Wednesday 12/05/2007: Deck party and buffet before bed

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.

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Wednesday 12/05/2007: Cutting through the Casino

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.

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Wednesday 12/05/2007: And now the moment we have all been waiting for….

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.

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Wednesday 12/05/2007: Casual attire dinner

Above, we have Carol and Mary. Carol is very funny and talks a mile a minute.

Next we have Ellen and her sister Dee. I love these two BUNCHES!

Above, Kimball and Glo

Kelly and moi. I took a second pic without such a serious look on my face, but I think I must have goofed and deleted it instead of this one.

So, that was Table 457. We were on a platform, right by the window, so we had a nice ocean view for sunset each evening.

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Wednesday 12/05/2007: Making my way back through the market to the ship

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….

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Wednesday 12/05/2007: Time to leave

Too soon, the people from the Navigator of the Seas are being called back to return to the launch. We all troop onto the launch, and we sit there for about 15 minutes while the photographer woman walks around showing everyone their photos. I’m pissed off, cause that’s 15 minutes of my time on the island that they took up. And yes, I did note it on the comment card.

Above, there are some unfriendly looking clouds forming.

The road from the island launch back to the ship SUCKED! I noted this on the comment card, too. I also said that Allejandro rocks, and that he should be given a big, fat raise.

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the shells from Passion Island, Cozumel

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.

Wednesday 12/05/2007: More amenities

Above, we have a little playground for the kiddies. That’s a trampoline in the background.

More little tiki places

You can jump up and down on that yellow floaty thing above, and then slide down the little slide.

OK, enough with the amenities, we’re going shelling again. Allejandro told me that sometime bigger shells come to Passion Island, but it was the wrong time of year, and also the locals will go out and get there first before the tourists do. I still had a wonderful, relaxing time wandering up and down the beach in the shallow, calm water.

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Wednesday 12/04/2007: Amenities, or ways they part the tourists with their dollars

I think I should mention that Allejandro spent a bit of time with me at lunch. He saw that I was by myself and decided to plop down and have a chat. I’m pretty much fine by myself, as long-time readers know, but that was awfully nice of him, and I found him to be very personable and kind.

Above we have someone selecting a temporary tattoo from a thick binder of them. I do hope she wasn’t contemplating the decorating of her belly…

Above, the massage-on-the-beach tent

Above: Really cool beds just hanging out on the beach!

Above, hammocks swinging in the quasi-shade

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Wednesday 12/04/2007: More tiki stuff and lunch

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…

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Wednesday 12/05/2007: Passion Island, Cozumel

My attempt at an artsy fartsy shot, totally no composition to speak of. There was this Mayan archway and they made you stop and get your picture taken whether you wanted to or not. It slowed up the line to get onto the beach! I was behind a couple and asked them if they were going to buy the picture and they said no. So we got our pic taken together, thus speeding up the line a bit.

This is the dining facility. The meal and unlimited rum punch or beer was included in the excursion. There’s Clarke waving at me like I was taking HIS picture. He was such a clown!

Inside the big Tiki Hut. I counted the chairs, it could seat about a hundred people at a time.

The food line.

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Wednesday 12/05/2007: Journey to the island launch, continued

Here’s that Carnival ship, I think, getting closer to the port.

Our tour guy’s name was Allejandro, but he said we could call him Alex. He was freakin’ amazing! When we were lining up in the port two by two, he came by, shook each hand, and asked our names. Then while on the bus ride to the launch, he played games with us and remembered EVERY SINGLE damned name of every one of the 40 people on this excursion! I don’t know how he did it. He must have a photographic memory or something.

When we got off the bus, there were two other buses there, so I took a pic of the bus number. I’d rather not come back and get on the wrong bus; I’ll end up on the wrong ship!

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Wednesday 12/04/2007: On the way to the island launch

There were a few other cruise ships in the harbor this day. I’m on the bus sitting next to another “single” named Clarke. He was actually there with his family – seems like at least two brothers and one sister, all married. So since he and I had no one to sit with, we lined up together. He was quite amusing, in a goofy sort of way.

A common sight – little tiki huts dotting the beach that ran along the road. Shout out to the Hut Hos!

Well, looky here – the Disney Magic is in port! It was right after this shot that the battery in the Canon started flashing the little red flasher at me, so I put it away and made do with the camera phone for the rest of the excursion.

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Wednesday 12/05/2007: Leaving the ship

I had booked an excursion to Passion Island this day. Cozumel is problematic for shell collectors. Most of the island is a marine park, where it is forbidden to remove ANYTHING from the beaches. There must be a boatload of shells just sitting on the beaches, and I knew I would be crying not able to take any home with me, so I booked an excursion to a private island where there are no such rules.

I turned around, and was stunned by the Navigator’s size and good looks, so I had to take a shot.

There’s some sort of construction going on in the port. I heard there was quite a lot of hurricane damage to Cozumel last year, and that the country was well prepared; they had building materials on standby on the mainland, and immediately began rebuilding, so as to minimize loss of tourism dollars.

Here’s the back of the bus that took the excursion to the place where we would catch a boat to the island. SeƱor Frog is cute, is he not? I thought I remembered that the shopping Ladies were planning to meet here later. I had my doubts as to being back in time for that…

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Wednesday 12/05/2007: We woke up in Cozumel!

Woke up, stumbled to the balcony, and there we were, already in the port in Cozumel! Ran for the camera… above photo is dedicated to my Sanibuddies at the Tiki Hut!

Tender boats dotted the seascape, but we didn’t need one – we were actually docked.

Above is one of my fave photos of this trip – it just captures the dawn so beautifully!

Another ship approaching the harbor – I think this one is a Carnival ship, but I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong about that.

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Tuesday 12/04/2007: Goodnight, Ladies

Sat out on the deck with a drink for a while – I think this was the night that Deb and I sat out and vowed to go to bed after this drink. We said, “oh we’ll just take a stroll around the deck and then go to our cabins.” Yeah. As if. Like THAT was going to happen!

We ended up in the Dungeon, where everyone else had taken up residence in our “cabana” again. Above, someone is attempting to pinch Viktor, our waiter/cabana boy. I know who it was, and I ain’t tellin’! “What happens on the Lodge Ladies Cruise, STAYS on the Lodge Ladies Cruise!”

On my eventual way back to the cabin, this was when I first noticed that there are these cool panels on the floors of the elevators that tell you what day it is. Look at the date on this post (the one in the subject header); now look at the elevator floor. This will give you a clue as to about when I left the Dungeon… yeah, we’re going to bed early. Whatever! LOL

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Tuesday 12/04/2007: A dash back to the room

I had to dash back to the room for some reason – probably to extract myself from THE DRESS (ugh! do you have the impression I HATE to wear a DRESS?). When I got there, I found this towel animal. Those eyes are actually the goodnight chocolates that are normally on the pillow. I think it’s supposed to be a gator or a croc.

Here’s some more stairwell art. I thought these were pretty good, and I liked the puppet in the lower right corner of the one above.

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Tuesday 12/04/2007: Our Personal Paparazza

Paparazza is the feminine singular of paparazzi, those photographers that capture the beautiful people. The Lodge Ladies had their very own paparazza, in the form of the fabulous Wendy! After dinner, we all trooped over to a very wide staircase to line up for some photos. Wendy set up the camera and lighting and recruited a perfect stranger to take the shot; she then ran to take her place amongst us. Above, Wendy directs the shoot. Below, the Lodge Ladies start lining up.

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Tuesday 12/04/2007: Dinner Finery

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

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Tuesday 12/04/2007: More wanderings

Above is the Two Poets pub, which is directly across from the Vintages Wine Bar.

Why is Deb getting all Vanna White with a bottle of Amarula Cream?

I bet MUSH can figure out why!

After we sailed out of the rain, we were gifted with a rainbow.

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Tuesday 12/04/2007: Soggy Solarium

It started to POUR. We made our way into the Solarium, where we found Deb’s mom (Barbara) and aunt (Linda) in one of the hot tubs. We sat on the edge and chatted with them a bit, but it started raining sideways so we left. Below, see what a soggy Solarium looks like, complete with abandoned soaked towels.

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Tuesday 12/04/2007: Hangin’ wit da Debster

Found Deb on the pool deck, and we decided to get some drinks and carouse around together for a while. During our travels, we found this strange bunny wandering around. Not sure what this was all about, as we never saw him again the whole trip.

Just doing a Cuba check – yep, still there.

We visited the “bridge” where the Captain Picard chairs are kept, and looked down into it for a while, waving at the guys working in there. Those chairs are cool. They have joysticks! Then we climbed up to the top sundeck to watch the BellyFlop Contest.

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Tuesday 12/04/2007: Cuba Gets Closer

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.

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Tuesday 12/04/2007: For my friends at CG

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!

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