I was so excited as we packed for our holiday cruise with friends aboard the Navigator of the Seas. We would be cruising with our friends Bob, Sandy, Dennis and Connie. Our itinerary included cruising through the Caribbean stopping at Labadee, Haiti; Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis; San Juan, Puerto Rico and Philipsburg, St. Mararten.
I was also excited because our participation on this cruise almost did not happen. Several weeks before the cruise Randy came down with a case of shingles. Fortunately, he caught it early and sought help from his doctor and took the recommended medications. The question regarding Randy’s taking part in land tours though would be answered as the days rolled by.
The day we left, we were up early, had quick cups of coffee, a little breakfast and at 10am sharp Bob drove into our driveway. Bags in the back and we in our seats and off to spend the night at a Quality Inn & Suites in Ft. Lauderdale.
After check-in we walked over to the restaurant recommended by the hotel staff. Rickey’s Restaurant and Sports Bar was very nice with great service and really good food. After dinner we sat for a little while in the hotel’s garden talking about our trip and the holidays. The whole area was covered in a pleasing lime green glow. It was interesting as was the very large chair that we all had fun sitting in. Very funny!
This vacation also marked the first time I would be using my Fitbit. Although I spent much of my time in a car I managed to walk 3,158 steps or 1.26 miles. I thought that was pretty good.
We were up early to grab a quick breakfast then off to drop our car off, board the shuttle to the ship and check in. We arrived early so we had to wait as the ship was cleared of its passengers from the previous cruise. Our friends and fellow travelers, Dennis and Connie, were on the previous cruise and were anxiously waiting for us to board. We eventually made contact and made plans to meet them after lunch on the pool deck.
Randy was not feeling well so we went to the cabin where he took spent a time sitting on the balcony and then took a short nap until it was time to participate in the safety drill. After the drill we met Bob, Sandy, Dennis and Connie up on the pool deck and then proceeded to the dining room.
It was a little disconcerting that the early dinner time had been changed from 6:00pm to 5:30pm. The shortened time from the safety drill and dinner did not give us a chance to run back to the cabin and freshen up so we certainly looked like a motley crew during dinner.
Our friends had never been on a ship with a Promenade and found it fascinating to think you could be on a ship in the middle of the ocean and feel as though you were walking down a street stopping for a bite to eat or do a little shopping.
As soon as we entered the Promenade my attention was caught by this wonderful, playful sight rising out of the deck we were standing on and reaching several decks above. The artwork starts on deck 3 and reaches up to deck 8. Amazing! I loved it. I looked at Randy and said, “It looks like thousands of bubbles”. I went in search of the plaque to find out who created this beautiful piece of artwork and where the artist got his or her inspiration.
Now imagine my delight when I found the plaque and it read:
‘Aquaria’ was created by American artist Larry Kirkland.
“The Centrum piece was inspired by Larry Kirkland’s recent trip to Hawaii where, during a day of snorkeling, he encountered a large group of sea turtles off the islet of Molokini. Nearly 30 feet below the artist, a group of 10 or more scuba divers emerged. As they passed under him, he was engulfed by the millions of bubbles emitted from their air tanks. The microscopic sea of water, bubbles and tiny sea life inspired Kirkland to produce the sculpture called Aquatica.”
Then we turned our attention to take a walk along the Promenade. At the entrance there was a wonderful sculpture of a man standing on a step ladder holding a ruler. What could he be measuring? I thought to myself. The silicon and bronze sculpture was created by Belgian artist Jan Fabre and is called “The Man Who Measures the Clouds”. The plaque reads:
“Jan Fabre got the inspiration for this sculpture from the last line in the film “The Birdman of Alcatraz”. After his release, ‘birdman’ was asked what his future projects would be. His response was: “I will measure the clouds.
Jan Fabre is the person ‘measuring the clouds’, and he seems to have turned away from the world. This attitude opens new perspectives for reflections and experimental research.”
We continued walking and noticed a beautiful, blue vintage car on display outside the Vintages Wine Bar. I loved looking it over. The car was a Type 35 Bugatti Car restored by Norwegian Halfdan Greve. Truly a thing of beauty!
As we continued our walk I noticed a beautifully decorated Christmas tree at the end of the Promenade. I wondered when it would be lit. Connie mentioned that it had been lit the entire time on the last cruise. Perhaps, I thought, they will light it after everyone is on board. I hoped so. There was a Menorah on the Promenade as well. Actually, there were decorations everywhere.
We stopped at the Two Poets pub for an after dinner drink. We noticed that there was a large group gathering on the promenade. We inquired and learned that the shops were having a ‘Winter Wonderland’ raffle. We all got tickets and anxiously awaited all the numbers to be called out. I must say they gave out some very nice merchandise and services. Alas, our numbers never came up. Oh, well, maybe next time.
We returned to our cabin, finished unpacking and prepared for a good night’s sleep.
I did a little better today with my Fitbit. I managed to take 8,013 steps amounting to 3.19 miles. Not bad, I thought. Yes, I know the goal is 10,000 steps a day but let us remember I am a beginner and on holiday.
Tomorrow we are at sea.