Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Mariner of the Seas

This November we were so blessed to join my parents in celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary aboard the Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas.  We drove down to Galveston with Alfons & Monika (The Germans) where we met my parents, my brother Eddie and his two sons.  It was my first cruise, and I definitely hope it is not my last!

In the last post you learned of Juliana's "explosion".  Well, happy to report that the next day she was fine.  The whole drive to Galveston she was a trooper and was completely back to normal!

So, we get on the ship and of course, first stop for my Dad is. . . . . . you got it.  The Casino.
Alfons & my mom right behind him!
And here we are with the girls. . . Not in the Casino.  (on a side note, as wonderful as it was as a family vacation, I have to imagine going on with out the kiddos would be AMAZING too!)
This was the Welcome Parade in the Promenade.  It was like a freakin' city!

Here is Livi on my shoulders looking for mermaids

When my shoulders got tired Uncle Eddie was there to take her!
And there they are!!!!  The Mermaids!!!!!!!!
Back on my shoulders. . . . .
Our first day at sea.  First stop for us. . . . . The Pool.  And I have to confess, the pool was the only disappointment from the cruise.  To start with it was salt water and second of all it was way to cold for what I'm used to.  We are from Dallas, where my pool water gets to by 85 degrees in the summer.  Oh well, the temperature outside was perfect!

Eddie, me & Liv
Roger and I - and Livi snuck in too

Back inside and ready for a shopping brief.  They actually held a seminar on the shopping you could do when we docked in each port.  Good areas, places to stay away from etc.

Then off to Formal Night number one!  It kind of sucked because the first two nights we weren't sitting together for dinner.  The Germans were on the 4th floor, my mom and dad had a cozy table for 2 on the 3rd floor and mine and Eddie's family were on one table on the third floor. We later asked and they quickly prepared a table where we could all sit together.

I love this statue in the back because it is from the Sound of Music.

This is the Captain introducing his staff.  He was actually from Norway and reminded us of our friend Ted, who is from Norway as well.

Then, my mom, Monika and I decided it was time to go dancing!  We had lots of fun and my mom even started a few dance circles!

Unfortunately when I got back to my room, Roger wasn't feeling good.  He proceeded to "explode" from both ends all night long.  I immediately thought of food poisoning once again (which we found later it was not).  Wait is this starting to sound familiar. . . . . . you guessed it.  He caught what Juliana had, only she is either much stronger than daddy or it affects adults much worse.  So in the morning he had to see the doctor, who in turn placed him under quarantine for 24 hours.  He was given free access to all pay per view, mini bar whatever while he was under quarantine but he felt so bad he actually slept ALL day and ALL night. 

So that day we were on our own, while Roger continued to rest.  Here is Alfons and Monika out on the deck..

Here we are after a chilly swim.
Olivia - What are we going to do now?
me - go eat
Olivia - NOT AGAIN!
me - Hello.  We are on a cruise.  That's what you do.

And here we are at dinner.  Roger missed this dinner since, although he stopped exploding the smell of food would do him in.

Apparently something unbelievable just happened on Mickey Mouse!
This is how you eat spaghetti
Then the music began.  It kind of felt like My Big Fat Greek Wedding only it was Italian music.

These are all the servers for 3 floors of dining rooms. 

The wait staff was incredible.  They treated the girls like celebrities.  Every night they would give them so much attention.  This night in particular they went and found someone that could make balloon animals.

Do you think she likes it?
This was one of the Wait Captains.  She loved every minute.
This was the musical we went to see after dinner.  Roger was still sleeping at this point, Juliana dosed off about 4 minutes into the show and Olivia, despite the fact that it started at 10:30pm, was AMAZED and didn't take her eyes off for a second.  It was truly a great show with great talent!
The premise was this man was in an art gallery after hours when suddenly the paintings literally come to life.

The next morning Roger woke up feeling MUCH better and thank God because we docked in Honduras.

Side view of our ship
A little shopping
Then off to the beach.  This was especially exciting for me since the girls had NEVER been to a beach - Even though Olivia called our pool the beach for about a year.  We asked around and Pirate Bay was the place to go

The fact that it was a bay was perfect for my first time beach goers because there were no strong currents.  It was perfect and shallow and amazing.  As soon as we stepped in Olivia said, "mommy, who put sand in here?"
Juliana enjoyed it as well.  They both love the water!
This was the perfect quintessential little bar on the beach along with loungers and umbrellas.  It was PERFECT!
It is so funny how kids know no stranger.  These girls, who were clearly related were sitting building something, when Olivia walks over with her finds.  They completely included her and they continued to play for awhile like they just knew each other.

Cooling down with a cold one.

She couldn't wait to go back in the water

Her best attempt at writing in the sand.
Not too shabby.  Okay, I may have helped a bit.

No, she is not going potty.  She just sat in the sand and couldn't stand it in her booty.  So naturally she stuck it in the faucet used to rinse your feet on the way out.
Monika and my mom.  Don't ask me why my mom is in jeans and a long sleeved shirt on the beach.  Ay, Alicia!

Our docked ship - I couldn't get over how big it is!

The beer on the ship is at least $5 each.  While we were docked you could buy Heineken, 5 for $5.  Alfons and Monika were down to their last one.  When Monika tried to open it she accidentally pulled off the tab.  Leave it to Phillip to open it with his belt.  Seems like he's had some experience with this.

At this point I realized I hadn't taken any pictures of our suite.  I had been told horror stories of how small some of the cabins could be, so when we booked I decided that we would splurge and get a suite.  I just figured we would spend more time in our room than the average family (naps, potty breaks etc) and I didn't want to be claustrophobic so we did it - and boy was it ever worth it!!!!!  In addition to the spaciousness of the room we also had so many special privileges and amenities.

Here is the bar area
Living room and bedroom.  The couch folds out into a full size bed.
The bathroom.
Garden tub!  Livi really loved this!
The balcony - HEAVEN!!!
Happy Livi
Sad Livi - This is the Jeckle and Hyde we are currently living with.  I don't know if it's a phase or what, but it is exhausting.

A little nap before dinner
****Doubly LOVE******
Dinner with the Captain of the boat - In their new Honduran fashion.
Ahhh.  Grandma and Phil
The Ice Skating Show.  Yes, my friends.  The ship was complete with an ice rink

This was a poster showing the route that the boat took
This was after dinner for Alfons' night cap before bed.  You cannot see my face here, but if you could you would see it was starting to turn green.  I figured I had just over done it at the dinner buffet that night, so I excused myself and went upstairs.

My girl looks so grown!
So, I get upstairs and I'm feeling pretty queasy and achy, but for those that don't know me I DO NOT THROW UP!  The last time I can remember actually throwing up I think I was around 12 years old.  I have been sick since but have an ability to "talk myself out of it".  You know, kind of mind over matter.  So I figured I would feel kind of crappy but would be fine by morning.  So I wake up about 2 hours later and literally have to sprint to the bathroom because you guessed it - I am EXPLODING!  It was the most violent explosion I can ever remember followed by crazy chills (my teeth were actually chattering) and aches.  So I did the deed and figured the worst is over, right? Wrong.  This continued all night.
So the next morning we docked in Belize and I docked myself in bed.  I decided not to go to the doctor since (a) I knew what I had since I had seen Roger and Juliana had been through it (b) I knew it would be gone in 24 hours (c) When Roger went, he was tagged as "QUARANTINE" so every time we go on or off the boat, when they scanned his card alarms would go off in a very embarrassing fashion.
So, the family got off the boat to Belize and this is what they tell me it looked like.  I slept the entire day!
So, for reasons beyond me, the boat docked kind of out in the middle of the water and then they got off the ship onto a boat that took them to land.

A little boat like this.
That was our ship.

After walking around for a little while, Roger decided he wanted back on the ship.  Partly because he couldn't find a beach, and partly because he didn't want to spend money on lunch when he could go to the Wind Jammer and eat endless buffet for free
So back on the Wind Jammer!
*****So love this sun set!*****
By the time they got back I was feeling slightly better, so I decided to get up and showered and go to the show that night.

Juju liked it.

The show wore me out and my stomach was still not ready for food.  So the family went off for an amazing Thanksgiving dinner and I went back to the room.  Then I went to soak in the hot tub.  While there I saw a scale.  I actually lost 5 pounds with that explosion.  So I guess that made everything ok.  I think I am the only person in history to lose weight on a cruise.
Thanksgiving Dinner - Which I heard was AMAZING!  But whey is that surprising. Everything we ate was AMAZING!

As a special treat the wait staff sang "Deep in the Heart of Texas" since most folks were from Texas
So, the next day after my 24 hours were over, I was feeling great.  And just in time.  We docked in Cozumel.  There was another Royal Caribbean ship called the Allure of the Seas and was double the size of ours.  It made our ship look like a boat.  From the balcony we could see these awesome suites.  One actually had a hot tub and huge dinner table on the balcony and extended 3 times the size of our balcony. Maybe next time.
We decided instead of shopping we wanted more beach action.  So we went to Playa Mia.

It was completely different than the beach in Honduras.  This was a beach park complete with tons of people, canoes, water trampolines, those water bikes and even some wave action. 
Juju after a day of sun
Olivia my little mermaid.  We actually had buried Juliana as well right next to her and also in the shape of a mermaid fin.  But literally seconds before we snapped the picture, she accidentally scooped up a big handful of sand and yes, you guessed inserted said hand into mouth.  That's when I ripped her out of the sand to try and get it all out.  I think Juliana is more of a pool girl.
Then that night the show on the ship was a Beatles cover band and they were AWESOME!!!!  I have always been a huge Beatles fan and it was great.  They played all the great songs and even had costumes changes.

Then after the show.

And then for dinner we had lobster. . . . .
And steak.
This was the second formal night.  Eddie and the boys
Alfons and Monika
My mom and . . . . . wait. . . . . where's my dad?  Oh yeah, he refused to dress up twice on one cruise so he dined alone in the Wind Jammer with jeans and tennis shoes.  To each his own.

This is just one of the many towel animals that our room attendant Bernadino made for us.  It is clearly a monkey but it was really funny when we walked in and Livi yelled "Awesome!  A Ghost!"

This was the elephant
And then he would arrange them with the rest of their toys.
Next day - back at the Wind Jammer.
This was Alfons and Monika's favorite spot in the Wind Jammer.
Livi got a little bored and decided she would find a million ways to wear a napkin
#1 the Babushka
#2 The Medieval Princess
#3 The Girl Scout
#4 The Veil
#5 The Bandit
And here are the love birds and the reason for this amazing vacation!
On their actual anniversary

Here is Monika swimming in the adult pool.  I was so jealous that I never got to visit this pool.  Probably because I always had a 3 and 5 year old girl attached to me.
More of the adult section
Here we were waiting for mom and dad to come to our suite for their surprise anniversary reception.  Don't my girls look so big!

Kind of an evil face you make in order to open that champagne

This was part of Ray and Julie's gift to my parents.  Kind of weird I know, but wait till you see the next one.

After the smile came a whole package of Bubba Teeth.
Wow!  Teeth make such a difference!
Of course my dad refused to put those in his mouth because "he is not our clown!"
Pucker up!
From Alfons & Monika

Here's to 50 more!

You know that it wouldn't be long before Olivia had to get her hands on those teeth!
Thank you Jesus that she has good teeth!
Thank you Jesus that Juliana doesn't have bunny teeth!  No judgement, yes she was asleep but we didn't want her to miss out on this amazing opportunity!
Poor Phillip
Monika laughing so hard she cried!
Oh Alfons
Roger AKA Buckey Beaver
Our last dinner on the ship:(

Why do I look the size of a ship?
This was our awesome waiter Marius who I think Livi might have had a little crush on.
And here we are in line to go through customs and go home
After four hours we finally made it through and out!  We stopped in Houston to have lunch with our good friends Luis and Penelope!
Rudy's Barbecue.  Do you think we liked it?