One of the reasons I love to cruise is that each and every new cruise brings back such wonderful memories, all different, all unique and just the littlest trigger will bring those memories flooding back renewing warm, lovely feelings. But, I am getting ahead of myself.
We should start our first day at sea by talking about our first night on the ship.
Our first night on the ship was a test in fortitude. During the overnight hours the ship encountered rough seas and high winds. The wind whistled through our balcony door so loudly all evening making it very difficult to sleep soundly. We woke up to cloudy skies, winds of about 20 miles an hour and choppy seas.
As is our custom, we ordered a small continental breakfast from room service. It was not until the breakfast arrived that I realized I had forgotten to order coffee. Suddenly, we realized that our cabin had a coffee pot, creamer sugar and mugs. Being in a junior suite certainly has its advantages I thought. One minor problem, the coffee on almost every ship we have cruised is like drinking mud. We contented ourselves with drinking our orange juice until we made our way up to the Diamond Lounge.
We dressed and made our way up to the lounge to get our café lattes and were delighted to see a beautiful continental breakfast spread of salmon, fresh fruit, cheeses, meats, muffins, donuts and juices just waiting for us.
After breakfast we took a leisurely walk around the ship looking for the card room, library, the Crown and Anchor room and the Mexican restaurant. The Sabor, Modern Mexican restaurant is located on the Boardwalk on the Oasis, here on the Freedom it is an inside restaurant on Deck 4. We looked over the menu and made sure they were open for lunch then returned to our room to prepare for the rest of our day.
We decided that today would be a relaxing day so we went up to the Solarium pool, found two chairs and settled in for the morning. The wind was whipping up so we chose chairs under the overhang. There was at least a 20 degree difference in temperature in being in the open and being under the overhang. A few brave souls got into the water but got out just as quickly and bundled up.
What made it so cold was the wind. We were encountering at least 20-25 mile an hour chilly winds. It was fun to watch as every so often the wind would pick up someone’s flip-flops and send them sailing across the deck. A shirt would go airborne from a deck chair. Books, sunglasses and drinking glasses blew, slid or rolled across the deck. It was very funny to watch.
At lunch time we picked up some sandwiches from the Café and headed back to our cabin. We spent the rest of the afternoon kicking back, catching up on our reading and enjoying a glass of wine. The cold and windy weather and rolling seas lulled me into a quite state of reminiscing about cruises gone by. After a while I found myself thinking back to a very special cruise years before on another Royal Caribbean ship with a similar itinerary and weather conditions.
In 1996 Randy and I were invited to participate in a family cruise to the Western Caribbean. The group included Randy’s mom, dad, sister and brother-in-law. It was a Christmas cruise and we were sailing on the Majesty of the Seas. The ship was small but beautiful and all decorated for the holidays. There were Christmas trees everywhere. The itinerary back then included Labadee, Haiti, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Georgetown, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico.
Back then Labadee was, if I remember correctly, just beautiful beaches, there was an area to eat lunch. I don’t even remember if there were any artisans on the island. And, we had to drop anchor off shore and be tendered in. We spent the day just relaxing by the water.
In Jamaica we took a catamaran to Dunn’s River Falls and had a great deal of fun making our way up the falls.
In Grand Cayman we visited a turtle farm, the town of Hell and snorkeled at a lovely secluded beach.
We missed Cozumel that year due to a storm and very heavy seas. The seas were so heavy that while trying to country dance in one of the clubs and we found that you would go to put your foot down only to realize that the floor was not there.
By now Randy and I had been dating for almost two years. While on the island of Jamaica, Randy took me into some jewelry stores. It was fun looking but he gave me no indication that it was anything other than looking. But, it was still fun. I did not see him buy anything nor did he carry anything back to the ship. I learned years later that he had gotten back off the ship and returned to one of the jewelry stores and bought one of the rings I had admired.
A storm developed and we could not dock at Cozumel. The ship spent the next two nights cruising in the Gulf of Mexico. Friday evening the ship held a formal dinner, everyone looked so nice. No one was on the deck because the storm was really tossing the ship around, it was raining and very windy. But after dinner and dancing Randy said he wanted to take a walk around the deck. When we got to the back of the ship, Randy said he wanted to take a picture of us in the storm. He set up the camera on a pipe. He put it on timer, ran over and just as it clicked, he pulled out a ring case and said, “Will you marry me?”
Before he could say anything else I had him in a serious lip lock and, of course I said, “Yes!”
Unfortunately, the angle of the camera cut the tops of our heads off from the picture. Very funny! I really enjoyed my afternoon of reminiscing but now it was time to dress for dinner.
We spent a lovely evening with Bev and Jan at the lounge, a great dinner in the dining room and stopped to chat and have our picture taken with Captain Ron Holmes. As we chatted, he wanted to know why we moved to Florida and I told him that Randy wanted to spend every day that he could riding his motorcycle. Well, that started a fun conversation between the two men. We learned that the captain also rides. He told Randy that he had two Honda v65 Magna’s; one for riding and one for parts. Now that is a dedicated biker.
On to the Bull and Bear for an after dinner drink and back to the cabin, hopefully, for a good night’s sleep.
Tomorrow we dock at Labadee, Haiti.