Saturday, October 15, 2016

Cruising the Caribbean by Margot Justes Redux

This is a stroll from the past, 2013 to be specific. I hope for a  repeat in 2017 with the same friends.

Ft Lauderdale appeals, in that it is relaxing, a perfect getaway before or after a cruise. It gives an instant sense of well being, and this feeling that this really is a vacation with little to do, and my perfect getaway before I boarded a ship for a cruise to the Caribbean.

A leisurely morning before boarding the ship, my lap top kept me company while I waited for friends at the restaurant, early morning is my favorite time of day. Not only did I have a constant supply of coffee, but the sun and warmth felt terrific on my weary bones. While waiting for them to join me, my little lap top kept me company, and I wrote.

Alfresco dining is sublime, no matter time of day, birds flocked hoping to pick up a few scraps, a kind waitress brought me a double espresso, because I mentioned the brew was weak; it was passable this morning but the espresso jolt was a delight.

After breakfast, I repacked a bit and joined my friends by the pool. The Hilton Beach Resort, is a beautiful property, well kept up and clean. After checking out, we hailed a cab for the short ride to the port, and our first day at sea.

Like many immigrants, I came to this country in a  ship, believe me when I tell you, it’s nothing like a cruise ship. My crossing when coming to this country was a totally utilitarian mode of transportation in the bowel of the ship-versus-luxury, comfort and incomparable service.

The check-in went without a mishap, quick and efficient and we were welcomed aboard. Lunch was being served on deck nine, and the cabins would be ready by one.

It’s an amazing to see the amount of luggage that has to be handled and delivered to each cabin, massive suitcases, one after the other are loaded and dumped by the elevators on each deck, after which the crew has to deliver said luggage to each cabin. The work is long and arduous, people as a rule do not travel light. I have never had an issue with the service provided on board.

This particular ship, Vision of the Seas, from Royal Caribbean is old, and has yet to be updated, and is scheduled to go into dry dock this September. It needs it.

The inside cabin was a pigeon hole, two people couldn’t sit on the couch at the same time-third of a couch with rounded edges. To get to half the bed you have to climb over said bed. I can still type, there is room on the practically non-existent desk top for my tiny Acer, but I had to ask them to remove the bottled water, pop and whatever else was on sale. Regular coffee, tea and milk is included in the overall price, but specialty items are an extra charge. I would have moved the stuff myself, but there was no place to store it. I was amazed that it was even in the cabin, considering the minimal amount of space available.

I haven’t unpacked yet, and while looking for my sandals, I made the huge mistake of walking barefoot, and stepped into something wet & sticky. I asked for it to be cleaned, and they apparently brought a big towel and attempted to dry it-but not well enough, it was still sticky and stained. I mentioned it again to our cabin attendant. That was an unusual incident, normally the cabins are clean, and response is quick.

However, shoes are staying on my feet at all times, unless I’m going to bed. By evening it was shampooed and a huge fan was running in the room to dry the area. However, that was a good reminder, shoes still stay on my feet unless I’m horizontal. That applies to hotel rooms as well.

Dinner was wonderful, my friend who is Romanian has a talent for finding all the Romanians on board, so far out of the twenty crew members, she found four that serviced the restaurants, and that included our waiter. 
The fact she spoke Romanian broke the ice that much quicker.

We chatted with the couple sitting next to us, who booked a balcony from the onset-I always watch the prices and upgrade accordingly-in this case that was a huge mistake, the cruise was sold out. Live and learn. 

The staff is friendly and after dinner I went up on deck ten and walked four laps; it was windy, the water choppy, and absolutely marvelous. Not going to spend much time in cabin that is for sure.

Margot  Justes
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
A Hotel in Venice
A Fire Within
Blood Art

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