Once again I kept a little journal during my trip. I have found this offers me something calm to do while on vacation, and it also keeps some thoughts fresh for when I might write them here.
In very general terms I'd have to say that I did not enjoy myself on the cruise. I am glad and thankful for the opportunity and experience, but I won't cruise again unless somebody else pays for it...again. There were so many other highly satisfied people, that I simply must surmise that the cruise experience is a highly individualized one. I entered into this voyage with high expectations and was disappointed on every front, which may or may not be the fault of Royal Caribbean International and the Enchantment of the Seas ship and its crew.
And so, with that introduction, here goes:
May 12, 2008 10pm-ish
Whoever it was who told me you really can't feel the motion of the cruise ship is a big fat liar. We're moving at a fairly good clip now to make up for leaving more than an hour late from port...something about cleaning something under the ship. At least I have this motion sickness patch. While I don't like the motion, at least I know I won't get sick from it. I'm really too tired to write much of anything right now, so I'll try to write more tomorrow.
Tuesday, May 13 1:38pm Key West, Florida
Ahhh....to have a good night's sleep. I haven't had one in over a week, but I slept wonderfully last night.
This morning we slept in. H called and woke us up. We got ready and met them for breakfast then headed down to deck 1 to get of the ship at Key West. We walked the entire length of Duvall St., down to the southernmost beach in the U.S. D & H swam for a bit while A and I just chilled in the lounge chairs on the beach. H was kind enough to ret the chairs for us at $5 a pop. Can you believe that? You have to pay to rent a lounge chair?
I looked over at one point and there was a man who had taken off his swim trunks, and his bare bottom was bright and exposed. It's too bad I didn't get my camera ready in time. It was too funny!
We took a cab back to near the pier and stepped into a CVS. We lost H & D at that point, but I just saw them in an elevator a little bit ago. They were heading to the pool. A & I decided to return to the room for a little bit to rest. All that walking today tired me out! But the weather here is beautiful. Sunny, breezy, and not too hot.
We should be embarking again shortly...for Cozumel, which we will reach tomorrow morning. We're going to gamble in a little bit...slot machines in the casino...neat!
-----I'm back in my stateroom. We cleaned up for dinner earlier; it was formal night. I didn't bring a dress so I wore black slacks and a shiny turquoise blouse. I selected the escargot appetizer which was good and tasty but I'll be ok if I never eat snails again. They were in a butter & garlic sauce...yummy. For the main course I selected the beef filet, which was 'meh'.
I have been completely underwhelmed with the food on this cruise. The food in the Windjammer Cafe is especially poor. I guess at least it's preventing me from overeating. We took such a long nap this afternoon that I felt odd for most of the evening. After dinner I came back and changed. Then H, D, A, and I all went to the Orpheum theatre to watch a show...a lively broadway show tunes revue with selections from West Side Story, Sweet Charity, Hairspray, Little Shop of Horrors, and Chicago. The performance was good quality. The orchestra was marginal. After the show I went to the casino and dropped $40 in the slot machines.
Then A & I each put $20 into a machine that pushes quarters over a couple of ledges. It was great fun. I came back to the room, and A went to go join H & D at the Viking Lounge for drinking and 70s dancing. I don't want to either drink or dance tonight, as I'm still feeling sucker-punched due to the pneumonia that still has its hold on me, so I just got ready for bed.
Wednesday, May 14 6:20pm
We left Cozumel a little while ago. Now we're headed for Belize. We're just a few miles from shore, sailing along the Yucatan Peninsula before we cross over to Belize. I love it when the Captain speaks on the intercom system, explaining our location, velocity, sea conditions, and the like. He is from Croatia and has that hunky Eastern European accent. Our head waiter said the Captain is a 'nice man'. I don't care if he's a nice man or not; I care if he can Captain this ship well, and I only have reason to think he can.
We've passed by the place called Playa Mia where A & I went today on the "Deluxe Beach Break" excursion. As of breakfast this morning we still didn't have any fixed plans for the day, so we grabbed an excursions sheet and decided upon the Deluxe Beach Break.
We got off the ship, walked the length of the pier, and stood around waiting for our group leader to call us. Then we shopped a little, too. I bought a big bottle of water and some big bandaids for my blistering heel. Finally we boarded a bus for the drive to Playa Mia. We lounged on the beach, swam in the pool, partook of some alcoholic beverages, ate some crappy food, A did some shopping, then we re-boarded the bus to return to the pier.
I cut my foot on the rocks below the water at the beach. Fortunately, A has some Neosporin, so I should be ok soon.
I had my picture taken holding an iguana...$20 for the pic and frame. It was nifty. We were so hungry when we returned that we quickly showered and went to the Solarium to grab a quick bite. We all agreed that the Windjammer Cafe is completely yucky, so we're avoiding it. I had a slice of pepperoni pizza then went back for chili fries, a move which I am now regretting. We're resting now; we'll have dinner at 8:30pm, then we plan on coming back to the stateroom and going to sleep. I keep having to go in search of ice because my stateroom attendant, Sean, is not taking care of us in this respect. In all other respects he is wonderful, but if the ice machine is off limits to passengers, he needs to make certain we have ice available to us in our rooms.
Thursday, May 15, 2008 2:47pm Belize
I have just returned from lunch with N & M in the Windjammer Cafe. All the food in the Windjammer is sub-par, so I went with a baconburger again. All the food has been 'meh'.
Snorkeling was a good time this morning. Our excursion was called "Catamaran Snorkeling at Rondezvous Caye". All the folks on morning excursions met in the Orpheum Theatre this morning, and we waited until our tour was called.
The ship is anchored a few miles off shore along with 2 Carnival cruise ships. Apparently the water is way too shallow to dock at the pier. So we boarded the catamaran from the tender station below deck one...maybe it's actually on deck one. It's where all the crew quarters are, I know that much at least.
H, D, A, and I went to the upper deck of the catamaran while N & M were seated on the first floor. It took us about 45 minutes across choppy seas (thank goodness for the anti-motion sickness patch!) to reach the tiny private island. And boy was it tiny! It probably wasn't 150 feet long and maybe 70-100 feet wide. We jumped off the boat in our flippers, and with masks and snorkels in hand, then began to snorkel.
It's a bit of an odd feeling, really, to breathe through a snorkel. N had some lady near her freak out and clutch onto her. N pushed her away, put the lady's snorkel in her mouth and told her to breathe through it. Then she did the double waving arm signal for help. N said the guys in the sea kayaks came immediately and pulled the lady out of the water. Way to go, N! She probably saved that lady's life.
I was able to take pictures with the underwater camera I bought. I have another camera to A, so it'll be interesting to see how the pictures come out. I was disappointed that there weren't more fish, but I took pictures of what I could. I started getting tired, and I kept getting water in my snorkel because of the big waves crashing over our heads. I swallowed more than my share of saltwater but am no worse for it.
This little island started as a dumping ground for conch shells. Apparently it was the local spot for hundreds of years for shops to come to, clean their catch of conch, and toss the shells overboard. Over time the island built up. Now it has a handful of palm trees, a thatch-roofed shelter, and still plenty of conch shells all around it. The guides told us where to step and where not to, to avoid getting cut by the shells.
I saw some conch on the bottom that were enormous...perhaps 2 feet across. Huge! We weren't allowed to take any shells with us. After the snorkeling was done, we swam back to the catamaran where the rum punch started flowing. The combination of heat, exercise, and alcohol made for a very fun spectacle. I didn't drink the rum punch, opting for my big bottle of water instead, but almost everyone else on the top deck did. Oh, what fun we had! Some of the guides started dancing, the music was turned way up, and people generally enjoyed themselves. There was a limbo game, lots of wacky photographs, and people talking and laughing. I was an observer and still really enjoyed myself. As the tender hooked back up with the ship, many of the other people were staring at our revelry in a jealous manner. ha hah! I carried everyone's stuff back to my stateroom while H, D, and A caught another tender into Belize City.