Well, here we are again on I75 on our way to the cruise port in Tampa, Florida to board Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the seas for a 5- night back- to- back cruise in the Caribbean.
The first 5-day cruise will take us to Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico. The second 5-day cruise will take us to Key West, Florida and Cozumel, Mexico. We chose this cruise specifically because it was going to Key West. The last time we were here was in 2001 while on a trip to choose a place to call home in retirement.
We had a great time walking up and down Duval Street stopping in a fun bar called Irish Kevin’s spending the afternoon drinking beer, enjoying a delicious hamburger, singing and just having a fun, fun time. We had such a good time we vowed to return one day. Well, the day has arrived.
We had such a good time we vowed to return one day. Well, the day has arrived.
The first day of any cruise is a mish-mosh of checking in, boarding, trying to catch an elevator to get up to the Windjammer for lunch and then waiting for the cabins to be available. We ate a quick lunch and then decided to wait for the cabin to be available in one our favorite places on the Brilliance, The Colony Club.
The Colony Club is located on the back of deck 6 and through the Schooner Lounge. During our transatlantic in 2015 on the Brilliance, this was our favorite place to relax on sea days and after a hectic day on shore. On the 2015 trip we stopped in several ports in Europe then continued on to the Baltic. It was a wonderful, wonderful trip.
The Colonly Club is a large area with two bars, lots of seating, game tables, and a stage and dance floor. Many activities take place in this space over the course of a cruise. We found two chairs and just enjoyed watching the seagulls flying around the ship and standing sentinel on the ropes.
At 1:00 pm the cabins were open and we made our way down to see if our luggage had arrived and settle in before the safety drill. The cabin was spacious and we loved that the bed had been placed near the sliding glass doors placing us closer to the sounds of the sea as the ship makes its way through the blue waters of the Atlantic and Caribbean.
We walked through the beautiful Schooner Lounge as we walked towards the elevators. I love the nautical touches to the lounge. One of my favorites is a model of the Wyoming built by Percy and Small in Bath, Maine in 1909. Accompanying plaque read:
“She was the last six-master and the largest wooden sailing vessel ever built. The entire crew was 13 men. Her dimension was 329.5’ on deck. Beam 50.1’. Draft 30.4’. She was lost on the Nantucket Shoals with all hands 11-12 March 1924. These ships were employed in the coal trade on the east coast of the USA. All the handling and hoisting of the sails was made by steam engine.
Model by Per Storm Iversen, Norway.
Sails by Lyngør Seilmakerverksted, Norway”. I think she is beautiful!
Before we knew it, it was time to make our way up to the Concierge Lounge and cocktail time then down to the Minstrel dining room. We were seated at a table to 10 and anxious waited to see who are tablemates would be. The first day on the ship is always so busy I look forward to a dish on the menu that I consider comfort food. I choose the Linguini with Pomodoro Sauce for my entrée and the Blueberry–Peach Crumble for dessert. Both dishes were filling and delicious.
During dinner I realized that we would be going under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and wanted to see if I could capture a picture of this beautiful bridge. I excused myself and ran up to deck 5. By the time I made it to the railing on the Promenade deck we were already too close for me to get a picture of the entire bridge. There was an intermittent drizzle staining my lens, but no matter.
After dinner we took a walk down to the pub to see if they were going to air the NCAA championship game. I wanted to make sure I watch Gonzaga and North Carolina game. At this point I was 4 in a pool of 62 with Gonzaga as the overall winner. I was so excited! Gonzaga did not win but what a game! In the end I dropped down to 6 in the pool but I was still excited because it was the first time I had made it into the top ten in the pool. Well, there is always next year.
Tomorrow is a day at sea.