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Salsa Dancing Cruise on Royal Caribbean to...

The Caribbean!!

October 9-16, 2011, on the Freedom of the Seas

On departure, the clouds looked a little ominous, but no biggie.  They do these things all the time.

We brought some flowers which were so beautiful they made my hair stand up.

We went out to sea, however, and hit a little rough patch.  Although the TV noted 86 mph winds, I had heard from the captain in an overhead announcement that winds, which were not in the forecast, reached speeds of 117 mph.

As the ship started tilting, glasses started falling off bars, bottles off shelves, and honeymooners even fell out of love (ha)

In the image on the right, of the ships promenade, usually filled with people, as we were all sent to our rooms, barely any people can be seen.

More documentation of the storm:  If you click here, you'll see we made a posting on one of them internets, and also a little youtube footage...but this was taken before it got darker, more windy, and with more tilting of the boat!
From this picture, taken later in the trip, you can get some perspective of the size of this beast.  Even though it is very heavy, with winds of over 110 mph, this ship, when turned against the wind, could be a formidable sail with the dimensions noted.
The only good news about the ship sailing at a significant tilt, aside from reminding us of the Poseidon Adventure, is that this machine in the casino started spilling out money.  Fortunately, Paco (in our group) was at the right place at the right time to collect all these falling round metallic and paper objects!
Next day, after surviving the storm,  we get to our first destination, an island resort owned by Royal Caribbean called Coco Cay.  We have to take a little boat to this island where, like when you get off a ride at Disneyland and are directed right into the gift shop, we land on the Coco Cay to be greeted by many buying opportunities!!  Sandra and Salomon who are friends of ours are famous salsa dancers! and teachers on the cruise.
Self portrait off the balcony to show the blueness of the water.
The water was very warm, but due probably to the previous night's storm, murky.  The people who rented snorkels for 29 bucks (gulp) said they couldn't see anything.  At least I got a swim out of the deal.
Monday night at the formal dinner, flowers are delivered...yay! 
Merle and I, photo by Billy Wagner.
We tried to look our best.
Merle, MW, Paula, and Paco.
And here's the version taken by the ship's official photographer. 

Tuesday was a day at sea (dance lessons, jacuzzi, buffet, soft ice cream, etc.) but then we have dinner at the Chops restaurant on the ship. 


See how hungry we look!

For the show that night, they asked for kids from the audience to participate and Julia stole the show.


When the singer asked where she was from, and when he didn't understand her answer, he asked her if she was in the witness protection program.

Wednesday am, after a tasty breakfast including everything, we take a quick pic as the boat cruises into the dock at St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. 


The best part was...I had cell phone connection!  Woo hoo!!

We rented a jeep and somehow all crammed inside. 

Let me ask you this:  do sardines need seatbelts?

And more importantly, do they drive on the left side of the road?  Well, people (and maybe sardines) do in St. Thomas, and it was a little confusing. 

On at least one occasion, any of us who might have had low blood pressure did not have that problem any more!

Quick stop for some refreshment, a visit to a pharmacy, and a photo.

We wound up visiting the beach at the Ritz Carlton, not a slouchy place, but I was there to change that image!



 Lunch photo.

I guess as beaches go, this one will have to do.

As we were leaving, I had to explain to Merle that she could not take the iguanas with us.


Here, leeezard, leeezard!

Thursday, we visited St. Maartens (the Dutch side), and also St. Martens (the French side)...always with time for a photo op looking from one side to the others.  If you look carefully in the distance, you can see crepe suzette being made!

The airport is supposed to be somewhat dangerous...but maybe for the people sitting on the they don't get blown into the water.


The local bar even has the airline schedule presumable to avoid getting sand blown onto your tanning oil.

We had lunch on the French side at a family owned restaurant where our waitress was pregnant, but had shoes.
Julia was wiped at that point.

Friday, I took no pictures.  That day, on the entire ship, nobody wore clothes.

And I also have a bridge to sell you.

Oh, wait, there was a picture taken Friday:  a picture was taken as we were having our picture taken.
Saturday evening, before the farewell show, another self portrait.
Afterwards, a little salsa dancing.  Fortunately, since photography does not show movement, one cannot tell that we are not moving.
Merle and Jacqui get their groove on in the disco area on this final cruise night.

Then we head home, but this is how I will always remember us:

and Julia's thinking:  will you people just grow up!!

and now back to our regularly scheduled lives....
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