Turnaround day at the port of Quebec City

View from our balcony of the ‘Old City’ Quebec.

Today is the third leg of a cruise on the Vision of the seas that has seen us cross the Atlantic and cruising the eastern shoreline of the US and Canada stopping in ports in Denmark, Norway, Scotland, Iceland and Canada, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec, Canada.

This, the final leg of our 40-day cruise, we will be traveling back down the Canadian and New England coastline ending in Cape Liberty, New Jersey and then fly home.

Unlike our first day in Quebec, today is starting out with a distinct chill in the air.  Turnaround day is always relaxed and quiet.  We were up early making our way down to the dining room for a relaxed breakfast then returned to our cabin until it was time meet the other consecutive cruisers to turn in our old keys and receive new ones.

 

We spent the rest of our morning in our cabin relaxing. Before we knew it, it was time to make our way down to the dining room for a special lunch prepared for the consecutive cruisers.

The menu included choices for the appetizer and entrees and Apple Pie a la Mode for dessert for everyone.  I chose the Insalata Caprese and Beef Stroganoff.  The salad was delicious as always, but I found the meet in the beef Stroganoff a little fatty.  The apple pie was very good.

Our Crown & Anchor ambassador had sent a lovely bottle of wine to our cabin during the last cruise and we decided to pop the cork and enjoy a glass or two while we watched truck after truck of supplies being unloaded and then loaded onto the ship.  I know it sounds funny but we both found this activity to be very interesting.

While we sat enjoying our wine a knock came on the cabin door and a very nice crew member delivered a delicious looking plate of cookies.  We sat on the balcony eating our ‘welcome aboard’ cookies talking about all the wonderful experiences we had had on the first two legs of our trip and what we would like to do on this leg and laughing a great deal at all the funny happenings on the pier.

At one point we watched as someone tried to unload a pallet from a truck and  punctured one of the boxes.  We learned later that the box contained the ingredients for the vanilla soft ice cream.  Randy was very sad indeed!

We looked at our watches and thought, “Oh my, we need to get ready to make our way up to the lounge for cocktails”.  What we totally forgot was the safety drill.  We quickly turned our attention to making our way down to our safety station.

By the time the drill was over it was time to go to dinner.  We met our new dinner companions.  Two couples were from Florida, one couple from Ohio and one couple from Southern California.  Everyone was very friendly and looking forward to the cruise.

After enjoying wine, cookies and a large lunch, we decided to order only an appetizer and salad for dinner.

This trip we decided to attend the Welcome Aboard show.  The production cast performed several song and dance routines and then turned the show over to comedian Brad Mastrangelo.

It had been a lovely and relaxed day.  We returned to our cabin for a good night’s sleep.Tomorrow is a day at sea.

Enjoyed watching the Canadian countryside roll by we slowly left port.

Enjoy,

Mary

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Visiting the amazing “ICE! Christmas Around the World” event with my friend Genny

“Gaylord Palms ICE”

What a day, what a day, what a day!  Today my friend Genny and I are off to attend the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention center “ICE Christmas Around the World” holiday event.

Preparing for this event, I learned that the exhibits were created from two million pounds of ice hand-carved by artists from Harbin, China.  The ice sculptures in the exhibit were designed to depict scenes of holiday celebrations from around the world.

We boarded a capacity-filled tour bus to make the 1 ½ hour ride down to Orlando.  Genny and I were very excited.

Ice slide

ICE! Christmas Around the World was amazing !!!

Genny and I had bundled up with heavy jackets, gloves, and hats even so we were given a hooded winter coat to wear into the exhibit.  From the moment we entered the exhibit my eyes were opened wide with delight.  I was glad we had bundled up because a constant temperature of 9°  was needed to maintain these beautiful and creative ice sculptures.

 

The first room was filled with ice sculptures depicting holiday traditions in the United States, Great Britain, Mexico, Germany and Ethiopia.  I was blown away at these life-sized, and in some cases larger than life, brilliantly colored ice sculptures.

We then moved on to a room set up with ice slides.  I watched for a few moments and said to Genny, “I have to do it!”  With that I gave her my camera, climbed the stairs and found a lane and started my slide down.  “How fun,” I thought to myself as I laughed and laughed as I made my decent.

We walked through a hallway with giant ice sculptures of children from around the world.  As we walked I found myself humming the song from the It’s A Small World exhibit at Disney World.

We then came upon beautiful sculptures featuring a white dove of peace, Santa framed by a naughty list and nice list and a wonderful ice toy factory display.  As I looked at these colorful displays I could not help but think “Of course, I am on the ‘nice’ list”.  Too funny!

For me, the most beautiful and breath taking exhibit was the crystal-clear, life-size nativity scene. It was nice to see that the real meaning of the holidays was represented.  We exited into a large area with all manner of “ICE!” memorabilia and holiday decorations.

Christmas tree in atrium

 

We had a bit of time before the “Cirque Dreams Unwrapped” show would begin so we decided to take a walk around the hotel to see all the beautiful decorations and have a bite of lunch at one of the many restaurants around the convention center.

Beautiful decorations around the atrium and hotel

There were so many beautiful decorations to see.  Beautiful white and red poinsettias, Santa’s sleigh, a beautiful poinsettia tree, colorful garlands and wreaths and so much more.

After walking around a bit we stopped at the Wreckers Sports Bar for a quick lunch before getting into line for the Cirque show.  We explained to the bartender that we had a limited amount of time and asked if we could get out in a short time.  He smiled and said, “Just tell me what you want and it will be here in a jiffy”.  He was right.  We both ordered from the starters menu and were happy with our choices.

Stage for the “Cirque Dreams Unwrapped”

When we first passed the area where we had to line up for the Cirque show it was empty.  Now, however, it was quite long.  We hoped we would be able to get into the show.  There were seats available for purchase but we were hoping for the complimentary seating.  We waited on line hoping to get into the show, and we did.

 

The “Cirque Dreams Unwrapped” was just wonderful.  The set was storybook-like and very colorful.  There were high-flying trapeze acts, balancing acts, skating acts and a very funny routine with balloons and a whip.

 

The trapeze acts were, to say the least, exciting. There were many children in the audience making ooh and aah sounds as the aerialists rose high into the domed atrium and performed amazing feats of athleticism.

United States-red, white and blue decorations

United Kingdom–loved the tea cup and saucer decorations!

 

We had a little bit of time left after the show and decided to take one last look around the atrium and hotel.  We found an exhibit called the Christmas Tree Trail showcasing beautiful trees that highlighted the holiday traditions of different countries around the world.  There were trees from China, France, Japan, United States, Great Britain and Africa.

Africa—Loved the small wooden African mask decorations

The United States tree was decorated in red, white and blue.  The United Kingdom tree was decorated with tea cups and saucers.  The tree representing Africa was decorated in warm colors of brown, green and burnt orange and beautiful wooden masks.  They were all beautiful!!

The time had arrived for us to make our way out to board the tour bus for the ride back home.  Genny and I were both tired and fell into silence as the bus rolled along.  I found myself looking out the window and thinking, “What a beautiful way to start the holiday season.”

Thank you Genny for making my world a little brighter and the start of my holiday season so beautiful!

Enjoy,

Mary

 

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Last day at sea a bit of a rocky ride

From the wee hours of the morning the ship has been rocking back and forth as we slowly cruised back towards the Florida coastline.  The rocking and rolling became a little stronger as the morning hours welcomed a new day with clear skies and cool air.

I looked out into a sea filled with 9′ to 10’ rolling waves and white capes as far as the eye could see.  A further indication that we were in for a rocky day was seeing the small blue bags tied to the railings in case needed for a queasy stomach and straps across the doors to the Promenade deck.

Today was the last day of our cruise and the Cruise Compass schedule was packed with activities.  However, over time, we have established our own schedule for the last day.  Our schedule includes packing, purchasing souvenir pictures, spending our complimentary coins in the casino and taking one last stroll around the ship.

However, we did have one extra activity added to our schedule for this cruise.  As one of the benefits of accumulating a certain level of nights spent on Royal Caribbean ships we have been invited to attend a special meal with an officer.

But, first things first, we are off to the Concierge Lounge for a quick continental breakfast of coffee, fresh fruit and pastries.  Then back to the cabin to do some preliminary packing.  As I packed I was glad that I had decided to bring along warm clothing for when we reach Florida.  The air was already cold and we knew it would be even colder when we arrived.

Our wonderful cabin steward was kind enough to leave each towel animal in the cabin so I decided to take a picture of my towel ‘family’ before he had to remove them.  This small gesture on his part was very much appreciated as many cabin stewards remove them each night.

Morning chores done, Doug, Sue, Randy and I made our way down to the Edelweiss Restaurant for our special luncheon.  We were seated at a table for 10 and handed our special menu.  There were a number of choices giving everyone at the table an opportunity to enjoy a meal they would like.  Other choices included shrimp cocktail, grilled blacken salmon with roasted potatoes, carrots and sauteed broccoli and lemon butter sauce, lingini pasta with truffle mushroom sauce and apple pie with vanilla ice cream for dessert.  It all sounded yummy.

 

I chose the garden salad, grilled New York steak with creamed smash potatoes and seasonal vegetables and the cherry chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream for dessert.  I found the steak to be a bit chewy but otherwise the lunch was tasty.

But the highlight of the lunch was meeting and enjoying a wonderful conversation with Officer Antoinette Van Dyk who is the Marine Administrative Assistant on the Rhapsody.  She was a delight.  Ms. Van Dyk shared with the group how she came to be serving on a cruise ship, her duties as marine administrative assistant, meeting her husband while serving and then was kind enough to introduce her husband to the group.

The rest of our day seemed to go by quickly and before we knew it, it was time to prepare for our last evening.  We met Doug and Sue in the lounge for cocktails then joined Sal and Anna for dinner. 

We retired early so we could make a quick exit from the ship and get underway for our drive home.

We took this cruise to ‘kick-start’ the Christmas season and I must say our decision to take a laid-back approach to this cruise definitely did just that.  The rest of our month will be as hectic as so many families encounter this time of the year.

Our first day back I will be off with my friend Genny to visit the Gaylord Palms in Orlando to attend the ICE show, a couple of days later I will co-host a neighborhood cocktail party, a few days later we will be in the car heading to Virginia to visit family for Christmas and finally, a few days after our return we will be flying off to California to visit friends.  Oh my, I am tired just writing the words!

We woke early and watched as the ship made its way into port and saw the Tampa skyline as the sun rose into the sky.

Enjoy,

Mary

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Easy going day on the beach in Costa Maya

Oh my, the port at Costa Maya, Mexico has changed so much over the years.  Randy and I have visited here several times and loved each visit.

Costa Maya is located on the Caribbean coast of Mexico.  The cruise port at Mahahual has so many things to offer visitors.  The port area is filled with shops, a large salt water pool, fun restaurants and access to the beach.

And, just a short shuttle ride away is the small a stretch of beach with beautiful turquoise waters, restaurants offering delicious dishes and buckets of cold beer, small souvenir shops and relaxing massages.

Hanging out at the beach with Bob and Sandy in Costa Maya 2008.

The first time we visited Costa Maya in 2008 the year after the area had been hit by Hurricane Dean.  As we traveled to the small fishing village of Mahahual we were sad to see just how much damage was still visible.  We were there with our friends Bob and Sandy.  We walked down the street finally stopping at a restaurant with umbrella tables on the beach and enjoyed buckets of cold beer and nachos.

Visiting the Kuhunlich Mayan Ruins with friends 2012.

I also remember fondly a trip to Costa Maya in February 2012 with our New Beginning friends and another trip in September 2012 when we participated in a wonderful excursion to visit the Kuhunlich Mayan Ruins.  Other trips have found us taking a short ride to Overo beach for an easy going day basking in the sun.

Entrance to port area at Costa Maya, Mexico

Today we woke to beautiful blue skies and temperatures in the low 80’s.  We dressed quickly, enjoyed a lite continental breakfast then made our way down to the pier to meet Doug and Sue for a day in the sun.

This very large leopard’s head sculpture was just outiside the ticket office for the shuttle to Uvero beach. I thought it was interesting.

We walked through the port area admiring all the activities taking place, many shops offering a variety of goods finally making our way to the back of the port to purchase our $3 tickets for the short ride to Overo beach.

As I mentioned at the very beginning of this trip, we had made the decision to visit our favorite restaurant in each port-of-call.  So today, we would be stopping at the Krazy Lobster.  We found a table nestled under palm tree just steps away from the water and a beautiful view of the ship and settled in for a relaxed afternoon.

First order of business; order a bucket of beer!   After spending some time chatting and watching visitors enjoying the view we ordered lunch.  Randy and I had enjoyed the Nachos on a past visit and decided to order them once again.  And, once again, everything they were delicious.  Sue and Doug enjoyed their choices too.

 

 

During our visit, and at different times, Randy, Sue and I walked down to the water’s edge and waded in.  The edge of the beach is a little rocky but soon you are standing on soft sand.  The water was cool and refreshing.

 

Time to return to the ship was approaching so we made our way back to the port. We returned to our cabin to discover a plate of delicious sweet treats.  Randy and I made ourselves comfortable for a short time on the balcony enjoying the view and our sweets before preparing the evening activities.

As always, we had a wonderful time during the cocktail and dinner hour.  We learned that Sal and Anna made their way down to the beach and enjoyed wonderful and relaxing massages.  Everyone had a great day!

Tomorrow is our last day and we are at sea.

Enjoy,

Mary

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A great day of fun, food and entertainment

I love seeing the tree each morning as I start my day!

I love opening the curtains and walking out onto the balcony and seeing the sun shining, feel a cool breeze on my face as the ship moves to another of our favorite ports-of-call.  Today we dock in Belize City, Belize.

Mayan ruins of Alta Hun 2012

Belize City has a beautiful Caribbean coastline, is home to a lush rain forest and has the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere.  On past stops here we have taken a tour of the city, visited the Mayan ruins of Altun Ha and found a restaurant that we revisit each time we return.

Start to a nice day although we would experience partly cloudy skies all day

The restaurant we return to each time we visit is called The Wet Lizard.  The restaurant is an upbeat, friendly restaurant and bar overlooking the harbor and the Belize Tourism Village.  At dinner last night we talked about having lunch there and all agreed to go along.  Sal and Anna had some things they needed to do in the morning but said they would try to meet us.

But, first things first, we met Doug and Sue for a delicious breakfast in the dining room. I had to laugh when Sue pulled a small bottle of real maple syrup from her purse.  I am so glad she did, it was delicious!

We returned to our cabin to enjoy the view from the ship until it was time to go ashore.  We met Doug and Sue and proceeded to board a tender.   The tender drops everyone off at the Belize Tourism Village and it is a short walk to the restaurant.  The Village is a collection of shops and eateries along at the harbor.

I must say the view from the restaurant had changed over the years.  We arrived at the restaurant around noon and made ourselves comfortable.  I looked around and noticed that the tables, chairs and walls were clean and all the signatures, hearts, dates, etc. had been painted over.

When we first started coming here the waitress could put several markers on the table and invite you to leave your mark.  Randy left our names and the date high up on a beam near the ceiling.  In 2009 when we brought our family there we choose a chair and everyone signed the chair.  It was so much fun.

When the waitress came over I asked her what happened.  “Over time we noticed that people were leaving obscene and objectionable words and felt it was better to stop the activity,” she replied.  I find it very sad, sad, sad that a few bad apples could take away a fun activity.

We ordered our favorite Belizean beer; Belikin.  We have always found the beer to be very tasty and refreshing.  We ordered a bowl of our favorite Wet Lizard’s Famous Salsa and chips.  I love this cucumber salsa.  I loved it so much I eventually bought the restaurant’s cookbook and now make it at home.

We had a great time just enjoying the day listening to the hub bub below and the laughter in the restaurant.  We eventually ordered.  The menu had also changed over time and after looking it over Randy and I ordered the pork sliders.  There was a little bite to these delectable sandwiches.  The accompanying slaw was also very tasty.

We eventually decided it was time to leave and made our way over to the gift shop to purchase tee shirts.

Shirts purchased we decided to take a walk down the pier before boarding the tender and returning to the ship.  There was a new restaurant at the end of our walk and a large ‘Belize’ sign just calling to us to have our picture taken.  We asked a very nice gentleman to take our picture and, he did.

We returned to the cabin and started our evening’s preparations for cocktails and dinner.  Tonight we would all be going to Giovanni’s Table for dinner.  Randy and I started with the Insalata Caprese per Due—a salad of vine ripened tomatoes and bocconcini mozzarella for two.  For the entrée we each ordered the Filetto de Manzo Alla Griglia, Patate Fritte All’Olio Agliato, Salsa Al Barolo o Burro di Gorgonzola—8 oz. grilled beef tenderloin, served with garlic fries and Gorgonzola butter.

As always, the salad and main dishes were amazingly delicious.  The steaks are always so tender. But, of course, we were not done.  We always finish our dinner with a generous helping of their famous Tiramisu.  This dessert is always so creamy and delicious.

We had a great time just talking about our day.  We spoke about our trip to the Wet Lizard and Sal and Anna talked about their adventure shopping at the village.  Everyone had a good day!

Our evening activities were as much fun as our daytime activities.  First, we made our way to the Centrum to attend the International Parade of Flags.  I love this show.  Members of the crew and ship’s staff carry the flags of their country with some members taking to the center of the floor and preforming dances from that country.  Very colorful!

Then it was off to the theater to attend the headliner show.  Tonight we were entertained by a group of men that promised, “The complete Beatles Experience”.  The Liverpool Legends did just that.

This tribute band was amazing and fun.  The entire audience enjoyed every song, singing along with some dancing in their seat and still others taking to the aisle to enjoy the music.  By the end of their set this talented and fun group was rewarded with a rousing standing ovation.

What a day!  We returned to our cabin for a little rest and relaxation before turning in.

Tomorrow we dock at Costa Maya, Mexico.

Enjoy,

Mary

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Festive and fun time in Cozumel with friends

View of Punta Langosta Pier at Cozumel from our cabin.

Today was going to be yet another sunny, warm day with the temperature inching towards 79°  as we dock at the Punta Langosta Pier in Cozumel, Mexico.

We have been to Cozumel at least a dozen times over the years and each visit is fun.  Over the years we have participated in excursions around the island exploring Mayan ruins and discovering the many things that make up the culture of the people of this lovely vacation destination.

Mayan ruins in San Gervasio. We were here in 2008

Salsa and Salsa 2012

We visited the Mayan ruins of San Gervasio, enjoyed learning all about tequila and making chocolate at Discover Mexico Cultural Park, learning to make several salsa recipes at Salsa and Salsa, and finally, enjoying wonderful lunches at the many restaurants around town.  But, as I said earlier, we decided this would be a very relaxed vacation only leaving the ship to stop by one of our favorite restaurants for lunch.

Ernestos Fajita Factory

The ship was scheduled to dock at the International Pier.  During dinner the night before we all decided that we would make our way to one of our favorite restaurants just a few blocks from the pier, Ernestos Fajita Factory.  Ernesto’s is a small restaurant with a very friendly staff, a nice view of the harbor and wonderful food.  One of the dishes were really looking forward to was their version of the Key Lime Pie; the Cozumel Pie.  The pie is made fresh daily and has a lovely thick crust and creamy lime filling with little bits of lime yest to heighten the taste.

While we were eating breakfast, we listened closely as we were told that we would be docking downtown.  Oh dear, there goes Ernesto’s.  Plan B was to walk from the downtown pier to Pancho’s Backyard for lunch.

We love Pancho’s and have taken several of our friends there to enjoy lunch.  Doug, Sue, Randy and I set off to make our way to the restaurant.  Sal and Anna would follow along and meet at the Pancho’s at noon.

During our walk to the end of town we passed many signs of the coming Christmas holiday.  There was a lovely and very large Christmas tree on the street outside Senñr Frogs, a decorative sleigh and signage pointing to the North Pole at the Punta Langosta Mall and festive decorations hung from many of the shops along the street.

 

We finally arrived at Pancho’s and settled into our seats in this lovely courtyard restaurant.  Pancho’s makes an amazing mango margarita and delicious food.  And a bonus is the fun marimba music making the dining experience festive and fun.

I was really looking forward to everyone having a good time.  We waited a bit for Sal and Anna and finally decided to order.  Of course, I ordered the mango margarita. We started with fresh salsa and chips.  We have over time ordered different dishes and enjoyed all.  Today I ordered the Enchiladas Verdes with corn tortillas, shredded chicken, tomatillo sauce, sour cream, beans and fresh salsa.  YUMMY!

I could not help but notice that every once in a while the wait staff would break into singing, “La Cucaracha”.  I turned the next time they broke into song and saw that they had placed a sign in front of a table.  The couple that sat at the next table explained that they were marking how many times someone had been to the restaurant.  They had been there four times and so they were treated to this fun activity.

They told the waiters that we too had been to Pancho’s four times.  They next thing we knew the sign was placed at our table, the waiters burst into song and we were presented with tequila shots to drink.  So much fun!  Randy and I noticed that they tequila drink was very sweet so we asked if there was anything added.  The glass contained one shot of tequila and one shot of Sprite.  All I know is that it went down very nicely.

6oz filet with Bernaise sauce, mashed potatoes and asparagus.

After enjoying our time at the restaurant, we walked back to the ship.  We all wanted to rest a bit before preparing the evening.  Tonight we would be going to Chops for dinner.  We all love Chops.  The steaks are always juicy and tender, the sides lovely and, we enjoy the quiet atmosphere.

 

After dinner we made our way to the Top Tier event being held by the Crown and Anchor Society.  We enjoyed a drink as Captain Juan and members of this staff welcome and thanked everyone for the loyalty to the cruise line.

 

On our way back to the cabin we stopped for a moment to see what was happening in the Centrum.  We watched as a group of passengers participated in the ‘Finish that Lyric’ game.  We found ourselves having the best time watching as the contestants tried to finish a song.  We also found ourselves singing the lyrics to each one.  Someone who was standing next to us said, “You two know all the songs; you should be in the game”.  Very funny!

Tired, we returned to our cabin to relax and prepare the next stop on our holiday cruise.

Tomorrow we dock at Belize City, Belize.

Enjoy,

Mary

 

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Highlight of our day at sea; a visit from Santa

We woke up this morning to a bright, sunny morning and the promise of a wonderful day.

Our plan for the day was to meet Doug and Sue in the dining room for a nice breakfast then off to the Solarium pool to enjoy a day of reading and relaxing.

It is so funny how even the best laid plans go up in a puff of smoke when you hear an announcement from the Activities Office.  While enjoying my breakfast, I heard the cruise director, Graham announce excitedly, “Santa will be parading around the pool deck then down to the Centrum for a photo opportunity in front of the Christmas tree”.  “Well”, I thought, “I know where I will be at 9:15am; on the pool deck!”

I ate my breakfast quickly, ran up to the cabin to retrieve my camera and off I went to be poolside when Santa made his appearance.  What a fun parade!  Santa was followed by a group of elves and members of the ships orchestra playing Christmas songs.  “How fun is that,” I thought as I watched the reaction of the people on the pool especially the children.

Santa proceeded to march on one side of the pool into the Windjammer Café then reappeared on the other side of the pool.  I loved it!  The parade made its way down to the Centrum, and yes, I was in line with all the other children to have my picture taken with Santa.

Santa asking me what I want for Christmas.

I will share with you that I have always been a child at heart when it comes to believing in the magic of Christmas.  My family was very poor but somehow my mom always found a way to make Christmas special.  On Christmas Eve she would scout the neighborhood Christmas tree stands to buy a tree.  More often than not what were left, were what could only be described as tall twigs with a few branches and very little greenery.  She would buy two of these Charley Brown trees and tie them together to make one beautiful tree.

We would wake up on Christmas morning to a beautiful, shiny tree all decked out in colorful decorations and we would be so happy.  There was always one special gift under the tree for each of us.  Many times there was only one but it would be the ‘one’ that we really wanted.  My mom always made Christmas so special.

The visit with Santa over, I turned my attention to what I would do for the rest of the morning.  Well, anyone who has cruised will tell you that if you do not get into the Solarium early in the morning and stake your claim to a lounge chair, the chances are almost nil to find one later in the morning.  So, rather than relaxing by the pool, I walked around the ship to take a few pictures.

 

 

My first stop was the Edelweiss dining room.  This elegant room was beautifully decorated with garlands, wreaths and lights.  I love the dining room especially the palm trees at the foot of the red carpeted staircase.

Then I moved on to the theater.  I could not go inside as there was an event happening.  But I took a few moments to admire the painted metal and wood sculptures outside the theater by artist Marc Berlet.  The pieces entitled “Espanola Drive” were exquisitely crafted.  The accompanying plaque read:

“Berlet is at ease and fluently conversant with the artistic language of the 20th Century.  He has grasped what it has to say and sees his art as an eloquent account.  The outstanding characteristics of Berlet’s work are wit and style, verve, virility and the good cheer of fine craftsmanship.  He is a diligent seeker of visual diversion and both by form and by colour shown how handily it can be made tangible”.

Randy, me, Sal, Anna, Sue and Doug. A very handsome group if I do say so myself!

Randy and I spent the rest of the day just relaxing and soaking up the sun on the balcony.  It was formal night so we started our preparations early for the evening’s activities.  First, we made our way up to the Concierge Lounge for cocktails then down to dinner to join our friends for another evening of lively conversation, laughter and good food.

We ate quickly as tonight was also the Captain’s Reception.  I enjoy this activity as it is an opportunity to put a face to those on the Captain’s staff  that are responsible for making every cruise a memorable experience.

I also enjoy meeting, if only briefly, the captain for a photo opportunity.  Captain Juan Caranti was gracious sharing a lovely smile as we stepped up the staircase in the Centrum for our photo.

We decided not to attend the evenings show opting instead to spend time together just walking around the ship and talking.

We returned to our cabin and discovered two covered dishes on the coffee table.  One dish was filled with delicious looking chocolate covered strawberries and the other a plate of cheeses, crackers and fruit.  We made ourselves comfortable and proceeded to enjoy our snacks.  “What a very, very nice day,” I thought as we ate, talked and laughed the evening away.

Tomorrow we dock in Cozumel, Mexico.

Enjoy,

Mary

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