Cruising!

After a very enjoyable week spent in the Caribbean, we are back “home” in Tucson, AZ. The pictures have been downloaded, tax figures put together, the laundry is done and the refrigerator is restocked so it’s way past time for a blog post.

A year ago in Mountain View RV Park in Huachuca City, we met a couple from Nebraska, Ron and Carol Young. They were planning a family cruise for March 2012 to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and they invited us to join them. That’s how we came to be    the token outsiders in a group of 23 which included their 3 daughters, 4 sisters, a few in-laws and 3 grandchildren. They made us feel welcome and made the trip even more enjoyable.

Since Ron and Carol are parked next to Liberty here at Desert Trails, we all rode together to Phoenix and flew to Houston. We started gathering family at the airport, then more at the motel, before we took a shuttle to Galveston to board the Mariner of the Seas on Sunday, March 4 . You wouldn’t believe how much luggage we managed to pack into that van! And there were two other vehicles with passengers and bags, as well.

After all the recent news of cruise ships going aground, fires leaving passengers stranded without any power for days, we were optimistic that our Royal Caribbean cruise would have a better outcome. The Mariner of the Seas is a magnificent ship. I can imagine designers being told to draw up plans for a 5 star hotel and oh, by the way, it needs to float!

The first event of the trip was an assembly drill, meaning all passengers were to gather in their specified area on deck to learn about information we hoped we’d never have to use–lifeboats, life preservers and other safety measures.

We’ve heard that the food is so good and so plentiful on the cruise that you board the ship as a passenger and come off as cargo and that’s not far from true. This gorgeous dining room was available for all three meals each day if you chose to be pampered, but most of the time we took advantage of the Windjammer buffet for breakfast and lunch. And anytime LeRoy didn’t have anything else to do, he could always find a plate of bread pudding or a hamburger to tide him over until the next meal! Only two dinners were actually designated as “formal”, requiring dress clothes, but shorts and jeans were not included in “casual” attire for the dining rooms at the other meals, either, although we saw a few exceptions.

Mariner of the Seas is really a floating art gallery, with statues in the stairwells and paintings here and there throughout the ship. There was an art auction one of the last days at sea, but since Liberty (and our bank account) doesn’t have much space for large art pieces, we didn’t participate.

We felt right at home in our stateroom, not so different from our bedroom in Liberty except that we had a king size bed on the cruise.

We loved the surprises each evening when we came back to our room after the bed had been turned down and the bedroom curtains pulled by our stateroom attendant, Damaris.

I’ll post more later about our excursions on Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica, but lunch is calling and we have yet to miss a meal!

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