We are sailing….

Actually we will be tomorrow – on a cruise to the Caribbean.  7 days of stress free living.  It’s a family thing, my Mom & Dad (their first cruise), one of my sisters, my brother-in-law and my eldest daughter are all going.  We’ve been looking forward to this for several months.  Tonight we are in Houston near the airport where my daughter will fly in tomorrow and join us.  Then a short drive to Galveston to Princess Cruise Lines.

And where are we heading to?  The Island of Roatan, Honduras; Belize City, Belize and finally the Island of Cozumel, Mexico.

Although strictly speaking I won’t be sailing, here’s my favorite sailing song for the occasion! (A very young Rod Stewart!!)

St Vincent (Day??)

I have to tell you, I was beginning to have issues with this cruise.  Did you ever see that old film “If It’s Tuesday It Must Be Belgium”?  It’s about a bus tour in Europe that sees like 10 countries in 7 days (or something silly like that).  Well, that is how I was feeling and I was beginning to feel a bit of resentment.  When I would go ashore there was a ton of shopping – duty free is the flavor of the month.  Diamonds and other gems, not my cup of tea nor do I associate these types of goods with the Caribbean.  So, I was feeling very dissatisfied.

Yesterday I went ashore like the good little cruise-taker.  Walked through a spate of duty free shops and stood in line for the bus to downtown.  And I didn’t want to go.  I really didn’t want to see one more shop with a silk-screen print, another bottle of perfume, another bottle of booze, another designer purse.  And I thought to myself, “so, what do you want to do”?  And I decided what I really wanted was to go back on the boat and spend the day on my balcony watching the ocean, knitting and reading.  So I did – and it was one of the best days ever!

Last night the sun set was amazing…

IMG_3156

Today I’d booked a trip to the botanical garden on St Vincent.  It is the oldest botanical garden in the Caribbean and I love gardens.  So at 9am I was on the bus ready for the tour.  It was a small garden and as a flower lover I was disappointed since the majority of this garden is trees.  And it wasn’t what I was anticipating.  But our guide works full time for the forest ministry, and does tours on the weekends, and was full of information.  Not only about the trees and the plants but of the island history as well.  Then we set off for a second garden.

Traffic wasn’t bad, and it was interesting looking out at the sights…

IMG_3219

And after winding our way over some mountains we arrived at the second garden.  This one had been privately owned by a Welsh man who bought the disused land in 1991 and turned it into the tropical oasis of today – 7 1/2 acres of lush, tropical gardens.

IMG_3249

IMG_3261

IMG_3276

And tonight I shall sleep wonderfully!

Trinidad (Day 6)

Today was hot (90F) and humid.  As I looked down at Trinidad over the ship’s railing I decided that I really didn’t walk all that way to town just to look around shops.  So I decided to spend the day on the ship, resting and getting ready for other stops.
The port looked pretty much like other busy ports – full of containers…
And the town looked like other modern towns…
But what surprised me were the number of boats that had partially sunk and left were they were!
SORRY ABOUT THE SPACES – TECHNICAL ISSUES!!!
Today was hot (90F) and humid.  As I looked down at Trinidad over the ship’s railing I decided that I didn’t really want to walk all that way to town just to look around the shops.  So I decided to spend the day on the ship, resting and getting ready for other stops.
IMG_3058
The port looked pretty much like other busy ports – full of containers…   And the town looked like other modern towns…
IMG_3056
IMG_3083
But what surprised me were the number of boats that had partially sunk and left were they were!
IMG_3061
IMG_3110
IMG_3120

Aruba (Day 3)

We awoke this morning already docked.  It was overcast and hazy, but it was still a great sight.
After breakfast we headed out into town – and enjoyed looking in the windows of the shops.  But, since diamonds, emeralds or rubies were not on my “must buy today” list, we decided to take a van-tour around the island.
Aruba is very arid – and has some huge cacti.  It was not what I expected, but perhaps that made it all the more fun?  We saw the sights and our tour guide was a young, enthusiastic man who shared all sorts of island information with us.  Whose to say if all of it is true or not, but I can promise you it was entertaining!
For example, we learned that drugs are not an issue here in Aruba.  And why  is that so?  It is, according to our guide, because this fantastic light house has cameras all around and the police (of which there are 200 on the island, and they only come out at night) can stop the Columbians from bringing in the drugs because they capture them on film.  And to prove the point, up to the light house we went.  I’ll let you decide…
Traffic was held up a bit in both directions while this fellow made it safely across the road.  Do you think he was going home?
And finally it was time to return to the ship.  As we left Aruba it was with a feeling of having experienced something a bit unexpected and exciting.
I wonder what tomorrow’s journey to Curacao will bring?
We awoke this morning already docked.  It was overcast and hazy, but it was still a great sight.
IMG_2828
After breakfast we headed out into town – and enjoyed looking in the windows of the shops.  But, since diamonds, emeralds or rubies were not on my “must buy today” list, we decided to take a van-tour around the island.
Aruba is very arid – and has some huge cacti.  It was not what I expected, but perhaps that made it all the more fun?  We saw the sights and our tour guide was a young, enthusiastic man who shared all sorts of island information with us.  Whose to say if all of it is true or not, but I can promise you it was entertaining!
IMG_2851
For example, we learned that drugs are not an issue here in Aruba.  And why  is that so?  It is, according to our guide, because this fantastic light house has cameras all around and the police (of which there are 200 on the island, and they only come out at night) can stop the Columbians from bringing in the drugs because they capture them on film.  And to prove the point, up to the light house we went.  I’ll let you decide…
IMG_2878 copy
Traffic was held up a bit in both directions while this fellow made it safely across the road.  Do you think he was going home?
IMG_2870
And finally it was time to return to the ship.  As we left Aruba it was with a feeling of having experienced something a bit unexpected and exciting.
IMG_2893
I wonder what tomorrow’s journey to Curacao will bring?

Afternoon Tea on the High Seas (Day 2)

So in the wee hours of this morning I was awakened by a BIG thump.  When I became sufficiently awake I realized that the boat was really rolling – not only side-to-side, but up and down.  Figuring something had fallen off a table or the desk I turned on the light – but I couldn’t find anything out of place.  I wonder if one of my neighbors fell out of their bed?
So it was to be a quiet day.  I decided to attend “afternoon tea”.  According to the book in my room…
“Traditional Afternoon Tea with scones, tea sandwiches and white-gloved service is served daily in the Da Vinci Dining Room from 3:30 – 4:30pm.”
I called to make reservations, but no – not required.  I was reminded that the dress code was “smart casuual” which was to mean, for women, a pant suit or business attire and for men, trousers and a shirt.  No shorts or sports attire whatsoever.
So off I went for Afternoon Tea.  I think I was the only one there not in shorts or sports clothes.  They wanted to sit me with a bunch of strange people – I decided that Tea was not worth crowding into an already full table (one spare chair) so I’d just leave.  When the manager asked why I was leaving I replied I didn’t want to sit with others, so he arranged for me to be able to sit by myself.  I no sooner had my sat my seater down when tea was poured and waiters began to arrive with trays of food to offer me.  I settled for a small scone, a bit of jam and some cream.  While accordion music filled the air, with voices of those trying to have conversations rose ever louder, the wait staff discreetly twirled to the “beat” of the music.  And there was not a white glove to be seen.  However, while in no way even close to what I thought I would experience, it was entertainment.
Then tonight we went to see a comedian.  I was not expecting much and was so delighted to find myself laughing time and time again.
Today the seas have been very rough.  The swimming pools had to be closed, and the bar at the end of one of them was the recipient of a “rough swimming pool” wave – soaking everything.  Even the wait staff were looking a bit green this evening!
Tomorrow we have our first stop – Aruba.  I am looking forward to being on land for a few hours, although I have been warned that I’ll probably continue to stagger like a drunken fool.  Oh well.  No tour – we are just going to disembark and enjoy the day!

So in the wee hours of this morning I was awakened by a BIG thump.  When I became sufficiently awake I realized that the boat was really rolling – not only side-to-side, but up and down.  Figuring something had fallen off a table or the desk I turned on the light – but I couldn’t find anything out of place.  I wonder if one of my neighbors fell out of their bed?

So it was to be a quiet day.  I decided to attend “afternoon tea”.  According to the book in my room…

“Traditional Afternoon Tea with scones, tea sandwiches and white-gloved service is served daily in the Da Vinci Dining Room from 3:30 – 4:30pm.”

I called to make reservations, but no – not required.  I was reminded that the dress code was “smart casuual” which was to mean, for women, a pant suit or business attire and for men, trousers and a shirt.  No shorts or sports attire whatsoever.

So off I went for Afternoon Tea.  I think I was the only one there not in shorts or sports clothes.  They wanted to sit me with a bunch of strange people – I decided that Tea was not worth crowding into an already full table (one spare chair) so I’d just leave.  When the manager asked why I was leaving I replied I didn’t want to sit with others, so he arranged for me to be able to sit by myself.  I no sooner had my sat my seater down when tea was poured and waiters began to arrive with trays of food to offer me.  I settled for a small scone, a bit of jam and some cream.  While accordion music filled the air, with voices of those trying to have conversations rose ever louder, the wait staff discreetly twirled to the “beat” of the music.  And there was not a white glove to be seen.  However, while in no way even close to what I thought I would experience, it was entertainment.

Then tonight we went to see a comedian.  I was not expecting much and was so delighted to find myself laughing time and time again.

Today the seas have been very rough.  The swimming pools had to be closed, and the bar at the end of one of them was the recipient of a “rough swimming pool” wave – soaking everything.  Even the wait staff were looking a bit green this evening!

Tomorrow we have our first stop – Aruba.  I am looking forward to being on land for a few hours, although I have been warned that I’ll probably continue to stagger like a drunken fool.  Oh well.  No tour – we are just going to disembark and enjoy the day!