Well Detra and I fell in love with cruising back in '98 when we took a Mediterranean voyage through time and history. Since then Detra will jump on any excuse or opportunity to get her sea legs working again. Royal Caribbean has been the line of choice for the four of us, although Norwegian was also fantastic on our "Meet Super Storm Sandy" east coast excursion that Detra and I took 2yrs. ago.
Dean & Laurie flew in from the frozen tundra of the north a day early and stayed in a hotel close to Port Canaveral. The port is only an hour and a half drive up the coast from us here in Ft. Pierce. Plans were made to meet-up at the Schooner bar, it's on deck 6 if you must know, right after muster (evacuation drill).
This cruise will be remembered as the "Sun, Surf and Champagne Tour". If you knew Dean, you would know how he can be a terrible influence on me. We have been friends for over thirty years, attending each other's weddings, birth of children and every New Years Eve, the ones I can remember and the ones I don't,( see I told you he was a bad influence.) They had brought a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the birth of Logan (He is so cute!). Dean and Laurie being frequent cruisers/ travelers get perks thrown at them all over the place. Waiting for them in their cabin was another two bottles of champagne from the cruise line and their thankful travel agent.
If you have cruised, you know the food is always delicious and plentiful (I put on 4lbs. this trip). The entertainment was excellent onboard and there is always something to do if you want, or plenty of places to do nothing if that's what you prefer. If you aren't having a good time on a cruise it's not anyone's fault but your own. (unless you're aboard one that has some kind of outbreak or breakdown, which we choose to ignore).
The Enchantment of the Seas
Our first stop was Royal Caribbean's private island CocoCay. Laurie and Detra were looking at excursions the night before when a sign on the counter started calling out to Laurie. It was a private cabana in a VIP section of the island that included snorkeling, floating mats, loungers in and out of the sun, an exclusive lunch buffet just for us special people! It also included, to go along with the theme of the cruise, was...wait for it...a bottle of Champagne! The four of us are more the "warrior vacationers". "We can sleep when we get home" type of travelers. This idea of sitting on a beach for a day was foreign to all of us, but the idea stuck in Laurie's head as the thing to do, so we were "all for one and one for all!" ( I know the muskateers weren't pirates but at least they had swords.)
We tendered the mile over to the island, across the most beautiful blue water I have ever seen, on the boat "Ship to Shore 2". We walked around a dozen shacks selling different shirts, towels, beach bags and bobbles. It was a very nice little island with beaches and trails to explore but we headed for the VIP section. There we met Wendel, "Keeper to the gates of Paradise" as I will forever remember him, Wendel is Bahamian living on this island four weeks at a time with one off to go back home to see his family. He was very personable, full of info and insight to the life on the island. He gave us the pick of several cabanas, we decided on Cabana #7, on the ocean beside the channel for the tenders come in and out. We would watch the jealous throngs drooling over our very own tropical oasis from the appropriate distance,so as to not bother us VIP's.
Cabana #7 and our ship at anchor
Our servants brought us a cooler with water, the now required champagne on ice and a nice fresh fruit tray. All this watching people work made us very thirsty so Dean and I partook in our first beer of the day. We began to understand how this relaxing on a beach thing works. Detra & Laurie went off to float in the surf while Dean and I talked about going snorkeling, it was decided that we would think about it over a couple more fancy beer with limes in them.
My view from our cabana
Lunch was served from 11 to 1 and had a great selection of salads, fruit, sea food kabobs, BBQ ribs, jerk chicken along with gourmet burgers and hot dogs. (Sorry I was too hungry to take pics) After it was back to work thinking about snorkeling over a couple of cervezas. I can honestly say I can't remember being more relaxed than that next couple of hours. A full stomach, cold beer, the sea breeze, the shade of thatched roof and the company of good friends. We nodded off. When we woke from our naps we went for a float on calm seas and decided that the snorkeling would take more energy than we would care to exert, we went back to lounging in paradise. We hopped on one of the last tenders back in time to have nap and shower before our evening show and dinner. Life is great.
Detra and I had our honeymoon in the Bahamas those many years ago aboard my Uncle Norm's 60' yacht, so it was fitting we were returning by sea. Freeport is where we spent our first trip together, this time it was Nassau. We rented a car to explore the island on our own. After learning where to go from the tour operators trying to sell us trips in buses with others, off we went. Driving on the left side of the road in a car designed for the right side was strange but we did manage to see all we wanted on the island without a head on collision.
Caves used for housing and hiding pirate treasures.
We drove over to see Atlantis, the luxury resort with water park, casino, aquarium and shops. There is a harbor for the well heeled, full of yachts, one of which was actor/ director Ron Howard's mega yacht called Imagine... and his tender called Imaginary.
A day at sea and we were back in Canaveral on Friday. We had great time with Dean & Laurie, eating, watching live performances and relaxing it couldn't have got better unless the Van Den Waldo's showed up. (Inside joke) Oh, and we did managed to drink three of the four bottles of champagne.
I think we are going to like retirement.
Sea Dog Scott