Thursday, October 18, 2012

Music to My Ears

My philosophy is that the best way to cure post-trip blues is to book another trip, so we’ve decided to plan a weekend getaway to the RIU Palace Las Americas in Cancun. I was looking at videos about the RIU on YouTube, and in one of the videos I could hear the sounds of cling-cling birds in the background. Instantly, I was back in the Caribbean, eating breakfast at an outdoor table and watching the cling-clings trying to steal packets of sugar. Funny how certain sounds say “vacation”. You’d think it would be the sound of waves on the beach, but for me it’s the squeaks of the cling-cling birds and the tweets of the tree frogs at night.

bird at Sandals Montego Bay
Cling-cling bird at Sandals Montego Bay

Monday, October 15, 2012

How Cruising Has Changed

My parents just got back from their 50th Anniversary New England/Canada cruise. My dad took his laptop and I really enjoyed getting daily email updates about their adventures. It got me thinking about how cruising has changed since our first cruise in 1991, especially in the area of dining.

Back then there was only one option for dinner – the Main Dining Room (MDR). Everyone was assigned either to early seating (6:30) or late seating (8:30). For the length of the cruise, you sat at the same table every night and had the same wait staff. The waiters quickly got to know your preferences and would soon start bringing you things without you even having to ask. I remember one cruise, Daddy asked for lemon for his tea and after the first night, the waiter brought him “lemon cocktails” - sliced lemons placed around the edge of a glass like shrimp in a shrimp cocktail. Dining was elegant and service was amazing.

Jewel of the Seas main dining room
Main Dining Room on Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas

Saturday, October 6, 2012

One Hundred Days and Counting

I was reading the Cruise Critic boards before this trip, and someone mentioned that they were celebrating their 100th day at sea. That made me think, “Hmmm, I bet we’re getting close to 100 days too.” So I counted up our cruises and it turned out that we had our 100th day on Jewel of the Seas this past January. Since that first honeymoon cruise 21 years ago, we have now spent 104 days at sea. Who knew back then all the places we would go.

Here’s to the next 100 days!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Monarch Day 3 - Coco Cay

The next morning I woke up early and couldn’t go back to sleep. I pulled on some clothes and slipped out of the cabin with my camera. We were headed west so I walked to the stern where the sun was just starting to rise over the ship’s wake. There were only a few other people around, quietly sharing the moment. It was so peaceful.

sunrise on Monarch of the Seas

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Monarch Day 2 - Nassau

We didn’t arrive in Nassau until noon, so we spent the morning hanging out around the pool, watching the usual activities like ice carving, cocktail-making classes and the Sexiest Man competition. As the ship pulled into Nassau Harbor, Ron got a big smile on his face and said, “Honey, we’re home!” There were two ships already in port - Carnival Imagination and our honeymoon ship, Carnival Fantasy. Hard to believe it has been 21 years of marriage and cruising.

Monarch of the Seas pool deck
Morning on the ship

Farewell to Monarch (Sept. 28 - Oct. 1, 2012)

aboard Monarch of the Seas

This was our third cruise on Monarch of the Seas and it will be our last because she is leaving the Royal Caribbean fleet in a few months. Built in 1991, Monarch was one of the biggest cruise ships at the time but now she’s looking pretty small and tired. And after three cruises on the same ship, I’m definitely looking forward to checking out Monarch’s replacement, Enchantment of the Seas, next year. On the other hand, Ron and I never get tired of weekend trips to the Bahamas. So when Ron heard that there was a company offering an all-inclusive (open bar) package this weekend, he signed us up.

We’d decided to leave our car with Park N Cruise instead of parking at Port Canaveral since it would only cost $25 instead of $60. The Park N Cruise lot was easy to find but once we got there, it seemed to take forever for them to fill up the shuttle. We watched in amazement as the shuttle driver loaded huge suitcase after huge suitcase into the van. I whispered to Ron, “How many cruises are these guys taking?” Seriously people, it’s only a 3-day cruise!