One of the things that always amazes me about cruise ships is their size! The loop in our neighborhood that I walk around some mornings takes 5 laps to make a mile. The walking/jogging track on Allure of the Seas takes only 2.5 laps to make a mile!
Marella Discovery is what cruise ships used to look like. She was placed in service in March 1996 as Splendour of the Seas. With a capacity of 1,830 passengers, she was considered state of the art at that time.
Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, by comparison, holds 5,402 passengers. When she was introduced in 2010 she was the largest cruise ship in the world. That title now belongs to Wonder of the Seas at 5,734. That’s a lot of peoples! 😉
I just posted a gallery of photos from this cruise and our recent swing through Florida at my Adobe Portfolio site.
Yes, I’m still here. And thanks to those who wrote separately to ask if everything was OK. All’s well!
Kathy & I had a little “Caribbean Business” to attend to for a few weeks. We visited friends in central Florida, met up with a long-time friend of Kathy’s and her husband on a cruise for 6 days, stayed on the same ship for another 8 days, then visited with different friends in Florida on the way home. Got back, started attacking a long-neglected to-do list and here we are!
Remarkably, we have no confirmed travel plans for the remainder of the year. But we are working hard to remedy that situation! Lots of possibilities in the works, to be sure.
One of the things I love about cruising is the interesting variety of things to photograph. The ships themselves have plenty of subject matter, and in sailing to different destinations, there are always new things to see. I grabbed a quick handful of a few photos in order to end the drought, as it were.
I’ll have some more photos and stories to share as I get things done over the next week or two, so stay tuned! 🙂
Many of the larger Royal Caribbean ships have an inside area known as the ‘Royal Promenade.’ It’s actually an indoor space lined with shops, restaurants and bars. Often there is a British pub, and to go with that theme there is usually a sports car parked somewhere along the way. Such was the case on Harmony of the Seas.
If my research is correct, this is either a 1954-ish Jaguar XK-120 or a really nice replica. In the “correct” color, too! 🙂 It seemed to be missing some key components, such as door handles and a license plate holder, and I couldn’t tell if there was a motor in it or not. And of course the cockpit was filled with Christmas presents so I couldn’t check out the interior! It may be a replica but was still a pretty sweet car. You could keep all those boxes and give me the car, and that would make for a pretty nice Christmas gift! 🙂
Kathy & I spent last week on our first cruise in nearly 2 years, aboard Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas out of Port Canaveral. It felt good to get back on the water and we had a great time.
There has been a lot of sensationalistic reporting in the media about cruising, with much hype around the occasional rare but real report of some kind of outbreak. Covid is only the latest hand-wringer. I’ve said for years that cruise ships have been among the cleanest places we’ve visited. They have always been very vigilant about cleaning in an effort to reduce the spread of all kinds of passenger-borne bugs. A report of an outbreak of any kind is fresh meat for a media looking for anything to wring their hands over. Yes, it happens. But relax. It was fun. Yes, we had to take a Covid test before we left home. Yes, we had to wear a mask on occasion. But we have to do that at home anyway, and it was a lot warmer in Cozumel than it is back here in NC! 😉
We paid a visit to Kennedy Space Center before the cruise. I took a few photos and will have more to share over the next few days.
We didn’t set out to book three cruises, honest! It just sorta…happened. 🙂
We had previously booked two weeks on Royal Caribbean’s (RCCL) Freedom of the Seas out of San Juan in January. The ship was scheduled to go to drydock for extended renovations the week after we were due to get off. But due to lots of reasons irrelevant to my post, Royal Caribbean needed to move the drydock back one week and cancelled the second of the two weeks. We didn’t want to travel all the way to Puerto Rico for just a week (our preference – lots of people do it), so we decided to cancel the first week, too. We re-used the plane tickets to go to San Juan this past November instead.
Because of the cancellation of the first week, we ended up with a credit that needed to be used by February, so we found a 5-night cruise on Brilliance of the Seas, another RCCL ship sailing out of Tampa. We had never sailed out of Tampa before, and figured with our credit that this would be an inexpensive way to take a short cruise and check out Tampa.
Meanwhile, friends of ours had booked a Carnival cruise out of Port Canaveral for the following week and “suggested” that we might want to go along. It doesn’t take much “suggestion” to get us interested in a cruise! So, we booked a cruise on that ship for the next week.
Our son Kevin likes to cruise also, and he has been sailing with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL). He mentioned that he wanted to take a cruise in February and suggested (there’s that word again!) that it might be fun if we went together. So we checked around and found a cruise on Norwegian Dawn out of Tampa. But the catch was that there was a week’s gap between the two cruises, so we would need to find something to do for a week. In Florida, in February? Not hard to do.
We have been working on visiting different National Parks, and had never been to The Everglades. So we decided to find a place to stay in South Florida for a week, where we visited Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park and drove through some of the Florida Keys. More on those later. Then we drove back to Tampa to meet our son and take the third cruise. When it was all done we had logged about 3,000 car miles, who knows how many cruise miles, and about 4,000 photos!
A few thoughts:
– People ask us about the different cruise lines, and although it sounds like a cop-out, they are all good. Different lines tend to cater to slightly different demographics, but things like ship size, home port and cruise length tend to make a bigger difference than the name of the cruise line.
– We tend to prefer smaller ships and this was borne out on these cruises. The RCCL and NCL ships were each about the same size – approximately 2,000 passengers, while the Carnival ship was about 4,000 passengers.
– We’ve always assumed that shorter cruises would attract more of a party crowd, but the 5-night RCCL cruise was one of the most laid-back we’ve done, and seemed to have a very high number of repeat cruisers. The Diamond Club, a lounge for passengers with a certain level of cruises with the line, had so many people that it overflowed into an adjacent lounge. The Carnival and Norwegian cruises each had a high number of first-timers – a very interesting contrast.
– Cruise line food is very good regardless of the line. Dining choices are either fixed, with the same table and waiter at the same time each night, or flexible, where you eat where ever you want each night, but with a different waiter and different table each time. We have always preferred fixed seating, as we like to establish a relationship with our waiter. But one of the disadvantages of fixed seating is that a lot of the food has to be prepared at once and can sometimes be overdone. Flexible seating tends to be more cook-to-order, so the food is often fresher, hotter and usually properly done. This is especially important with fish!
– We really liked cruising out of Tampa and did it twice. The city is nice – much like Charlotte in terms of age and size, but on the water. The port is very easy to get in and out of, and parking is a snap.
I’m sure that’s more than anyone wants to read about my vacation, so I’ll leave it at that for now!
Kathy & I returned to home base this past Monday, and I’m currently halfway through the nearly 4,000 photos from our month-long adventure. I’ll be posting galleries to my Adobe Portfolio site (keep checking for updates!) and expect to have some more stories to tell here on the blog in the near future. Hang in there – I’m working on it! 😉
Kathy & I are currently aboard Brilliance of the Seas on a 5-night cruise out of Tampa, Florida. This was taken in the early morning during our arrival in Grand Cayman. We’re in Cozumel, Mexico today and return to Tampa on Thursday, where the adventure will continue!
Kathy & I recently returned from our most recent adventure, 14 days on the Celebrity Summit cruise ship out of San Juan, Puerto Rico. One of the downsides of cruising close to or during the holidays is that it compresses the holiday “to-do” list just a little. I added another 3500 photos to my inventory and am working my way through them. But I see the light at the end of the tunnel! 😉
During our visit to Puerto Quepos, Costa Rica, we took an aerial tram tour and nature walk through a tropical rain forest. I had been taking photos of this ginger blossom when I noticed a hummingbird flying nearby. Just as I fired off a series of shots of the ginger the hummer flew into my frame! I got off a burst of just a few shots before he flew away. While this is the best one, it certainly isn’t “perfect” enough to win any nature photo contests but it works for me.
Kathy & I recently returned from a 15-night cruise through the Panama Canal on the Pacific Princess. It was a terrific cruise, and at only 600 +/- passengers this ship was a welcome relief from the 6000+ passenger behemoth we sailed on in February. But like bottles of wine we’ve never had a bad cruise, so there are always great things to experience regardless!
The highlight of our cruise, which took us from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Los Angeles, CA, was of course a full transit of the Panama Canal. These photos are just a sample of the ones I took during this event. I will add more photos and commentary as I get through the 3000+ photos I took! But we’re leaving soon for another quick trip and I’m planning to leave the computer at home, so they will need to wait until we get back.