Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. ~Marcel Proust
My sweet love, Randy, has made my soul blossom for over twenty-two years; first as friends, then lovers, then as my dear, sweet husband who I know with every beat of my heart will continue to nurture my soul for many years to come.
That is why today I am so excited because today we are embarking on a 7-day cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas to celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary.
We are traveling with friends so we were up early to have a quick breakfast and do last minute checks around the house before they pick us up.
We were at the port by noon and anxious to board the ship when we experienced something every traveler dreads. We entered the cruise terminal and readied to show our Set-Sail document and passports before going through security. Randy and I went through fine but realized that our friends were not behind us.
After going through security we looked for our friends but they were not there. I turned and looked and saw that they were talking with someone somewhat frantically. Concerned, we stood and watched for a few minutes. One of the security guards approached and asked if we had a problem, “No, I replied, but it looks like our friends are having a problem”.
“Would you like to go back and check on your friends,” she asked.
“Oh that would be so nice,” I said.
We listened for a few moments and realized that Sal and Anna could not go through security because they had left one of their passports at home. To his credit the gentleman tried to help them find a solution to their problem but to no avail.
Eventually Sal and Anna were allowed to go up to the documents desk in the check-in area to see if they could resolve the problem. While we were checking in, I watched just a few desks away as Sal and Anna tried in vain to solve their problem. In the end it was determined that they would have to miss the cruise.
While Sal went off to see if he could retrieve his car from the Park & Ride, Randy and I stayed with Anna while the crew retrieved their luggage. We felt so helpless that there was little we could do for our friends.
One last suggestion was for Sal and Anna to make arrangements to see if they could make arrangements to fly to Jamaica and board the ship. They would miss two days on board but would be able to enjoy the rest of the cruise. We said our goodbyes and watched as they walked slowly towards the terminal exit and hoped they would be able to join us for the rest of the cruise.
By the time we finally got on the ship, we went directly to the Windjammer for a quick bite then down to the cabin. I was excited as we walked down the passageway. I had planned a surprise for our anniversary and was anxious to see Randy’s face as we approached our cabin.
The first thing Randy saw was a large heart on our cabin door that read, “Happy Anniversary”. He smiled and asked, “Did the ship do this?” “No, I did,” I said beaming.
Then he opened the door and saw decorations hanging from the ceiling with words like, “I do” and “Forever”. We turned and saw our pillows covered with bright yellow pillowcases, one reading “Love” the other reading, “You” and a beach towel at the foot of the be that read, “Forever”. On the desk was a small frame with the words, “Happily Ever After”, just begging to have fun photos from our trip to grace its borders. By the window was a silver cable hanging from the ceiling with little clips to hang photo memories from our cruise.
On the coffee table was a bottle of Moet on ice, two Champagne glasses and a plate of chocolate covered strawberries. We dropped everything thing in our hands and moved the Champagne and strawberries to the balcony and proceeded to start our anniversary celebration.
What a great way to start a celebratory cruise. There we sat reminiscing about our wonderful years together while enjoying glasses of bubbly and delicious, sweet strawberries covered in yummy milk chocolate as we watched small boats make their way in and out of the channel and sea birds winging their way around the ship. How wonderful, I thought.
Before we knew it, it was time for the safety drill then off to the Diamond lounge for cocktails.
After drinking the Champagne, I chose not to mix drinks and opted instead to sip on a Virgin Bloody Mary. Boy was that good. I love hot spicy food and this drink definitely fell into that category. Lovely, I thought.
When we entered the lounge we spotted a couple we had seen on previous cruises. We walked over and asked if they would like to have company. They said yes and we enjoyed a lovely conversation with Larry and Phyllis before departing to make our way down to the dining room.
We were very happy when we were escorted to a lovely table for four by a window. Dinner was wonderful although it was a little sad as we looked at the two empty chairs that were meant for our friends. .
After so many cruises on Royal ships, Randy and I have become very familiar with the menu and have our favorites. But I decided to try new dishes on this trip.
I started with the Strawberry, Kiwi and Pineapple Medley, a bowl of delicious, juicy fresh fruit drizzled with sweet-tart lime syrup.
I have mentioned several times that I am not partial to fish but tonight I decided to try the Horseradish-Crusted Fillet of Atlantic Salmon with celeriac-potato mash, snow peas and a lemon beurre blanc and sweet mustard drizzle. The salmon was prepared perfectly and the drizzle was light and delicate. The entire meal was delicious.
Randy decided to stay with one of his favorites, the Mojo-Marinated Grill Pork Chop with roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli with cumin-orange-lime reduction.
We both decided to choose the Blueberry-Peach Crumble served with warm vanilla ice cream as this is one of our favorites.
Sated we left the dining room for a leisurely walk along the promenade before returning to the cabin. We returned to the balcony and just and talked in whispers about all the memories we have shared over the years and talked about memories still to be made.
Tomorrow we will at sea.