Starting the new year cruising with friends

View from the ship as we cruised into open waters.

View from the ship as we cruised into open waters.

I love cruising!  So, what better way to start the new year than hopping on a ship with friends and taking a leisurely cruise around the Caribbean?

Today we are off with friends Bob and Sandy to board the Rhapsody of the seas for a seven-day cruise around the Western Caribbean.  We will visit ports in Honduras, Belize and Mexico.

I was up early to finish a few chores around the house before walking over to Bob and Sandy’s to take the two hour ride to Tampa. Randy and I  were excited as this was to be Bob and Sandy’s first cruise as Diamond members of the Crown and Anchor Society and we wanted to be there to help them celebrate.

The morning air was cold and wet as we made our way down the highway with an occasional sprinkle of rain dampening the the windshield.  But no matter, we were all happy and looking forward to a week of having fun.

I was surprised when we arrived at the terminal to see such long lines.  We were here just a few weeks ago and we glided through registration.  But with a smile on our faces and a whole lot of patience we got our key cards and boarded the ship.

First things first, we made our way up to the Windjammer Café for a bite of lunch.  Remember, we had were on the  Rhapsody during the holidays and knew our way around the ship so after lunch we took Bob and Sandy down to deck 6 to see where the Diamond Lounge was located.

How fun it was to watch them use their key cards to enter the lounge for the first time; a momentous occasion indeed!   We sat for a while then parted to get settled in our cabin before the safety drill.

I must say that I am growing very much accustomed to the junior suite size of cabin.  The cabin is spacious with a couch, coffee table, two hassocks, a comfortable bed a generous amount of storage space and a bathroom with a shower and very deep bathtub.  Can you imagine being able to take bubble baths on a cruise ship?  Trust me it is heaven.


Celebrating new diamonds, Bob and Sandy, on the Rhapsody of the seas.

After the drill we made our way up to the diamond lounge and waited for Bob and Sandy to arrive.  Our lovely concierge JJ (Hajeong Shim) came by and we told her that Bob and Sandy were new diamonds and she exclaimed, “Newbies”.  We met JJ a few years ago while cruising on the Freedom of the seas. By far JJ is one of the most welcoming, friendly and funny Diamond concierges we have ever met so we were so glad that she would be the one welcoming Bob and Sandy as new diamond members.

Bob and Sandy arrived and, as we expected, JJ was just wonderful welcoming them.  After introductions she started to chant, “B O B, B O B” which made everyone laugh and laugh.  We spent the rest of our time drinking a little and chatting a little and before we knew it, it was time for dinner.


We were very pleased to be seated at a table by a window.  We were also pleased that we had wonderful servers.  For some reason I was beyond hungry and ordered accordingly.  I had the fruit medley for my appetizer with pineapple, strawberries, watermelon, and kiwi; roast beef with baked potato and snow peas for dinner and a dish of Ice cream for dessert.  Everything was delicious.


325px-sunshine_skyway_on_the_tampa_bayWhile cruising out of Tampa Bay we passed under the beautiful Sunshine Skyway Bridge.  The sun had set but I wanted to try and capture the image on my camera anyway.  Not easy to do after sundown and through sea salt streaked windows.  I remember so clearly crossing the bridge some years ago; it was beautiful.

Randy and I were very tired so we retired to our cabin for a good night’s sleep.  Bob and Sandy wanted to walk around the ship for awhile.  We made arrangements to meet for breakfast then went our separate ways.

Tomorrow we will be at sea.



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5 Responses to Starting the new year cruising with friends

  1. Sal says:

    Hi Mary,
    Sounds like another nice cruise. We leave tomorrow on the Oasis.

  2. Randy Chartier says:

    I am glad to be on the water again and with our neighbors, that is a plus. Great first day!!!

  3. Connie Henderson says:

    Sounds like another wonderful cruise for you and Randy. Congratulations to Bob and Sandy. I don’t know what it takes to become a Diamond cruiser. Sounds like a lot of trips. Glad that all of you still have the health and the get up and go to continue to do something you dearly love.
    Connie and Ron

    • To reach Diamond you have to cruise 80 nights on Royal Caribbean ships. Bob and Sandy had a great time with their new status this trip. Health is another issue. I am actually in therapy for a knee problem I incurred on our Norway cruise and a back spasm during the holiday season. But even so otherwise healthy. We should get together for dinner one evening. I will give you a call.

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