Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Miami and Home



By 10:30am we had disembarked the ship and rented a car for the day. We travelled into Miami to visit Jungle Island. Unfortunately it was a super busy day there and the on site parking was full so we had to fight the traffic and go to the shuttle lot...two hours later we finally entered the park. Despite the crowds we enjoyed the birds and animals. Many of them eat right out of your hands...even the flamingos!

We next made our way to the outdoor pedestrian Lincoln Mall where we spotted a small flock of Quaker parakeets flying through the trees. We made our way to Miami Beach for sunset.

Traffic to get into the airport was busy which made it stressful. We took the red-eye flight on Spirit Airlines and landed in Niagara, USA just before 2am. 

I love the small Niagara airport; traffic moves quickly from disembarking the plane to getting luggage to walking out the doors directly to your parked car.

We dropped Cameron off in St Catherine's at 3am and arrived at Graham's place in London at 5am. After a few hours sleep, John and I drove last leg of our journey home. 

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly a holiday flies by.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Labadee, Haiti

John and I were up before the ship docked. While John and I were walking across the sun deck at 7:30am, I was lightly pushed away again by a helpful ship staff person. This time before us was a line of seven separate, oozy turds leading either too or from the ladies washroom. Staff were quickly cleaning it all up.

We noticed a few scattered small two person boats floating a fair distance from land. We were close enough to see that the occupants did not wear life jackets.

The ship soon docked in Labadee, Haiti. Royal Caribbean owns this peninsula and have developed it to be a lovely beach destination, exclusively for their clientele.It is like the land extension of the ship with bars, buffets and washrooms. There is a shopping marketplace, zip lines, snorkel gear, some kind of a bobsleds or roller coaster ride and much more. There are even tram trains to take people around. Locals are not allowed on this part of the island unless they work here.

The water was really warm but rocks in the sand made me regret not bringing my water shoes.

I am loving this time with my three favourite guys and I hate that this trip is passing so quickly. I am having a hard time knowing that they are heading back in a few days...and even a harder time knowing that Graham will be in Germany next year.

The evening show was another singing, dancing and acrobatics extravaganza. We were too pooped to go to the dance club.

Our last cruise day was at sea. I took the opportunity to try all the things I hadn't gotten around to over the week. First was the zip line. It was a short but high line, easy for most but because of my fear of heights, a challenge for me. I didn't look down and all went well.

Next, Graham and I did the rock climbing wall..not quite my forte, I got up about four feet before somehow giving myself a big bruise on the leg and repelling back down. Graham did much better and almost reached the top.

Next came the carousel. Yes, there were other adults on it.

On a roll, I gave the flow rider a try. The flow rider is a wave pool. The ship has two of them; one for boogie boarding and the other for surfing. Some people almost lost their bathing suit bottoms, which wouldn't be pretty since there is usually an audience watching. I did well on the boogie boarding. It was fun.

Cameron had a great time playing sports all day; basketball, ping pong and an adult dodge ball tournament.

Finally I checked out the hot tub before watching the sunset.

We finished packing and put our suitcases outside our stateroom after supper and finished the evening by going to the comedy show.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Jamaica and the White Witch


The day after Cozumel was spent at sea. I woke early because I was in bed the night before at 10pm. Actually I was so tired that night that I was starting to doze at supper between courses. In my own defense, we have supper at 8pm and usually don't finish until 9:30 or 10:00.

Before I went to bed, I stopped by one of the bars to get an ice cold glass of water. I was very dozey on the way back to my cabin and was stopped by one of the staff thus saving me from stepping into a fresh pile of puke....obviously from someone on an unlimited drinks package.

The staff are always quick to clean up those types of incidences.

Anyways, I was up early and went to the gym to work out. John and I have also been very determined to always take the stairs. With 16 floors, I've been easily taking more than 10000 steps every day....yes I brought my pedometer.

John and I decided to miss the 9am breakfast rush and grabbed our shaded deck chairs and ate later. Shortly after breakfast it started to pour and remained drizzly and foggy for the rest of the day. That was fine because we were sheltered in the solarium by the pool and there is never a shortage of things to do on the ship.

John and I grabbed a nap in the afternoon so that I could stay awake for the night life.

It was 70s night. After supper we went onto the Royal Promenade which is like a big street with shops, bars and restaurants on both sides, a small stage in the middle and even a Starbucks.  People were all over the street dancing to the DJs selections from the 70s. Things started to heat up even more when some of the cast from Mama Mia performed more 70's favorites. Suddenly a big sculpture about 20 feet above the floor opened up and unrolled a big metal stage/ bridge above the crowds. Our cruise director dressed in John Travolta's famous white suit came out dancing to Saturday Night Fever. He was a great dancer. Then dancers with Afros showed up all over the place, tossing out light up  glasses, rings and necklaces. The crowd went crazy. Then well toned Village People look a likes took to the stage. The crowd went totally mad. The Village People then got people into a Congo line dancing to "Love Train." So much going on...we didn't know where to look.

After the dance party/ show ended, John and I continued dancing to a live band playing 70s music at Dazzles dance club.

This was the best cruise ship party that I have ever attended. Out of all the cruises John and I have been on, Royal Caribbean has the best entertainment and parties and they offer something for everyone.

I was up bright and early the next day when we docked in Falmouth, Jamaica. It was still overcast. 

The sun came out as we negotiated with a cab driver to take us out all day. He was great. In case anyone is going to Jamaica, here is his info. He can be booked ahead of time. Jamaica Tour Services, Cassel Haughton www.jamaicatourservices.com 

We went first to my top tour priority; Rose Hall. This plantation great house was built in the mid 1700's. In the 1800s a women named Annie Parsons became the plantations second mistress when she married its rich owner. She had been brought up by her Nannie who had instructed her in witchcraft and voodoo. She was cruel to the slaves and became known as the white witch. She took on slave lovers and then would have them killed off, she poisoned her first husband, stabbed another and also murdered her third. She would have her slaves take the bodies to be buried near the sea side and then had other slaves kill the first slaves so that they couldn't tell. At age 29, she was in love with a slave who loved another. She killed her competition and then her love interest later strangled her. Then someone killed that slave. There was much celebrating on the plantation at her death and most of her pictures and personal effects were destroyed at that time. There remains one childhood picture of her. The painted eyes give the illusion that they are following you.

Needless to say, many people believe the plantation is haunted.

It was an expensive visit ($20 US per person) but the house and grounds ( the White Witch is still buried there) were gorgeous.

We next stopped at a place for a gorgeous view before checking out St James Parish church in Montego Bay. Our next destination was another Great house that was made into a hotel with a lovely outside lounging area and another outstanding view.

Cassel took us to a seaside restaurant called Pier One where we had lunch before driving through Hip Street to a private beach.

It was a dash to get back to the cruise terminal. The traffic around the terminal was bumper to bumper and there was a huge lineup to go through security to get on board.

John and I grabbed deck chairs and watched the ship depart.

It was formal night and all you can eat lobster tail night in the dining room. There were other choices for those not in to Lobster. The man beside us ate five lobster tails.

John and I checked out the dancing fountains show before heading to the accapella show and I finally calling it a night.

Cozumel




We slept in till 8am. I was sore from my abs workout the day before.

The ship was already docked in Cozumel.. The last time I was here, I was with Mom.

On board, John and I went to the Windjammer for breakfast and then had a leisurely game of mini putt before checking on our boys. Shockingly, they were ready to go on shore.

We rented a car and explored the island. It's not a large island and only takes about  an hour without stopping to circumnavigate.

We stopped at the small town of El Cedral to check out some very small ruins before driving to the other side of the island.

This part of the island was much less touristed, not built up and had a crashing surf of waters that ranged in colours from a fresh aqua marine to vibrant turquoise to cobalt blue ending with a royal blue on the horizon. I have never seen such beautifully shaded water. This will be the picture in my mind if I ever decide to meditate.

We stopped at a surfside local restaurant that was pricier than I expected, but that was ok cause the view was worth it. John, Graham and I each had a beer but Cameron had a fancy drink that came in a humongous glass. I tasted it, it was quite weak. The food was mediocre, but the view.......

There was a large statue of a Mayan warrior in the restaurant. Someone had put a BBQ apron over his privates. I walked closer to read the inscription . It said " I'm shy but I have a big dick".  Suddenly the apron flies up and a big schlong bolts out. I screeched in surprise to the delight of a group of locals who were laughing it up at the bar. It was only then that I noticed the almost invisible fishing line attached to the hem of the apron. I have no doubt that the guys at the bar held the other end. With the curtain call over, the apron once again closed, covering its surprise for the next unsuspecting tourist.

We next stopped to walk along St Martin beach. The sand was fine and colored the lightest shade of beige, a perfect foil for the gorgeous colours of the ocean.

The weather was incredibly hot.

Once again in the car, our explorations lead us to the larger ruins of San Gervasio. They were neat, not any where as extensive as Tulum or Chichen Itza but still very cool.

The iguanas hung around the ruins like dogs basking in the sun. We also saw some Coati, which are like raccoons but with long pointy noses.

We are now back on the ship, waiting to cast off to our next destination. It was a pretty low key evening because we were pooped from our day.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas

We are now floating along somewhere in the Caribbean.

The day before we left, while I was bending down, my dog Molly jumped up and banged me full force in the nose. I was positive I felt it crack. After all the maintenance I did on myself for this cruise, a broken nose and two black eyes would not be a good look. I was relieved to see that my nose wasn't swollen or my eyes blackened.

Our Niagara, USA to Fort Lauderdale flight was delayed and didn't leave till 4:10am and arrived in Florida shortly before 7am. Needless to say, we didn't get a lot of sleep.

We rented a car and spent the morning picking up some wine and pop before driving to Fort Lauderdale beach for a walk. It was in the 80s and sunny.

After dropping off the car we boarded the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas; the worlds second largest operating cruise ship which accommodates 5,400people at double capacity with a maximum of 6,496 passengers. It has 16 decks, a couple of rock climbing walls, a couple flow riders ( surfing pools), a zip line, mini putt, basketball court and an ice rink. Not to mention a Central Park replica that makes you feel like you are on land...they even pipe in bird song in the daytime and cricket song at night! You forget you are on a ship.

The spa area was nice but not as outstanding as the one we went to with mom on the Costa cruise. Probably for the best though, because I was told that saunas would make the glue for my mink eyelash extensions deteriorate quicker....and I had those extensions put on deliberately for this trip.

After exploring the ship and watching it leave port, we took much needed naps before heading to an 8pm supper. The food was fine, nothing outstanding but still good. 

We kept ourselves awake in order to make our reservation for the Ocean Aria water show. I cannot believe the height the divers were jumping from...the pool underneath must be very deep. The acrobatics were amazing.

We slept like  babies.

Yesterday was a day at sea. I was up at 7am for the morning stretch class which was followed by the abs class. My abs are rather tender today. After a buffet breakfast in the Windjammer marketplace , we payed claim to our lounge chairs in the adult only solarium on the sun deck. I checked out a talk on detoxing in the spa and joined John for lunch at the Windjammer again.

In the afternoon we had reserved tickets to the Broadway musical, Mama Mia. This was the third company I've seen perform it and I think it was the best. 

After showering and changing ( it was formal night), we had reserved tickets to the ice show. I am so impressed with the quality of the entertainment on this ship.

We were 20 minutes late for our supper but all was good. We are not sharing a table with anyone but our own family. They are preparing Grahams meals separately because of his allergies.

We had reservations for the midnight stand up comedy show but I was so tired that Graham, John and I stood in the standby line for the 10:30 show. We got in. It was hilarious but part way through I started to doze off....John kept nudging me because we didn't want the comedian to notice and use it as material for his program.

We called it a night after the show.