Our Trip to Roatan, Costa Maya and Cozumel……Part 4

This is my last Blog of our cruise from last April….So so far behind, but I figured I better wrap it up. It was certainly a great time with great friends, old and new. Memories for a lifetime.

We managed to survive Costa Maya. After a very Adventerous day on Thursday on the beach, and a good nites sleep, we arrived at Cozumel on Friday morning very early. Everyone had different plans for Cozumel. Mel and Travis was renting a trike for a fun tour of the island. Theresa and Ron, Lorie and Mark were renting a Jeep for a tour. But the rest of us were just going to just be tourists and shop. Rich actually felt pretty good considering his condition the day before. Now I woke up feeling nauseous. But after several attempts at getting up it went away. But I was really tired. Too much sun the day before I think. We were already docked in Cozumel, so we went to breakfast. Everyone leaving the boat for tours was already gone. I never dreamed that Ron would be up and at it already. He wasn’t in the best of shape either the day before. We went to the Windjammer and looked at the beautiful view of Cozumel.

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You have to realize we were on the 11th floor looking over the city. The view was spectacular. The amazing shades of blues as the sun passed over the water. After breakfast we went ashore and did a little shopping. We were rather tired from the day before…..lol..go figure...so we didn’t go far. We looked at souvenir shops, sat down and did some people watching and Rich of course did a little alcohol sampling. He bought several bottles of booze, then we checked them in at customs. They took control of them, by labeling our room number. They would be brought on board and finally given to us the last day of the cruise.

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Finally back on board we went, time to rest up the rest of the day. We did a lot of people watching. That night a had a fabulous party on the Promenade Deck. On the crossovers high above the people, they had a 60s-70s party.

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It was non-stop music and dancing. They sang some great Songs.…like YMCA and many others. It lasted for hours.. I watched from the window in our room. Their was so much wonderful entertainment on board. Every night was a show in the Theater. We had Comedians, Magicians, and also a couple doing an Aerial Act.

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Also my favorite show was Stephanie Parker. She sang Whitney Houston songs. She was so so talented. Such a quality show. I talked with her later. She has a contract with Royal Caribbean for the season. She was going to have some time off. When we arrived at Cozumel, she was flying home to Las Vegas for some R & R.

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Also they even had a Skating Rink. It was open for free skating at times, and they also held several shows.

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It was really a quite elaborate show. They had beautiful costumes, fabulous lighting, and such creative choreography. On the last nite, we watched the last show in the Platinum Theater. It was a synopsis of all the shows of the week. A storm had come up. The seas picked up and you could feel the boat start to move side to side. You could feel it as you walked, so I was somewhat tense so I wouldn’t stumble. We went and sat in the theater, and waited for the show to begin. We watched the stage curtains. Some had strings of lights hanging down in them. As we watched, the curtains swayed one way……and then the other way……then back the other way….and then back again. lol. I asked Rich, “Do you see those curtains???” He said “yes, I’m trying not to look”...lol….As I sat their, I kept thinking…..above me is a huge swimming pool full of water. lol. Well it was fine. Show was over and we went to bed for the last time. Rich had collected his liquor and purchased more of course. Everyone else had also collected theirs also. We were packed for our departure in the morning. We woke up in the morning and had our schedules as when to get ready to debark. We had set all our luggage out the night before. They take it and unload it for us. All we have to do is claim it in the terminal. Everything is very orderly. Sadly we headed for the terminal. Now all that wonderful warm weather turned to dreary chilly weather. Vacation is over. We were picked up by the parking lot van and returned to our cars.

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Now came the time for goodbyes. Ron, Theresa, Rich and I would head south to Harlingen and the sun. The rest would head north west to the cold of Nebraska. Great Trip……Made some Great New Friends…..Everyone vowed to do it again….

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This was our magnetic door signs that Ron and Theresa made for us all. We autographed them all at the end of the trip. Even Barrington our Room Steward. Next, these are some of our fun shots.

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Now here is our Group Shots.

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It was a FABULOUS CRUISE. I would do it again in a minute. We had such a good time. I believe Royal Caribbean was an AWESOME Cruise Line. You can make this cruise as affordable as you wish. You can relatively spend very little after you board if you wish. All shows are free. So many restaurants and buffets to choose from. All the swimming and fun on the top of the ship. Or you can spend as much as you want in the bars and casino, or shopping. One can buy that special diamond or other precious gems. So its totally up to the person as to how to enjoy the cruise.

This was “A CRUISE OF A LIFETIME”

Our Trip to Roatan, Costa Maya, & Cozumel….Part 2

Finally we were heading to sea.  We had went to the Heliport to watch our casting off and now we were moving.  As much as I would have liked to have stayed outside and watched us move out through the channel, it was to cold and windy.  So time to go inside and EXPLORE our ship.  Dinner was at 5:30.  Tonite would be dress casual in the formal dinning room.  We had our luggage, but many people did not.  They said it could take up to 7 pm for the late arrivals to get their delivered to their stateroom.  It pays to be one of the first to board.  So therefore that is why dinner was casual.  Everyone has the option to eat in the formal dinning room assigned or just eat at the Windjammer Café Buffet.  We were assigned to the Michelangelo Restaurant on Deck 3 at table #424.  Their are 3 Formal dining rooms, The Botticelli on Deck 5, The Michelangelo on Deck 4, and The Rembrandt on Deck 3.

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This is the interior of our dinning room on Deck 3.  It is so elegant.  The center of the room is open to display all three floors.  In the center is a Beautiful, Stunning Elegant Chandelier.  It is surrounded by beautiful gold columns extending from the bottom to the top.  Beautiful lights and decorations make you feel like your in an Italian Palace.

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At the far end is an elegant circular staircase joining all 3 dinning rooms together.  At the end of our cruise the cooks and waiters filled the stairways and sang several songs and paraded through all 3 dinning rooms…..It was pretty awesome.  So we found our table and were seated.  Linen table clothes and silverware placed for every course.  We were presented with the Menu.  It was clipped to a board and was changed every meal.  We had choices of Appetizer, Main course and Dessert.  You could choose as many as you wanted.  The waiter brought each course and then as we ate, they would take the finished dish and the proper silverware would be taken and the new silverware arranged appropriately.  We had a head waiter as well as his assistant.  They worked in unison together as they took care of their assigned 4 tables.  So that was 32 people.

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By the 2nd nite they not only new your name, but they also remembered what you drank.  Our favorite was Oral C.  The assistant on the right of the photo.  He was so nice, friendly and did his job meticulously.  He always was ready for a joke or small talk if he had time.  They loved their job obviously.  Finally it was time to explore the ship.

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This is one of the 14 elevators on the ship.  They went from Deck 1 to Deck 14.  It was so cool to ride and look out at the Promenade Deck as you rode up.  20180408_163836.jpg

This is the walkway to the Promenade Area, the main street of the ship on Deck 5 This area is full of shopping from clothes, purses, alcohol, to Fine Watches and Diamonds.  It also had many Pubs, Ben and Jerrys Ice Cream, Sorrentos Pizza, A Cupcake shop and tables and chairs set out to sit, converse and just people watch.  20180408_162729.jpg

On the other end is the Platinum Theater.  The stairways were cascading white marble steps with Brass Handrails…So Elegant…They held a program for us newbies in the Theater to Welcome us to the ship and tell as about upcoming events.20180408_142828.jpg

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This is a beautiful Theater.  It also had a balcony and held 1,300 people.  Every nite they held a fabulous show.  They also had bar service and you could order at your seat.  20180408_201030.jpg

This is another view of the Promenade area from the end areas.  Every floor had a crossover to the other side that was open to the Promenade.  Notice Shrek in the foreground.  This is also a “DreamWorks” Cruise.  Many of the characters were out and about everyday.  20180408_201108.jpg

Another view from the end looking down to the entrance of the Platinum Theater.  I am actually standing on Deck 6 and the bottom of the stairs is Deck 3…..20180408_162818.jpg

Another one of the Characters with Ron on the right.  So now down to Deck 3.  20180408_142531.jpg

We walked through the Casino.  Yes if you were a gambler, you could surely enjoy your time here.  Everything available to you in every type of game.  Their is almost 300 slot machines and 19 gaming tables.  We choose not to enjoy this area of the boat.  I would have a hard time stopping, so better not to play.  Their was a number of bars on this level, including a Piano Bar.  They were small and intimate.  A place to relax.  It had been a long day, so time to head back up to Deck 6 and our new home for a week.  We entered and found that the room steward had been their, Turned down our bed, closed the curtains and left us with the new addition of The Cruise Compass.

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It is the daily schedule of everything going on.  All the dinner schedules, entertainment schedules, time we dock if going into port, or anything we needed to know.  Every evening he brought a new one when he turned down the bed.  Every afternoon while at lunch, he would make our bed and change our linens.  We were so pampered.FB_IMG_1524226692181.jpg

This is our Room Steward, Barrington.  He had knocked at our door the first day and introduced himself.  He is from Jamaica and has worked for Royal Caribbean for 19 years.  They work for 10 months and then have 2 months off.  Difficult way to live I think.  Barrington was just Awesome He was so friendly.  His goal to make sure we had fun and enjoyed everyday.  I mentioned to him one afternoon that my shower was leaking at the bottom.  He said he would take care of it.  The next morning during my shower, I noticed it was fixed.  …..Amazing…..I couldn’t believe it was already fixed, and we didn’t even see anyone.  Barrington knew all our names immediately and made us all feel special.  He always seemed to know when we left so that he could do his duties.  20180411_211939.jpg

Many times during the week, we would come into our room to find an animal made out of towels.  This was my favorite.  He put my sunglasses on the BAT.  So as we got ready for bed, we sat their and realized we could feel the gently rocking of the boat.  It wasn’t much, but Rich could feel it.  He had taken a Dramamine that afternoon, just in case it might bother him.  We could hear the Hang tag in the bathroom gently rocking back and forth.  We slept pretty good, in fact I slept longer than normal.  Their was no daylight to tell you what time it was…..lol…In the morning, we explored the TV channels.  Their was very little outside channels.  Just a couple old movie channels.  They had their own RC TV.  You could watch and see what was happening today.  How to shop for Diamonds and Precious Gems on board as well as when you were in Port.  They showed you different Ships they had and the Trips they had available.  Down stairs you could book you Next Cruise with a discount at a considerable savings.  Also, the most important thing on the TV was you could watch your account daily.  Any credits you might have attained on purchasing your tickets were added on as a credit.  Anytime you purchased on board with your Seapass Card were their immediately, and the Daily Gratuity’s of $14.50 each person were also added.  These tips would be divided between the Room Steward and the Dinning room waiters.  Possibly others but not sure.  So it was your option to give extra if you thought they deserved it.  As I mentioned before, this account is either set up as a cash account before hand, or attached to a card of your choice.  In the morning  we slowly got up and headed for the Windjammer for Breakfast.  What an AWESOME selection.  Anything you could imagine.  20180411_105815.jpgWe found a table by the window and enjoyed watching the sea…..The endless water, the swell of the waves flowing up and down.  They said they were about 6 ft, but it sure didn’t look like it.  We were on Deck 11 looking down.  Their were just small white caps.  Nothing was in the distance except for the sea ending in a haze as it met the sky……So this was our next 2 days.  We would be at sea till Wed.  when we docked at Roatan Honduras, our farthest point…..(Or so we thought)….So now time to explore the top decks…..11-14….Ill start at the front of the ship.  Well not really the front but behind the heliport and the Captains Bridge.  We entered the Solarium.  It is the pool area for the over 18 year olds….Now that would be our area.  20180409_131453.jpgIt was a small but beautiful pool…plenty of lounge chairs all around in the sun or shade.  A bar of course.  Adults always have to have a bar near by…..Or you could order by the pool also.  It also had an easy step entrance.  Love it when you don’t have to climb the ladder to get out.   On either side of the ship were 2 huge beautiful half moon spas, lined with windows.  The sun shinned through from all the glass on top.  20180423_104351.jpg1d46326ca12af59e3a011354e359d4fc--royal-caribbean-cruise-royal-caribbean-ships.jpgThey stuck out 12 over the edge of the boat.  The view was just breath taking.  The strangest part was knowing that their was nothing under you for 11 decks down till the sea at the bottom.  One evening I was in the spa when the jets were off.  As you sat their and enjoyed, you would feel the rocking of the boat.  It would rock to one side and the water would fall into the gutters, and then it would rock the other way and fall away….Back and Forth….Back and Forth…. What a strange sensation.  Now behind this bar are several more pools for family’s.  aox7yq.jpgSeveral hot tubs are also in this area.  You can get poolside service here also for drinks of your choice.  Many of the activities took place in this pool.  Sexiest man competition,   Adult Belly Flop Competition, Concerts and Movies on the Big Screen.20180411_194015.jpgOne nite we went up and watched Star Wars.  This area was always busy….Behind this area is the Childrens Area….20180411_154853.jpgThis is the H2O Zone and Kids Pool.  This is a great place for the little kids to have fun.  If you look at the area above with all the windows, This is on Deck 14.20180411_150739.jpgThere is a very nice bar up their.  This is the view from the windows.  You can see the kids area, past the wall is the regular pools and the Solarium pools more up front.

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Now were on the back of the ship.  Their is a rock climbing wall and a basket ball court.

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On the very back is the water slides.   Their are 2 water slides on the left and 1 on the right.  The one on the right is a 2 man raft.  In the center is the Flow Rider, the surfing simulator.  We sat their for a while and watched.  The were giving lessons.  Some people did well, but many wiped out, fell and washed up to the top of the slide.  It looked like fun, but I wouldn’t want everyone watching me make a fool of myself…lol….Also a Mini Golf Course is back here somewhere.  That was something we never came across.  How can something like that be hidden.  There was so many things we really never did see.  It is amazing that all these things are on the top of the ship.  So by Tue. we were excited to be getting close to Roatan Honduras.  We were suppose to dock Wed morning and have all day in town.   Ron had planned trips for all of us.  It was going to be so exciting, some shopping, beach, and tour in the jungle.  Late  that afternoon the Captain made an announcement.  A ship had come into the dock to fast.  Something went wrong and it ran into the dock and destroyed it.  It was the MSC Armonia.  maxresdefault.jpg

It didn’t take long for a video to be on U Tube.  By that evening I think everyone on board had seen the video.  The captain had tried to find another port like maybe Belize.  It just wasn’t going to happen, seems they didn’t have tenders for us.  I believe that is transportation for us from the ship to the village.  So he decided we would just do another day at sea.  We were so disappointed.  So now we would be doing a huge circle until it was time to go to Costa Maya.  Wed evening finally came.  We were going to arrive in the dock at Costa Maya around 7 am Thur. morning and bebark around 8.  Then another announcement.  We suddenly had a medical emergency.  We had to head to Cozumel.  Someone was very ill and they would be taken off the ship.  We would head back north to Cozemel arrive around 2 am. Then head back south to Costa Maya.  So now we will arrive 2 hours late.FB_IMG_1523969851489.jpg

Here is a picture of our tv screen.  We could also always see where we were, how fast we were going and our position.  As you see we were heading to Cozumel after a big circle at sea.  We were traveling over 21 knots which was top speed for the ship.  Our first stop should have been, Roatan Honduras on Wed.  Costa Maya Thur. and Cozumel Fri.  But things change don’t they.  We had another day at sea to enjoy all the activities.  Their was always something to do.  No reason to be bored, just disappointed. We did stop at Cozumel around 2am on Thur. morning, but unless you were awake, you would not have noticed.  We arrived at Costa Maya later Thur morning around 9am.   Ohhhhhh now this will be the best  part of this story….lol….Just a Clue……..“Not everyone Remembers All That Happened This Day”.…..But many of us will NEVER FORGET…..

 

Our Cruise to Roatan, Costa Maya, & Cozumel….Part 1

We have just returned from our “Cruise of a Lifetime” We went on a 7 day Royal Caribbean cruise, aboard “Liberty of The Seas”  to Roatan Honduras, (well, maybe not), Costa Maya Mexico, and Cozumel.  It was absolutely beautiful, and so much fun.  Definitely a experience to never be forgotten.   So how did this all happen……

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A little over a year ago our friends Ron and Theresa were telling us of this cruise.  Ron has a Travel Agency on the side, “Get Out Their Vacations”, Check out the FB site.  He is always looking for good deals.  This trip was a very good deal.  Better if we all booked early.  He was also signing up friends and family back in his home town in Nebraska.  Rich has always wanted to go on a cruise, so we decided this was the time.  We would be with Ron and Theresa and others, so they could guide us through all the steps.  Ron ended up with 6 couples counting them.  That is 12 people, 8 who were first timers.  So how did we meet Ron and Theresa……

2 years ago we workamped at Adventureland in Des Moines.  Ron was also workamping and worked Rides with Rich.  Theresa works from home for a Computer Company.  We became friends their and I gave them info on Eastgate, and all the fun things to do in the Rio Grande Valley in the winter.  They decided to come down last year and spend the winter.  We’ve become good friends.  Then they came back this year as a Workamper.

So finally after waiting for a year, the time had come.  We all waited patiently for the winter season here at Eastgate to be over.  On Sat. April 7th, Rich and I, Theresa and Ron, packed our car, very tightly I might add, and headed to Galveston.  The day before, 2 cars also packed to the hilt, left Nebraska with 4 couples.  We were all headed for a motel for Saturday nite. Fortunately our trip was only around 7 hours.  We arrived first, and several hours later the other 4 couples arrived.  Now they had left bitter cold and snow.  Ron had promised them sunshine and warm weather……It was cloudy, overcast, and chilly.  Jacket weather.  Darn…..Its gonna get better, I’m sure…..20180408_094809.jpg

We met the couples and alot of visiting was done.  It was like an old friends and family reunion.  We all ate out, did our last shopping for forgotten things and hit the sack.  In the morning, the last minute repacking was done, and then repacked the cars and headed into Galveston.  Ron had also arranged parking, which also supplied the Shuttle to the Ship.  After we unpacked the cars, we practically filled the bus with luggage and people.  We only had 2 medium bags and 1 carry on…..OMG….Some of them had huge bags and many more than us.  But we made it.  20180408_111424.jpg

This was one of our first views of the ship.  It was nice to be with people who had done this before.  We waited for the porter to load up our bags to be checked.  Ron had supplied us with our baggage tags.  20180408_112808.jpg

We then entered the building and were herded like cattle through the maze of paths to the check in area and then the Customs area where all bags are scanned.  Finally we walked up the enclosed walkways and entered the ship.  20180408_121255.jpg

By that time, our luggage had been checked.  Our carryon’s had been x-rayed.  Our Passports had been checked and our Sea Pass cards had been issued.  These look like credit cards.  You buy a lanyard and wear them around your neck.  This is your life line for the rest of the cruise.  This supply’s your name, room number, dinning room and table number, account number and allows you to purchase anything on board.  It is attached to an account that you have set up using a credit card or cash.  You will also have taken a photo that is attached to your account.  Every time you scan that card, your photo will show for identification.  It also has your area to assemble for a life boat drill on the outside deck.  Heaven forbid that is ever needed.  Late in the cruise, we were given some facts about the ship which I’ll share now.  The ship can actually hold almost 4,000 passengers.  The crew amounts to over 1,300 representing over 50 countries around the world.  At the beginning of a 7 day cruise, they load 496,000 lbs. of food on board.  Every day they cook 26,000 meals.  It is amazing.20180413_084329.jpg

Our rooms weren’t ready till 1pm so we went to lunch.  We found the Windjammer Café which has the buffet.  As we entered we met the Washy Washy man.  There were several Purell dispensers.  They are encouraging everyone to Washy Washy your hands so you don’t get Sicky Sicky. He would sing his little jingle over and over.  Everyone loved him, especially the kids.006_Windjammer

We walked past tables and areas of food.  Their were several other resturants on our way to the Windjammer.  Once we arrived, their were islands and islands and so many stations of food to choose.  All the tables in the dinning area were around the outside lining the wall to wall windows.  What a view.  Right now we were still in the Port overlooking Galveston, but I just couldn’t imagine what it is going to look like once at sea.20180408_131400.jpg

We choose our food and drink and sat down to eat.  We watched as a window washer attachment with a worker washed the windows one by one.   We found out they are constantly cleaning on this ship.  Never a dull moment.  Cleanliness and  trying to be germ free are so important to Royal Caribbean. They were constantly cleaning and disinfecting the miles of handrails on the stairways, cleaning all the glass, as well as even the dust that accumulates in the corners.  They are an amazing crew.  Purell dispensers are everywhere.  Finally while eating, the announcement came, our rooms were all ready.  Windjammer Café is on Deck 11 and our rooms were on Deck 6 on the inside.  We have a window overlooking the Promenade. 20180408_132651.jpg

So Ron and Theresa herded us all to the elevators.  They said to expect the elevators to be so busy the first day, and they were right.  Finally we got one, arrived at our floor and walked down the hallway.  Ron had positioned all our rooms together near the center of the ship.  He said it is the best for first timers to see how the movement of the ship might affect them.  I was anxious to see our room, as I had always heard rooms were so small.  I was impressed.  I really was laid out very nice.  King Size bed with rounded corners, a nice L shaped sitting area with coffee table, and a desk area.  20180408_132737.jpg

The window was overlooking the Promenade Deck which is Deck 5.  What an awesome view out the window.  We would be able to watch all the people walking and shopping down below.  So many shop, restaurants, bars and entertainment will be going on in this area.  You can see the other rooms across from us.  So now what about the bathroom.

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It was very close but also very efficient…Plenty of room for all your essentioals, and the shower was just a capsule,  lol,  but it was fine also.  We had brought 2 medium sized suitcases, so we unpacked quickly, hung up everything we could, and placed everything else on the shelves in the closet.  Just enough space for us.  I really don’t know how the others with their huge suitcases did it.  We had everything in our closet.  They also had a safe for valuables, and of course a TV.  Now we had the announcement that at 3:30, we all had to go to our designated spot on Deck 4 on the outside for Safety training.  Another words…...If an Emergency and the ship is sinking….How to save yourself in a Life Boat…..lol….TITANIC???  lol  That’s what came to my mind…..  We all gathered in our designated areas.  Everyone had to check in by our Sea Pass cards being scanned.  It would begin after all had arrived.  Training was quick and easy.  Finally it was approaching 4pm.  That was the time to leave.  Ron and Theresa lead us up to the Heliport in the front of the ship.  It was a great place to watch our departure.  It was freezing and so windy.  Also in the dock was a Carnival ship that was leaving at the same time.  FB_IMG_1524147818568.jpg

He had told us about the Port Webcams.  I sent the link to the kids.  Tammy was watching as we left the dock area.  We were on the deck right below the little white windows.  After Carnival left, we cast off our lines and we started our adventure.

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Also in the Port was the TALL SHIPS.  They were so small compared to us, but so impressive.  They were so beautiful with their tall sails and many flags waving in the wind.  20180408_155025.jpg

So here we sat on the benches around the front of the ship.  The wind was blowing, we were freezing.  Remember we just came from the Rio Grande Valley, 80 and 90 degrees.  It was only in the 50s.  I guess we are wimps now.  We were now embarking on an Adventure.  We were a floating ship as big as a city.  Everything was aboard that we would need for the next 7 days.  So as we were leaving Ron knew where the different cameras were in the distance.  He was watching the camera feed on the website also.  He told us when to wave….20180419_082814.png

AND WE DID…….Tammy caught this shot of us on the Web Cam……I’m of course the short one, Rich is next to me.  Ron I believe is on the edge of the Photo…….Pretty amazing isn’t it…….So this is the beginning of our Adventure for the 7 days.  So much to learn now about the ship, so much to see, ……SO MUCH UNKNOWN YET……For many of you, I’m sure you’ve been on cruises, but for us its a “CRUISE OF A LIFETIME”  This is actually Ron’s Quote, and he’s so Right.  This is Just the Beginning…..