250 to 300 pounds and he had the most awesome Bahamian Accent which he called broken English. It was very quick and many of his words ran in together.

I learned some very interesting facts about Nassau such as the fact that if you see a pink building, it is going to be a government building.
Carvin said they based the color off of their National Bird, the Flamingo. I also learned that the Baptist church is the offical State church in the Bahamas.
I also learned that the Bahamas consist of a large collection of islands and if you are rich and interested and want to retire somewhere in the Warm south, you can buy your very own island.

Nassau has many hills and everyone of them has some sort of fort on top. When you go to the top you can see for miles around.
The government will not stand for law breakers. If you break the law you will either pay with your money (and not cheaply), your time (more years in prison than we Americans could ever imagine), or your life (if you kill, you be killed. Captial punishment is awesome.)
It was rather odd riding around in the van because the drivers side was on the left hand side, they drove on the opposite side of the road then we do, and there aren't any stop signs or red lights except for something like 150 of them. Road rage does not exist there. Who ever is sitting at the cross roads first, gets to go first.

One of our interesting tour stops was the Queen's Staircase. It used to be called I believe the 64 Steps for the 64 steps that were carved out of the mountain side. We were told that it was carved by hand out of the stone face by hundreds of slaves that were forced to work long hours on it after they finished their work for their masters. They work on it for 10 years and never knew that sometime during those 10 years they were freed and could have stopped. But no one ever told them, so they continued for many more years. It is not a staircase for the weak and weary. It goes pretty much straight down.
During our time at Fort Charlotte, I helped the economy by buying two necklaces and a bathing suit wrap.

At last we ended our tour at the Pirate Museum where we entered a replica of a pirate ship and took a tour of the lives of different pirates. We even entered into a battle with Black Beard himself. Of course we were on the winning side and he was killed in the end and we survived.

After that we learned that many stores in the Bahamas close down much earlier then here in the US. Many were closed by 5 :(

We had grad plans of going into certain stores and buying them out :) But of course they ended up closing before we got there. At least I can go to the website. (Anyone interested in products that turn color in the sun go to There's some really cool stuff in that store!)
We were able to stop in Diamonds International and get our free charm bracelets. And after taking a tour of down town, we stopped at a few shops that all the other tourists were visiting and bought some more stuff. That was so much fun.
We also stopped at a little plaza before heading back to the ship and bought some intereting jewlery. Did you know that you can make pins and earrings out of fish scales? Those were really cool. Laura bought one for her sister, but decided not to tell her that they were fish scales.
We got back on the ship in time for supper and I have to say that once again it was wonderful to sit down.
They had a little bit of heaven for supper that night. A chocolate mousse cake. I am convinced it is going to be in Heaven. It was SO GOOD! Of course I had to make sure it was good with a second piece.
Laura and I finished the day by watching two movies. The first one was August Rush with one of my favorite child actors, and the ever Favorite Movie of mine Enchanted. By the time the movie ended around midnight, Laura and I both were almost completely asleep.
Laura had plans of seeing the sunrise so we set our clock for early because not only were we going to see a sunrise, but Snorkeling was at 8 in the morning.