Spending Thanksgiving at our little piece of heaven: Coconut Plantation Part III

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img_7746We woke up to a warm Thanksgiving day with a sky filled with heavy cloud cover.  But not to worry, the weatherman said that it was going to be glorious day with sunshine and temperatures in the mid-80s.

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We took our time for breakfast and then made our way over to the pool for a relaxed day of reading and sharing Thanksgiving wishes with our friends via phone, email and Facebook.

One rule I have when traveling is that I do not cook.  I will make breakfast and lunch but never dinner.  So, it became our tradition when spending time at Coconut Plantation to purchase a complete turkey dinner from Publix.  We would spend the entire day at the pool and then return to the condo to reheat our feast; no muss, no fuss.

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Several years ago the clubhouse started preparing a Thanksgiving buffet and we would talk about participating but never did.  Last year, however, we finally decided to take part; the Thanksgiving dinner was delicious!  It was especially nice because we had our daughter Kara with us.

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img_7804bWith that wonderful memory in mind, we decided to sign up for the buffet again this year.  It is so nice to see the clubhouse transformed into an inviting dining room.  The buffet included roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, sautéed green beans, sweet potato mash, stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls, and gravy and salad fixings. For dessert we had a choice of pumpkin pie, apple pie or donut holes.

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img_7814The turkey was so moist; it was delicious.  We sat at our table chatting and watching the other diners enjoying themselves and felt very good.  I looked at Randy and asked, “So, what are you thankful for?”  He looked at me with those beautiful blue eyes and said, “Us”.  I smiled and said, “Me too”.

We returned to the condo and spent the rest of the evening talking about all the other things we are thankful for like family, friends, our health and shared our hope that the good feelings that were shared during Thanksgiving would carry over to the rest of the holiday season.  Then it was off to bed for a good night’s sleep before taking part in the other crazy Thanksgiving tradition; Black Friday.img_7822b

We woke up to yet another day of beautiful blue skies, gentle breezed and the promise of temperatures in the high-80s.  Life is good.

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Each year that we spend at Coconut Plantation we spend Black Friday over at Coconut Point Mall.  It is a beautiful open-air mall that features 140 stores, restaurants and a movie theater.  I love going to the mall.  Yes, it is busy but none of the craziness exists that plague other stores on this crazy shopping day.

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We went early and spent a couple of hours walking back to the stores we had scoped out a few days earlier and bought a few treasures for Christmas for several of our family members.  The Christmas tree was up, holiday songs were playing and everyone was in a festive mood.

img_7845bI am very much a traditionalist and so one of our stops was at Barnes & Noble so I could purchase my annual Christmas novel.  This year I chose Anita Hughes’ Christmas in Paris.  Randy and I visited Paris in 2014 and I thought how nice it would be to read a book that would transport me back so I could relive those wonderful memories.

downloadWe had two more stops to make before returning to Coconut Plantation.  First, Randy wanted stop at the Rural King to get me some Mary Jane candy.  He know that Mary Janes are one of my very favorite penny candies from my childhood.

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I have never been to a Rural King store before.  The store was so crowded and, oh my, I was blown away at the amount of camouflage items there were.  Camouflage couches, children’s chairs, tee shirts, underwear, etc., it was very funny.  The store was so crowded and the lines so long at the checkout counters that we gave up.

Our next stop was at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Resort & Spa.  For so many years we have driven down Coconut Road on our way to the condo and there at the end was the beautiful Hyatt Regency beautifully adorned with lighted trees, bows, wreaths and poinsettas.  I especially loved the wreath that hung high above on the front of the building.  We would walk through the lobby stopping at one of the most beautiful Christmas trees I have ever seen located at the back lobby.  Last year there were hardly any decorations, no tree and very little recognition of the coming holiday season.

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Front lobby of Hyatt Regency Coconut Resort & Spa

I stopped and talked to the manager and she said the hotel was taking a simplier approach to the holiday season.  I wanted to stop and see if they had changed their policy.  We were pleased to see that there had been a change.  There were definitely more signs of the upcoming holiday season but, alas, no tree.  I went to the reception desk and learned that the hotel indeed was going to put one up the next week.  The manager said that they had so many complaints the year before that the hotel decided to bring back the decorations. How wonderful!

We returned to the condo, fixed a quick lunch and spent the rest of our last day at the pool.192b

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Dinner time rolled around and Randy decided he wanted Mexican food for dinner.  We went to a restaurant we have frequented in the past, Señor Tequila’s.   I ordered a Chalupa and Randy ordered the Burro Señor Tequila’s.  And, of course, we both ordered a Margarita.  The dinner was delicious but next time we will split one meal.

Tomorrow we return home totally relaxed and ready for whatever the coming holiday season has in store.

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We stopped in to checkout, say our goodbyes to the staff and take a picture by the Christmas tree.  Yes, this is a tradition for us too.  I was surpised to see that it was not completely decorated.  We were told that they had a problem with the stand the night before and spent the entire evening trying to get the stand fixed.  They assured us that they would finish decorating that day.

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We got back into our car, waved goodbye to the clubhouse and started our journey home.  As we pulled away I thought, What a great decision we had made when we decided to become a part of this wonderful vacation community.

189Enjoy,

Mary

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Spending Thanksgiving at our little piece of heaven: Coconut Plantation Part II

Big Hickory Island Beach

Big Hickory Island Beach

For the past two days the weather here at Coconut Plantation has been wonderful.  Each day as I stepped out onto the balcony my eyes were greeted with bright blue cloudless skies, gentle breezes rustling through the palm fronds and temperatures in the mid and high 70’s.

 

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Yesterday we did something we have not done in a very long time; nothing.  We slept in, had a very lazy breakfast, dressed and made our way to the pool.   We found two chairs under a very inviting umbrella and settled in a long quiet day of basking in the sun.

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As the afternoon rolled around, we decided to get a bite to eat from The Veranda Bar and Grill.  I did not want anything big so I picked up an order of queso and chips.  The chips are warm and come with sour cream, salsa and cheese queso and they warm the chips.  I enjoyed my waffle fries yesterday so much I decided to order another batch along with a serving of Boom-Boom sauce.  The sauce is the perfect hot, spicy dip for the fries.  Just the perfect food for a lazy afternoon.

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Before we knew it, it was time to get dressed for the owner’s happy hour at the clubhouse.  Each Tuesday there is an owner’s happy hour with Margaritas, a non-alcoholic punch and snacks.  We  loved sitting outside drinking our Margaritas while sharing stories about past visits with family and friends.  We returned to our condo for a quiet evening of watching TV.

The next morning we planned on going over to the beach so we were off to bed early.

Today we were off to Hyatt’s secluded Big Hickory Island Beach.  Big Hickory is a 34-acre beach park with plenty of white sand, sea shells, chairs, umbrellas and picnic areas.  And, if you keep your eyes open, dolphins swimming up and down the beach.

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We were anxious to see the beach.  The last time we were here the beach had been badly damaged after several bad storms in the Gulf of Mexico.  The Hyatt engaged in a lengthy reclamation project that lasted several years.

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It is a five minute ride in the hotels trolley and a fifteen minute ride on a water taxi in Estero Bay to reach the island.  From the dock it is a short five minute walk to the beach.  As we approached the beach we were both very happy.

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When we were here last the beach was almost totally gone.  There were chairs on the beach with water splashing underneath.  Now the beach was at least 75′ from the water’s edge and concrete jetties had been installed to prevent the sand from eroding.  A volleyball court and bean bag toss games had been added too.  Lovely, just lovely.

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We found our chairs and settled in for a great day in the sun.  I picked up my book and smiled to myself that it was going to be yet another great day at our little piece of heaven.

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As the minutes turned into hours more and more clouds spread across the sky. Every once in a while I would put my book down and just look out over the blue green water just enjoying the day and several times I was rewarded with the sight of dolphins swimming from the bay out into the gulf and back again.

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“Randy,” I exclaimed.  “Look there is a dolphin swimming by”.  Just as I said that, children further down the beach ran to the water’s edge with anxious anticipation.  Squeals of delight could be heard as the dolphin came closer to shore giving the children a great show.  In the end we saw several dolphins as they swam back and forth to the bay.

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It had been a fun day and time to head back to the condo.  We hopped back onto the water taxi and covered the short distance from the island back to the dock.

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Along the way we crossed under the bridge that connects Bonita Beach and Estero an the many water birds that sit on the pylons in the bay.  We spotted sea gulls, cormorants and pelicans.

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We hopped back onto the trolley for the short ride back to the condo.  We decided to continue with our laid-back approach to the vacation and spent the rest of the afternoon watching a funny movie called Central Intelligence starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart.  Interesting pairing of acting styles but it worked.  Randy and I laughed and laughed.

These last four days have been wonderful.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  I wish my family, friends and all my readers a very Happy and Bountiful Thanksgiving.

 Enjoy,

Mary

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Spending Thanksgiving at our little piece of heaven: Coconut Plantation

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Thanksgiving 2016 finds us once more enjoying the beauty of our little piece of heaven at the Hyatt Coconut Plantation Residence Club in Bonita Springs, Florida.

We have been coming here for over ten years and we just love it. Over the years we have brought family and friends down to share time with us and they love it too.

This past year has been fraught with family and physical stress so we decided to come down by ourselves.

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Coconut Plantation is only a four hour drive from our home but from the moment I step onto the property all stress and worry evaporates and I find myself wrapped in a cocoon of serene relaxation.  At this point there are three buildings, three pools, a lazy river, clubhouse, tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball court and access to a private beach island, game room, fitness center, children’s camp and a restaurant/bar on the premises and many other amenities.

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We arrived on Saturday and were pleasantly surprised to see that the first of the renovations had begun inside the units. The living room furniture, rug, drapes, decorative pillows, painting, TV stand and a brand new 55” TV had been added.

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We walked out onto the balcony and noticed that the chairs and tables had been upgraded too.

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The only change we noticed in the bedroom was the new, white bed linens and pillows. Gone were the annoying decorative pillows that we were always piling on the chair.

We unpacked and, per usual, we headed out for a bite of dinner at Panera Bread at the Coconut Point mall followed by a shopping trip to the local Publix for food supplies.

The new linens and pillows proved to be wonderful as we passed the night in utter comfort.

Our first full day would not be spent poolside. A cold front rolled in during the night bringing with it temperatures and winds that made us think of alterative activities.

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img_7697Randy loves to walk so I proposed that we spend some time walking around Coconut Point. It is a beautiful outdoor mall filled with many wonderful stores and restaurants. So, off we went. Randy and I enjoy many activities together but we have never really shopped together over the years. So today would be interesting, I thought.

Randy needed a new pair of tennis shoes and I was on the hunt for a pair of dress shoes for the holidays. We parked the car at the very end of the mall on one side of the street stopping at Dillard’s and then walked down the opposite side of the street. On our walk we stopped in the DSW Shoes, Pier 1, Dillard’s, Clark’s, Chico’s, Champs Sports, Teavana, PacSun and Barnes & Noble and stopped at the movie theater to see what was playing.

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This little walk took us about 2 ½ hours and was just wonderful as we slowly walked past each store hand-in-hand, talking quietly, laughing and just enjoying the sun-filled, brisk day. Unfortunately, Randy was unable to find a pair of shoes but I, on the other hand, was very successful. It was fun to have Randy watch as I tried on shoes giving his opinion and watching his eyes light up when I found a pair he loved. Of course, I bought that pair.

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We decided to stay at the mall at grab a bite to eat. We walked across the long pedestrian bridge at the far end of the mall and made our way to Five Guys. We both love the little hamburgers there. We sat outside and while enjoying our food, Randy called a friend and chatted a bit.

We returned home a little tired but satisfied with our day and settled down to watch a movie. The clubhouse has movies to borrow so we chose two. Tonight we watched Independence Day: Resurgence.  We enjoyed the movie but agreed that the first Independence Day was much more exciting.

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We woke up today to another day with a beautiful blue sky absent of clouds and crisp air. Our day began with an owner’s meeting at the clubhouse where we learned about all the upgrades and improvements that had already taken place over the past two years and the future changes coming in the next two not only here but at the Hyatt Regency hotel at the top of the hill.

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We decided to make the ¾ mile walk up the hill to see the changes at the hotel. The hotel is absolutely beautiful and we love to walk around the grounds and have eaten at the Tarpon Bay Restaurant the last night of every visit.

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The biggest addition to the hotel is the new water park that includes a lazy river and three water slides.  We will definitey had to try these out!

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img_7726bOn our walk back we decided to have lunch at The Veranda serves a variety of foods and cocktails at the bar and poolside. After the walk we decided I wanted to try something new from the cocktail menu and ordered Mojitos. I found mine to be a bit too tart. The bartender sweetened it up a little and it was perfect.

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img_7728bAs I said, we were both hungry after our walk so I ordered a Cuban Panini and Randy ordered a Pulled Pork Sandwich. Both choices were wonderfully tasty.

Tired and sated, we made our way back to our unit and settled down to watch another movie. We both loved the first Ghostbusters but the new one left us disappointed. We stopped the movie and returned it to the clubhouse.

The rest of our day was spent in blissful relaxation.

The weather tomorrow promises to be more conducive to spend the entire day at the pool and so I have packed my beach bag with my kindle, crossword puzzles and a new Southern Living cookbook. I am so stoked.

Enjoy,

Mary

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Calm, relaxing day at sea

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Today is the last day of our short and sweet birthday cruise and it is going to be a beautiful day.  By the time we prepared for breakfast the sun was already high in the sky and white clouds were slowly drifting by the ship.  And, oh my, the color of the water was a beautiful sapphire blue.

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We decided today to have breakfast in the dining room.  We were seated at a table for two.  We were delighted to see our wonderful evening server Wayan approach the table to see if we were ready to order.  We thought this was especially nice as where we were seated was not in his area but he came over to make sure we were taken care of.  I ordered the French toast and it was absolutely delicious.

As we slowly sipped our coffee we looked over the Cruise Compass to see if there was anything we would like to do.

There was so much to choose from.  There was a bean bag toss, various trivia games around the ship, scrapbooking workshop, and a towel folding demonstration, art auction, a scavenger hunt, a belly flop competition, dance classes, seminars, bingo and so much more.

In the end we decided that we would just do nothing.  We spent the morning exploring the ship enjoying the weather and delighting in everyone else enjoying their last day before returning home.

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Sparkling Mai Tai

Sparkling Mai Tai

 

 

 

We would stopped for a time poolside to listen to the sounds of Caribbean music by Riddim Waves and enjoyed the drink of the day.  The Sparkling Mai Tai was cold, refreshing and delicious!

 

 

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At one point during our walk, I looked out over the bow of the ship and noticed that straight ahead and to the left the sky was beautiful and clear while to the right there were storm clouds and rain filled the sky.

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While walking around the promenade deck we came upon Bob and Dennis.  Connie and Sandy were off shopping.  We sat for a little while then continued our walk.

We went inside walking through the shops and purchasing a few things.  Then off to the casino to use our free pulls and an extra promotional $5.  I won $17.00.  First time ever!

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I could not believe it when we looked at our watches; it was time to prepare for evening cocktails and dinner.  Since we did not have lunch I decided to have a full dinner.  I started with a shrimp cocktail and a  Caprese salad for starters.

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For my entrée I ordered the Chicken Marsala—sautéed chicken scaloppini, Marsala-mushroom sauce, buttery mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables.  The chicken was so tender.

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I topped off this wonderful meal with the BBB Crème Brulée (Baileys Irish cream-flavored crème brülée with caramelized bananas.  Every bite was a sheer delight.

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View of the evening sky through the dining room window.

As we enjoyed our dessert I noticed that the sun was setting filling the sky with hues of yellow and red.  The sky was just beautiful.  As I looked at the sunset I thought, “What a beautiful ending to a wonderful cruise with our friends”.

Dinner was, as always, fun as we talked and laughed and just enjoyed each other’s company.  We all thanked Wayan and Daniel for making our dining experience so wonderful.

We said our good nights and returned to our cabin to finish packing.  The cruise had come to an end and we would be leaving the beautiful Majesty of the seas and returning home.

Enjoy,

Mary

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Having fun in Nassau at the Tiki Bikini Hut and Sharkeez

View of the harbor lighthouse from Junkanoo Beach

View of the harbor lighthouse from Junkanoo Beach

One day I am happily sharing a short and sweet cruise to the Bahamas with friends and then an unexpected and painful pause.  I had an oops moment walking across a wet and soapy floor injuring my wrist.

After a shot of painkiller, X-rays, application of a splint from my elbow to the tips of my fingers and a few days of rest I am ready to continue sharing the fun moments of our cruise on the Majesty of the seas.

View of downtown main st street Nassau through our very small window in our cabin

View of downtown main st street Nassau through our very small window in our cabin

The third day of our cruise took us to one of our favorite places to visit, Nassau, The Bahamas and a visit to Junkanoo Beach.

The morning we docked was a beautiful, sunny day.  The temperature was predicted to be in the mid-eighties with a slight breeze.

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Over the years we have enjoyed visiting and enjoying many of the sights and restaurants on the island of Nassau.  One of our favorite places to visit is a tiny and fun watering hole called the Tiki Bikini Hut at Junkanoo Beach.

The beach is within walking distance of the pier and has become more and more popular over the years.  There is a lovely white sand beach and clear turquoise water to take a dip in.  Need a cold drink to cool off or a light snack then you can head over to the Tiki Bikini Hut.

The last time Bob, Sandy, Dennis and Connie had been to Junkanoo Beach the met one of the owners of the hut.  They struck up a friendship with Amanda and were eager to introduce the rest of us.

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Having fun in 2012 at Junkanoo Beach

One of the things I find interesting about the Tiki is its ever evolving look while maintaining its fun atmosphere.  The first time we visited with Bob and Sandy we sat on these rickety red metal chairs that sank into the sand every time you moved and you had to hold onto your bottle of beer to keep it from falling off the table.

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Having more fun at Junkanoo Beach 2013

The next time we went we were treated to free shots to go along with our beer all placed on tables that now had tablecloths.

This year hand-made Adirondack-like chairs were added around the bar with wispy stretches of cloth draped over some the chairs for a welcome respite from the hot sun.

The gang with Tiki Hut owner Amanda

The gang with Tiki Hut owner Amanda 2016

Lucille and Bob

Lucille and Bob

What has not changed over the years is the welcoming and fun atmosphere.  As soon as we arrived there were hugs and kisses all around as Amanda welcomed us all.  We started with a round of bottles of cold Sands beer followed by two delicious shots.  But Amanda did not stop there offering us samples of two dishes prepared on the premises.  I really liked the jerk chicken.  Everything was great.

 

 

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One thing that made Amanda very happy was a copy of the Nassau insert that was included in the Cruise Compass.  On the front of the insert is a section called, “Port Highlights” Sights.  And there it was Junkanoo Beach listed as #1 with a write-up that read: A lively hotspot that is a favorite among cruise guests.   She was so excited and asked if she could keep the copy.  “Of course,” I said.  I brought it specially for you”.

Back view of Tiki Bikini Hut

Back view of Tiki Bikini Hut

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Sandy and Bob

While the others spent time talking and taking pictures, I took a walk around the beach area.  The sky was a beautiful, clear blue with just a few white puffy clouds.  The water was so clear you could see down to the sand and shells below.  To the right of the beach you could see the two cruise ships in port and straight ahead was the beautiful harbor lighthouse.

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Dennis and Connie

Dennis and Connie

 

Such a beautiful day brought many people to the beach to spend some time relaxing in the sun and cooling off in the calm, cool water.  It made me wish I had brought my bathing suit.

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Randy

 

 

After a while we said our goodbyes and headed back down to Woodes Rogers Walk to have lunch. Connie wanted to try a restaurant called Sharkeez Bar and Grill so off we went.

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Enjoy the drink of the day, Bahama Mamas at Sharkeez Bar and Grill

The bar was offering two-for-one Bahama Mama drinks so we all ordered a round.  We decided that they tasted more like bad tasting juice and switched to bottles of cold beer for lunch.   The bar was empty except for our group and perhaps two other couples.   To be fair, it was the middle of the week and there were only two cruise ships in port.  We enjoyed very much the nachos we ordered.  We ate, laughed and in a blink of an eye it was time to return to the ship.img_6366

We spent the rest  of the afternoon just hanging out on our balcony before preparing for cocktails and dinner.  After dinner we were invited to an “Exclusive reception for our Crown & Anchor members” in the Spectrum Lounge.  Our entire group went and had a great time.

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Our cruise director, Shane, introduced several of the officers and staff of the Majesty.  They each took a few moments to say a few words of welcome and shared a little about themselves.  This was followed by a musical treat by two members of the production cast singing several familiar songs from the sixties.

It had been a busy and fun day and we were ready to retreat back to our cabin for a little rest before turning in for the evening.

Tomorrow we have a day at sea as we slowly make our way back to home port.

 

marys-armEnjoy,

Mary

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A day of celebration on the Majesty

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From left-Bob and Sandy; birthday boy Dennis and Connie; Randy and Mary and Bob and Lucille

I woke this morning to a day teetering between beautifully clear and dark and stormy.  The humidity was so thick it was like walking into a steam room when we stepped out onto the pool deck on our way to meet the others for breakfast.

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On our way to the island of CocoCay on an overcast, humid morning.

As I mentioned yesterday, this was going to be a short cruise.  We would only be making two stops this cruise.  The first was on Royal Caribbean’s private island of Cococay and the other stop would be at Nassau.

CocoCay is a place with an abundance of things to do or to just kick-back and relax in the sun.  There is an aqua park, snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing and the Straw Market for those who want to take home a little something for the loved ones back home.

Today we will be taking a tender over to CocoCay for a day of walking on white sandy beaches, sitting under coconut palms, eating a delicious barbeque lunch at Blackbeard’s Grille and enjoying the sounds of island music by Island Vibes featuring Riddim Waves.

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But before heading over to the beach we gathered at the Windjammer for a birthday breakfast with birthday boy Dennis.  Everyone gathered to wish Dennis a wonderful day and ply him with birthday cards and gifts.

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We all agreed to meet on deck 1 to catch the tender together to take the short trip over to the island.  As I mentioned, the humidity was very thick.  As soon as I opened my camera the lens fogged over giving the appearance of everyone posing behind a thin veil.

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As soon as we docked we hurried over to our favorite spot and stopped in our tracks as we came close.  What stopped us were the many changes we saw.  The beach seemed very crowded, there were many coconut palms missing, the wires that had been placed over the picnic area were gone and there were signs of construction everywhere.

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We were disappointed in the loss of the shade from the palms but we finally settled on a line of lounge chairs that were partly shaded.  Barely settled Bob made his way down to the water, followed by Sandy and then Dennis.

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img_6284I love CocoCay.  I love watching as young and old alike delight in splashing in the water, watching the gulls flying just above unsuspecting beach goers looking for a small morsel they can steal away, seeing people dancing as they pass by the bandstand, watching people delight in seeing the island roosters walking through the picnic area.  So much to see; so much to enjoy!

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img_6280Before we knew it Blackbeard’s opened and everyone was invited to the table for lunch.  There is always so much to choose from.  There is barbeque chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, rice and beans, corn on the cob, salad fixings, dessert and drinks.  My favorite lunch is creating a nice salad topping it with rice and beans and spooning a little juice from the barbeque chicken for dressing.  YUMMY!

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It was Dennis’ birthday so I treated him and Connie to a drink from the bar.  I decided to order the drink of the day. The Blue Island is a tasty combination of Bacardi Silver Rum, Curacao and pineapple juice on the rocks topped with a splash of Sprite.  In other words, delicious!

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We enjoyed our lunch but could not help but notice that dark clouds were moving in.  Normally we stay on the island until around 3:00pm but not today.  Unfortunately, we waited just a little too long to make the decision to leave.  The skies opened up and we were drenched by the time we reached the tender.

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When we arrived back on board I was happy to see that not everyone had returned and the Centrum was clear.  This was a perfect time to take a few pictures of my favorite area on the ship.

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“The Crown” by Nicolaus Widerberg

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I love the polished brass and glass staircases.  I love the beautiful sculpture in front of the Guest Services desk by Nicholaus Widerberg called, “The Crown”.  I remember so well having my picture taken in front of the sculpture on our 1996 cruise.

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We made our way back to the cabin for showers and a little rest before evening cocktails.  As we entered the cabin we saw another wonderful dish of chocolate covered strawberries.  How wonderful; I thought.  These lovely morsels were courtesy of the Crown & Anchor Society.  They were gone in a heartbeat.

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Cocktail time and dinner were wonderful as always.  It was formal night so, once again, I enjoyed one of my favorites the Carved filet of beef tenderloin with Morel-crimini mushroom sauce and creamy whipped potatoes.  This meal never disappoints.

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When dessert time rolled around the head waiter walked over to our table carrying a delicious looking slice of chocolate mousse cake.  With candle burning, Dennis made a wish as everyone sang happy birthday and then he blew out his candle.

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Photo taken on the Majesty in 1996

 

On our way Randy and I stopped for a photo by the piano.  I remembered having my picture taken on formal night in 1996.  The photographer said she was closed but I explained to her that we had gotten engaged on the Majesty and on formal night had our picture taken and she graciously relented and took our picture.  Lovely!

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We all agreed to go up to the Schooner Lounge for a birthday toast before heading to the Chorus Line Theater to see a production show called Signed, Sealed, Delivered.

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The show was great!!!  There was jazz, disco, soul, Motown and Rock & Roll to tickle your musical fancy.  The entire show was high energy and fun to watch.

It had been a long day so Randy and I decided to return to the cabin to relax a little before turning out the lights.

Tomorrow we dock in Nassau.

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Mary

 

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Short, sweet cruise to the Bahamas on the Majesty of the seas

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Just ten short days after disembarking the Oasis of the seas we are boarding the Majesty of the seas for a short, sweet cruise to the beautiful aquamarine waters of the Bahamas.  On the Oasis we celebrated our friend Bob’s birthday, on this trip we will be celebrating our friend Dennis’ birthday.

As we stood in line to sign-in and board the ship I could not help but reflect on the fact that we just cruised on the one of the largest ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet and we were about to board a ship that was about half the size.  To put it in perspective, the Oasis can accommodate a maximum of 6,296 passengers while the Majesty accommodates 2,744 passengers.

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Connie took the picture above while we were on our Oasis cruise which shows just perfectly the difference in the size of these two ships.  The large ship is the Oasis; the small ship is actually the Empress of the seas.  The Empress is just a bit smaller than the Majesty.  What a difference!

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Before boarding the Oasis Randy presented the ladies with Crown and Anchor earrings that he made today he presented them with Crown and Anchor pendants.  Is that cool or what?

The last time we were on the Majesty was in 1996.   We cruised to the Western Caribbean with Randy’s family.  A fun note is that on that the cruise Randy and I got engaged.  During the cruise a major storm stirred in the Gulf of Mexico and wouldn’t you know it at the height of the storm Randy decided to propose.

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the camera was a little low and cut our heads off but definitely captured the moment!!

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The box Randy put the camera on that stormy, wonderful night!

It was formal night and we had just finished dinner and he asked me if I would like to take a walk around the Promenade deck.  I looked outside and thought that he was mad!  The skies were black, the sea was turbulent and rain was lashing the side of the ship.  But, I went anyway.  When we got to the back of the ship, Randy stopped and placed our camera on a small silver box, put it into automatic mode, came over to me and asked, with ring in hand, “Mary, will you marry me?”  Without hesitation I threw my arms around his neck and said, “Yes”, just as the flash went off.   Unfortunately, the camera was a little low and cut our heads off.  Too funny!

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We continued our stroll around the ship quietly sharing memories of that wonderful week.We decided to stop for a bit at a bar overlooking the pool so I could enjoy the drink of the day.  The Tropical Sunset is a tasty combination of Smirnoff vodka/peach schnapps/Chambord with cranberry and pineapple juice.  Yummy!

img_6216We stopped by our cabin and had to laugh when we opened the door.  I had forgotten just small the cabins were.  We both laughed and spent a few minutes looking to see what upgrades had been made to the cabins.  I was pleased to see that they had added a safe.  In the past I had to lock our valuable in our luggage.  Overall, we were pleased to see that the ship had been kept in remarkable condition.  I was very happy to be on her once again.

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Before we knew it, it was time to head down for the safety drill.  We met up with Bob, Sandy, Dennis and Connie.  Bob and Lucille were in a suite and had a different drill location.

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Right after the drill we made our way back up to the pool deck for the sail away party.  We met our friends and watched the Florida coastline slowly drift away while watching happy passengers dancing and relaxing in the pool.

 

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We returned to the cabin to prepare for the evening and were pleasantly surprised to see a beautiful plate of chocolate covered strawberries from our wonderful travel agent Andy awaiting our return.  They were delicious!

Celebrating Dennis’ birthday was but one celebration for this cruise.  Another celebration involved Dennis, Connie, Bob and Lucille rising to Diamond level and Bob and Sandy rising to Emerald level in the Crown and Anchor Society.  Attaining a new level represents the number of nights spent cruising on Royal Caribbean and affords members additional perks.

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Tonight Bob, Lucille, Dennis and Connie would be joining us in Viking Crown Lounge for cocktails as Diamonds.   There is no designated room on the Majesty for Diamonds and Diamond Plus members so they rope off a section of the Viking Crown Lounge from 5:30 to 8:00pm for cocktails.

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As Emeralds Bob and Sandy had to sit on the other side of the rope.  We had to laugh when Bob walked over and put the rope up to his nose and appeared to be sighing that he could not join us.  The good news is that Bob and Sandy will be Diamond members in January.

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I was not very hungry so I skipped the appetizers and salads and chose one of my favorites from the menu.  I chose the Horseradish-Crusted Fillet of Atlantic Salmon with celeriac-potato mash, snow peas and lemon beurre blanc and sweet mustard drizzle.  The salmon is flaky and delicious and cooked just perfectly.  No dessert this evening.

We decided not to attend the evening’s entertainment in the theater and retreated to our cabin for a good night’s sleep.

Tomorrow we stop at Royal Caribbean’s private island of CocoCay.

Enjoy,

Mary

 

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