Monthly Archives: February 2011

Back home again

  We hated to see the end of the week, but we had a very full week, loved every minute of it.  We loved the ship, the staff, the food, our cabin, the whole deal.  We got only a small taste of the 4 ports of call, would be happy to go back, explore some more at each one.  Try Norwegian Cruise Line, I think you’ll like it.

   We docked Sunday morning (the 27th), got picked up by the parking shuttle, no problem, got our car, and Kate suggested we go visit the National WWII Museum there in New Orleans. http://www.nationalww2museum.org/ So, we got there, no problem, and loved the entire experience.  We also purchased tickets to the Solomon Victory Theater, just across the street.  The theater is an extension of the museum – there we saw “Beyond All Boundaries”, a movie on a huge screen with lots of physical props that were used during the presentation.  That movie experience will just blow you away!  It was exciting, it was moving, it was patriotic, just amazing!

   Now, where to cruise next……..hmmmmmmmm.

    I’ll be putting together some photographic posts here in the next day or two, and will include lots of our trip photos with a little bit of explanation, trying to keep from being TOO boring.  See ya then!

Sailing to New Orleans

   Our last night on the ship……. sigh….  we’ve had a fabulous time in every way.  Some days we got tired, some days we got kinda perspiry, but *every* day we loved the experience.  We’ve seen some great shows on the ship, some dance-based, some presented by acrobats, all of them were immensely entertaining.  Norwegian Cruise Lines has our vote in every way – great ship (the Spirit), great staff, excellent food, what else can I say?  Get out there and CRUISE, we say!

Cruise Day 6 – Cozumel, Mexico

   Today was a little more ‘sedate’ than some of our outings – made us feel a little ‘old folksy’, but at least we didn’t have to use walkers to get around.  We took a bus ride around most of the island of Cozumel, making just a few stops.  We went to Chankenaab (sp) and viewed some replicas of important Mayan sites, large stone calendars (made of fiberglass, I happened to discover, but quite realistic), some large statues and oversize heads, all that stuff.  We got to (again) run the gauntlet of vendors who had all manner of touristy things for sale.  This vendor thing happened each time we departed the bus – it wasn’t really that irritating, and they pretty much left us alone each time Kate opened her purse to show off her 9mm Glock.

   At another stop we had some Mexican food in a surfside thatched-roof restaurant – pretty good stuff, good scenery.  Kate wandered over to the edge of the sea and got her feet wet, then tracked it all back into the restaurant – I saw some of the waiters glaring at her.  She was so pretty I thought at first she was a mermaid.  🙂

   Anyway, low-key day, nice bus ride, did some shopping at the dock area just before we returned to the ship, picked up a few souvenirs.  This was our last opportunity to buy things ‘shoreside’, but we didn’t over do it – we still have to *carry* all our purchases.

   Tomorrow will be our 2nd day ‘at sea’ – steaming all day, heading back to New Orleans.   Not sure what tomorrow will bring, probably lots of just looking at the waves, very relaxing, might even get our books finished.

  Will try to make a final post tomorrow evening.

TTFN

Cruise Day 5 – Island of Roatan, Honduras

We had a somewhat difficult start to the day.  We had tickets to a ‘shore excursion’ for a day at the beach on Roatan, and the ticket said that our meeting time was to be 9:20 AM at the end of the pier where we were to be docking.  So, we slept a little later than usual after our tiring previous day, got up around 8:05 AM, still plenty of time to grab some breakfast at the “Raffles” buffet on Deck 12.  I was out of the cabin heading up there, planning to come back and get Kate in a bit after she had time to shower and get ready when they announced, “Sorry, folks – we had to dock at a different harbor, you’ll have to meet at 8:20 instead of 9:20, see you at the meeting place on the ship so you can board your tender (small boat) to go ashore.”  So, by then it was 8 minutes after 8AM – I ran back to the cabin, gave Kate the update, and we rushed down to the assigned meeting place, got there at about 8:25.  Rush, rush, rush – no breakfast, no water, left our books in the room we had planned to read.  So, we got there and *immediately* waited almost an hour and a half until they told us we could board our tender.  After 45 minutes of waiting, Kate made a food run for us, got us some throw-together breakfast sandwiches from the buffet.

   It was about then that the troops started to get restless – lots of people in the ship’s auditorium, grumbling about the delays and the confusion, and finally the lady up front with the microphone said in desperation, “Does anybody know any JOKES?”  So, Jim to the rescue, I went down there and did my joke routine for a little while, gained instant fame from our fellow travelers  🙂  Got rave reviews, I tell ya!  🙂

   Yes, we did make it onshore, made it to our tour bus, and we went for about an hour bumping along in the little bus, sitting on bus seats that were about 1 and 1/2 people wide – kinda uncomfortable.  I think they designed the bus for student-size people.

   We made it to our beach at Parrot Tree resort, had a good day in the sun (me mostly in the shade – Kate got burned!).  We had a buffet lunch under the big thatched hut (palapa) – more rice and beans and chicken and fish, pretty good stuff.

   Typing all this on Friday morning, which is Day 6, got to head up to breakfast now, will try to do another report this evening.

   Today, Cozumel!  The fun continues!!!

Cruise Day 4 – Belize

  We had a relatively early start on today’s ‘shore excursion’ and had to meet with our tour group at 8:00 AM.  We were already aware that we’d have to use a ‘tender’ to go in to shore (a tender is a small boat that takes passengers from the big ship on in to port – there was no pier in Belize for our BIG ship), so we were kinda looking forward to that experience.  So, we got all boarded on the tiny ship, had about 20 or 30 folks on board, and we raced toward shore, all 3 of the 200-horse outboard V6 engines pulling hard.  We got splashed a little bit, lots of spray, but no problem.

   Upon reaching the dock we were directed to wait in line for our bus which was to take us to the Mayan ruins at Altun Ha [which apparently means ‘water from stone’, having to do with a spring emanating from a rock wall – I thought maybe it meant ‘No Checks’, we’ve heard that a lot lately  🙂 ]  So, we waited patiently as the line dwindled down and we got nearer the bus.  But, no bus ride yet for us!  The bus filled up and we were shuttled out back onto the dock and there we boarded another speed boat.  We were told that the tour was in 2 parts, and so we’d just do our river cruise first, followed by the visit to the ruins.  So, off we went, supposedly up the river.  Actually, we went way out into the harbor first, at about Mach 3, on our way to the river mouth.  After a 10-minute ride we entered the river and slowed down a bit.  As we went up the river, which was fairly wide, we alternately went fast and slow as things came up that they wanted to show us.  We got to see several small crocodiles sunning on branches by the riverside, a few howler monkeys (way up in the tree – they could have been backpacks for all I could tell) and one or two interesting birds.  They also pointed out some interesting types of plants that grow in this part of the world, including cashews, logwood trees (a source of purple dye in olden days), African Tulip trees, lotsa different things.

   We eventually got to our ‘place of lunch’, as I think the ancients called it, where we debarked and enjoyed some barbecued chicken with some tasty sides.  Good basic food.  We then got to do some shopping at the local version of Wal-Mart, which was some small wooden structures where you could buy trinkets and carvings.  We picked up a few things, enjoyed the experience.  About then our bus arrived and we were OFF AGAIN!  🙂

   After about 45 minutes we made it to the Altun Ha ruins.  We had to run the gamut of locals who wanted to tackle us and sell us stuff as we were trying to follow our tour guides.  We succumbed to tempation and agreed to pay $5.00 for a freshly-cut cocoanut with a straw that they doctored with some rum for us.  We gave it a taste, then decided to just abandon it somewhere out of sight – it was not too impressive.  Then we made the rounds, following our tour guides to of all the stone pyramids and other sacred structures there – it was neat, but it was starting to get a little hot and I think our attentions wandered a bit.  Kinda like trying to absorb a geography lesson in high school when the classroom was at 85 degrees.  Anyway, we’re glad we went – not too many Mayan temples in Indiana, ya know!

    After our time at the ruins was up, it was back to Belize City and a little more shopping at dockside, then over to where we could board the tender for the ride back to our ship.  The second ride on a tender was somewhat different – somehow the surface of the water had turned to concrete.  At least that’s how it seemed – they got the boat up to speed, about 300 mph, I’m thinking, then it began to leap from wavetop to wavetop, which caused TREMENDOUS impacts on our seated bodies!  Here’s a brief rendition of a tender ride in those conditions:   zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Wham!  zzzzzzzzzz Wham zzzzzzzzzzzzz WHAM WHAM……… get the picture?  I told Kate it seemed as if we were being punished by a PILEDRIVER (if you get my drift – got Preparation H??).

   We made it back to the ship, where (fortuitously) we were introduced to the mysteries of a martini by our new friend Larry from Florida.  Great timing!!!!

  Another great day on our Caribbean Cruise!!!  We loved it!

More to come from adventurers Jim & Kate!

Caribbean Cruise Day 3

   Another great day on our cruise.  We arrived in Costa Maya at 10:00 this morning – sparkling weather, warm breezes, beautiful waves crashing on shore near the palm trees.  So nice to enjoy the warm breezes at any time of day or night.

   We went on our first ‘shore excursion’ today, to the Mayan ruins at Chachoben (sp).  It was an hour drive on a nice bus, then the tour took 2 hours – our guide led us from site to site, explaining the significance of all the stone pyramids and other buildings/remnants.  As at any other cruise activity, we met some very nice fellow passengers and I’ve been handing out social cards (like business cards, but only containing our contact info) so those who wanted to stay in touch would have the basic information to do it.  It was a pretty warm day, but with the near constant sea breezes it was tolerable.  We had put on our sunscreen just to be safe, so we didn’t get scorched.  No bugs in evidence today, so repellent not required.  We were given time to do a little shopping at the souvenir shops and picked up a couple of small items.  Another hour’s drive back to the pier and we were home again, home again.  We had a really nice time, but did get kinda tired.  We found a place in the shopping complex where you could actually purchase beer, so we took pity on the poor merchant and helped him with his daily sales quota.  We met some nice folks there, Albert and Gina from NYC – they were there on a cruise on the “Radiance of the Seas” (Royal Caribbean ship) – again, nice folks.  I took some pics of them, will try to include them in a future post.  I really don’t have a way to include pics on these shipboard posts since I’m just using one of the computers at the Internet Cafe, but I’ll try to catch up later.

   We had a really nice meal last night at the “Windows” restaurant, formal dining, linen tablecloths, attentive waitstaff, GREAT food – tonight we had a similar experience at the Italian restaurant on board “La Trattoria”.  We had more food than we could comfortably consume, so we had to leave some of it.  It was REALLY good, though!

   Tomorrow, Belize!  We’re supposed to take a tender in to shore about 8:00 AM, then take a river cruise and do some exploring.  It’s supposed to be 6.5 hours long – I’m sure we’ll be REALLY tired tomorrow evening, but we are loving it all!!

  I’ll try to post again tomorrow – stand by!  🙂

signed,

Jim and Kate, World Travelers!

Caribbean Cruise Day 2 Feb 21 2011

  We are ‘at sea’, about halfway across the Gulf on our way to Costa Maya Mexico.  Kate and I are having a really good time, no seasickness, trying not to eat TOO much  🙂  We got to New Orleans with a few hours to spare, no problems on the road.  Had a nice visit with Don and Bonnie Seymour in Jacksonville, AL, will probably see them on the return trip in a week.

   The ship is great, the staff just bends over backwards to be friendly and helpful – food is very good, altogether we have NO complaints!  We’re already doing some tentative planning for our next 5 cruises  🙂

   If you get a chance, you should take all those pennies you have saved and get signed up for your own cruise – you won’t regret it.  They make every one of the guests feel special and there are a GREAT number of activities listed on the daily newsletter, something for everyone.

   OK, end of report for now, more to follow.  See ya!  🙂