Bon Voyage on Allure of the Seas
(Sunday March 2-9, 2014)
Our adventure began Saturday afternoon around 5
p.m. when we headed for San Francisco airport in Kirk and Deanna's car
where we boarded a plane around 10 p.m. and flew all night to our
destination at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Altogether there were thirteen
family members (including baby Elodie) able to go. Tim, Margie, Amanda,
Brent, Vicky, Guy, Francis, Ric, Kirk, Deanna, Mel and me (Bonnie). We met at the
airport and boarded ship around noon.
The airport is huge and will provide wheelchairs
for those who need a ride. Tim found a rental vehicle for all of us and
our luggage. We had time to kill before boarding ship, so headed out to
We made it!
Margie and me and Tim makes three...
...and Ric managed the short hike to the beach.
The young bunch beat us there.
It's been fun lookin' around, but now it's time to
get on board our ship.
Our temporary home along with 6,000 other guests and 2,000 crew
members this week.
We all sigh and smile that we're finally ready to
go with the flow.
Capturing our after dinner crew from the back left... Guy, Ric,
Brent, Tim. Front...Vicky, Elodie, Francis, Papa Mel, Grammy Bonnie,
Margie, Amanda, Deanna and Kirk.
Day Two... Monday March 3
Today were at the port of Nassau,
the capital, largest city, and commercial centre of the Commonwealth of
the Bahamas. The city has a population of 248,948 (2010 census), 70
percent of the entire population of the Bahamas (353,658). Lynden
Pindling International Airport, the major airport for the Bahamas, is
located about 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) west of Nassau city centre, and has
daily flights to major cities in the United States, the Caribbean,
Canada, and the United Kingdom. The city is located on the island of New
Providence, which functions much like a business district. Nassau is the
site of the House of Assembly and various judicial departments and was
considered historically to be a stronghold of pirates.
As the population of Nassau grew, so did its
populated areas. Today the city dominates the entire island and its
satellite, Paradise Island. However, until the post-Second World War
era, the outer suburbs scarcely existed. Most of New Providence was
uncultivated bush until Loyalists were resettled here following the
American Revolutionary War; they established several plantations, such
as Clifton and Tusculum. Slaves were imported as labor. After the
British abolished the international slave trade in 1807, they resettled
thousands of Africans liberated from slave ships by the Royal Navy on
New Providence (at Adelaide Village and Gambier Village), along with
other islands such as Grand Bahama, Exuma, Abaco and Inagua. In
addition, slaves freed from American ships, such as the Creole case in
1841, were allowed to settle here. The largest concentration of Africans
historically lived in the "Over-the-Hill" suburbs of Grants Town and
Bain Town to the south of the city of Nassau, while most of the
inhabitants of European descent lived on the island's northern coastal
Nassau was formerly known as Charles Town; it was burned to the ground
by the Spanish in 1684. Rebuilt, it was renamed Nassau in 1695 in honour
of the Dutch Stadtholder (stadhouder in Dutch) and later also King of
England, Scotland and Ireland, William III from the Dutch House of
Orange-Nassau. In 1703 Spanish and French allied forces briefly occupied
By 1713, the sparsely settled Bahamas had become a pirate haven for
pirate chieftains Thomas Barrow and Benjamin Hornigold. They proclaimed
Nassau a pirate republic, establishing themselves as "governors." They
were joined by Charles Vane, Calico Jack Rackham, and the infamous
Edward Teach, known as "Blackbeard"; along with female pirates such as
Anne Bonny and Mary Read. (Just gotta add my favorite Captain Jack
Sparrow brought to life by actor Johnny Depp's Pirates of the
Caribbean at right..hehe).
In 1718, the British sought to regain control of the islands and
appointed Captain Woodes Rogers as Royal governor. He successfully
clamped down on the pirates, reformed the civil administration, and
restored commerce. Rogers cleaned up Nassau and rebuilt the fort, using
his own wealth to try to overcome problems. In 1720 the Spanish made an
unsuccessful attempt to capture Nassau.
In 1776 the Battle of Nassau resulted in a brief occupation by the
American Marines during the American War of Independence, where the
Marines staged their first amphibious raid on Fort Montagu: in 1778
after an overnight invasion, American raiders left with ships, gunpowder
and military stores after stopping in Nassau for only two days. In 1782
Spain captured Nassau for the last time when Don Juan de Cagigal,
governor-general of Cuba, attacked New Providence with 5000 men. Andrew
Deveaux, an American Loyalist who resettled on the island, set forth to
recapture Nassau with 220 men and 150 muskets to face a force of 600
trained soldiers. Deveaux forced the Spanish to surrender on April 17,
1783, without a single shot fired.
Lord Dunmore governed the colony from 1787 to 1796. He oversaw the
construction of Fort Charlotte in Nassau.
During the American Civil War, Nassau served as a port for blockade
runners making their way to and from ports along the southern Atlantic
Coast for continued trade with the Confederacy. Okay, now you know some
of the story....so here we go.
The early birds of our bunch were going to go on a
glass bottom boat early this morning, but it didn't show, so they headed
for the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island around 9am.
Kirk and Deanna pose in front of their yacht...hehe
Meanwhile, after a few more zzzz's and breakfast,
Kirk, Deanna, Mel and I decided to go ashore and explore the port of
Nassau and visit the John Watling's Distillery.
We discovered that we could take the scooter
(Margie and Tim rented for me) off the ship which would make it easier.
We also realized we needed two of them, so changed riders occasionally.
We walked by little shops and vendors, dodged some traffic and a couple
of horse buggies to the end of the pier and up a steep hill to the
John Watling's Distillery. It was built on the old Buena Vista Estate,
just a short walk from the Harbor, and is well signposted, so even dumb
tourists can find it. The
beautifully restored colorful old mansion house is the first building
you see as you walk through the entrance. Set on more than two acres of
lush tropical gardens with centenary black olive trees, The Buena Vista
Estate has been part of the history of Nassau, New Providence, and The
Bahamas since 1789. Construction started on the house the same year as
the United States Constitution was enacted; George Washington was
elected President of the United States, and the start of the French
Revolution. The legendary Buena Vista Home hosted many famous patrons in
the past, including everyone from Robert Mitchum and Bobby Kennedy to Ed
Sullivan and Joan Crawford. The Estate made its Hollywood debut when it
was featured in the James Bond film Casino Royale starring Daniel Craig.
Inside there are old photographs and paintings
depicting the history of the old estate and the Bahamas in general. The
plaque says the painting at right is of Queen Victoria of the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India. The unknown
artist did it during the 1940s. Outside there is the 200-year-old water
well hand dug by slaves out of solid limestone, measuring 7.4 feet in
diameter and 65 feet deep. I think it took them about a year to
dig it. It's still used as a source of fresh water. Further back are the large
aging and production warehouses, with a working model of a waterwheel
attached to the outside wall. Inside you can see the rum aging and being
hand-bottled one at a time. There is also a retail store where you can
purchase the three fine rums they currently produce. Of course no tour
of a rum distillery can be complete without a sampling of the rums. Also
they make the famous Rum Dum cocktail right in the bar that cannot be
missed. We were given a little sip to see how smooth and
excellent...Good enough to eventually make you rum de dum.
The water wheel.
And the Distillery.
The barrel is charcoaled inside as shown on
the right. Here's the story of how it's the rum is made.
Area 1 Angels Share: The fresh distillate,
known as firewater is fermented and distilled from hand-cut, freshly
pressed sugar cane molasses. It is aged in White Oak barrels for up to 6
years. As the firewater mellows and is transformed into rum, it breathes
through the pores of the wood barrels and slowly evaporates. These
losses to evaporation, which can amount to up to 10 percent of the
barrels' contents each year are known as the "Angel's Share."
Area 2 Ocean Breezes: The tropical heat of
Nassau and its proximity to ocean breezes accelerates the ageing process
making it 2.5 times faster than in regions in colder climes. This makes
John Watling's Buena Vista Estate rum comparable in age to a 12 year old
Scotch. Area 3 Master Blender: Once the
firewater has been transformed into an aged rum and has been judged
ready by our sixth generation Master Blender, the barrel is emptied. His
knowledge, passed on to him by mentors and family members, spans more
than 175 years of accumulated experience in the art of rum-making. If
the aged rum does not meet his standards it is left to age in the barrel
until he decides it is ready. Area 4 Filtration:
Before barreling, the firewater undergoes a process known as charcoal
filtration to refine it further. Some of the charcoal used is made from
locally carbonized coconut husks. After filtration the firewater is aged
in American white oak barrels either singly or as a pre-blend. The
complete process is a John Watling's secret.
Area 5 Distillation: There are two aged distillates that
emerge from the ageing process: a single-barrel rum and a pre-blended
rum. Each of these rums, at varying ages, is an ingredient in a formula
for the Master Blender, who uses time-honored proprietary techniques to
blend and craft all John Watling's rums. Area 6
Blending: After the secret blending process the blended rum
is placed in French Limousin Oak barrels for a short repose known as the
marrying process. Limousin Oak is usually exclusively reserved for
ageing Cognacs but at John Watling's we use them to relax and marry the
different rums creating a well-rounded and balanced taste.
Area 7 Quality: All products made at John
Watling's Distillery are hand-packaged. This ensures a finely crafted,
quality product that is made by local hands. At John Watling's we try to
use the least amount of mechanization possible while never compromising
on quality. Area 8 Pink Sand: Rain water
passed through a proprietary pink sand filter, is used to craft all John
Watling's Distillery products. The pink sands that we use were
transported to Nassau by boat from the Bahamian island of Eleuthera.
Area 9 Ingredients: Red Turtle flavored
vodkas and John Watling's liqueurs are made seasonally with tropical
fruits, herbs and spices. These exotic ingredients are grown locally and
organically on small local family farms. Area 10
Botanicals: Gun Cay gin is made using botanicals from the
Bahamian island of Andros. Secret blends of up to six botanicals are
vapor infused into the spirit using a copper pot still. The alcohol is
vaporized in the still to capture the essence of the botanicals before
it condenses once again into liquid form. Okay now we know how rum's
made and why this one's so special.
Papa Mel's taking five on the scooter while we wait for
the taxi to take us back to the port entrance near our ship. The scooter
didn't quite fit and Kirk reached back and held onto it in the trunk.
Meanwhile, while we were checking out the rum, the
rest of the bunch were exploring the Bahama's Atlantis Paradise Island
beach resort. Back on deck we're enjoying the view of it.
This once-popular jet-set playground on Paradise
Island had seen better days but from the start Sol Kerzner saw its
potential. In 1994, he purchased Resorts International from
entertainer/entrepreneur Merv Griffin. Struck by the beauty of the
location, on a lush tropical island with a pristine two-mile white sand
beach, Kerzner vowed to build the most engaging and astounding resort
the world had ever seen, a place where dreams would be made real and all
who experienced it would fall under its mystical spell … while having a
lot of fun in the process. During the following four years he created
the mythical city of Atlantis from the ground up -- or, more accurately,
from the seabed to the skies. More than $800 million was spent to bring
to life the myth and legend of the lost city of Atlantis. The original
scope and scale of the project was mind-boggling: the world’s largest
open-air marine environment of 11 million gallons, home to 50,000 sea
creatures representing 200 species; new lagoons and countless
waterfalls; a spectacular Mayan Temple Waterslide complex; 6 swimming
areas and a $15 million Marina – itself an engineering marvel -- that
would attract the sleek international mega-yacht set.
In the last few years, Atlantis has made an effort
to host concerts and other events to its guests. In early 2010 and June
2011, Jerry Seinfeld performed at the Atlantis resort. Jonas Brothers,
Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Sara Bareilles, Paul Potts, Katy Perry,
N'SYNC, Sheryl Crow, Kenny Chesney, and Lady Antebellum have all
performed concerts either outside, in the Imperial Ballroom, or in the
Atlantis Theatre. Michael Jackson and Gloria Estefan participated in
performances at the resort, as well
Tim beside the Atlantis marina designed to dock
large yachts. He and Margie took a boat ride around the island, while
Amanda, Brent, Vicky, Guy and Elodie enjoyed the beach and more....
Brent and Amanda decided to go to the Atlantis
Power Tower and take the 200 foot long, 50 foot vertical drop
slide into the Abyss to face their worst fears of height and darkness
combined as they cross arms and legs in preparation for the
biggest body drop of their life. The mouth of the slide swallows them
into a pit of darkness the second they release their body into the
depths. Then they fall down a slick dark hole and Amanda screams, then
washes beneath a daylight walkway and dumps out into an underground
cavern with a waterfall resembling the ruins of the sunken city of
Atlantis. It's surrounded by aquatic windows with a view of swimming
fish. Click below to check out the water slide.
Brent and Amanda checking out the rope
bridge and beach.
Guy and Elodie having fun in the sun...and then
at what's under the sea. "The Dig" is a series of aquariums
located beneath the lobby of the Royal Towers and is the world's largest
open air marine habitat. Hundreds of different aquatic species can be
spotted in the Dig's various tanks such as angelfish, sharks, manta rays
(one of which is larger than ten feet), and various types of jellyfish.
The goal of The Dig is to provide guests with a taste of life in the
legendary destroyed city of Atlantis. If one observes the bottom of the
floors in the different aquariums, wreckage and debris scattered about
represent the "Lost City of Atlantis."
Our bunch are back on ship. Vicky, Amanda, Elodie
and Margie have a final look at Atlantis. Turns out some didn't return by the time we're supposed to sail. The ship waits for
stragglers, but then has to power up for lost time. The crew members
(staff) are wonderful, and make you feel like royalty. It's like a
floating city. While we're sailing people are everywhere like at home on
the Fourth of July, or wherever there are crowds. At port many leave the
ship to explore, and it's easy to move about. There's just about
anything you want to do or what you would like to eat and drink. Pretty
soon we'll be going to dinner in the special dining room with the
family. Dining's a special occasion every evening...and then there are
the shows and the wonderful music on the decks.
Day Three... Tuesday March 4.
We enjoyed breakfast and are now relaxing with the
gentle breeze on deck.
Brent, Francis, Guy, Margie and Elodie checking out
the toddlers' mini-golf course
located next to the regular course.
Don't you love this 1936 Mercedes Benz 540K?
Walking to the Merry-go-Round is a display of how
the horses are created from wood.
Vicky, lil' Elodie and Amanda love it!
It's show time at the outdoor theater. It didn't
take long for the guy with the microphone to finagle Guy and Brent to compete in
the Worlds Sexiest Man spoof. Reluctant and embarrassed they were really
nice to participate in the fun.
The finalists are.....
And the winner is the big guy wearing the cape and
crown. His wife was the judge on the right. (hehehe) Brent and Guy
proudly display their trophy towels. It was lotsa fun. Thanks guys.
I'm checking out the jogging - walking deck. The
track is split in half, with one half for joggers and the other half for
walkers. I just make sure I don't run over anybody. Love the sign
designating the finish is just around the bend. Amanda and Margie
have run the course.
From our Windjamer restaurant table window we're
able to watch Margie
and Amanda run the Zip line. It's 9 decks above the ground, and
stretches 82 feet from end to end. Whoopie! Here comes Margie....with Amanda
not far behind.
Our lovely Margie out and about with Tim.
Day Four... Wednesday March 5
Today finds us at Charlotte Amalie, located on St.
Thomas. It's the capital and largest city of the U.S. Virgin Islands,
founded in 1666 as Taphus (meaning "beer houses" or "beer halls"). In
1691, the town was renamed to Amalienborg (in English Charlotte Amalie)
after Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Kassel (1650–1714), queen consort to
King Christian V of Denmark.
We're looking at the harbor from the ship, and
enjoying ourselves. The crowd is off exploring, so it's not as busy on
board. There are many enjoying the pools, while others are enjoying the beaches and ocean.
Some may be shopping through the
shop-lined streets of Charlotte Amalie where they discover why St.
Thomas is called the "duty-free shopping capital of the world." Shop for
duty-free trinkets and bargains on everything from liquor to imported
china and crystal. Visitors can bring home $1,200 in merchandise without
paying duty - twice the limit of most of the Caribbean.
On deck nearby are various pools and guests
enjoying the sun.
Near the swimming pools the Pool Bar has some
comfortable tables with a good view of the harbor below, so we had a
couple of beers while watching the interesting boats.
Mel commented that he noticed the American flag on
the ship below, but couldn't figure out what the other flag was until it got
up close. Aha! The skull and cross bones of the Jolly Roger.
I never paid much attention to the skull and cross
bones on a flag until this cruise. Evidently, the Jolly Roger is flown to identify a ship's crew as
pirates about to attack. The flag most commonly identified as the Jolly
Roger today is the skull and crossbones (although swords are also
common) on a black field. This
design was used by several pirates, including Captains "Black Sam"
Bellamy, Edward England, and John Taylor. The flag was flown to frighten
pirate's victims into surrendering without a fight, since it conveyed
the message that the attackers were outlaws who might kill those they
defeated. Captured pirates were usually hanged.
On his second voyage to the New World, Christopher
Columbus encountered numbers of Native Americans living in the present
day archipelago of the United States Virgin Islands. Archaeological
records indicate that the islands had been home to Indian tribes. Several of them lived in present day Charlotte Amalie in
small fishing communities. The
native population died relatively quickly from disease when the
As the early Spanish focused their energy on Puerto
Rico and other Caribbean Islands, St. Thomas remained unprotected for
a long time, so Charlotte Amalie’s sheltered coves were frequented
by pirates, like Bluebeard and Blackbeard, as well as mariners and
European settlers. At the right is Blackbeard's castle. It's one of five
National Historic Landmarks in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It was built in
1679 by the Danes as a watchtower to protect the harbor and Fort
Christian. The castle was originally called Skytsborg Tower (meaning sky
tower), located at the highest point on Government Hill. It
served as an effective vantage point for Danish soldiers to spot
enemy ships. Fort Christian is at sea level, which made it ideal for
thwarting attackers with cannon fire. However, the fort itself did not
provide an ideal view of incoming ships entering the harbor. It's not
known what year Skytsborg Tower took on the name of Blackbeard's Castle,
but the infamous Edward Teach (or Thatch) known as Blackbeard, did sail
the Caribbean waters in the early 18th century.
The tower became part of the lore of the island that
he used it as a lookout for his own purposes of piracy. He's
probably the most notorious of the sea robbers who plagued shipping
lanes off North America and throughout the Caribbean in the
early-eighteenth century--an era referred to as the Golden Age
of Piracy. Despite his legendary reputation, little is known about the
early life of Blackbeard. He was probably born before 1690. Even his
true name is uncertain. He is reported to have served as a privateer
during Queen Anne's War (1701 - 1714) to raid enemy ships, and (after
basic training) he then turned to
piracy sometime after the war's conclusion. It was a reign of fear that
lasted two long years. Blackbeard and his crew of pirates terrorized
sailors on the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea from 1716 through 1718.
They ambushed ships carrying passengers and cargo in the dim light of
dawn and dusk when the pirates' ship was hard to see.
often determined a ship's nationality first. Then they raised that
country's flag on the pirate ship so they appeared to be friendly. Now
able to draw close to the unsuspecting ship, the pirates hoisted
Blackbeard's flag only at the last moment. Merchant crews often
surrendered without a fight the moment they saw Blackbeard's flag. If
the ship didn't surrender after warnings, the pirates moved in. Usually their first target
was the sailor at the ship's wheel. Then, as
the pilotless ship drifted aimlessly, the pirates snared it with
grappling hooks, pulled it closer, and leaped aboard. When the attack
ended, the pirates took the passengers and crew hostage and ransacked
cabins looking for coins, gold, silver, and jewelry. Blackbeard repeated
this scene over and over again. Most merchant ships carried little
actual treasure. They usually hauled cargo like grain, molasses, and
kegs of rum. They also carried supplies of rope, tools, and ammunition.
After taking over a merchant ship, the pirates divided the booty, or
stolen goods, among themselves according to strict rules—the captain and
certain officers received larger portions. Sometimes the pirates stole
the ship as well as the cargo. As Teach's power and reputation as the
most frightening pirate grew, so did his beard and hair. Now calling
himself Blackbeard, he braided his beard and tied the braids with black
ribbons. He stuffed burning rope under his hat to make himself look more
ferocious and menacing. He scared everyone.
In the fall of 1718 Blackbeard returned from sea to his favorite
hideaway off Ocracoke Island. He hosted a huge, wild pirate get-together
with dancing, drinking, and bonfires. Other famous pirates sailed in for
the days-long event. News of the pirate bash reached Alexander
Spotswood, the governor of Virginia. He decided that the time had come
to stop Blackbeard once and for all. He spent the next several weeks
planning Blackbeard's capture.
The Governor sent two small swift ships, commanded by Lieutenant Robert
Maynard of the Royal Navy to Ocracoke. Seeing the navy's sails,
Blackbeard and his pirates knew they were trapped. Only sandbars lay
between them and the navy. By morning, the tide would rise, the sloops
would glide over the submerged sandbars, and the attack on the pirate
ship would begin. All through the night Maynard's men prepared for the
next day's fighting. Muffled laughter and swearing from the pirate ship
echoed across the water. Blackbeard didn't seem worried about the
upcoming battle, though his men were nervous as they stockpiled ammunition on
deck and soaked blankets in water in preparation for putting out fires.
They spread sand on the decks to soak up blood once the fighting
started. Because they might all die, one pirate asked Blackbeard if his
wife knew where he'd buried his treasure. Blackbeard bellowed that
nobody but he “...and the devil knew where it was, and the longest liver
shall take it.”
In the morning, instead of trying to outrun the navy sloops, Blackbeard waited at his ship's wheel. When Maynard's sloops started moving
toward the pirate's, Blackbeard ordered his crew to set sail, and he
steered the ship toward the beach, then eased the pirate ship through a
narrow channel between the beach and a barely visible sandbar. Following
the pirates, the navy sloops crashed into the sandbar and the pirates
blasted the stranded sloops with cannons. Then the pirate ship lurched
backward—and became stuck on a sandbar. One navy ship lay destroyed.
Maynard's sloop was battered. Maynard ordered his men to throw food and
water barrels over the side to lighten the ship. It worked. Floating
free of the sandbar, Maynard's damaged sloop edged toward the pirate
ship. Maynard ordered his men to hide below decks with pistols and
swords ready. Blackbeard's men hurled grenades onto the seemingly
deserted navy sloop and boarded the ship. Suddenly, Maynard's men rushed
the deck with their weapons, surprising the pirates who had been
tricked into thinking the navy crew was dead. A battle began. With his
pistol in one hand, cutlass in the other, Blackbeard faced Maynard. They
both fired pistols. Blackbeard missed, but Maynard hit his mark.
The wounded Blackbeard managed to swing his
cutlass and snap off Maynard's sword blade. Maynard drew back.
Blackbeard raised his arm for a finishing blow, but a navy seaman came
up from behind Blackbeard and slashed his throat. As a warning to
pirates, Blackbeard's head was allegedly cut off and suspended from the
bow of Maynard's sloop. Later, Maynard searched for Blackbeard's
treasure but like the pirate said, "only the devil knows where it was."
You might enjoy watching the trailer of
Blackbeard's Ghost. In this spoof, Peter Ustinov is the famous
pirate's ghost that returns to our time. Blackbeard has been cursed by
his last wife who was a notorious witch, so that he will never die. The
only way to "break" the curse is to do (for once in his life) a good
act. Is the pirate able to do good?
We're winding up the day the beautiful Adagio dining
room by the ocean view windows. This time of the day is so special
because we're all here sharing the joy of being together.
It's hard to believe that this dining room is so
large it's spread over three decks with seating up to 2,900 people.
Dining is from 6-9pm at reserved tables for up to ten guests. I guess we
pushed it a little. Our special waiter is Bonni. I don't remember how he
spelled his name, but remember it was pronounced the same as mine. He
was very special and did the utmost to make our dinner wonderful. All
those we encountered taking care of our room, or needs were absolutely
Following dinner are the musicals like you would
experience on Broadway. As usual Tim's the one that gets everyone
motivated by either making reservations, or insisting we hurry so we can
get a good seat. I'm still laughing at one event. Papa Mel was kind of
lagging behind everyone at dinner and we were going to see the Broadway
musical Chicago in the Amber theater. Tim picks up Papa's plate and
Papa's reaching for his plate chasing him, while Tim's chanting
"Hurry, Hurry! You can eat it when we get there." He urged Mel to
get on my scooter with me on his lap driving. One person we passed
exclaimed, "Is that legal?" but most laughed at the sight. We
made it in time and then Tim handed Papa the rest of his dinner making
him the first person to enjoy the show while eating dinner.
The musical Chicago's all that jazz amidst the
razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920's. It's the story of Roxie Hart, a
housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her lover after he threatens
to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public,
the media, and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago's
slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage
of sensational headlines, just like today's tabloids. We experienced the
singing, dancing, spectacular costumes and dazzling sets of one of this
generation's most recognizable hits. It was very
entertaining...including our funny scooter ride to the show.
After this evenings dinner, lil' Elodie wanted on GG's lap to
check out the scooter. It didn't take her long to find and beep-beep-beep the
button horn. Next she noticed me using the lever to drive, and wanted to
drive, but she'll have to wait on that.
Day Five Thursday March 6
It's Thursday morning and I'm looking down on the
ship's Central Park from our cabin on the left side. Our bunch are all
close together on the same floor, but some are on the other side of the
hallway with a different view. If we open the door to the deck we can
hear music and children playing during the day. One night we were
watching an older Clint Eastwood western movie. The background music was
simple (mostly sounds like the Good, Bad and Ugly) because their
budget was small. Kirk phoned us that a group was playing beautiful
music we could hear if we opened the door to the balcony. I did and it
was wonderful background music for the movie.
Today we're docked at Philipsburg, the main town
and capital of the country of Sint Maarten. The town is situated on a
narrow stretch of land between Great Bay and the Great Salt Pond. It
functions as the commercial center of Saint Martin island, whereas Sint
Maarten encompasses the southern half. The island was first sighted by
Christopher Columbus on 11 November 1493, but there was already an
Arawak settlement there before his discovery. Philipsburg was founded in
1763 by John Philips, a Scottish captain in the Dutch navy; the
settlement soon became a bustling centre of international trade. Two
historic forts bear witness to Philipsburg's strategic importance in St.
Maarten's history: Fort Amsterdam and Fort Willem.
Our family adventurers are off to explore and
enjoy an Orient Bay beach. It's a coastal community and beach on the
French side of the island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean. It lies on
the east coast of the island. Until 1985 the area was undeveloped.
Damage caused by Hurricane Luis in 1995 was quickly repaired. Now the
beach has become the most popular beach on the island.
Guy presses sand into the little bucket, removes
the bucket and walla! Elodie doesn't like the sculpture. Who
Yeah...it looks like your having fun!
Say cheese....From left it's Brent, Tim, Margie,
Amanda, Vicky, Guy, Deanna and Kirk.
While the bunch is on the beach, we enjoy
ourselves looking around the ship.
The Central Park's wildlife includes Carmel
Mooney's flying birds made of blue Murano glass. You can hear many birds
as though you were actually in a park. It's a quiet retreat during the
day, but evening takes on a magical look when the lights come on.
The Royal Promenade is a street-like area running
down the centerline for most of the length of the ship. Like a city
street, it has shops, bars, places to eat and entertainment areas. It
also has a replica of the classic 1936 Mercedes Benz 540 K pictured in
Day 3. A special feature is a globe that opens out to make a
cantilevered bridge across the promenade for performers to appear on
during events such as street parties. The Rising Tide Bar levitates
between the Royal Promenade and Central Park. When it is in the up
position, the area it occupies on the Royal Promenade becomes a
Below some divers are practicing for a show.
Day Six... Friday March 7.
We're having breakfast in the Windjammer
Marketplace by a window. It has a buffet easy to serve yourself with
just about anything you want.
Back on the sports deck watching a flowrider
surfer. While I watched, this kid was the only one who really knew how to
manuver. Most of the others were up and then out. The self-contained
surfing area pumps 34,000 gallons per minute and allows passengers to
try stand-up surfing as well as boogie boarding.
This was one of our favorite places to hang out
and relax. They even picked some basketball teams to compete. Behind us
is a cafe where we could get snacks like hamburgers or a frosty cone. Before we knew
it, Brent and Kirk showed up to play ping pong. It's pretty popular, and
sometimes its tough to get a table.
Papa Mel enjoys a cold chocolate frosty cone watching
Day Seven...Saturday March 8.
We're by the outdoor theater watching the Dreamworks kid show.
DreamWorks "Madagascar" characters mingle with high divers,
Guy's doing some rock climbing....and falling.
Tonight's our last very special dinner on the ship.
After dinner we went to the theater to watch the
musical "Blue Planet."
The show's about to begin....and then the cast of
Blue Planet takes us from the peaks of mountain tops to the depths of
the ocean with powerful music, soaring vocals, energetic dance, and
aerial acrobatics that's pretty amazing.
What a surprise when this tree comprised of 20
human beings unraveled. From rain forests to deserts, mountain
sides to oceans, this was truly a global celebration. What a delightful
way to wind up our voyage. Tomorrow we'll be at Ft. Lauderdale and
Day Eight...Sunday March 9.
We're in the sky over Ft. Lauderdale beginning our
five hour flight to San Francisco, and then drive home. It's pretty hard
on us, but mostly Ric, Francis, Elodie and her mom and dad.
When we landed I wasn't sure if we could walk the
distance from the plane to the luggage depot. What a joy it was to
discover two wheel chair persons waiting to take us. Kirk and Deanna
were wonderful and took good care of us again on the return home. We
treated them to an In-and-out burger dinner on the way home. The entire
adventure was wonderful. Thank you and bless your hearts for talking us
into it and making it so much fun.