Thursday, April 29, 2010

CRUISE - Roatan, Honduras

The port that wasn't. We were so looking forward to visiting Roatan as we had some friends that live there. For weeks, we've been emailing back and forth, planning our time on the island. That morning we were up early, had breakfast and then in the dining room, saw Roatan approaching.

We went up to the Promenade deck to watch and it seemed to be such a beautiful island, very green and hilly, unlike flat Cozumel.

But, wait,,,,,something seemed to be wrong.....we were circling around in the ocean as was another cruise ship.

Finally, the captain came on and said due to high winds and rough seas, we weren't able to sail into the port. It was somewhat dangerous.

So we circled around for about an hour and a half and then our captain came back on and said the harbor master had deemed it too dangerous for our big ships to enter the port and so us and the other circling ship were being turned away.

Papa and I photographed ourselves with the island the best we could.

And we proceeded to drown our sorrows in a Sea Day.

Tomorrow, we're going to Belize, CA (that's Central America campers, not California!)


Thursday, April 15, 2010

CRUISE--Cozumel, Mexico

Monday, we woke up very excited - our first shore excursion. Papa and I had picked a sub tour that was to go 100 feet below the surface. I had my eye on that tour but right before I signed up, it disappeared and I had to sign up for the backup tour, another underwater tour that went only about 4 feet underwater and was much shorter in duration.

We were pleasantly surprised when we got on the ship and saw the Atlantis tour offered again but I had to wait to receive my tickets before I could go to the excursion desk and do the exchange for the ones we wanted.

Everyone laughed and made fun of me for the "tormenting" (their word not mine) of our travel agent and now I've moved on to tormenting the Excursion Desk and Guest Services with my constant barrage of questions. But hey, if you don't ask, how do you find out. And that are what those people get paid for, answering questions and helping out the passengers. You'll be happy to know, I got my money's worth from both areas!

So with submarine tour tickets in hand, we watched Cozumel approach from the sea. We were actually the one doing the approaching but semantics...

Of course, leaving the ship, my Sail and Sign card was invalid for some reason and it left off an dull bong when I scanned it. You have to scan your card when leaving the ship and then when returning. Since mine failed leaving the ship, they took a picture of me and let me know when I returned it wouldn't work but to let the "gatekeeper" know I was "in the book" with a new picture and I would be allowed back on the ship and would then have to the go to Guest Services (where they would be getting to know me) and be issued a new card. This was a little worrisome (like I needed something else to worry about---not falling off the boat, not MISSING the boat while on an island, not getting arrested, abducted or assaulted some other way while in a foreign country, not getting thrown in a Mexican jail, etc., etc., etc.). Now I'm told my card would not work to get back onboard but oh, have a nice tour of Cozumel.

But we proceeded on. Did a little window shopping and met our tour group for the boat ride out to sea where our sub was docked.

So I am faller, plain and simple. I was a little concerned after reading the description of the tour and that I would have to back down a long step ladder. I can climb up ladders without issue but going down ladders always make my hands sweat and with my bad ankle and back and neck, I was worried about this. I made Papa promise to go first in case I slipped. He could help me or at least break the fall. But like any rat leaving a sinking ship, he got on the ladder and climbed down as fast as he could and was nowhere to be seen by the time I mounted the top of the ladder. Paco though, pictured above, assured me that I could do it. "Just take that first step and it will be fine." And I did and it was.

First, I need to rewind a bit. I had bought a new camera with all sorts of wonderful bells and whistles for my trip. I had had it for three months and was learning light and appertures and speed and all. So excited to put all I'd learned into practice on this vacation and then.....du dum....and on our Sunday Sea Day, du du dum, it just wouldn't turn on again.

It had been starting to act up and I couldn't understand why. I hadn't dropped it or left it in the sun or heat but first it started eating batteries. Take 3 pictures and change batteries. Oh, take 2 pictures and batteries are dead again, huh? Take one picture and then just NOTHING. It stopped working by Sunday night. I was pretty distressed over this but thankfully had brought my old faithful along and that's what I started using in Cozumel and for the rest of the trip (except one foray with an underwater camera in Costa Maya). (I ended up exchanging the camera when I returned home and the new one is fabulous and makes me think the other one was a lemon from the get-go.)

So here I am underwater with an OK camera but it wasn't spectacular and didn't begin to record what our eyes were seeing. The vividness of the colors of the fish were unbelievable.

The top picture is Papa looking our our porthole and then the other 42 people (sans crew) that were on the sub with us.

We had a fabulous time. Although the pictues were subpar, what we experienced and saw with our eyes we will never forget (even the divers!)

And we went a bit below 100 feet underwater:

Papa deemed it the "coolest thing I've ever done in my life." And I beamed!

We made it back to the port area safely and did a little shopping. Then it was time to reboard the ship where my card not only "bonged" again and I was pulled out of line. But after they determined I was "in the book" and ok to come back on board, I beeped in the security scanner and had to be pulled out of line again and hand scanned. FINALLY, I was determined to be safe and let on board where I went immediately to the Guest Services desk and procured myself a new Sail and Sign card that worked without a hitch the rest of the week.

In Cozumel, Cracker and the Weatherman rented a car and took their own tour (no pictures) and said they had a nice time.

DD and SIL and their group hit a private beach and took advantage of the cheap- priced, high-quality tequila.

I'm sure that beach will never be the same?!

The main thing was that ALL our group had a marvelous time in Cozumel and made it back on the boat safely.

That night, Night 3 in the Dining Room, our little group suffered the "effects of tequila" with Cracker and the Weatherman passing on our group dinner. (Although, we didn't know that up front and checked with the Guest Services desk AGAIN to make sure they were back on the boat with us when our worrying got the better of us.)

Tomorrow Roatan, Honduras.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


OK, back to vacation. First,,,,,saw a really cute movie the other day, Julie and Julia. Just really enjoyed it. Also read a good book the other day, Making Toast. Both recommended.

OK, NOW back to the vacation.

With such a large group vacationing together AND our past family vacation history of too much togetherness, it was decided that yeah, we were all going together but it was a big boat and there were a wide range of activities, something to suit every personality, both on the boat and on the island excursions. So we weren't going to try to organize group activities during our vacation. Everyone go and do whatever and have fun and if a few people pick the same things, so be it. No plans. However, since Papa must be kept active, I had planned alot for the two of us. No winging it for us, we knew what we were going to do at least once a day (a planned activity).

But we all discussed about eating as a group. Well that seemed to fall through when DD's group of friend chose the early seating and our group (DD, SIL, Cracker, Weatherman, Papa and I) chose the later seating. Nevertheless, it was decided at least the six of us would meet for dinner at night and share our day's activities.

Here we all were on the first night's dinner--the "come as you are dinner."

The food was pretty marvelous in the dining rooms. Everyone always raves about cruise ship foods and the awesome 24 hour buffets. We had a pretty killer salad from the salad bar and a good burgers but other than that we had one lunch and one breakfast from the buffets and weren't too impressed. Especially when we discovered made to order breakfasts in a dining room on the third day! Now those were awesome.

So Sunday was a sea day and I won't bore you with details....we wandered about, ate, saw a show, sat in the sun and read, walked ALOT from one end to the other exploring, napped and then got dressed up for our first formal dinner--a Captain's Dinner. I really need to invest in a scanner because we got some nice photographer's pictures of all us that night but alas, no scanner, so you're left to come up with your own "sights".

Tomorrow, we're off to Cozumel
Your traveling Grammy

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I know, I will get back to the cruise....I'm buried ankle deep in pictures, so I'm not forgetting one thing about the trip.

We've ALL been sick. Since before Easter. DD had bad sinus's (how DO you pluraize sinus?) and went to the doc, or Walgreen's clinic actually, Easter morning because she felt so bad and has double ear infections. I've been sick since the Saturday night before Easter....allergies,,,,actually had been suffering since we entered Georgia and the tall pine area on the way home from vacation. Saw my allergist the Friday before Easter and he said double-up on all my allergy meds and added an antihistimine/decongestant to the mix.

Well by Saturday night before Easter, my head CRAP all flowed down into my chest and now I'm envisioning the cartoon mucis people on the Mucinex commercial. This is exactly what anti/decon's do to me ALL THE time. Yeah, they clear my head but it's gotta go somewhere.

So Easter Sunday, I'm sick, DD's sick, Papa had a headache (probably sinus), both P's are sick and SIL is the only one feeling halfway good. We had a very abbreviated day to say the least. We were all dreaming of nice, long afternoon naps.

Monday, I stayed home from work. Tuesday I went to work for three hours and after my seal barking was causing my workmates to glare at me ("Seriously, I'm not contagious."), I went home and back to bed. Worked a short day on Wednesday and had the P's and felt oh so bad because I had less than no patience, couldn't talk right, continued coughing, they both had runny noses but were overly energetic and the combination caused alot of Grammy's raised voice and the P's spent an inordinate amount of time in time-out.

Thursday, I went to work where my boss kept trying to send me home. Finally I called my primary doc and went in to see him. I also, have a double ear infection, who knew, my ears don't hurt. But the rest of my "issues" are all allergy based. I just cough and now the mucis people have risen back into my head. Long story shorter, I got alot of meds in addition to all I've been taking that I was told to keep taking.

Friday, DD took the P's in to see their doc, both have sinus infections and Perfect has pneuomina (the beginnings of) and Precious has a horrible rash all over her face and body caused by her virus. So the entire (MO)branch of the family is just chock full of snot and other assorted bacteria. I've turned my a/c on and it's only in the 70's because there is no chance of rain until Friday and the allergens are off the board according to the weather guy on tv.

No one seems to be getting better, I've been on meds for 8 days and have another workweek looming. We did have a birthday party for Precious yesterday (poor thing) and details coming later. And I'm going to start allergy shots late next week. I threw in the towel on Friday and sign the consent forms after some long (hack-filled, blowing, snorting, coughing) phone conversations with my allergist.

My what a negative post but that's this Grammy's life this week and last week and probably next week.

Until next time, here's hoping something I'm taking starts to work.......Grammy

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I laugh when I see those pictures in a magazine or newspaper of people and their pets. You know, those contests where you send in pictures to see who looks the most like their pet.

My pet has taken on my personality, and I've noticed, my "illnesses" as well. We are both constantly trying to lose weight with no good results.

Last year when I fell down the stairs and cracked my pelvis, two weeks later, she "blew" her knee chasing something in the country so we both were on R&R most of the late summer and fall.

I have horrible allergies that seem to get worse every year. When we are driving to the country, Snoopy always wants the window all the way down the last couple of miles so she can hang her head out the window, ears flapping in the breeze. That is until we would hit the gravel road and she would start coughing---dust allergy? It can only be.

This week, my allerigies have picked up and settled in my chest and I've been pretty sick with bronchitis since the weekend. Last night, Snoopy was walking through the house repeatedly sneezing. Papa just says...."unbelievable".

At least we're not looking alike.....YET.

Now this little girl....yeah, I'll agree that we are related!!!

Stay tuned for more cruise story in the near future.


Friday, April 2, 2010

CRUISE---Part 3

Saturday dawned bright and sunny and we were raring to go. Papa broke a belt first off which necessitated a trip to the corner Walmart which took alot longer than expected (another story---Papa shopping!) Anyway, belt purchased and we loaded up again for the short drive to Port Canaveral.

And our first glimpse of The Dream.

It was huge, we were terrified and excited all at the same time. SIL dropped us off with all the luggage

LOL! He went and parked the car while we stood and tried to imagine how the four of us would transport all that just a short distance to the front doors.

Thankfully, there were luggage porters about two rows over and they took the majority of luggage off our hands and we entered the front doors to begin the embarkation process.

Got checked in, passed security, had our Sail and Sign cards issued (the most important belonging to any cruise passenger---it's the room key, method of payment, identification on and off the boat--something NOT to lose) and across the gangway we went---all at seemingly breakneck speed because before we knew it, we were on the ship where we dropped out carryon luggage and collapsed. Those cruise people know how to work a process.

We were here!!

Since we couldn't go to our staterooms until after 1:30, we all headed to the above pictured Lido Deck aka the party deck to grab some lunch from one of the buffets and start meeting our other cruisers.

Then it was finally time to find our rooms.

I didn't think to take a picture of our stateroom but the below is an example except for couples, those twin beds were "united" to make a king which is what we had.

We already had had a full day and it was only early afternoon. We unpacked and got a little acclimated with our room and then toured the ship.

That's enough for today,