Posted by: orst86 | February 8, 2012

Day 2

Near 24d 11.225′ N. 75d 40.657 W

This Half Moon Cay (pronounced key) is also called Little Salvador island. Arrived about 7am. Hopped onto the second tender (shuttle) to the island. Pretty cool. The entire island is run by the cruise companies. You can do all sorts of things from parasailing, deep sea fishing, kayaking and swimming with the sting rays.  What I didn’t realize is that there are no towels on the island, you have to bring one from the cruise ship…which I didn’t.  So I got to use my t shirt as a towel.  Not a big deal as the temps are in the high 80’s.

I went for the string ray adventure. Good thing I brought along the trunks, because surprising I was not walking around the stings but rather snorkeling with them in an enclosure. Got to touch and feed the. Their skin is slimy to the touch with a harder back bone on it. There were seven of them swimming around the youngest is about 1 1/2 feet across at 6 years old. The oldest has a wing span of like 7 feet. Their barbs were moved. They have no teeth, just suction, and if lifted out the water, they spit at you, or rather the person that the mouth was pointed at. Very cool.  Once they figure out that you have a treat in the form of a squid in your hand, the otherwise docile beasts start to act like dogs and literally suction themselves to your front or back and beg for the food.

Half Moon Cay was originally inhabited by the Arawak Indians who were peaceful, until the Carib Indians showed up from South America
The Caribs were cannibals and they “ate their way across the islands” if you catch the drift. They provide us with two English words, Caribbean (obvious), and Buccaneer. The later word came from the Carib word boucans, a grill that they used to cook and smoke sliced meats on. What type of “meat” do you think they were referring .

I attach a few photos of the cay, stingray adventure, beaches and the ships docked in the background.  A very cool place to be.

Posted by: orst86 | February 7, 2012

Feb 6 Ft. Lauderdale

Near 26d. 8.137′ N 78d. 45.226′ W

We were the last of the five ships leaving.

First thing to get to ship…eat lunch. What can you eat? You name it, it’s served. And it’s all you can eat. Ouch.

Finally all of our group got aboard. Most of stayed at same hotel, so getting to port was no big issue. Hotel sent a van and we were the only ones on it. The entire port area does only cruise business it seems, and security is like an airport in many ways. Mom and dad were last. Their plane was later arriving and they nearly missed out on lunch!!

Our lifeboat drill was interesting. Had to meet at Boat 2. Only thing I can’t figure out is how they are going to fit all those people in one little boat. Dibs on a seat! Although they did say there was an order to the loading, tall(er) guys are in the back of the line (SOL kinda, huh?). We didn’t have to wear vests for the drill because too many people trip up on the straps. Hmmm and like how is that going to work in a real emergency? Oh, and if you refuse to do the drill they kick you off the ship.

After drill we had about an hour to lose ourselves in the ship. And confusing it is. And of course dinner was served at 530pm, a mere 3 hours from lunch. This time it was a long pants affair. And most people picked the prime rib, which was good.

The only issue now is that even though the ship is cooking along at 23mph, the seas are rough enough that I can feel the rocking. I’m sitting at the front (bow) of the ship and I think it is more rough than my flight last night, which was bad enough dodging storms.

The ships isn’t the biggest, but big enough to lose yourself. Getting to the Internet cafe, I managed to go through one comedy show, one quilting class, a bingo game, a casino, two dance floors, a live jazz band, a rock band, and a disco. And I was headed the wrong way!!

Weather is a warm muggy 75-80 the seas are rolling, but only notice in certain places of the ship (usually wherever I’m at the moment) . The average age of a passenger is about 60 or so.

Tomorrow we can go ashore at Half Moon Cay. What adventures lie in wait??? You’ll have to tune in to see.

Posted by: orst86 | February 4, 2012

Packing OMG !!


The way I figure, because of ship rules, I’ll need to change clothes three times a day.
In the morning, casual dress (not shorts) to eat breakfast. Then back to the cabin for a change into excursion clothes, not t shirts. When back on board, change into formal (suit and tie/tux) or "smart casual" for dining. After dinner, back to the clothes that were on for breakfast just to go to public area of ship. BTW there is nothing in the rules that state that they have to be CLEAN clothes…yea! One outfit can go a long way. Just stay up wind.

I wonder uf there are rules what to wear to bed? I don’t even want to wager a guess…

Good thing I’m a rule breaker and refuse to wear a suit or tux just for dinner. Otherwise I’d have to pack a steamer trunk to go on the cruise!

Tomorrow a quick trip to the Klondike Derby winter Camp, high is suppose to be 40, no snow on ground, followed by a rodeo show in the evening. Gee, do I need to wear my best boots and chaps to get into that? Never accuse Minnesota of having no culture!!

Posted by: orst86 | January 5, 2012

1/5/12 one month out

One month out from the starting point of our cruise through the Caribbean.

The ship above, by the way, is the ms Zuiderdam the actual ship we’ll be taking.

(from the Holland America site)

The ms Zuiderdam began her inaugural season in 2002 as the first ship in our Vista-class series. She embraces the latest industry and environmental technologies such as her use of a diesel-electric power plant for optimal energy efficiency and an Azipod propulsion system.

At the heart of the ms Zuiderdam, suspended in a three-story atrium, a Waterford Crystal Seahorse sets the mood for exquisite pieces of art to be seen throughout this elegant ship. Other notable pieces include a painting of Queen Beatrix by pop culture artist and icon, Andy Warhol, medallions by Frank Lloyd Wright, cast aluminum elevator doors inspired by the art deco work of the New York Chrysler Building, and a massive floral painting by Charles Ben. You will also discover a large collection of antiques and centuries-old paintings throughout the ship.

See some videos of the ship


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