Sunday, April 29, 2007

Explorer of the Seas - Day 8 - Disembark

It only took one hour to disembark. The whole procedure was relatively painless and well organized.

Waved bye bye to Tom and Jana - they were taking a bus to the Miami Airport. Chip drove the rest of us back to Palm City.

We went out to lunch at Panera's - a new deli right in Palm City - very nice place.

Laurie and I both fell asleep on the couch!

Ordered pizza for dinner. Chip has to get up a 3:30 a.m. to drive back to Miami to go to work. Back to the Real World!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Explorer of the Seas - Day 7 - At Sea

All seven of us met for breakfast at the Windjammer Cafe. Then Dick and I packed up even though we don't have to until tonight - because I don't want to worry about it all day!

Then we went to the Solarium on Deck 11 and parked out by the pool for the day. Maria-Ximena hung out with us too.
Dick picked the perfect arrangement - we had three chaises, and a table with chairs - very comfortable. I highly recommend pina coladas in the Solarium!

Dick, Chip and Tom had an exclusive private tour of the ship's Bridge.

We also played some shuffleboard with Dylan - well, Tom and Dick played and I watched and was the official photographer!

Dylan also had a private ice skating lesson in Studio B.

This was a day for taking group pictures. Maria-Ximena was great about helping take the pictures.
We took green T shirt pictures, white T shirt pictures, pictures with the Explorer of the Seas sign, and for a grand finale, had professional pictures taken, which we can pick up tomorrow. We don't want to forget anything about this whole experience!

**********************HAPPY 50th ANNIVERSARY TO US !!***************************

Friday, April 27, 2007

Explorer of the Seas - Day 6 - Grand Cayman

This is another stop where tenders take you ashore. I really liked riding in the tenders - this one was an especially short ride, though.

We were going to do the under water exploration boat tour, but there was a mix-up somehow in telling us where to wait, and we missed our tour. The Royal Caribbean tour person suggested we try the Jolly Trolley tour, which turned out to be not so Jolly. It was a fun trolley ride, but very short, and with a not-so-talented tour guide from Canada who had been on the job for 2 months. I did love seeing the beautiful gardens and the storybook houses - so very pretty.
Dick was just disgusted with the whole thing.

We went to find Margaritaville, because we planned to meet everybody there at 2 p.m. for lunch, after their snorkeling excursion. Fortified with a little air conditioning and some iced tea, we set out to find a George Town cache in the Seven Mile Beach area. We caught a cab which dropped us off 30 feet from the cache! Dick found it in about 3 minutes. We walked over to a condo resort called Treasure Island and called for another cab back to Margaritaville. It was a lovely, cool, breezy place to wait.

The whole bad experience of the Jolly Trolley was trumped by our lunch with everybody at Margaritaville. We were all in a great mood and Margaritaville at Grand Cayman is not a bad place to be at all!

It was lively, with great music, a fun staff, and wonderful food. We were having a party. They have a pool and a water slide right there, and Chip and Dylan had a ball with that. Chip estimates he went down the slide 15 or 20 times.

After riding the tender back to the ship, Laurie and Jana discovered that they had bad sunburns on their backs from snorkeling. Jana's seems to be especially bad, but they are both hurting a bit. Mostly because of the sunburns, we decided against going to the formal dinner in the dining room tonight. Dick, Tom and I ate at Windjammer together.

We weren't interested in the Palace Show tonight, so we just went back to the room after dinner. I was delighted to find Pride and Prejudice on the cruise TV.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Explorer of the Seas - Day 5 - Cozumel

Chip, Laurie and Tom's excursion today is three hours of biking in Cozumel - from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Jana's excursion is an all day tour to Mayan Ruins at Tulum. Dick and I won custody of Dylan for the morning.
We had a terrific time - we had a great breakfast at the Windjammer, and then watched part of "Spirited Away" in the stateroom. He had picked out three movies to bring on the trip but Spirited Away was the only one we saw part of. After that, he invented a new game called "Walrusie Get There", and we played the inaugural version. It's very much fun for about 45 minutes and then it begins to wear a little thin!

After biking, Laurie and Tom took Dylan into town for a little snorkeling on the beach. Dick and I walked to town to find a cache at a dive shop. It was very hot, and so I stopped to watch the snorkelers and Dick went on to find the cache (Cruise 'n' Cache). We took a taxi back to the shopping center near the pier - I found the walk to be hot and tiring, and I was glad to be back in the room. Just for the heck of it, I ordered room service lunch on the TV! It was just like using the computer, and it was great fun, and it worked! Everybody else walked to the Windjammer for lunch.

Souvenirs for the day - Dylan bought me a beautiful turquoise necklace, and Jana gave us a Mayan calendar version of our wedding day - unique and beautiful.

The show at the Palace tonight was the Beatles, performed by Rain. I loved it. They played all of the great, familiar Beatles songs except they didn't play All You Need is Love. I was only mildly disappointed.

After dinner in the dining room, the younger generation went to Studio B to play Quest, an adult scavenger hunt game. We headed for bed.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Explorer of the Seas - Day 4 - Costa Maya

We've been meeting for coffee every morning in our room. Dick orders coffee at 7 a.m. and more is ordered as more is needed - we have decaf and regular coffee drinkers, so it always involves more than one carafe. Today in our room we had 4 trays of coffee with 8 cups! At 9 we went to breakfast at Windjammer.

Tom, Laurie, Chip and Dylan went kayaking and biking in Costa Maya.

Dylan was fascinated with the coconut - he enjoyed watching the man open it up, and he was thrilled to be able to drink the coconut milk. He brought back part of the shell so we could all have a bite of the coconut.

Jana spent some time in the hot tub. All of the shops on board were closed until 5:30 p.m. when the excursions get back.

Tonight we went to an ice show - "Planet Ice" in Studio B. It was spectacular. I don't know where you could see a better show. Half or more of the skaters were from Russia, plus the Ukraine. Four were from Canada, and there were a couple from the USA. It was a fantastic show.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Explorer of the Seas - Day 3 - Belize


We all had an early breakfast at Windjammer - because we were boarding the tenders at 9 a.m. When we were planning the cruise, it was decided that at least one excursion we would do all together - all 7 of us. And so today we're all going on excursion BE60 - The Mayan Ruins of Xunantunich and Marimba Lunch! This is the description in the brochure:
Travel across the rolling hills of Western Belize to the Mopan River, located near the Guatemalan border. A hand-cranked ferry awaits to take you across the river, where you will board a shuttle to the Mayan Ruins of Xunantunich (Maiden of the Rock) Plaza several hundred feet above. Your guide will share his knowledge of the Mayan civilization and the Xunantunich site along the trip. From El Castillo, the tallest temple at the site, you will have a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside and portions of Guatemala. Afterwards, travel by bus to the San Ignacio Hotel for a Mayan-style buffet lunch accompanied by music from a local Marimba band.

The bus ride was long (two hours) but it gave us a chance to see the people of Belize, their houses, schools, and living conditions. The bus was comfortable and air conditioned! Our guide was Raoul and our driver was Pech. Raoul is actually of Mayan descent - he claimed that his late grandparents could only speak Mayan. Raoul was well educated and articulate and knowledgeable about the people of Belize and the Mayan ruins. The ferry was fun,and the shuttle vans took us up the hill to a parking lot - however, there was still a half mile of quite steep uphill to climb to get up to the ruins. Everybody climbed the ruins except me, and they all got to the very top of the temple, except for Chip, who said it was out of his comfort zone - very understandable.

The resort hotel at San Ignacio was like a diamond in a sea of poverty. It was gleaming, spacious and bright. The lunch was OK - the marimba music was great - and Dylan fell in love with raspberry lemonade!
On the way back, the bus stopped for shopping at a craft area - Dick bought me a wooden box, Laurie bought a wooden bowl, and Dylan got a top.
I fell asleep on the bus ride back to the dock and the tenders. My lasting impressions of Belize are the aching poverty, school kids in uniforms, grass fires, few Caucasians, a car accident on the side of the road, and a bus breakdown (not ours) - but our tender did wait for the broken down bus people to get there before returning to the ship. That trip was the last time we saw Dylan's Boonie hat - he thinks he left it on the bus.
We skipped the dining room tonight and all 7 had a family dinner at Windjammer. Afterwards we went to the stage show at the Palace - Dylan's comment was "When are they gonna have the juggler?"

Monday, April 23, 2007

Explorer of the Seas - Day 2 - At Sea

We all had breakfast in the dining room on deck 3.

Dick and I checked in at the Concierge Club. Laurie is busy planning and booking excursions.

At 1 p.m. we met in our room for a champagne toast (mimosas).

We had lunch at the Windjammer - have you every heard of tuna pizza? From our balcony we can see flying fish - they fly really far over the water. When I first saw them I thought they were some kind of insect. They looked to be about the size of hummingbirds, but of course I was far above the water on deck 10.

It was fun exploring the ship. It was hard to believe how many people were around the pool today!

Dylan has discovered a "ball machine" and wouldn't rest until he had shown it to me. It's a Rube Goldberg kind of set up where the golf balls keep moving around a structure, triggering other balls to start moving, etc. He loved it!

At 2:30 I went to Scrapbooking - it was OK - Jana sat with me, and then she went downstairs and bought me lots of cruise scrapbooking stuff, with stickers and papers and everything one would need!

Afterwards we met everyone but J. for the Oceanographic Tour. Explorer of the Seas has two on board labs for monitoring ocean conditions - very interesting and important work.

Formal dinner tonight at 8:30 p.m. It seems like it lasted forever - it's been a long day!