When we got back to the ship, I realized I’d forgotten to take the elevator picture. In the elevator, they have these panels in the carpet to let you know what day it is. I think it’s easy to lose track while you are at sea, and that the floor of the elevator is the best place to let people know.
Here’s a shot I took at dinner. I noticed that we were passing by a “desert island” and only had the camera phone, so you have to squint hard to see it. Other people began passing me their cameras, and some of them got better shots than this. There’s a dock and a little tiki hut type place there too.
After dinner, we went to see a show. I was feeling sort of sick. The boat was REALLY moving. I remember sitting outside of Vintages with a group of the Lodge Ladies and watching the menorah on display in the promenade sway…. At some point we went to the Dungeon, but I could not take noise AND feeling sick, so I told them I’d be outside on the deck. I was almost asleep when Deb came to fetch me for the comedy show. I definitely fell asleep during the show; sleep is the only way to escape feeling sea sick. This was the ONLY time I felt sick on the Navigator. I’m grateful for that! Anyhow, after the comedy show was over, I went to sit on the deck again for a while, and then I went to bed. I felt better in the morning.
Tour operators decided to give us a wild ride through the mangrove islands, taking hair-raising turns and bumping along. We theme park fans instinctively raised our arms to the sky in order to enjoy maximum air time.
The clouds were still gathering and darkening the closer we got to Belize city.
Safely on shore, we take the “goodbye” photo with our tour operators. What a fun day we had! The rain turned out to be further inland than it looked.
As we sped away from Caye Caulker, this is what we were speeding into. I wasn’t liking the prospect of being in a little speed boat, or even in the larger tender, during THAT. Was hoping it would either blow away, or else we’d be back on the ship before it started.
The rendezvous spot was near the Caye Caulker Police Station. There was a second-floor open air seating restaurant nearby where we saw Carol, who called down to tell us what shop Deb and Barbara had disappeared into.
Deb put on this pirate cap and for the first time since I’ve known her, I saw a very strong resemblance between Austin and his mom! I think maybe every time I see Austin, he’s wearing a cap.
Barbara poses with a complete stranger who had a weirdly named boat tied up on the dock near ours. I’m sure Deb or Carol will remember the name of the boat. Me, I was under the influence of two Kahlua coladas at the time, and we’re lucky these photographs are in focus. 🙂
I know that agave is not the same as weed, but this medallion on this shop sign sort of makes it look like contraband!
In reality, agave looks nothing like marijuana, but it IS medicinal!
Mister Moose poses here with my lunch. I think most if not all of us ordered the mid-sized grilled lobster tail. I had red beans and rice with mine, and also cole slaw. The dipping sauce was butter, BBQ sauce, and Worchestershire sauce. It was YUMMY! I ended up pouring the sauce over my red beans and rice. We also had some exotic drinks. Debbie wanted to know what the heck a “panty ripper” was, but I don’t think she actually ordered it. Linda and I had Kahlua coladas. I actually had two!
Here’s the view from our table
That boat actually looks use-able
More view from the table
Deb, Barbara, and Linda. Note that Linda has gotten her hair braided; while they were wandering the town, they met up with a woman who does such things. Barbara and Deb each had a few beads put in, too. Note also that Mister Moose is sitting on the table. His adventures on this cruise are chronicled on his very own blog .
Soon, it was time to amble down the beach and meet the rest of the landlubbers for lunch. The place recommended by the tour operator was the Rainbow Grill, on the beach directly across the street from the Rainbow Hotel. The restaurant had a bar inside, and all seating was outside on this floating dock dining room thing. It was covered so there was abundant shade and sea breezes blowing through. I stood outside under a palm tree to wait for them in the shade.
Back down the very same street, more of the same. It should be noted that the prices for doing laundry are in local Belize currency; halve it, and you have what it costs in USD.
There wasn’t really a beach on the other shore; above, you can see mangroves in the distance. Below, a commercial dock. I turned around and trod back after seeing what there was to see here (this is about the extent of it).
Above, some sort of bar called PIRATES. They do tend to mention pirates a lot in this country! Below, new construction. Looks like “hurricane spec” with all the cement blocks. A new hotel or condos, perhaps?
I should mention that when we arrived at Caye Caulker, we all split up. I wanted to look for shells on the beach; Carol and the two other people from the ship went with the crew to go diving on the reef; and Deb, Barbara and Linda went walking through the narrow, sandy streets in search of shopping opportunities. After about an hour or so of scouring the shore for shells, I decided to set out across the island to see what was on the opposite shore. I don’t think it took quite 10 minutes to do that on foot. Above, we see some folks getting around by bicycle; I also saw some golf carts.
The building above is some sort of bed and breakfast. Below is the local beauty salon.
I had packed my blue mesh bag (above) but had forgotten to toss the shell-net-on-a-stick into my suitcase prior to departing home. While in Fort Lauderdale, I bought a child’s version (the stick is shorter, and it’s plastic). So I was all set to do some shelling.
They do not have formal “swales” here in Caye Caulker; they have what look like naturally-carved ditches that run down to the sea to drain off the rain water. Looky what gets trapped in them!
You can see some sea snail shells here, as well as bits of branch coral.
Pay attention to that ditch in the lower left of the picture above; it’s going to become important in a minute or two…
This is really a sleepy little place. Nothing fancy at all, but that’s how I like it!
It’s about a 40 minute speed boat ride from Belize City to Caye Caulker. Along the way, you pass all these little islands and mangrove swamps. Sorry this is blurry; we were going FAST. There was this boat that made camp on one of the little islands. There was a guy out there fishing but I don’t think I caught him in this shot.
Wouldn’t it be nice to come back and stay a week at that Radisson?
Here’s the lighthouse; I like that Picasa has a “straighten” feature, because we were bouncing around in this teeny tiny speedboat, and this pic did not start out in life with the lighthouse looking so tall and STRAIGHT 🙂
The view as we depart from Belize City. That tall building on the right is the other side of that Radisson shown above.
The Wet Lizard is the meeting place for this expedition.
Shout-out to sime pirates I know… 🙂
I made Deb pose with this pirate as we made our way off the tender. The flag of Belize was flapping in the breeze. Belize used to be known as British Honduras, and is the only Central American country where English is the official language.
When we got to the end of the dock, a friendly face awaited us. Carol was going on the expedition with us. Whereas the four of us were just getting dropped on the island of Caye Caulker for a day of bumming around, Carol would be going on a dive out on the reef. She’d already made contact with the tour guide, who was anxious to leave ASAP, even though we were all an hour early. He hadn’t been aware that the ship intended to leave so early – 3:30 PM instead of a typical later time. Carol said there were only two other people from our ship to complete our expedition and then we could go.
Met Deb and her family in the dining room for breakfast. We left Barbara and Linda to finish their breakfast while we went to the pool deck to secure tickets to the tenders. Well, as luck would have it, they were looking to fill up a boat and came down the line saying, “Anyone ready to leave RIGHT NOW?” We raised our hands, got the tickets, and then RACED back to the dining room to collect the rest of our party. Then we RACED out to disembark onto a tender, and sped away toward Belize City. Here’s how the ship looked behind us as we departed.
There was a deck party and buffet this night. I went to meet everyone in the Dungeon, and there was NO ONE in there but our crowd. They sort of got booted out of there by the DJ, who probably just didn’t want to have to work too hard that night, and kept encouraging them to go up on the pool deck for the party. This was the night one of our bartenders – let’s call him Not Viktor – performed his amazing feats of juggling for the crowd. I’m sure someone else has more photos. My camera phone does poorly in the dark, as we have seen, and my Canon was upstairs charging. So all I got was shots of three ice sculptures. I had a horrible headache this night, and Mitzi gave me the best head, neck and shoulder rub! Glo and I had some pina coladas inside of actual pineapples. The pina coladas were premixed and scooped directly out of a cooler into the waiting pineapples. After eating, I felt a little better, but decided to head back and get some sleep shortly after midnight.
I’m not one much for gambling. On my first (and only other) cruise, back in the mid 80s, I won $500 playing the slots after about 5 minutes of pumping quarters… and walked out with it, much to the chagrin of my then-husband. That is the extent of my previous exposure to a casino. Below, we have shots of some of the characters that inhabit the Casino Royale on the Navigator of the Seas.
After dinner, I went to Susan and Sharon’s room for a very special purpose. While I was there, I saw their towel animal du jour, above in the snazzy shades. But this was not my purpose….
I was there to collect MR. MOOSE! Yes, it is finally my turn to take custody of the famous travelling Mr. Moose. I’m so excited! I’m going to take him to Belize with me tomorrow. I’m going to take him to Sanibel Island next weekend when I am back home. But most importantly, I’m taking Mr. Moose to New York over the holidays, and he’s coming with me and my nieces to see The Little Mermaid on Broadway in NYC – yipppeeeee!
After I took custody of Mr. Moose, I went back to the cabin to put him away, and found a stingray, again with chocolate eyes.
Every time I came out of the cabin, I came face to face with this poster from the Rogers & Hammerstein classic, Carousel. I finally had to take a photo of it. Julie Jordan in Carousel was my first non-belting role on stage. I was 21 when I got the part, and turned 22 sometime during the production. I was very proud, for I had worked very hard on my “legit” sound, and it was exciting to play the ingenue for a change. Ah, the memories! Someday I will scan photos of all the shows and operas I’ve performed and post them. Someday.
There were a couple of these cool “living statues” standing around, each with a large coffee can for money to be tossed in.
While I was gone, another ship pulled in alongside the Navigator; it was a Celebrity ship, but I forget the name. I was following behind this very drunk woman who kept hollering, “Ah need a WHEELCHAIR!” as she stumbled along. I met up with Lesia as I made my way between the ships and we went through security together. The wheelchair woman said there was no liquor in her bag to delcare, but plenty inside her – we were cracking up! Lesia and I parted in the elevator, both heading back to our cabins to get cleaned up for dinner.
This would have been absolutely PERFECT if it was a longer excursion. As the tour guides were leading a water balloon toss game on the beach, I kept having visions of Mooses crawling all over that island for some future Moose Meet….
OK, so not a proper picture – I just took it just now, and didn’t even take them out of the bag, which explains the glare. There’s branch coral in there, too. I’ve not really unpacked all the way. It’s one of my most hated chores – that and emptying the dishwasher and folding/putting away the stuff from the dryer.
First, I went shelling. I forgot to mention earlier that while in Fort Lauderdale, there were a bazillion surf shops on the strip, and I stopped into one to get a shell-net-on-a-stick. It was a plastic children’s model, so the handle wasn’t as long as my nets at home, but it did the job. I still can’t believe I forgot it; I have like three of them in the garage, and should have grabbed one and stuck it in the big suitcase, but I forgot. I did, however, remember the mesh bag, so all was not lost. Most of what I found on the beach at Passion Island was exceedingly small, but I found enough of it to fill a small jar – small, as in, about the size of a Yankee Candle sampler.
So, above we have the view from my table at the big tiki hut; after patrolling the shore a bit, I decided I was hungry, and gave the food a try.
You don’t have to hang in the big hut – there are smaller tiki umbrellas dotted around that you can go and have a seat at.
Here’s my lunch. Chicken quessadias (did I spell that right?), and all the fixin’s, plus veggies and fruits. Also, rum punch! My idea of a good meal on a beach day!
Since I was doing this excursion alone (despite the hovering presence of Clarke), I imposed a two drink minimum upon myself. If I’d had some of my sistas with me, I might have indulged more, but I felt the need to keep my wits about me in a strange country, sitting next to a strange if goofy man on the bus…
It’s formal night! Yes, the Lodge Ladies turned out in full stylin’ regalia, even me. I actually wore makeup, and *gasp* A DRESS!
Above we find Mary and Debbie
Another charming self portrait (Debbie tells me her teenaged daughter does this all the time… so whaddaya tryin’ ta say, Deb? LOL )
Seated: Ellen, Mary
Standing: Glo, Dee, and moi
When I emerged from the spa (which was fabulous, by the way), Cuba was a LOT closer! I had the thought that maybe I would see one of those boats full of escapees that lands on the shores of Sanibel periodically, but didn’t see anything smaller than a couple of other cruise ships now and then.
Woke up on Tuesday morning and discovered that Cuba was tiny and vague on the horizon. Since this was a day at sea, I figured to make a massage appointment for around 3:00 PM, then come back to the cabin and wash the oil out of my hair and change for dinner. Well, the spa was pretty much booked up, so I returned my ass to the sofa and the coffee pot (btw, in the category of “Things I Love About Cruising”, I love that you can have room service delivered and it doesn’t cost any more than leaving the room would, except for the tip!). A few minutes later, the phone rang and they said there was a 9:30 am cancellation, and did I want the time? It was around 9:00 am. So I leapt up and dressed and off I went to the spa, only to discover that it is called “Shipshape”. This one’s for you, my hater-pirate comrades!
Ellen and Viktor (Edited: I had misidentified the lady as Cathy!)
Glo and Ellen: “He’s MY bartender!” “No, he’s MY bartender!”
I turned in earlier than everyone else, so I don’t know what happened after this. I think I got in at around 1:30 am, which is unheard of for me. I haven’t partied like this since I was in my twenties. When I got to the cabin, I immediately took two Advil and guzzled half a bottle of water, hoping to avert disaster in the morning.
Thus endeth the first day of the Lodge Ladies Cruise. Stay tuned for more!
Michelle and Ellen show their deep appreciation for the pole.
The Dungeon was the only bar where there were no less than 3 security guards at the door.
After the parade, I went off somewhere to try to get the internet thing going, but it was a bust. Deb had said they were all going dancing at the Dragon’s Lair, but that turned out to be a nightclub in the same spot on a different Royal Caribbean ship! Instead, I found The Dungeon, which became the scene of much hilarity and many good times, dancing and drinking the night away.
Everywhere you go on the ship, there is art work displayed on the walls – paintings, sculptures, pottery, etc. This is one of the weirder ones, found on a stair landing. There was a companion portrait of another girl with horns coming out of her head, but I apparently didn’t take a photo of that one.
At some point, Glo and I went to find out about internet access. You could connect to the ship’s wireless from your own computer, or else use the ship’s computers in the internet access area. Either way, it was unconscionably slow and expensive!
The Library is down on Deck 7 and the internet access is on Deck 8. Connecting the two levels is this sculpture in the middle. I thought it was pretty creative.
Dinner service was pretty slow the first night. Between courses, Ellen and I headed out to the deck to sneak a smoke. Well, we found out as we were trying to find a place to put out our cigarettes that we’d headed out the the door on the wrong side of the ship for that sort of thing. OOOOPS!
… why she is lovin’ on her laptop!
ABOVE: Pinkish sunset clouds on the horizon
BELOW: People on the rock jetty started waving at the ship; I waved back!
ABOVE: Our ship starts generating waves toward the shore….
ABOVE: Hotels and/or condos facing the port
BELOW: Waterfront homes; the one on the extreme right is under construction.
ABOVE: Stay tuned, something interesting is about to happen on that little beach…
ABOVE: A church by the sea
BELOW: Another ship, called SeaEscape, twinkles in the twilight.
ABOVE: Moving out to sea
ABOVE: Pretty little sail boat
BELOW: It’s a working port
Oh wow, it’s a DRAW bridge!
That’s the bridge you have to cross to get to the Sheraton Yankee Trader on Fort Lauderdale Beach.
Sunset from the veranda. The ship has started to move at this point.
After the safety drill, I went back to the cabin to hang out on the veranda for set sail. These are from the camera phone.
No, not really. This was the safety drill. Unfortunately, our meeting place was on the side of the ship with the broiling hot setting sun. It seemed like we were trapped there in our sticky life jackets for freakin’ EVAH! I like how you can see my arm reflected in the sunglasses (I took this pic myself).
ABOVE: When you walk off the Viking Crown deck to find a place to smoke, you find yourself overlooking the basketball court and the miniature golf course.
BELOW: The front of the Viking Crown lounge overlooks the pool
Dee and Ellen, with Cathy
ABOVE: That’s about one quarter of Glo, followed by Kimball and Carol
BELOW: Michelle, Sandi, Cathy’s back, and a little bit of Susan’s face
ABOVE: Carol, Kelly, Wendy and Mary
The Mango Lava Flow was exceedingly sweet – too sweet even for me. But it sure did look pretty in the glass!
Someone is always trying to make out with Deb on these Moose trips….
Glo stands ready to digitally capture any misbehavior for posterity.
OK here’s where we pick up from when Blogger started rejecting the photos last Monday.
Behind the main pool area is the Solarium, which has a couple of hot tubs, a bar, and a “quiet pool”. This area is pretty much adults only, and the deck chairs are cloth-covered in this section. Loved the statue; will find pics from the other camera and post them, too.
Horrible internet access on the ship. Each page would take several minutes to load. Other multiple problems + the cost of paying by the minute for slow load was the reason that this blog didn’t get done at all, never mind in real time, during the cruise.
We all had the best time!
Here’s my game plan. I will first go through and comment on the pics that already got loaded (it worked until about 1PM on set sail day, Dec 3rd). Then, I will start captioning the rest of the photos I took, and I’ll start sending them to the blog from Picasa. Be patient, I have 5 days worth of photos to get through.
Started getting error messages while taking pics of the ship. Something about exceeding the number of posts without doing a captcha. A WHAT? Called Bro. No. 2 and gave him my credentials to log in and poke around. He found some discussion on a newsgroup indicating that there was a problem with picture posts today. Anyhow, the WI-FI on the ship is slow and expensive, so I’m going to have to develop a strategy for doing most of the work offline – maybe put them into Picasa on my laptop, with captions, and then hitting the blog button? I dunno. Just wanted to let y’all know I’m not slacking!
We’ll be leaving the port soon, and then it’s on with the Lodge Ladies Cruise!
Okay, let’s see if this works…… an uploaded image.
I must solve a “CAPTCHA” error before I can post any more pictures…..
…… I hope this works!
Across from Port Everglades
This is the last shot I was able to blog here before the Blogger photo issue described in a subsequent post.
I began to run all over the various levels of the pool deck taking photographs.