... Our Second World is on the Sea!

Cruising...

Way back in April of 1982, not quite a year after our son, Christopher was born, I talked my dear wife in going on a cruise. Little did we know that this simple three day getaway cruise would lead us into a world that is second to none...cruising on the seas.

We have cruised on three major cruise lines.  Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean.  We loved them all but have seemed to settle on Royal Caribbean as our standard.  We love the RCCL ships.  Larger than most lines, they offer a full range of entertainment for a very nice week-long cruise. 

Here is a quick rundown of our cruise experiences:

Our First Cruise - Carnival Mardis Gras - 3 Day Bahamas - April 1982

As I mentioned earlier, our first cruise was a 3 day cruise out of Miami, FL to the Bahamas. We were on the Carnival Mardis Gras one of two Carnival ships at that time. This was April of 1982. We had decided to leave Christopher with family and duck out for three days. Without knowing one tiny thing about cruising we found a travel agent and away we went. Our first surprise was our cabin. Small was not even the word. It was tiny! Here we are on what we termed our second honeymoon and we walked in the cabin to find bunk beds. If that was not enough, the cabin was an inside cabin (no windows) nestled underneath a stairway and beside the elevator. Hey we were young, we could take anything...well... What we didn't know was this ship was old. It was one of the old classic ships that prided themselves on the beautiful nautical appointments throughout the ship. This meant very nice wood and wood trim everywhere. Sounds nice, huh? We though so until we found that the stairways were also made of wood. That meant that each time some one went up or down the stairs (that our cabin was under...) we definitely knew it. All we heard in the cabin was clomp, clomp, clomp all day and night long. This resulted in no sleep. Whenever there was no one on the stairs the elevator would go barreling by making more noise than a freight train. Oh, and we both got seasick!

Our Second Cruise - Carnival Destiny - 7 Days Western Caribbean - April 1998

Notice that it took 16 years to get Lee back on a cruise ship. But what a change in the cruise world since we had sailed in 1982. The Destiny was Carnival's newest ship. The largest cruise ship in the world at 101,353 tons, it had 1,321 staterooms, 3,360 passengers, and a crew of 1,040. Christopher, who was almost 17, came along this time. We had a ball! We also had our first balcony cabin. In fact we booked a guaranteed balcony and we were upgraded at the pier to a full suite! This was our first visit to Cozumel, Mexico, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. No one got sick, the ship was beautiful and we were sold on cruising.

Grand Princess - 7 Days Eastern Caribbean - April 1999

There were several firsts on this cruise. We sailed on Princess for the first time, we had our first Junior Suite which we really liked, and we went to the Eastern Caribbean - St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles and a day at Princess' private island, Princess Key. The ship, the Grand Princess had just taken the mantle of the largest cruise ship in the world. At 109,000 tons with 2,600 passengers and 1,100 crew it was huge. Christopher decided to stay home this time so Lee and I just had the time of of our lives.  This was also the cruise that we met The Winsors, Susan and Dean from Calgary, Canada.  We still keep in touch with them even after all these years.

Sea Princess - 7 Days Western Caribbean - March 2000

Back to Princess but this time we tried a smaller ship, only 77,000 tons, 1,950 passengers and 900 crew. This was an intimate ship where we had a regular balcony cabin. The cruise included stops at Cozumel, Mexico, Georgetown, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Princess Key. This was a nice quiet cruise.

Grand Princess - 7 Days Western Caribbean - March 2002

Back to the Grand one more time. Lee and I loved being back aboard this beautiful ship. Western Caribbean again... we love Cozumel. We did visit a new port this cruise, Costa Maya, Mexico. Very near the border from Belize, Costa Maya was a new port that has wonderful Mayan ruins. If you want to see Mayan ruins, Costa Maya is THE place. Several years later, Cost Maya was devastated by Hurricane Dean in 2007. It is just recovering in 2009.

Navigator of the Seas - 7 Days Western Caribbean - March 2003

After cruising Carnival and Princess, we decided to try Royal Caribbean. For the third time we are again on the largest cruise ship in the world at 138,279 tons with 3,114 passengers and 1,213 crew. This ship was enormous! Oh, but what a ship! The 4th Voyager class ship, we loved the Royal Promenade which is main street on this ship. Again sailing the Western Caribbean, we also visited Haiti, RCL's private enclave at Labadee. We were hooked on RCL.

Mariner of the Seas - 7 Days Western Caribbean - April 2005

As a wedding present, we brought along Christopher and his new bride Christina aboard the Mariner of the Seas. What a cruise! This was by far the roughest cruise in our career. Seas were rough most of the week but the last day we had 50 knot head winds added to the 20 knots cruising speed, we had a wind of 70+ knots over the ship! Hats were flying as well as some deck chairs. That morning we had to stop just off of Key West to transport a heart attack victim off of the Mariner to a Coast Guard ship. They could not use the helicopters due to them being used to help an NCL cruise ship sailing just 200 miles ahead of us. The NCL ship was hit broadside by a rouge wave of nearly 80 feet that smashed three decks on one side of the ship. No one was hurt but as you can see it was one helluva' week! Christina and Chris had a great time and we thoroughly enjoyed having them with us. If you see Chris, ask him about horseback riding in Cozumel.

Freedom of the Seas - 7 Days Western Caribbean - 6/18 - 6/25/2006

True to our tendency to cruise the largest cruise ships in the world, the Freedom was the largest cruise ship in the world in 2006. At 154,407 tons with 4,370 passengers and 1,360 crew we keep sailing on the largest ships. We sailed on the third cruise of the Freedom and it was fabulous. Again on the Western Caribbean, we did visit a new port, Montego Bay, Jamaica. Mo Bay was beautiful and a much nicer than Ocho Rios.

Liberty of the Seas - 7 Days Eastern Caribbean - 7/19 - 7/26/08

This time we sailed the sister ship of the Freedom, the Liberty of the Seas. What a beautiful ship!. We had a regular balcony cabin and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. We met a nice couple who were working aboard the Liberty.  She worked in the Promenade Cafe and he was a dining room waiter.  They were priceless!  This was our first return to the Eastern Caribbean since the Grand Princess in 1999.

Oasis of the Seas – Our Friends Cruise - 4/17 - 4/24/10

For the first time we cruised along with several good friends.  Brother, this is the way to cruise!  Barbara and Bob Shaw and Sherrie and Leo Ruschell joined us aboard the Oasis of the Seas for the absolute greatest cruise of all time! At 225,000 tons with 5,400 passengers double occupancy and more than 2,500 crew this ship is the largest cruise ship in the world, by far. Nothing in the cruise world is even close to this ship. We all had side-by-side cabins on Deck 11. We had a blast!  We had so much fun that we all have decide to cruise together again.  Ask us about out wild day in St. Thomas, whirling around the island with our guide, Jason, and our stop at Mail Man's.  You have to check out our pictures on the Cruise Pictures Page. 

Serenade of the Seas – Our Family Cruise - 6/26 - 7/2/11

Once more to sea with Christina and Chris.  And we brought along one of their friends, Tammie.  We cruised out of San Juan, Puerto Rico to the Southern Caribbean aboard the Serenade of the Seas.  A first time for the ship and the itinerary.  The Serenade is a smaller ship than we have cruised on in a while at 90,090 tons, but she is beautiful.  We visited St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Aruba and Curacao.  We sailed back to San Juan in a small tropical storm with heavy seas of 10 to 12 feet.  What a ride!

Allure of the Seas – Our Friends Cruise - 6/2 - 6/09/13

For the second time we cruised along with several good friends.  This is THE way to cruise!  Barbara and Bob Shaw, Sherrie and Leo Ruschell, Stefania and Rick Wade, Jennifer and Guido Broder, Bill Workman, and Nina and George Hutcherson joined us aboard the Allure of the Seas for the absolute greatest cruise of all time! At 225,000 tons with 5,400 passengers double occupancy and more than 2,500 crew this ship is the largest cruise ship in the world, by a few millimeters over the Oasis of the Seas, her sister ship. Nothing in the cruise world is even close to these ships. We all had cabins on Deck 11 and we used the common balcony overlooking the AquaTheater nearly each night as we waited for dinner. We saw the Broadway show Chicago and seversal other fantastic shows. We had so much fun we have all decided to cruise together again. Check out our pictures on the Cruise Pictures Page. 

Future Planned Cruises

OK, so what's next? Oh we have plans... We always have plans...

Another Cruise - November 2013?

After a few discussions, we arelooking at a 3 or 4 day cruise in late November before Christmas. How many will go? I do not know, but I know I will be there! Want to join us?

For more info and a tentative timeline, check out our Next Cruise link here or Cruise with Us! on the Main Menu.

Future Wish Cruises

Now for our wish list. These cruises are out there, not only in time but are 14 day exotic cruises. Planning is just in the idea phase only...

The Mediterranean – 14 day – 2015?

We had this cruise booked on the Emerald Princess for back in 2008. But we decided to put it off for a few years. A 14 day extravaganza beginning in Barcelona, Spain and ending in Istanbul, Turkey, it included stops for France - Monte Carlo, Italy - Florence/Pisa, Rome, Naples and Venice, Greece - Athens, Mykonos, and Turkey - Kusadasi. Right now we will look at both Royal Caribbean and Princess for the best itinerary.

The Far East-Asia  – 16 day – 2016?

Ever since I was a young boy I have wanted to go to China and the Far East.  We are now looking at a cruise that begins in Beijing, China and ends in Bangkok, Thailand.  We are not sure which cruise line we will use, but both Princess and Royal Caribbean have similar itineraries that last about 16 days. 

The Egypt and the Holy Land – 16 day – ????

Egypt and the Holy Land.  The cradle of humanity.  To see the Pyramids... is something that I find hard to comprehend.