Cruising, Friends and Stormy Weather

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Waiting to board on 9/11 - honoring those who are gone but not forgotten.
The good, the bad and the ugly.....

THE GOOD - what an amazing time we had cruising with our good friends Pauline and Earl. This was a first for me, Stu and his late wife cruised to Hawaii with friends. I feel blessed to have friends like these - arms open in friendship when they first met me back in 2008. We are excited as they transition into retirement west of us (by a couple of hours) in Tennessee.

Stu forgot he had ordered birthday decorations for the room (since it was my birthday cruise) and we laughed about that. The best part was the warm chocolate chip cookies!

We talked, we laughed, we ate, we walked, we vegged. The sunsets, the full moon, the skies, the water - so many beautiful things to see. Here are a few pics:

Leaving the Port of Baltimore
Evening sky
Sunset from the back of the boat
Grand Turk scenery
Grand Turk - amazing water colors
Watching the horse excursion from the boat
Yes, it was hot so I imagine this was refreshing
Our cabin decorated for my birthday
THE BAD - Tropical Storm Julia decided to force the captain to cancel our third port, Freeport Bahamas. We still have one really rough day at sea but it could have been much worse. Our final sea day was gorgeous!

We arrived on time in the port of Baltimore but were stopped from docking for about two hours due to police activity around Fort McHenry. They even closed a section of I-95 while they searched for a suspect reportedly carrying a rifle. It was really nothing for us, we planned to stay on board until the last call anyway (shorter, quicker line time). A little good with the bad, they opened up several of the lunchtime food venues and we got to eat before we got off - which was after 1pm.

I was laying in bed (all day - took 5 hours worth of naps and still slept that night) and shot this video of our slightly open balcony curtains. We were a rocking and a rolling!

We also went on an excursion with our friends - a glass bottom boat ride in a lagoon in the Bahamas (Half Moon Cay was the port). While the guide was excellent and we saw some fun things, we were all somewhat disappointed in several things. One was the disorganization on shore, the worst we had ever seen. Second was the boat. Small wasn't the issue, it was the styling. We all expected a flat glass bottom enabling us to sit and look straight down. Instead, there was a wall around the glass, forcing us to lean way forward to look down and see anything. Not the best design.

Here are a couple of photos from the excursion:

That's our boat on the left.
We fed the fish bread and I wish I could have caught a photo of them jumping out of the water to get it.
Upside down jellyfish...they are the round circles with black blobs on them. LOL!
THE UGLY - Our room. No, not actually our room but our room location. We usually book mid-ship, have done closer to the front but this time we booked at the very back of the ship. It gave us a bigger balcony so we thought, why not.

Why not - Because less of the balcony was usable as the partition was slanted way inward rather than straight up (where it was perfect for me propping my legs up).

Why not - Because of the constant shudder. Here is a little video I shot of the frog towel animal on our bed. This shuddering was 24/7.

Never again! The constant motion didn't help the rough seas on our missed port day. In fact, I'm still trying to get my brain adjusted to being on land and NO shuddering. LOL!

Here are a few more highlight photos, as always, you can see all the photos (and videos) in our SmugMug album.

Stu enjoys sushi with our friends, Earl & Pauline. Me - nope!
Trying for some quiet time while most folks are in port, I end up with the Camp Carnival kids sitting across from me.
Our balcony after Stu dives in Grand Turk.
This is as dressy as we get for formal night. LOL!
Hidden jewel, quiet area on a lower deck beneath the theater, continues around the back and down the other side of the ship.
We asked for the same wait team every night we were in the main dining room (MDR). Wonderful folks!! We so enjoyed chatting with them.
Carnival's famous Chocolate Melting Cake with a side of peanut butter. Pauline and Stu loved this!
Nonthaphon, our waitress - aka Smiley!
We didn't book another cruise while on this cruise but we have several more waiting for us in the months ahead. Next up is flying to LA, spending a couple days with Stu's former partner, Bill, and his wife, Dotty, before heading out on the Carnival Miracle. Seven day Mexican Riviera followed back to back with fifteen day Hawaii cruise. Can't wait!!

Ciao for now!


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