Cruising

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Caribbean Chronicles – Part Four

Published 20/02/2013 by julierkendrick

The next day, as was now the norm, we arrived in our next port at 8am. This time we were in Antigua. As it was so warm and we didn’t have any excursions planned we decided to wander around the ship and sunbathe for a while. Even though we had been aboard for 5 days there were still places unexplored. We found Johnny Rockets diner, which reminded me of my time in New York with Belcanto when Paige and I had Oreo cookie milkshakes and danced with the chefs. Sam was very happy to find a kids arcade and of course I hunted out the spa where Trevor booked me a strange experience in a pod (more on that later).

Afterwards we went back to our room, where Fernando, our stateroom attendant had made up our room and left us his usual towel sculpture. There we changed into swimwear and went back up on deck 12 to catch some Antiguan rays. As per usual Trevor burnt himself to a crisp while I browned nicely. Sam and I went for a dip in one of the pools and found that it was a salt water pool. It is quite amusing to watch me in a salt water pool because, as I have natural buoyancy in the form of my boobs I can’t sink and struggle to stay upright. After fighting the sodium for a while I gave up and went back to my book.

A towel sculpture

A towel sculpture

A while later we ventured off the boat, which we had now started to call home and went into Antigua. If you’ve ever been there you may remember it being a very noisy vibrant place. Lots of people talking to each other in very loud voices that you could be mistaken for thinking everyone is arguing but of course they are not they just talk at high decibels. We were offered watches, taxis, rum, and other objects and services as we walked along the promenade. It was when we came to a lady offering hair braids that I decided to partake.  $60 and 40 odd braids later I was done and although I was grateful for the hair being off my face, they bloody hurt and I felt like I’d had a bad face-lift. But I was determined to keep them in for at least a few days.

Beinf

Being braided

On the way back we found a duty free shop and bought some flavoured rum, Black Cherry (which was soon to become my favourite tipple) and Mango. Disappointingly though, it was taken off us on the way back into the boat and kept until we leave as they don’t allow people to bring their own alcohol on board (a cheeky way of getting more money out of you by making you buy their drinks).

At dinner that night Trevor’s face got redder and redder and he felt sicker by the minute so he went to bed straight after while me and Sam went to watch the ice show on board. As we settled down to the sleep the boat rocked us gently as we sailed off towards St Lucia.

The next day was Valentine’s Day and I was woken up by my husband with breakfast in bed, a cute card and some roses. The fact that we were in St Lucia on this day was special to us because it was where we came on honeymoon, so being there again, ten years later on Valentine’s Day was a lovely coincidence.

St Lucia

St Lucia

We had an excursion planned for the afternoon, whale and dolphin watching. Although we had swum with dolphins before, none of us had seen a whale in its natural habitat and camera at the ready we jumped on the boat and took our seats. The crew told us that the trip they had done earlier in the day had yielded sights of dolphins and whales in the distance so they planned to travel to that location so we could catch a glimpse also. Three hours later we arrived back at the harbour not having seen even a fin or a tail of the beautiful water mammals. We were a little disappointed but we had enjoyed the trip and the beautiful scenery.

Later that evening we joined our new friends, Diane and Glen and their kids Darryl and Zoe for dinner and Trevor had made the unfortunate choice of wearing a red t-shirt which set off the colour of his face nicely. Much merriment ensued and a great valentine’s night was had by all.

Come back next time for tales of Barbados, turtles and a sea day.

Pieces of eight me hearties.

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 🙂