Cruising to the Caribbean on the Oasis of the seas – Day 7

A photo souvenir of DreamWorks character King Julien and me near Central Park

The last day of our cruise started with the ship cruising across dark sapphire blue waters, big puffy clouds with just hint of yellow in the sky from the sun popping above the horizon and a slight chill in the air.

7:23 am

Last night when we returned to our cabin, the Crown and Anchor Society had sent a lovely and colorful plate of sliced fresh fruit.  It was inviting but much too much to eat after having two big meals.  We put the fruit in the refrigerator to enjoy our last full day on the ship.

We ordered orange juice, fresh pastries and cold cereal from room service to add to the fresh fruit in the refrigerator.  While we waited for our breakfast to be brought to the cabin, Randy ran up to the Diamond Club and brought back two piping hot cups of café latte.  We got comfortable on the balcony and talked about our plans for the day.

On any given day there is a myriad of activities to participate in.  There are always the last minute sales, the grand finale art auction, towel folding demonstrations, captain’s corner and more.

Our last day cruising back to home port, over time, has become routine.  Right after breakfast we make our way up to the photo shop and purchase our souvenir pictures. Then our next stop is the casino.  The ship gives us three coins to use in the casino.  The end result of these free pulls is different on each ship.

Larry Kirkland ‘Small Wonder’ Snake (Thamnophis Skeleton) Mixed Media

One ship will give you a raffle ticket to be pulled late into the night on the last day.  Some will give you a key chain or tee shirt.  My favorite is the ships that give you another coin for another free pull.  This trip I was presented with a raffle ticket. I have never won anything from the raffle because I never go to the casino the last night but I have several key chains and tee shirts.  Too funny!

Anil answered many questions from the group as we made our way around the two galleys.

Today we added a new activity to our routine.  We made a reservation to participate in a Champagne and Galley Tour sponsored by Chops Grill.  We made our way over to The Grande dining room to await our tour guide.  The scene became a little chaotic when the crew member started the check in process then announced that we needed to wear closed toe shoes.  I had sandals on and ran back up to our cabin to change shoes.

Our galley tour guide was a very nice chef named, Anil Pal.  There were twenty people in our group and periodically we had to change positions in the group in order to hear him well.

Everyone who takes these tours is always amazed at the organization that keeps the food coming to all the food venues around the ship each day.  Anil stopped at several key areas around the galley on deck 4 and 5.

 

 

We started in the areas where shrimp cocktails, bread, lamb shanks, escargot bourguignonne and more were being prepared.  All the cooks were very focused on their individual tasks stopping once in a while to share a smile with us.

 

Roasted tomato soup

At the end of the tour we were escorted back to the dining room where a table with drinks and hors d ‘oeuvres were waiting and then escorted to our tables.  Our menu included several choices for appetizers and entrees.  The appetizer choices included Shrimp Ceviche, Goats Cheese salad and Roasted Tomato Soup.  Our entrée choices included “Surf & Turf”, Pan Seared Salmon and Wild Mushroom Tagliatelle.  Everyone would receive a Chocolate Napoleon for dessert.

Petit filet mignon, dauphinoise potatoes and sauce Bernaise

Randy and I both ordered the surf and turf.  After asking Randy if he would like a second lobster tail and he declined, I asked our server if they would leave the lobster off my plate.  The roasted tomato soup was hot and delicious.  I was, however, a little disappointed in the petit filet mignon.  I had asked for it to be medium (pink).  When I cut into the filet it was so raw I knew I could not eat it.

Chocolate Napoleon with raspberry ganache and carmael creme

I called  our server over and asked if he could please ask the kitchen to cook it just a bit more for me.  “My pleasure,” was his response.  However, when he returned he did so with a brand new plate with a new filet and a lobster tail.  The filet was cooked a little better but was tough and fatty.  I was really surprised by this because it came from Chops.  “Oh well”, I thought, “the rest of the meal was wonderful”.

We had one last stop before returning to our cabin to relax a little and finish packing.  We made our way down to Central Park and Tiffany’s.  Randy was a little disappointed when he walked into Tiffany’s.  He was hoping that the Tiffany blue almonds that was available during their grand opening would still be available.  We spent a few moments looking for a little something for a family member having a birthday and with the help of a very nice salesman we picked what we thought was the perfect gift.

After an afternoon of packing and preparing to disembark in the morning, we prepared for the evening.  Cocktail time was very nice as we said our goodbyes and exchanged contact information with Skip and Suzanne.

The turkey is always so tender. YUMMY!

Pavlova with kiwi and strawberry coulis

Those of you who read my blogs on a regular basis know that I really am a creature of habit.  The last night of any cruise I am on I order the Roasted Turkey dinner.  The dinner is served with apple bread dressing, roasted red bliss, Brussels sprouts and cranberry sauce.  I always ask my servers if I could please switch out the red bliss and Brussels sprouts for mashed potatoes and a green vegetable.  They have always been very kind in granting this small request.

We enjoyed sharing our dinner time with Philip, Barbara, Tom and Grace and said to each that we hoped to see them around the community in the coming months.

We left the dining room and took a leisurely walk around the Royal Promenade before returning to our cabin for a little relaxation and turning in early.

This cruise was just wonderful!  We had great weather, a fun time in every port and shared time with nice people.

Tomorrow will rise early to catch the bus back to our community.

Enjoy,

Mary

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Cruising to the Caribbean on the Oasis of the seas – Day 6

Festive and whimsical decorations along the waterfront for Carnaval Isla Cozumel 2017

We were up early this morning excited that we would be docking at one of our very favorite ports, Cozumel, Mexico.  We have been here many times and always had a good time participating in one of the many activities available, enjoying the delicious cuisine in many of the local restaurants or just walking along the waterfront of San Miguel.

I was especially interested in going down to San Miguel to see if the waterfront had been decorated for Carnaval.

According to what I have read, Carnaval is the most important celebration in southeast Mexico. When the celebration begins Cozumel comes alive with music and dancing in the streets.  In 2012 Randy and I were here and I fell in love with the beautiful, festive and glittery decorations that lined the waterfront.  The decorations depicted animals and birds that are indigenous to the country.

At the time I did not know that they were only on display in the month of February during this colorful celebration.  The last time we here I asked a local gentleman about them and he explained this to us.  Knowing we would be here this year in February, I was excited.

While Randy and I enjoyed our coffee, we watched as the Carnival Breeze, Carnival Dream and the Royal Princess all made their way into port and that was just at the International Pier.  “It is going to be a very busy place in town today,” I thought to myself.

I enjoyed my breakfast so much yesterday that I repeated the choices.

Our plans set for the day; we made our way up to the Solarium again this morning to grab a quick breakfast.  While enjoying our breakfast we could not help but notice that the skies were very heavy with dark clouds.

The beach pool

We were in no hurry to leave the ship so before returning to the cabin we walked around the pool deck.  We were not surprised to see the pool deck empty; everyone would be going ashore today.

Carnaval 2017

Carnaval 2017

 

We took a van down to the center of town and proceeded to take a leisurely walk.  As soon as I got out of the van I looked to the waterfront and was pleased to see that it was decorated.  The decorations were different this year.  They were all colorful and whimsical depictions of sea life.

 

The first place we stopped was the town square.  There was a large sign announcing that Carnival would begin on February 22, 2017.  We were a week too early, oh my.

We continued our walk and each time we saw a restaurant that we had eaten at or place we stopped for photos over the years brought back memories and we found ourselves smiling.

Do I have a favorite restaurant?  No, not really.  Each restaurant we have visited in San Miguel has its own unique atmosphere and twist on the Mexican cuisine that we have come to enjoy.  I must say, though that I find I am drawn to the little restaurants along the waterfront.

To-date we have eaten at Toro’s Place, Tiki Tok, Las Palmeras, Pancho’s Backyard, and two wonderful lunches as part of two tours at Discover Mexico.  The first tour at Discover Mexico was called “Tastes of Mexico” where we learned how to make Mexican chocolate; the other tour was called “Tequila Experience by Jose Cuervo”.  Both tours were great and the lunch delicious.

Love the horse drawn carriages!

More recently we have discovered a small local restaurant within a few blocks of the International Pier called Ernesto’s.  The restaurant has a nice area outside that looks over the port, the service is friendly and the food delicious.

We walked the length of the waterfront stopping once in a while to take pictures and talk about past visits.  At one point the skies sent spits of rain down on everyone but no one seemed to care.  Actually, the rain felt refreshing.  We continued our walk eventually making our way to a taxi stand.

The taxi ride to Ernesto’s was comfortable and when we arrived, it just about lunch time.  There was one table left on the patio and we grabbed it.  The last two times we were here we ordered nachos and beer.  Today we decided it was time to order a proper lunch to see how the food was.

We ordered the Plato Mexicano which included one beef taco, one chicken enchilada, one cheese quesadilla, carne asada, rice and beans.  We thought this was a good combination of flavors and textures to decide just how good the food was.  While we waited for our lunch we enjoyed bottles of cold Sol beer and munched on chips and salsa.

Randy and I split each item to see if we would come up with the same answer to the question.  I asked Randy, “So what did you think?”

“I thought it was pretty good especially the carne asada.  The meat was so tender,” Randy replied.

This picture was actually taken on our last visit to Ernesto’s but it look so good when it came to the table I forgot to take a picture. Oops!

Me, I enjoyed everything I tasted.  We ordered a slice of Cozumel lime pie with two forks and sat back and enjoyed looking out over the bay and all the boats filled with tourists coming and going. The atmosphere at Ernesto’s is very laid back and the food delicious; we will be back.

We returned to the ship and prepared for the evening activities.  First we made our way up to the Diamond Club for cocktails then down to the dining room for a wonderful dinner.  We did a great deal of walking today so I was very hungry.

I started with a bowl of French onion soup followed by Roasted Pork Loin for my entrée.  The pork dish came with garlic mashed potatoes, braised Napa cabbage, grilled squash and cranberry chutney.  The pork was a little dry but otherwise very good.

As I said, I was very hungry so tonight I indulged that hunger with a wonderful dessert. Cream puffs filled with vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce and resting in chantilly cream.  Yummy! The Profiteroles were just the perfect ending to a delicious meal.

During dinner the captain made an announcement that the crew was having difficulty returning a lifeboat to its proper position on the ship and that we would be in port for several more hours.

With no reservations for this evening, we returned to the cabin and watched as the other cruise ships in port left for their next destination.  The lifeboat was just under our balcony so we watched as the crew worked diligently to fix the problem.  We were scheduled to leave port at 6:30 PM.   The ship finally got under way at 10:30 PM.  It is going to be a very swift cruise back to Port Canaveral!

Tomorrow we are at sea.

Enjoy,

Mary

PS—Today I walked 11,533 steps and climbed 6 floors.  Not bad!

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Cruising to the Caribbean on the Oasis of the seas – Day 5

Morning view over the bow from the Solarium.

Oh my, what a busy, colorful, fun and beautiful day at sea!

The daily Cruise Compass called for partly cloudy skies today and what I saw when I stepped onto the balcony was bright blue skies and puffy white, marshmallow clouds.  I just knew it was going to be a wonderful day to be out and about around the ship.

Our first stop this morning was the Solarium for a light, healthy breakfast.   This is Randy’s favorite because he loves the variety of fresh fruits, cereals, nuts, yogurt parfaits, cheeses, etc. I walked around looking at all the wonderful choices and decided to choose a bit of cheese, sliced peaches, watermelon, sliced tomatoes and a large glass of orange juice.  An odd selection to be sure but it hit my taste sweet spot.

Breakfast done we were off to the pool for a relaxing morning in the sun.  We were fortunate to find two chairs and settled in for a relaxing morning.  I tried to read today but found myself enjoying watching the whisper thin clouds passing over the ship.  Cloud watching has become a treat for me whether I am poolside or relaxing on the balcony.

The first event we choose for today was the Men’s International Belly Flop Competition but it was still a little early so we decided to walk around a little before making our way down to the aqua theater.  On our travels we came across a small wonder, a beautiful flower jar and a scale model of the Freedom of the seas.

We found this beautiful small wonder by American artist Larry Kirkland featuring “Quartz Elements on Brazilian Agate”.  Mixed media.  The accompanying plaque read:

“Quartz is the second most common mineral in the Earth’s crust after feldspar.  The tight structure of the forms makes them prismatic and highly reflective of light.  Mixing with other minerals causes a myriad of colorations from clear and milky white to the black of onyx, reds of carnelian white to pinks, reds, greens and blues.  All are spectacular artworks of nature”.

We turned are saw this beautiful jar just steps away and stopped to admire the delicate work.  The piece was done by British artist Felicity Aylieff.  The title for the piece was “Flower Jar-Blue 2009…Glazed porcelain.  My title for this is beautiful!

 

The belly flop competition is always fun.  It is amazing to me to see who wins.  Sometimes the winner is a man who is of substantial girth and sometimes the winner if a man of slight build but has just the right technique.  Either way it is always fun to watch especially if the competitors ham it up just before they jump into the pool.

Well, today was no different. DreamWorks character King Julien joined the cruise staff and competitors to do a little dancing and horsing around before the competition began.  One by one the men jumped into the pool creating a variety of splashes.  One gentleman did a flip into the pool and was removed from the competition.

At the end of the competition a winner emerged and was presented with a trophy and allowed a victory walk across the pool surrounded by spray of water.  When he returned to the stage the cruise staff took away his trophy and presented him with a smaller version.  Very funny!  At the end of the event all the men made one last jump into the pool making quite a splash.  Fun, fun, fun!

We did not leave our seat instead remained to watch the colorful and fun Splish Splash Comedy Dive Show.  The aqua theater cast dons colorful costumes and performs aerial, acrobatic and diving feats that leaves everyone laughing and wanting more.  These performers are very talented!

We had a wonderful morning and afternoon but it was time to return to the cabin and prepare for the evening.  Tonight our group leaders June and Frank scheduled a cocktail party giving the group an opportunity to get together and share their cruise experiences.

We sat with several couples in our group enjoying a drink or two and lively conversation before moving on to the dining room.

Dinner was yummy again this evening starting with an Insalata Caprese with red, ripe roma tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and an herb pesto.  Staying with the Italian theme, I chose the Cheese Tortelloni for my main course.  The cheese tortelloni was served with a parmesan-reggiano, blue cheese sauce that was just yummy.

Of course, I had to finish this lovely dinner off with a delicious dessert.  Tonight I enjoyed the Royal Chocolate Cake with dulche leche, chocolate fudge and vanilla ice cream.  The cake was so rich and chocolaty; it was delicious and the perfect end to a perfect dinner.

We had reservations for the Frozen In Time ice show so we made our way quickly to Studio B.  On our way on the elevator, I, once again, admired the beautiful bird sculpture in the elevator shaft.  The sculpture created by contemporary artist Carlos Betancourt is called “A Flock of Seagulls” featuring a flock of seagulls of various sizes, shapes and tails.  Each seagull is painted with beautiful flowers.  The seagulls are suspended on cables allowing them ‘flight’ with the movement of the ship.  There are so many beautiful things to see on the ship that I feel I am cruising on a floating museum.

“The Ugly Duckling”

“The Emperor’s New Clothes”

When we arrived at Studio B the seats were filling up fast.  We were fortunate to find two seats in the front row of the center section.  “How wonderful,” I thought. I never get tired of this amazing ice show. The show is a fun look at the world of Hans Christian Andersen stories.  Andersen’s stories covered in the ice show include “The Snow Queen”, “The Ugly Duckling”, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and more.  The music, costuming and choreography were wonderful.

After the show we took a leisurely walk across the Royal Promenade before returning to our cabin for a little relaxation before turning in for the night.

Tomorrow we dock at Cozumel, Mexico.

Enjoy,

Mary

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Cruising to the Caribbean on the Oasis of the seas – Day 4

Falmouth Parish Church of St. Peter the Apostle

What a fun and interesting day!  Today we docked at Falmouth, Jamaica.  We have been here many times and always had a fun time.  According to Wikipedia, “Falmouth is the chief town and capital of the parish of Trelawny in Jamaica. It is situated on Jamaica’s north coast 18 miles east of Montego Bay. It is noted for being one of the Caribbean’s best-preserved Georgian towns”.

Arriving at the port

We awoke once again to a beautiful, beautiful day.  We were not in rush today as we would not get into port until 10:30am so we set off to Johnny Rockets for a full breakfast.  I love Johnny Rockets on the Oasis because it has outside seating and the food is always good.  I think everyone on the ship had the same idea because it took a bit to get a seat.

While enjoying our breakfast Randy and I were trying to decide what to do.  I had mentioned that I thought I would stay on board and get caught up on some reading.  Randy, on the other hand, thought he would get off and walk around the port area.  In the end we agreed that getting off would be nice even to just walk around a bit.

We started our walk at the port taking in all the activity around the many stores and carts and listened a while to the group of musicians playing in the small gazebo in the center of the area.

I turned to Randy and said, “You know, we have never really spent any time looking through the Craft Market.  Why don’t we walk up and down all the aisles and see what there is to see?”  Randy agreed and we were off.

The Craft Market is packed very tightly with all kinds of bought and homemade goods.  The colors are amazing.  Bright yellows and pinks, deep blues all stood out as we walked around.  There were one-size fits all dresses, Caribbean shirts, Bob Marley coasters, colorful magnets and so much more.

But what caught my eye the most were the beautiful wood carvings.  There were canes, vases, bowls and many beautifully carved animals.  We walked by a gentleman sitting on a very small bench just outside one side of the market carving barracudas and, on the other side a gentleman was carving small children’s chairs.  The end result of the gentlemen’s work was beautiful.

 

 

 

We found ourselves walking toward the entrance to the port where a group of signs with stories of the first arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1494, the history of Jamaica, the history of Falmouth and a story of Baptist missionary William Knibb and his contribution to the emancipation movement in Jamaica were on either side of the walk into the port area.

 

Street just outside the port. A very busy street.

Randy said he would like to take a walk just outside the gate and I agreed.  We had walked into town once before and had the most wonderful lunch at a restaurant called Nazz.  We were curious to see if the restaurant was still there.  We walked a little and saw a very nice gentleman standing in the middle of the street in a very crisp, white uniform. We thought he was a policeman but learned that he was a tourism security guard.  “Interesting,” I thought.

We stopped and asked about the restaurant and he told us that the restaurant still existed but the name had changed.  “Only the name has changed.  It is now called Donna’s but everything else remains the same” he said.  We asked if there were any interesting sights within walking distance.  He pointed to his left and said that if we walked in that direction for several blocks we would come upon the first church in the parish of Trelawny and one of the oldest churches on the island.

Donna’s–Formerly Club Nazz & Restaurant

We started our walk eventually passing Donna’s restaurant and continued down streets with very narrow sidewalks several with trees growing through the cement.  We passed many shops and eateries on our walk.

I was struck by the fact that as we walked along no one made eye contact.  I found myself saying, “Good day and Hello” to everyone we passed.  Some responded by saying, “Hello”, others nodded their heads.  I felt happy when they responded.

We eventually made it to the Falmouth Parish Church of St. Peter the Apostle. I was struck by the poor condition of the grounds and the graves in the church’s cemetery.  We walked through the gate and ran into another visitor who said, “You need to go to the back of the church there are goats back there”.

We thought that was very funny so we did.  Sure enough, there were three goats grazing on the church grounds between the graves.  We learned that that is how the church keeps the grass down in the cemetery.  Randy and I thought that it was very practical and very funny.

As we walked back to the front of the church a tour group arrived.  We followed them into the church and took a seat in one of the pews and listened to a young woman talk about the history of the church.

 

My eye went immediately to the front of the church and beautiful and colorful stained glass window above the altar.  On either side of the window were plaques etched with the Ten Commandments, Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles Creed.

I loved everything about this church especially the wooden pews, pulpit and Baptismal font.  We learned that they were all made of Jamaican mahogany.  They were all beautiful.

The talk did not take long and soon we found ourselves back outside exploring the grounds on the opposite side of the church.  I found myself reading the dates.  I found one dating back to 1665.  The young man who had been buried here was only 18 years old.  We walked around a bit more then started our journey back to the port.

On our way back we saw a group of dancers performing at event called Spruce up Jamaica and stopped to watch for a while.  The music was lively and the dancers wonderful.  It was hard to pull away.

I wanted to thank the tourism security guard for pointing in the direction of this beautiful, old church.  I was dismayed when he was not on his corner.  However, as we continued down the street we spotted him and stopped.  When I thanked him, he looked at me and exclaimed, “You made it there?”  “Yes we did,” I replied.  “We had a wonderful walk and enjoyed visiting such a beautiful church”.  He smiled and said, “Thank you”.

Towel alligator at the towel station on the pool deck. Funny!

We returned to the ship, changed clothes and went up to the pool deck for a lazy afternoon in the sun.  I tried to read a bit but was drawn to the pool where I enjoyed a blissful time floating in the cool salt water.

We were enjoying ourselves but finally made an effort to return to the cabin and prepare for evening cocktails with our new-found friends Skip and Suzanne and dinner with our group.

We did not have reservations for any shows this evening so we walked around the Royal Promenade a while then returned to our cabin to relax and turn in for a good night’s sleep.

We had a wonderful day today.  Tomorrow we will be cruising all day to our last port-of-call, Cozumel, Mexico.

Enjoy,

Mary

PS-Today I walked 8,161 steps and climbed 17 floors.  A good day indeed!

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Cruising to the Caribbean on the Oasis of the seas – Day 3

After a restful night’s sleep we woke up to another beautiful sunrise.  The air was clear and warm and the sun had already risen above the horizon.  I stood on the balcony and knew it was going to be a beautiful day.

Randy ran up to the Diamond Club and returned with cups of cups of hot café lattes.  We got comfortable on the balcony enjoying watching the sun continue to rise as the ship made its way to port.

Today was Valentine’s Day and we celebrated by exchanging lovely cards and Randy presented me with my very first little blue box from Tiffany’s.  “I shall wear this beautiful pendant this evening,” I whispered in Randy’s ear.  Lovely, just lovely.

Our port-of-call today is Royal Caribbean’s private resort Labadee on the northern tip of Haiti.  We love coming here and have a favorite spot all the way at the end of the resort at a beach on the bay called Columbus Cove.

A quick breakfast and then off the ship for a fun day.  Today, however, we would be going in two different directions.  Randy would be going to Columbus Cove to set up our beach chairs while I participate in a “Labadee Historic Walking Tour”.  The tour would be conducted by a local historian sharing the island’s 500-year history.

I and another couple met at the Information Center to wait for our guide.  While inside I noticed several photos of early Haiti (Ayiti) and a statue commemorating the Haitian Revolution.  The revolution led to the abolition of slavery and the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte’s army at the Battle of Vertieres.  The sovereign nation of Haiti was established on January 1, 1804 and became the first independent nation of Latin American and the Caribbean.

Our guide, Lamy, was delightful and knowledgeable.  He talked as we walked along stopping first at a map of the island where he told us that Taino people were the original inhabitants of the island.  Eventually, a group of people called the Carib also inhabited the island.  The Taino people were peacefull and passive while the Carib people were warlike.

He talked at length about Columbus arriving at the island on December 5, 1492 and claiming it for Spain calling the island La Española.  During his stay the Santa Maria ran aground. Columbus ordered his men to salvage what they could and build a structure for the 39 seaman of the Santa Maria as he could not take them back to Spain on the other two ships.  This settlement was named La Navidad after the day the Santa Maria was destroyed.  When Columbus returned the second time in 1493 he found the settlement burned to the ground and all the men either dead or missing.  Throughout Lamy’s talk he used words like buccaneer, pirate, slave, revolution, freedom, and democracy as he explained Haiti’s long and turbulent history.

Our next stop was under a Neem tree where he extolled the benefits of this, in his words, a wonderful tree.  According to Lamy all parts of the tree can be used to make a long list of medicines.

 

We then moved on to the remains of a structure called Nellie’s Towers.  Nellie’s is named after an Englishwoman who arrived at the time of the buccaneers and set up a trading post and tavern to serve visiting ships and their crews.

Our last stop was at the Columbus Cove Café where Lamy talked a great deal about his hopes for his country and answered the few questions that we had.  The walking tour was a very pleasant.  We thanked Lamy and then went our separate ways.

The temperature was rising and I was anxious to join Randy at the beach.  I found him lying under a wonderful palm tree just feet away from the water.  I stripped down to my bathing suit and  walked into the water.  The water was a bit chill but very refreshing.

We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the beautiful weather, a wonderful barbeque lunch and just relaxing in the sun.  Eventually we caught a trolley back to the port.  As we rolled along we passed the Haitian flea market with all its wonderful wares on display.

 

We hurried back to the ship to freshen up and start our evening.  First a stop at the Diamond Club for cocktails then on to dinner.

 

 

 

 

We ate quickly as we had reservations for the Oasis of Dreams aqua show.  The show included synchronized swimming, acrobatic performances and jaw-dropping dives from a platform over 57 feet in the air.  The stadium seating in the aqua theater is wonderful because it affords everyone a wonderful view of the show.  This show is amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was still somewhat early so we decided to see if we could get in to the late night comedy show.  We did not have tickets but we have found over time that if you can get to the line early outside the comedy club more than likely you can get seats; and we did!

Tonight’s comedians were Nery Saenz and John Caponera.  Both gentlemen were very funny but I must admit I really enjoyed the humor of Nery Saenz.  So much of his humor was based on personal stories that I could relate to.  Very funny!

It was almost midnight by the time we arrived back at our cabin.  It had been a wonderful day but it was time to turn in and get a good night’s sleep.

Tomorrow we will dock at Falmouth, Jamaica.

Enjoy,

Mary

PS – Today I walked 6,124 steps and climbed 12 flights of stairs.  Good day!

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Cruising to the Caribbean on the Oasis of the seas – Day 2

We woke up to a beautiful day!  The sun had risen and was shining brightly, the seas were calm and there was a gentle cool breeze blowing.  It is going to be a wonderful day!

The week before coming on board was a very busy and fun one.  Our friends Barry and Lana had stopped by for a quick visit on their way south for a vacation.  So, by the time we had gotten on board we were exhausted.  We had retired early last night and slept for ten hours.  We woke up rested and ready to start our cruise in earnest.

As has become our habit on the first morning on board, we ordered room service for breakfast.  Just before it arrived Randy ran up to the Diamond Club to get café lattes for us. A lovely tray of fresh orange juice, fresh fruit, yogurt and cereal arrived on the dot of 7AM.  The morning was so beautiful we decided to have breakfast on the balcony.

After a little housekeeping around the cabin, we were off to a top tier event at the Aqua Theater at 10:45AM.  A Top Tier event is a social gathering sponsored by the Crown and Anchor Society to say, “Thank You” for those passengers who have shown loyalty to the cruise line by returning time after time.

On our way we stopped to look at the pictures taken the night before.  They were very nice.  We were a little early so we stopped at the Schooner Lounge to listen to the Crown and Anchor trivia contest.  We listened and tried to see how many answers we could get right.  Well, we learned that we need to bone up on the Royal Caribbean cruise line history before we actually participate.

Gymnasts use this large trampoline to flip and dive into the pool

We finally made it to the Aqua Theater, picked up a Mimosa and found some seats.  Patricio, our cruise director came out greeting everyone and introducing several members of the dive crew who dazzled us with their diving and acrobatic skills.

The high-dive platform is over 50 feet above the pool below.

We watched as gymnasts, aerialists and divers performed jaw-dropping feats in and around the 18 foot deep fresh water pool some diving from a 10 meter platform.

Patricio then introduced Captain Hempstead and Hotel Manager Kevin Thorogood who said a few words of welcome and thank you to all those in the audience who have made the line so successful.

By the time the event was over it was close to noon so we stopped at Sabor for lunch.  Sabor Taqueria & Tequila Bar is a wonderful Mexican restaurant on the Boardwalk.  The first time we ate here was on a transatlantic cruise on the Oasis in 2014 .  We loved it and were anxious to see if the food was as delicious as we remembered.  It was!

However, we did notice a few changes.  They no longer prepare the guacamole at the tables and the Dessert Box is no longer on the menu.  But no matter the salsa, the chips, the chicken and roasted corn empanadas and the coconut flan were all delicious!!!  And, of course, I had to have a margarita and that was smooth and delicious too!

Our next stop was Central Park and the Tiffany & Co. jewelry store.  Tiffany’s was holding a grand opening event and we decided to stop by and browse a little.  Randy seemed taken by the Tiffany blue candy covered almonds and Tiffany blue and white lollipops.  There were also glasses of Champagne to enjoy while browsing the store.  I tried on a small Tiffany key pendant.  Randy thought it looked great and said, “Happy Valentine’s Day”.

We returned to the cabin for a little rest on the balcony before preparing for the evening.  When we opened the cabin our eyes were drawn to a covered plate.  Beneath the cover were the largest chocolate covered strawberries I had ever seen.  “How wonderful“, I thought.  After just finishing a large lunch we decided to put them into the refrigerator for another day.

While Randy was kicking-back on the balcony, I picked up my camera and decided to take a walk around the ship.  After being in therapy for the last eight weeks for a knee injury I sustained six months earlier and a back spasm that sent me to the emergency room, I was anxious to see if I could walk for a long period of time as well as climb up and down stairs without a great deal of pain.  I set a modest goal of 5,000 steps a day and a few flights of stairs pain free a day.

Each time we have cruised on the Oasis we have been seated in the Grande Restaurant.  The dining rooms are located on three decks with each deck having a different theme but all serving the same menu each night.  I wanted to see all three.

 

I started on deck 5 where the Asian-decorated restaurant Silk is located.  Silk is decorated in rich red velvet and beautiful lantern chandeliers.  In some areas large high-backed red velvet chairs dominate.  I loved the lanterns.

 

 

 

The Grande Restaurant is located on deck 4 and was originally decorated for those who prefer a formal dining experience.  There are gold overtones and beautiful mirrors gracing the walls.

 

 

The American Icon Grill is located on deck 3 and is reserved for My Time dining in the evening.  This dining room also serves breakfast and lunch.  I loved the décor in this dining room.  I was struck by the beautiful mirror panels that depict national landmark scenes from our beautiful country.  They were all beautiful.

There were also wonderful maps of the United States made of old license plates on several of the walls.  I had to walk up to one and touch it; they are real license plates.  Wonderful!

From left; Efrem, Skip, Randy, Mary, Suzanne and Hannah.

The afternoon was waning so I returned to the cabin to prepare for the evening.  We made our way up to the Diamond Club to spend time with a lovely couple we had met the night before.  We had agreed that whoever got to the club first would reserve seats for the four of us.  As it turned out we met another couple and the six of us had a wonderful time sharing little bits of information about each other and laughing a great deal.

All too soon it was time to make our way to the dining room.  I was very happy to see one of my favorite dishes on the menu especially as it had been removed from several of the ships we had cruised on recently.  The Roasted Beef Tenderloin dinner included mashed potatoes, asparagus with Morel mushroom sauce.  I finished off my dinner with a Grand Marnier vanilla soufflé.  Both dishes were delicious.

This was our first formal night so there was an opportunity for photos with the captain and a champagne reception on the Royal Promenade.  After dinner we made our way to have a picture taken with Captain Hempstead.

I love Randy in this picture. This was taken just after Randy and Kung Fu Panda engaged in some belly bumping . Very funny!

We did not schedule a show for this evening so we spent some time walking around and people watching before returning to our cabin to relax a little before turning in for the night.  On our way back to the cabin we spotted Kung Fu Panda, once again, posing for pictures.  Well, of course, I could not resist.  Kung Fu Panda and Randy got into a belly bumping contest; it was very funny!

We finally made it back to our cabin and got comfortable on the balcony enjoying the quiet and taking in a sky filled full moon and thousands of twinkling stars.  Life is good.

Tomorrow we dock at Labadee, Haiti.

Enjoy,

Mary

PS- I managed to walk 5,843 steps and climb 8 flights of stairs today. Off to a good start!

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Cruising the Caribbean on the Oasis of the seas-Day 1

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When some of our friends learn that we are off on another cruise they ask, “Where to this time?”  When we tell them we are off to the Caribbean they look at us like we are crazy and exclaim, “Really, another cruise around the Caribbean?”

“Absolutely!” we reply.  Truth be told, we just love being on the water.  We have learned over time that each cruise is a uniquely different experience.  The ships each have their own personality and, although we stop at many of the same ports, we have always been able to experience new and fun things to do on each one.  And, in the last few years, we have expanded our horizons to included cruises to Europethe Baltic and the Hawaii Islands.

So here we are once again on the beautiful Oasis of the seas for a 7-night cruise to the Western Caribbean with a wonderful group of fellow travelers from our community.

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Once we got through the traffic jam at the cruise port, getting onto the ship was a breeze.  We went up to Central Park for a quick bite to eat then off to our cabin.  When I opened the door I had to laugh; the cabin was looked comfortable but oh so narrow.  I looked at Randy and remarked, “The cabin is so narrow I feel like I am walking into a cigar tube”.

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We both laughed and made ourselves comfortable on the balcony watching a group of bottlenose dolphins swimming playfully around the ship.  “How wonderful,” I thought, “this is going to be a wonderful trip”. 

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We were aware that the safety drill would be called in a few short hours so left the cabin for a stroll around the ship to reacquaint ourselves with all its wonderful venues.  The first thing I saw as we started our walk was one of the many ‘small wonders’ art exhibits on the Oasis.  To date I have only found about half of these wonderful views of the many beautiful things we are surrounded by in our world.  One day I will find them all.

The small wonder Scallops (Pectin Nobilis, Catophragmiae and Nemocardium Bechi) Mixed media was created by American artist, Larry Kirkland.  The accompanying plaque read:

“Scallops propel themselves through the water by opening and closing their shells.  The parasite barnacles attach themselves to the hard scallop shell for a free ride.

Our world is filled with small wonders.  Every day, everywhere we look; the world presents its wonder for us to delight in.  It is no different onboard “Oasis of the Seas!”  Included in the art collection, there are 42 beautiful and intriguing small wonders from our natural world throughout the ship.  Come explore and see how many you can discover!”

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We continued our walk to a place we would be spending a good deal of time each afternoon, the Diamond Club.  Outside the club was a wonderful scale model of the Oasis. The club is located on deck 11 and overlooks the Boardwalk.  The club has two levels and is a comfortable space to enjoy a light continental breakfast and coffee in the mornings and a relaxing cocktail and hors d’ oeuvres in the evenings.

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Our next stop was the Boardwalk.  I love the Boardwalk especially as the Boardwalk is where we find two of our favorite eating places on the ship.  Johnny Rockets has one of the best breakfasts on the ship and the Sabor Taqueria & Tequila Bar has a wonderful menu of authentic Mexican dishes that are just yummy.

The Boardwalk is also the location of the Aqua Theater where passengers can watch amazing and entertaining activities and high-diving shows that leave everyone who attends awe struck.

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Our last stop before returning to the cabin for a luggage check was the Royal Promenade.  The Promenade is a place of non-stop activity with many places to get a bite to eat, shop in a variety of stores and witness a variety of entertainment.

At one end of the Royal Promenade is a replica of a 1936 Auburn Boattail Speedster.  I can only imagine how many passengers have posed in front of this beautiful car over the years.

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img_9017cWe returned to the cabin to check to see if our luggage had arrived; it had not.  So, we spent a few moments on the balcony watching as many small water craft returned to port from a day out in the open waters. We also enjoyed watching a group of pelicans as they flew around the ship.

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img_9040bOnce the safety drill was over we made our way to the Diamond Club for a quick cocktail before going to the dining room to meet other members of our group.  I was not very hungry and chose the Beef Carpaccio for starters. The dish is a tasty combination of thinly sliced beef, arugula, crispy garlic, shaved parmesan, and Dijon mustard dressing.  I chose small serving of Spaghetti Bolognese for my main dish.  The dish is a wonderful combination of al dente spaghetti with beef ragout, San Marzano tomatoes, Pecorino Romano, and basil.  Both were delicious.

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Before returning to our cabin for the evening we returned to the promenade to have a last cocktail on the Rising Tide Bar.  The Rising Tide Bar is amazing as it slowly rises from the Royal Promenade on deck 5 up to Central Park on deck 8 and can carry over 30 passengers.  While we waited for the bar to start its ascension we watched DreamWorks character Kung Fu Panda strike many funny poses while having his picture taken with children and adults young at heart.

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The Rising Tide Bar

We had a wonderful first day aboard the ship.  We returned to the cabin to unpack and settle in and think about what we would like to do while visiting Labadee, Haiti, Falmouth, Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico.

Our second day will find us at sea as we make our way to our first port-of-call, Labadee, Haiti.

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Mary

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