adventure of the seas

All posts tagged adventure of the seas

Caribbean Chronicles – Part Eight

Published 01/05/2013 by julierkendrick

It was our last day at sea and as we woke we took stock of our view out of our window and tried to commit the beautiful blue sea and sky to memory. It really was going to be a bittersweet day. The last one on the boat, the last day spent with the Perrymans and the last day of relaxation in paradise.

After breakfast I wandered round the boat with my camera taking pictures of everything I could so that I would never forget it all. The theatre where we watched so many wonderful shows, the different bars and staff members. The ornate decor and of course our room number. This is a little ritual I have whenever I stay anywhere I always take a photo of my room door so I can remember the number. Weird I know but hey we all have our foibles.

Suite 1278

Suite 1278

Beautiful Lift lobby

Beautiful Lift lobby

We had arranged to meet the Perrymans on the deck for a last sunbathing/rum guzzling session, however when I walked out on deck it was so so windy the sun loungers were flying all over the place. People were fighting against the wind and books and magazines were spinning around like little mini tornadoes.  It was still sunny though and the die hard sun worshipers were steadfastly hanging on to their beds, their faces turned to the rays. I struggled along the

deck to the back end (no idea what this is called) and found a little area where they was no mad wind and waited for the others to turn up and find me. After an hour of reading alone I got bored and decided to brave the elements and try to find everyone.  By the time I found them, down the other end of the ship clinging to their beds, I was tired from battling the wind and gratefully sat down.  I had been sitting for no more than 2 minutes when I heard someone exclaim “Bloody hell look at that”. We all turned towards the sound of the voice to see an enormous black cloud coming our way pretty quickly. Before we could get inside the cloud passed over the ship, dumping its watery contents everywhere and carried on its merry way. Soaked but laughing we went back inside to change and had our rum guzzling session in the sports bar instead.

Dinner that night was a really sad affair, the waiters all came and said goodbye and sang their last song. We had some photos taken to mark the occasion and then Diane told me she had bought me a little gift to remind me of her. I was touched until I opened it and saw she had bought me a monkey toothpick holder. Laughing I promised that I would keep it on my dining table always. I have done just that and I am looking at it as I type.

The Monkey Toothpick Holder

The Monkey Toothpick Holder

The next day dawned as beautifully as ever and we were in Puerto Rico again. We sadly went down to breakfast and ate our final meal. At 10am we left the ship for the last time and started our long long journey home. Puerto Rico to JFK, New York and from there to Heathrow.  No problems flight wise other than the fact that on the journey to Heathrow we were flying at night and the plane was only about 1/3 full. This was great until I decided to lie down on a row of 5 seats to sleep. I had just dozed off when I was rudely woken by a girl in her 20’s telling me to move. She said that as she had sat at the end seat first she should be able to lie down. I pointed out that when I had chosen her row she was fast sleep in her chair sitting upright. Anyway the upshot of it was that I refused to move and she spent the next hour kicking me until I told her to bugger off. After that she left me alone but I never did go back to sleep.

Arriving back in London we retrieved our luggage and went outside to catch the bus to the car park. Stupidly I was wearing only a thin dress and nearly had a heart attack when we left the airport to a temperature of approx 2 degrees.

3 hours later we were home. Sad but full of amazing memories. The welcome we received from our two dogs was enough to put the smiles back on our faces.

So that is the end of Caribbean Chronicles. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed reliving it.

I have no other holidays planned just yet but do have a new plan for my blogs. April was A-Z month and although I don’t want to write a blog every day each time I do the subject will begin with the next letter of the alphabet. I think that will definitely prove to be a challenge with some letters.

Until then, toodles.

Julie 🙂

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Caribbean Chronicles Part Two

Published 13/02/2013 by julierkendrick

Finally, after the mammoth journey, we were in San Juan and as I woke up to the sun streaming into our hotel room I felt myself start to relax. Trevor was looking out of the window and told me he could see the ship. Scrambling to look I was awed  by the size of the huge boat which had docked in the harbour just across the road. Once Sam saw it he was almost impossible to calm down and started leaping around like a gazelle.

DSCN0267

 

After a lovely breakfast of eggs, French toast, bacon and orange juice we brought our cases down to the bell boy and waited to be told where to go. After what seemed an age but was only an hour and half we were directed to a bus for transfer to the ship. One of the other passengers told us to expect boarding to take time as we had to have a sea pass created with all our details on so we could come and go from the ship as we pleased. Plus, with almost 3000 people boarding that day it was unlikely it was going to be a speedy affair, but once again I was wrong. At least this time it was in our favour.

When we arrived at the dock we had to show our papers to the security officer who was directing everyone to join one of 3 queues, all of which we fairly lengthy. However once we produced our papers the man’s face broke into a huge smile and said “Aaah you have a suite you are very special guest.” It was true, I had decided that as this was going to be the holiday of a lifetime for us, I wanted to do it properly and had spent extra money booking a Grand Suite with a balcony so that we could enjoy watching the ocean and sunsets and beautiful scenic views. The guy led us past all three queues straight to the front of the boarding line and showed us straight to the desk where our sea passes were made up in record time and before we knew it we were boarding the Adventure of the Seas. The whole process took about 5 minutes and I have to say it was amazing walking past the hundreds of people queueing for about the 50th time but this time in the boiling heat. We stepped into the belly of the ship to be greeted, by name, by some of the staff and told to go and have lunch and wait for our cabin to be ready. Wow this was starting off very well indeed.

Stepping into the glass lift and pressing floor 11 as we had been directed, we watched as we ascended over the most fabulous promenade. Shops, cafes, bars, even an English pub all waited for us to explore. Everything seemed to be made of gold from the handrails to the fixings for the gigantic chandeliers which hung everywhere. Never in my life had I seen such ostentation done so well.  Calypso music welcomed us to the 11th floor where we were shown into the largest buffet restaurant I had ever seen. Sam’s face was a picture with his mouth open, for once not having any words.

Sam has found the food

Sam has found the food

So, we come to the food. Everyone I have ever spoken to about cruising has told me that the food is spectacular and that there is nothing like it. Yep that pretty much sums it up.  Salads, chicken, fish, fruit, pasta, soups, breads, desserts, every type of food imaginable was there for our enjoyment. I can only begin to imagine how many people it takes to make this amount of food 3 times per day every single day for 3000 people. Not only that but this was one of about 8 restaurants on board, mind-blowing.  I can’t even remember what I ate now, I just know it was delicious and I am so glad I am not on a diet right now.

Soon enough an announcement came over the tannoy system that cabins were ready so we excitedly rushed to find ours. Of course that was easier said than done and we got lost at least three times, ending up in the theatre, the ice rink and the promenade before finding out corridor.  Sam put the car key in the lock and pushed open the door to our suite.  WOW! A huge double bed, a sofa bed, a beautiful bathroom, a mini bar, big flat screen TV and a double balcony were ours for the next 16 days. Not too shabby for Mrs Julie (as I was to be called from now on by the staff).  We could certainly get used to this, especially when we found out that we have our own personal concierge, Fernando who makes up our room twice a day, and who gave us his card telling us to call him any time if we needed anything. We found out later that the general sea passes are blue whereas ours are gold and it is a great buzz to produce it and be given special treatment like VIP seats at shows, priority dining, and access to the VIP pre dining area.

We set sail at 8pm on an overnight cruise to our first port of call St Croix in the US Virgin Islands. Don’t go away, my next blog will tell you all about St Croix and our next stop St Maarten where we had an amazing encounter with a huge astronauts helmet and millions of tropical fish.

Our mini bar area, stocked I may add.

Our mini bar area, stocked I may add.

Ahoy there mateys, til next time.

 

Julie 🙂

 

 

 

 

Caribbean Chronicles Part One

Published 11/02/2013 by julierkendrick

I am sitting on the balcony of our gorgeous suite aboard The Adventure of The Seas watching the shoreline of St Croix, US Virgin Islands slowly receding. I wipe my brow, turned my face toward the gentle tropical breeze and spared a thought for my friends and family back in a snowy UK. Pahahahaha like hell I do. I am enjoying this Mai Tai far too much to sympathise for long.

So, let’s start from the very beginning. We left our house on Friday night to stay in the Holiday Inn at Heathrow in preparation for our flight on Saturday. As excited as we were, we didn’t really expect the journey to be a problem but long haul flights with connections have been an issue for me in the past. (Read Costa Rica Tales for my first hellish journey this way).  We were flying to Miami and connecting to Puerto Rico. Simple? No!

To be honest, the ten hour flight into Miami was fairly pleasant, long but not too painful. The real problem started when we arrived at the gate to disembark. The seat  belt sign flicked off and everyone stood up and struggled to get their hand luggage* out of the overhead lockers elbowing people in the head in their rush. Then we waited and waited and waited a little more. By now people had sat back down and grumbles about missing connecting flights could be heard. After about 20 minutes the captain’s voice came over the tannoy informing us that the ground staff were having trouble connecting the walkway to the door of the plane. I’ve since thought about how that could possibly be. Had our plane shrunk in height during the flight? Were the ground staff incompetent enough to be trying to attach the wrong end? I’ll never know and frankly 45 minutes later no one much cared as we were all making noises about missing our next flights.  As we still had two hours before our plane left I reassured Trevor that all would be fine. Of course I had forgotten about the joy that is immigration.  Eventually the pilot gave up waiting on the ground staff to secure the walkway and moved our plane one gate over where we disembarked 50 minutes after landing.

Lots of the passengers started running to collect their suitcases and continue on their journey but of course we still had plenty of time until our flight…. Yeah, scratch that, we quickly came to a huge long snakelike queue that seemed to be at least two miles long,  to get through immigration and our hearts sank. Like all the other sheep we joined the end and slowly shuffled along, left and right through the lanes until we reached a tiny little female security officer who directed us to stand in another queue to get to the immigration officer.  Trevor was geting increasingly agitated, Sam was becoming bored and I tried to keep smiling and reassuring everyone that it would all be fine.  However, I nearly had to physically restrain Trevor, when, just as we got to the head of the queue a man came and stood in front of us without explanation. It turned out that he hadn’t filled in his forms correctly and had been sent away to do this and then rejoin the queue at the front. Of course it would have to be our queue. Luckily for this guy’s health he didn’t take long and we were soon through the other side. Now even I had admitted defeat and we began running to pick up our cases with less than half and hour to take off. I now knew that Miami is my nemesis. The last time I was here it claimed me for the night (and then charged me for the priviledge) and now it looked like it was happening again.

Ten minutes later, cases claimed and dropped off again, boarding passes at the ready we hit security again. I wouldn’t mind but we were not even leaving the damn airport but still were subjected to these rigorous searches. So belts, shoes, watches and all manner of other items came off and half naked and clutching our trousers at the waists we sprinted the final hurdle to Gate 48, the farthest gate in Miami Airport, of course. As we hurtled along I contemplated grabbing the mobile defibrilator that was conveniently placed along the concourse for other victims of Miami’s missed connection marathon. Gate 48 finally appeared and as we reached our goal with two, yes TWO minutes to spare the information board flashed up “Flight 1299 to San Juan delayed 1 and half hours”  We had no words, just where the hell was that defibrilator? You can’t make this stuff up.

miami airport 2

So, the rest of the journey to our hotel in San Juan was fairly uneventful but I don’t think any of us had ever been so glad to see a bed.

Next time, we board the boat and find out what it is like being VIP’s.

Ahoy there mateys til next time

Julie 🙂

*What the hell is this thing that people have about hand luggage? They seem to take mini suitcases into the cabin now and then spend ages trying to stuff them into the overhead lockers along with all their duty free. I wouldn’t mind but no one ever seems to need what they have in there during a flight.