Saturday, July 28, 2012

Headed Home – The End of a Beautiful Celebration

Although we left our last port-of-call we still had two and a half days left of sailing before our vacation ended. Those days were consumed basically as the first two and a half days.

The eating experiences topped the most memorable memories. Our scheduled dining was for the last seating at a table that was at the back of the ship overlooking the wake and some beautiful sunsets. Since we are creatures of habit we always sat in the same seats. This made it very easy for our table captain and servers to learn our names and establish a nice rapport.

Our table captain enjoyed our youngest daughter who sat at the end of the table towards the dining room because she was game on trying dishes that were very unusual. She also had a tendency to be undecided about which dinners she would like to order each night. Therefore the table captain took great pleasure and fun serving her.

alligator appetizer       Leighs multiple dinners        chicken appetizer  

The first of the experiences was an alligator appetizer depicted in the first picture. Later she would indulge in trying conch, frog legs, and shark. The second picture provides insight on Luna’s, our table captain, attention to solving the indecision of what dinner my daughter should order. I believe he brought her three of the entrees not only that night but a few of the other nights. The third picture above is a chicken appetizer.  Now that I’m writing my Blog I wish I had been more picture conscience and taken my camera for dinners. I had some great appetizers and dinners, not to mention desserts.

chocolate melting cake

Luna was impressed with the celebration of our 40th anniversary so one night hubby and I were surprised with a small celebration he prepared. Luna delivered a cupcake with a candle and he and the servers sang happy anniversary to us. Naturally it was a variation of the Happy Birthday song. It was a very nice gesture by him. Thank you, Luna!

bill and i cupcake     bill and i w cupcake     

Hubby’s celebration of our anniversary was to treat all of us at the Steak House. I felt a bit sorry for him because he had made arrangements for this dinner when we booked our cruise and was truly looking forward to the outing. However, upon boarding and checking on the reservations he was met with “what reservations?” I’m sure the conversation following was a bit heated but the whatever she was of the steak house won out and re-scheduled us for Monday night instead of Sunday night as he had planned. Upon retrieving our e-mail confirmation of the reservation, which Carnival misplaced, ignored or whatever, the whoever she was indicated that she could seat us for Sunday; however we wouldn’t be at the large round table since she had already given it to another party. We would have to accept a table for six and a table for two. The good news is, it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. The kids sat at the table for six and we were only maybe a foot and a half away and directly in line. That was good because I don’t think whoever she was would have appreciated my yelling across the dining room to see how everyone was doing or asking them to repeat what they were saying.

The dinner was great! Thank heavens again that the kids took their cameras with me and got some pictures of the delicious food. Below, I believe, is a ravioli filled with lobster and topped with shrimp. The second picture is my lobster dinner that was ordered by someone over at the kid’s table. Then of course the desserts.

dinner      lobster dinner      dessert

I was soooo full when I finished, but it was worth it all. Just to have everyone together.

For the rest of the cruise we mellowed out enjoying doing nothing except what we might feel like doing. The ship headed on back to New York. My daughter’s significant other has a real talent for taking good pictures. I was most impressed by these.

view down at pool      view of sun deck      view of sailing

The kids continued to sun and fun, I continued to wander around the ship with hubby, read, gamble as long as I won, and take naps either on the balcony or curled up in bed.
Then on Tuesday, July 17th, we arrived in New York. Hubby grabbed the camera and headed up on deck. He got some great shots. The kids, except for my son, were still asleep.

IMG_4128      IMG_4135      IMG_4152
IMG_4161      IMG_4198      IMG_4208

And we were off to our homes.

We had boarded our pets at the Halo House for the first time ever and worried about them somewhat. It was really described as an animal resort. After fetching the critters let me tell you, it was a resort. Our Springer came out to greet us after she had been bathed. Her report card indicated that she truly enjoyed her individual pool, chasing her ball in their extended fenced in play area and cooling off afterwards in their outside fountain pool. The kitties enjoyed what was described as a townhouse and playtime in a designated cat playground. Overall they all were very happy to see us and return home.

Now we’re home again and trying to get back into the real world and new adventures. However, this trip will be one that I shall reflect upon often.

For now have a Firecrackin Great Day!

Remember if you are looking for gifts for any occasion or would like to create your own, head on over to Firecrackinmama's

Friday, July 27, 2012

Grand Turk – Third Port-of-Call

We enjoyed our evening after our short visit to St. Thomas/St. John. After cleaning up and reflecting on our day’s excursion we headed out for cocktails before dinner via the casino of course. After all you have to go through the casino to get to the lounge and dining room. That is if you travel with me because I could never figure out what elevator to take. The entrances were hidden off the corridors and if you didn’t pay attention you walked right pass the small doorway that led to them. Following dinner most of us met up for the show and then called it a night relaxing on the balcony before turning in.

We didn’t see Grand Turk until early afternoon on Saturday, but I could see the turquoise water against the white sand with the Palm trees swaying in the breeze.

IMG_3982      IMG_3995      IMG_4072

Ah, have you ever seen anything so welcoming? Not only was it beautiful and welcoming but we were the only ship in port!

We all were scheduled for the same excursion: Segway Tour of the Island. After hiking about in San Juan hubby and I were starting to doubt whether we had made a good choice on this adventure, but there was no turning back now. Our tour guide was awaiting us on the dock. We climbed aboard one of those extended vans for an exciting ride to the place of business? Not only did his van say Diving something or other but he was driving on the wrong side of the road and speed seemed to be of no concern to him.

Before going on, it should be noted that Grand Turk is not commercialized for tourists. It’s still in it’s infancy. I think that’s what made it a desirable place to visit. So the place of business was rather different to say the least. There were four other people who joined the eight of us. An inquiry was made as to whether anyone had back problems or could not stand for an hour. No one seemed to have a problem with either. I mention this only because we all were soooo wrong!

The introduction to riding the Segway took a bit longer than what our guides thought it would take. First, I have to say the guides have no sense of humor. Getting on and off the Segway is not a natural act and is full of funny sights as long as it’s not yourself. Actually making them move and maneuver them around cones for the first time you’re on them is even more humorous.

IMG_4003        IMG_4004        IMG_4014
IMG_4027      IMG_4028      IMG_4033
      melissa on segway      greg on segway

Once we practiced getting on and off and going around the cones, we had to go up the driveway and out into the street. Upon returning you had to get up enough speed to get the Segway up over a hump and down a hill so we had ample opportunity of wiping out before even going on the tour.

Father and Son discussing the return trip.

I have to say the eight of us did very well. Another father and son did ok, however the wife of a couple that were also in the group was unable to master the Segway enough to join us on the tour. The guides spent extra time attempting to teach her to no avail.

We each had a radio with one earphone so that we could hear the lead guide as he described various landmarks on the island as we approached or passed them. That was of no value to me because I’m hard of hearing and the wind whipping through his microphone increased static. Besides those two issues I was too preoccupied on not falling off the Segway.

Lucky for us our room steward left Fun Ashore Your Guide to Shore Excursions for us to review. Of course we didn’t do it while on the cruise because we had already reviewed and chosen our excursions back in April. However now I can review it and learn about what we saw on our adventure tour or not.

It was to be a 2 hour tour giving us the opportunity to venture into some of the smaller roads to get a sense of the heart and culture of people of Grand Turk. For an added thrill we were to ride our Segway on the pristine white beaches of Grand Turk and stop for a refreshing dip in the turquoise water. Throughout our tour, the tour guide was to enlighten us with the rich history of the island on several stops during the tour. We were to wear our swimsuits under our clothing and have sensible footwear.

I believe it was every bit of two hours including the ride to the start and back to the ship. I only had a glimpse of the turquoise water as we quickly entered and left the beach. Hmmm… no refreshing dip in the turquoise water. In addition only one stop and that was because our feet were hurting soooo much. It was and interesting place to pause since I had never seen a salt pond before.

IMG_4037      IMG_4039      IMG_4040

Grand Turk is most famous for John Glenn’s splashdown of the Friendship 7 space capsule off the island’s coast in 1962. The splashdown represented the United States first successful manned orbit of the earth. It is the capital of the Turks & Caicos islands archipelago. The size of the island is about seven miles long and one and one half miles wide. We traveled through Cockburn Town, the seat of government since 1776. The town was founded by Bermudan Salt Rakers about three centuries ago. It has maintained it’s turn-of-the-century Caribbean charm with it’s Bermudan British colonial architecture and Caribbean style local dwellings. Donkeys, horses, and cattle were the means of transportation during the salt industry. We saw some roaming around the island.

Grand Turk waterfront, Turks and Caicos Islands     Grand Turk caribbean architecture      Grand Turk Queen Street on the Waterfront of Cockburn Town, Turks and Caicos Islands

The above images were copied from Turks and Caicos site for informational reasons. We actually passed these sights but because we didn’t stop I was unable to take pictures.

I truly enjoyed riding the Segway, but I would have been more thrilled if we had done exactly what was described in the brochure. It was a rushed tour and without the several stops that were to be, very painful. At first I thought I was the only one experiencing the extreme discomfort in my feet but when one of the guides and the kids claimed to be suffering too Then I felt better about myself.
Our return to the port gave us ample time to enjoy:


We were able to get seats upstairs which provided us with a great view.

margaritaville       bar at margaritaville      ship from margaritaville

Food and drink were at the top of our lists. Margaritas and Pina Coladas along with nachos and cheese and of course a Cheeseburger in Paradise, which I couldn’t finish. The drinks were sooo refreshing after our tour and I should add, strong but not so strong that I didn't have two.

all of us at table margaritaville      melissa and todd at margaritaville      lynn and bill margaritaville

And then it was time to return to our ship for another two and a half days at sea. I couldn’t leave without a few more pictures of that beautiful dream Caribbean beach.

IMG_4044      IMG_4046      IMG_4042
IMG_4045      IMG_4047

It took a while for everyone to board. Some remained on the beach until the horn blasts. By then we were up on our balconies taking final pictures of this beautiful rural island.

IMG_4053      IMG_4072      IMG_4080
IMG_4081      IMG_4083      IMG_4084
IMG_4089 Good-bye Grand Turk

For now have a Firecrackin Great Day!

Remember to use your photos, don't abuse them. See more ways to use your photos at Firecrackinmama's Stores!