Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Western Caribbean Cruise - Day at Sea


Just another sunset picture.
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
The sea was like glass. The sun shone brightly. All was calm as we enjoyed our last day of the cruise, sailing slowly in the Caribbean and back towards our “home port” of Houston.

I'd heard from some that sea days can be excruciatingly boring, with no shore activities to look forward to and just “the stuff to do on the ship.” You know, "stuff" like soaking in the hot tub, swimming in the pool, reading a good book in the shade as a soft, warm breeze kisses your skin and tousles your hair, watching a movie, enjoying live music in one (or more) of the myriad lounges, having a fancy tea with canapes and amuse-bouches and petits fours and tiny tarts in the dining room, competing in a variety of games, taking dance lessons, enjoying a cool drink with friends recently discovered, catching some rays. And don't forget the required eating of mass quantities of fabulous foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, too. Oh, ya. Excruciatingly boring. That's what I'll tell everyone so they'll take other kinds of vacations and leave the cruise ships to me.

I might not have mentioned that they keep the
common areas kind of cool. Bring a light wrap.
See how relaxed we are? Okay, we're tired from
too much fun. Wait. There's no such thing
as too much fun!
Photo by Harry. All rights reserved.
This was a day to relax at the end of a fabulous vacation. A day to just...be. And also a day to pack our bags and place them outside the cabin door by 10 p.m. So, you'll want to have an overnight-type duffel tucked away somewhere to stuff your sleepwear (wink) and toiletries into the next morning. Fortunately, you can purchase a lovely souvenir tote (or t-shirt or sun hat or bathing suit or sarong) on the ship or at on of the many ports of call, in case you “forget” to bring one from home.

Just as at a nice hotel, your bill will miraculously appear in your cabin for inspection. You might want to actually check it over to make sure it's correct. Ours was perfect. It occurred to me at this point that it might have been a good idea to check our tab at the purser's desk now and then along the way, just to make sure we weren't going to have a heart attack on the last day. But, no worries. If you have a tendency to purchase drinks for everyone at the bar or to take expensive shore excursions each day, you would probably be wise to keep track of your tab. There was one person, for instance, who discovered that his bar tab was more than the cost of the cruise. Much more. I'm sure his newly acquired friends thought he was fabulous company. And so it goes.

Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
And taking the stairs instead of the elevator to keep the pounds off? It totally works. Do it, if you can. I lost a couple of pounds, actually. Of course, I gained it back right away...but that's a different story.

Disembarking was terribly organized and efficient and interminable. Customs was a drag. So, what's new there, right? But Fred had our vehicle conveniently parked in the adjacent lot provided (at a very reasonable fee) for that purpose, and we weren't in a huge hurry to catch a flight. We had our vacation on!

Back in north Houston, we stayed with Cathy and Fred overnight and went to church with them at Second Baptist the next day. It was a lovely service filled with wonderful music as only a large choir and a full orchestra can deliver it. The message was solid and inspiring and appropriate for the season. It was a couple of weeks before Christmas, and I had a lot of work and planning awaiting me back home. But I wasn't thinking of that yet. I was determined to make the vacation feeling last. And I did.  

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