Sunday, September 30, 2007

Caribbean Cruise 2007

Now boarding on track 39 ....

I fell sick just as we left California. We flew into Miami via Dallas, where we were greeted by Carnival Cruise staff and whisked away to the Hilton nearby. That evening, Carmen and I decided to visit Little Havana. While Carmen was inside purchasing dinner, the cab driver invited me to have a Cuban coffee with him. It was dark and strong.

The next morning we got up and went through all of the security processes, but at last we were on board the Carnival Valor and what a ship. We were on deck six "Upper Deck". Our cabin had a balcony. Besides being sick (upper respiratory) I am prone to sea sickness and took my first Dramamine.

The Bahamas
The Bahamas is very charming. The city we pulled into was Nassau. Being part of the British Common Wealth, this was the only country where we had to fill out forms in order to enter their country. They drive on the left side and the whole country is beautiful with a laid back approach.

We went horse back riding. That's right, Carmen went horseback riding. Not only that but we took the horses into the ocean. Horse back riding in the Caribbean is truly beautiful. We finished the day off by having lunch at Conch Fritters. We had Conch salad, which is like ceviche, and cracked Conch, which is fried Conch. I washed it down the Klick, the local beer. For desert Carmen and I split a local delight which had a sauce made of guava.

St. Thomas

Curious thing about St. Thomas. It is part of the United States of America, yet they drive on the left side of the road. There are some down sides to St. Thomas. Since is is part of the USA, you can not buy Cuban Cigars or Rum. On the up side, you can bring back up to 5 liters per adult over 21 as long as one is purchased in St. Thomas.

It is amazing how the different islands while having the so many of the same features can be so different. They all run on Caribbean time, which is slow, but the people are different and you notice it. Besides the usual shopping, we went on a submarine ride. After breakfast we took a Dramamine and headed off for our ride on a submarine. A small boat took us out to an uninhabited island. While the ride was less than a half an hour, it was a bit choppy. While I was smart enough not to bring the sun block, I did start to wonder why I had not brought the Dramamine with me. During our boat ride, there was water, punch and a bottle of rum and you could help yourself. By the time we pulled up to the island dock, one lady had lost it. She was terribly seasick. Needless to say her and her husband never made it to submarine.

We enter the submarine, and I notice that it is rocking pretty good. I'm worried about getting seasick. I've been seasick before and it is not fun at all. The only thing worse is to know that you have spent plenty of money to get seasick! Once we leave the surface, the ride becomes very smooth. Almost as smooth at the submarines at Disneyland. Carmen is a real trouper, she is having a great time. We are seeing so many different kinds of colorful fish and coral. Next to Carmen however is a man that is not having such a good time, he gets to sick, that he ends up using three bags! We return to the Island, none worse for the wear.

San Maarten

I think San Maarten was my favorite Island. It is governed by two countries Holland and France. The common language there is English. Even the national anthem, shared by both countries, is in English. We pulled into the Dutch side and took the standard tour which ended at a private beach. We rented an umbrella and a couple of deck chairs and I began to paint on the sunscreen. Carmen loves the beach and had a wonderful time. I am always very cautious about the beach since I can get sun burnt so easily. I did go in, and did some body surfing. The water was fantastic and I caught some really great waves.

We did some shopping on each island. Besides the usual T-Shirts, Rum, Mugs ... etc., we bought and enjoyed one of my favorite things to buy in the tropics. A chilled cocoa nut. I love cocoa nut water. This is not the same as cocoa nut milk. This is before the cocoa nut has had time to rippen. It is just so refreshing, and puts you in that tropical mood.

Fun at Sea

There were several days at sea and it was all fun. Carmen got plenty of time in the sun, I studied art and played poker, after all that is how we got on the cruise to begin with. We attended an art auction and even brought home a couple of pieces. We enjoyed the pool and the hot (not too hot) tubs. There is something about siting in a pool (pool is salt water from the ocean), in a ship, in the ocean. It's like one of those dolls that you take apart and there is a smaller one inside. I enjoyed their water slide, and Carmen enjoyed watching.

There are games that go on that you can participate in. One was called Super Trivia. I did not try it until the 2nd of three days. Still we got second place even with no points for the first day. Everyone thought I was so smart. Everyone that knows me, knows I had them fooled. On the third day of the game, Carmen joined me so we both got medals for second place.

Food on cruises is legendary and our cruise was no exception. Prime Rib, Beef Wellington, Lobster, Suffle ... it was amazing, but what is more amazing is the service. Once you are assigned a table, that table, waiter, waitress and cocktail waitress are yours every night. They did such a fantastic job. I have never seen such great service in all my years of travel.

Once we returned to our cabin each night, the bed would be turned down, there would be two chocolates waiting and a surprise. Our favorite was the monkey.

... and by the way

This is Emily. She is a dancer on the cruise line. She is from Glendora. What a small world.

1 comment:

lila said...

well i'm glad that you guys are back and that you all had fun while i was over here getting car washed and saw the pictures of emily's baby's birth. i guess that we all had an exciting week although i think that your guys' week was slightly less messy than mine. thank you so much for the cigar and rum. we are even.... for now. ;-P