Oh, my, ten months in the making and I am finally taking Randy on his 70th birthday surprise cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. As far as Randy knew we would be going away to spend some quality time together celebrating this important birthday.
But, all the while, I was working behind the scenes emailing friends to set up a surprise birthday. Thanks to my travel agent Andy Skolnick from CruiseOne helping with all the arrangements for those who wanted to come along, making arrangements to have our cabin decorated and special arrangements for dinner at Chops Grille complete with a birthday cake, the cruise was everything I imagined it would be.
Our friends, Jim, Vilma, Barry, Lana, Dave, Cindy, Roger and Sheri would be meeting us at the ship terminal. Randy and I arrived and I did not see anyone. I checked my phone and there was a message from Jim letting me know that the group had already gotten on the ship and were waiting for us at the Windjammer restaurant. He told me where they were and I told him we would be right along.
It was really funny to watch as Randy entered the restaurant on a mission to find a table for two by the window. He spotted one and made a beeline for it. As he was heading for the table a chorus of, “Happy Birthday” erupted causing Randy to stop mid-stride to see who the lucky person was. His reaction was priceless. As he turned in the direction of the singing he stopped, stared and could not believe what he was seeing. His eyes told him he was looking at his friends, but his mind kept asking, “Why are they on the same ship?” Once it registered that they were there for him he smiled and immediately threw himself into greeting our friends. Everyone was amazed that I had been able to keep it a secret for so long.
Hugs all around, many pictures taken, a little lunch eaten, we all headed for our individual cabins. Next surprise was Randy arriving at our cabin and seeing the door decorated with a happy birthday greeting.
Then he opened the door and found a happy birthday streamer hanging over the bed, a decorative chandelier hanging from the ceiling and birthday centerpiece on the small table in the cabin. I loved that he just kept smiling as he looked around the room and said, “I can’t believe you did all this without me finding out”.
What Randy did not know is that I still had a few chores to do, so while he took a short nap, I was off to talk to the maître d´ at Leonardo’s and set the dinner table with party hats and favors. You see, the day we boarded the ship was actually Randy’s birthday.
We still had a little time before dinner so; we spent some time walking around the ship to get our bearings. The Freedom of the Seas is a beautiful ship. I loved the dance floor between the two large pools on the pool deck, the children’s pool area was just wonderful, and the three level dining rooms were beautiful with its large crystal chandelier hanging majestically above the floor. I especially loved the Royal Promenade on deck 5. You walk along passing small shops, restaurants and sidewalk cafés, all very inviting.
Dinner was festive and delicious. From the moment we came to the table, our waiter greeted Randy as the, “birthday boy” and did everything in his power to make our dining experience a wonderful one. Everyone got into the spirit donning their party hats, singing happy birthday once again (along with several waiters and the head waiter) and taking a great deal of pictures. It was quite a wonderful evening.
After dinner everyone scattered. As we were walking by the Schooner Bar, we spotted several friends participating in a movie theme trivia event. Randy and I stood there for a while and got caught up in the fun and joined our friends. I must say we did well scoring 17 ½ out of 20 questions. As Cindy said, “It took a village”. On our way back to the cabin, we ran into Po the Panda from Kung Fu Panda, and, of course, it meant picture taking time.
We went back to our cabin for a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow we stop for a fun day at the beach on Royal Caribbean’s private island of Coco Cay.