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Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Cruise Virgin

Ok, I (Bob) have always wanted to do a cruise.  I finally got my chance at the end of February, and it was a lot fun!  We did a 7 day cruise of the western Caribbean on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, the 3rd largest cruise ship on the water today. This ship was MAMMOTH with over 6,000 passengers and over 2,000 crew.  It is longer and wider than the Gerald R Ford, the Navy's newest aircraft carrier.  We stopped in three ports: Labadee, Haiti (Royal Caribbean's private beach);  Falmouth, Jamaica; and Cozumel, Mexico. We cruised with Laura's mom and sister.

What did we like the most? The cruise was laid back and relaxing, there were so many things to do, we had no time pressures, we learned how to avoid the crowds, and we met some fascinating people.  We enjoyed eating at the specialty restaurants as they were less crowded, had great service and very good meals. They were well worth the addition cost. We are already thinking about where we will cruise next (check out Vacations to Go for great deals, thanks Maureen for the suggestion).

Here are a few cruise highlights:

The Oasis of the Seas built in 2009 - we had a balcony room on deck 11.  Recommend getting a balcony whenever you cruise--enjoy the extra room, bigger windows, and your own private space.

The Solarium, an adults only area at the bow of the ship. It was a place to get away, get a bite to eat or drink, and enjoy sun or shade.

Our favorite barista, who we nicknamed "Big Love", was a fascinating guy from Brazil. He worked at the Park Cafe, our favorite breakfast spot (no crowds, good food and coffee).  Located in an area of the ship called Central Park, it felt like you were in the middle of a park on land with open air, birds, trees, flowers and wonderful tables to sit and relax for awhile.

'All Access Tour,'  a tour of the ship operations that we took during a day at sea.  It was amazing to see all they do to run the ship.  Quite impressive!  Got to see the galleys; food/beverage coolers and freezers; laundry operations; ship control room; tour the bridge and meet the captain. 'I-95', the main passageway for crew is a busy 'ship highway.'
The ship's control room

This is a washing machine for towels.  It
washes 100s of pounds in under 3 minutes.

Steak night on the ship - getting them ready
(8 hours before eating).

They make all of their bread in the bakery
except for hot dog and burger buns.
They also crack all eggs by hand (ugh)

Making the salads

The ship stores.  You name it - they had a storage room for it.
Trivia - What was the #1 beer on the ship?  Corona....
The bridge (Star Trekish)

Labadee, Haiti - Royal Caribbean's private beach

Our view of the boat from the beach

Lounging like a lizard

Laura and her sister are those people under the
beach chair - that's as close as they let me
get with a camera while in swim suits (LOL)

Falmouth, Jamaica
Walking off the boat with no excursions in place, we met an energetic, persistent tour guide who gave us a private tour of the island and took us to his favorite place to eat jerk chicken and bbq pork.

Lou Lou, our guide, made us feel like family
Montego Bay

Jerk chicken and pork on Ash Wednesday at Scotchie's
Yes - I tried it, it was a religious experience...

Cozumel, Mexico
With nothing planned, we ventured off the boat and landed an excursion to a resort on the north side of the island, Club Cozumel Caribe. What fun! We snorkeled and saw lots of colorful fish, ate Mexican food and enjoyed a wonderful day at the beach at half the price of the Royal Caribbean excursions.
Beautiful beach
Post snorkeling and margaritas

How can you not smile!

On shore in Port Canaveral after the cruise
After cruising you need a vacation...

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