What fun is a Caribbean cruise if you can’t share parts of the experience with others! So as I stepped on the majestic midsize ship for an eleven day trip to 5 ports, I knew I was going to reflect back on it when I stepped off. This was going to be a new experience for me, being in 5 ports in 11 days with plenty of material good, bad and well, you judge!
My mornings must not begin without my drug of choice, chai tea. Off I would go to my quickly found Java Coffee Station promptly before breakfast! This is a religious experience
for me and
anyone traveling with me quickly finds it is a Godsend I get there. On this
trip, no matter how early I hit the stand, I seemed to be the only one ordering
caffeinated morning drinks. Everyone else was in line with requests for Bloody
Mary’s, Daiquiris, and Mai Tais. Apparently, drinking alcohol has no time
limits for folks on cruise ships. The
staff and I often exchanged mutual looks of wondering why in the world people can’t
wait till after 8:00 am to drink alcohol!
|Java Coffee but I called it|
Java Hut, missing from pic:
my Fav Bartender!
Speaking of eating breakfast, the service is quite unbelievable on the smaller sized cruise ships. Every time I went in the line to eat and sat down, once completed, my dishes were promptly removed from the table. The only problem with this was if I blinked they were removed. If I put down my silverware, apparently that was the signal I was done eating and out of nowhere, a waiter in white suddenly appeared and whisked my hard earned carefully picked food selections away! My husband and I literally had to guard our plates if one of us so much as leaned over to reach for a lost napkin or God forbid got up from the table to refresh a drink! However, having service this exceptional was wonderful.
Our cabin, for the first time, was an inside room, thereby much smaller. Anyone that knows me well is well aware that I have very long legs. Well, bluntly put the bathrooms are teeny. More to the point, if I sat on the commode with my legs in front of me, my knees were locked on the wall. If I huge wave were to come and topple over the ship, I need not fear falling off the seat because I would be literally lodged on the seat. I had to sit sideways like anyone over 5’9” did if they didn’t want their legs rubbing on the wall. In fact, if I wanted to, I could brush my teeth, while on the john and possibly wash my hair in the shower. I suppose this is considered convenient but I found it a bit cramped. But I adapted, with a purchase of Ben Gay!
|Don't laugh, you are looking|
at the bathroom!
The actual room is said to sleep four. Yes, the bed centered in the room with just barely enough room to shimmy sideways on the side is considered ‘roomy’! Hanging on the wall, on my side was a big box that contained a bed that would fold down if needed to sleep two more, God forbid. As if I was not claustrophobic enough, this arrangement would have done me in, if it had been used! If down and in place, not only would I have no room to move my arm to the side without hitting the side wall, any time I lifted my head, I would have hit the bed up top of me. The oxygen would be cut to a minimum. Add the motion of the ocean, help me! And they definitely would not be allowed to have sex up there!
Oh, one night I got sick on a meal and was vomiting through the night. I kept fighting it and asking my husband for nausea meds. He slept thru the requests and by the time he heard me and was getting up to get them, I told him to forget it. On my mad dash to the commode, I nearly took him out, as the room is small. It was hard to miss him as he seemed to be throwing a basketball pick. My usual way of dealing with nausea is to sleep on the floor of the bathroom. Can you guess the problem? My tall body could not, would NOT fit on the floor of the bathroom, not in any form of crunching up, even in a fetal position! So I was forced to make mad runs, actually hop or skips, while lying at the base of the bed.
Every time you turn around in the evening, there are photographers wanting to take your
picture. They are like peddlers on the street, stopping in front of you saying things like “Don’t you want to capture this moment?” “You look so beautiful.” Anything to get a pose, translation, more proofs to get you to spend money on prints you may never look at again but will feel compelled to buy. And so, you stand in the posed positions that look perfectly posed, with the same outfits that look like you were on a cruise ship and at the end of it, drop money on those images you will never look at again. Who is the bigger fool, the photographer or you?
|My husband and I with one of our favorite photographers|
As with most luxury cruise ships, there is an on sea spa treatment center. As a treat for my anniversary, my husband splurged and purchased me a deep stone massage. In walks petite Zimik, a Korean woman who looks shorter than I was at birth. I quickly learned her hands were as strong as Goliath. I had previously asked her to not give me a hard pressure massage and she said she would go easy. Thank God because at times I was certain, being on blood thinner, my body would be bruised in the morning from her touch.
I had told her I am a chronic migraine sufferer and thus, have a sensitive head. I guessed I reminded her of someone she despised because her deep rubs to my head were mind-blowing, and not in a good way. I had a friend tell me afterwards I should have told her. At the time, I could not think of anything except of the hammer on my head!
I must admit the clanging of the hot stones and the feel of them on my body was the coolest feeling in the world! She had me convinced they had helped draw out and release not only the toxins in my body but the evil demons. This was the refreshing part until her demonic side came out, her unrelenting sales pitch where she began telling me to properly remove my toxins I would need a treatment daily of $195 each for the 11 day cruise plus an acupuncture treatment. The good news was that “George” the acupuncture doctor would only charge me $145 for his. I was so touched to get offered such a deal, certainly worth rescheduling our excursions to rid myself of toxins. But when she explained many would involve seaweed I decided I would get plenty of that on my snorkeling excursions so bypassed the treatments.
We learned new lingo in Jamaica and got quizzed on it by our tour guide regularly. Everything must be followed with “Yeah man!” If you want to say no, you must say “Eh-eh” with a bit of a grunt. “No problem” is often said because nothing is an issue there. And the last important thing to remember is all tourists are told to come back next week, continually and by everyone! The folks there are the friendliest funniest group, great culture! The poverty though is striking which makes it surprising that everyone says no problem.
Jamaica was my first zip lining experience and what an eye-opener, in more than one way. I was so grateful for my psychology degree. First, due to the guides and the lead trainer enjoying our group, they had us do a record nine lines that day so it was one after another with not nearly enough water breaks though! The drop off the platform each time was the scariest part for me. We had one woman who was every man’s fantasy girl, she screamed all the way through from start to finish, every single time! The rest of us were amazed at her stamina for the yelling! What a trouper! I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit I followed her and didn’t make a sound.
We learned far too much about our crew that day. Thanks to my amazing ability to ask questions and draw people out of their shell and confide in me we learned the drama in
their lives. Once the Pandora’s Box was
opened, can I just say, it could not be closed?
The head trainer was in the process of getting divorced, from the only
female crew member. Yes, and that
explained why they were never at the same station nor speaking to each other. The
guy that called himself Big John and certainly looked like it claimed he was
the reason and even I had enough sense not to ask any further questions on this
claim! Another one of our crew that I
was silly enough to ask why he looked so down was just dumped by the love of
his life for the past five years. Is that enough of the drama we learned that
day? Well it wasn’t! Once they learned I had an empathetic ear, high above the
ground on NINE lines everyone was unloading on me and the rest of our group was
laughing their asses off enjoying the entertainment of a real life reality
show! By the way, we only tipped the lady and the man getting divorced but not Big John as we felt he musta played a part in their marriage woes!
|Zip Crew lady telling me partially|
After zipping down the lines, we took a nice long downhill walk
that seemed more like a jog where brakes were needed. Across the street
was a waterfall with a pool at the base. One guide told me to take his hand and
look at his face as I stepped into the pool, fully clothed with nothing removed
but my shoes and socks. Splat, that was me going down on my behind! My toe hit
a raised rock edge and rolled back, quite painfully leaving me with either a
broken or sprained toe. The worst part was I had to put back on my tennis shoe
and walk back up that horrendous mountain of a hill to return to the jeep to
return back to town. Ouch or stronger language was emitted frequently on the return
trip. But, it was worth the zipping but my mouth did not remain zipped!
|Hidden from view, I am soaked in full clothes here|
and with one sprained toe, possibly broken said ship Dr!
|Samuel aka Kirk, known to take off shirt if helps open gates for|
passing thru properties he needs to cross! Added benefit for
Hitting Curacao was just the most picturesque views; everywhere you looked was a picture for the house in the making! It was impossible to capture the true beauty of the island. And our guide, who was named after Captain Kirk of Star Trek looked like anybody but Kirk was quickly, renamed Samuel by me. Early on, I got everyone in our small group calling him Samuel, even he went with it! As we progressed along a rocky terrain to the area of the island owned by the government uninhabited we were taught about the history of the island and the plant life. Samuel had his hands full too with a jeep full of pranksters and wise crackers that he never knew what was coming out next. He learned to roll with it quickly.
As bikers were approaching our jeep, innocently one in our crew didn’t see them. She had a piece of fruit Samuel had cut off a cactus. She strong armed it behind her nailing one of the
bikers dead on in the chest!
His hand went up with a non-friendly gesture with angry shouts as we
yelled at Samuel to step on it. He did not knowing what his tourists had done
now. Further up the road, I informed him and he, once the shock wore off,
laughed hysterically. We told him he was going to get arrested or have to bail
us out. He decided to continue fueling us with fruit so that we could attempt
to hit more bikers along the route for the remainder of the tour. Apparently he
liked living on the wild side as much as us!
With that I think I need to give you all a break from reading my reflections of 11 days cruising. Honestly, by the fourth port, I forgot which island I was on! And to make matters worse, I had so many beautiful colored drinks, it was getting stressful to know which one to order at the bar. Oh, such is life of a cruiser. Heck one lady had been on that particular boat for 60 days! Too much for me. My liver, sense of balance and blog readers would need a break, like right about now! Be back on soon!
*Both ports are beautiful to visit but Curacao is a must see on your Bucket List*