Bahama-Rama IV

August 9, 2010

Location: Somewhere in the North Atlantic Ocean
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~ DAY FOUR ~

Today is our final day aboard Monarch of the Seas and we are scheduled to be at sea for the entire day. Knowing this the night prior, we  plan to sleep in and attend brunch. There are many activities planned on board the ship today to keep the guests amused, but for the most part, we plan to just relax and soak up the sun while laying out on a deck chair.

It is so peaceful laying out in the sun with nothing but ocean surrounding you. I find my own piece of serenity just by gazing out at the crisp, calm waters. The ocean sparkles as the sun reflects off of it. If only I could do this every day of the week. The trance I am in is soon disturbed as the pool deck entertainment kicks off. First up is a male belly-flop competition which a handful of men have signed themselves up for. I adjust my deck chair up one notch so I am able to peer over the edge to watch the battle. There really are some pathetic excuses for bellies that have entered to score their ten seconds of ship fame. One guy in particular, I feel sorry for. I have the greatest urge to walk up to him and feed him a cookie, or a burger,  better yet, both, but I resist. His competition are several other guys who seem to have enjoyed the ships 24/7 buffet. Poor dude doesn’t stand a chance.


Our cruise friend, Mike, enters himself into a Dodge-ball competition. His team has made the finals so we go to cheer him on. Mike is so caught up in winning the game that he doesn’t realise that his sandal has somehow slid over his foot and is now firmly wrapped around his ankle; almost like a shin guard. It is not until after they are declared the winners that he notices his sandal is not under his foot. He tries to

pull the sandal down but fails miserably. He sits on the pool ledge while his dad tries with all his strength to remove the sandal. Strike two. Mike puts his leg into the pool with hopes that the water will help the sandal slide off. Strike three. At this point, Mike has gathered quite the crowd. A man walks up with his SLR camera and begins taking photos of Mike’s ankle while his daughter watches on in a fit of laughter. I try not to laugh but I can’t help it. We are left with only one more option. Off to the ship doctor we go! Now, I know this isn’t something common, but even the doctor had a hard time taking the situation seriously. The doctor looks down at Mike’s foot and bursts out laughing. He shakes his head and tells us this is the most ridiculous thing he’s ever seen. He disappears for a few seconds then comes back with a packet of KY jelly which he smothers all over Mike’s ankle. The doctor takes a turn trying to pull the sandal off, only when he tries, the chair Mike is sitting on just starts dragging across the floor. Fail.

Mike is faced with no choice; it’s either the leg or the sandal. The doctor knows this is a tough decision so he gives Mike a few seconds to think it through. His time is up. After some serious thought, Mike decides to sacrifice the sandal. The doctor grabs a pair of scissors and begins the pain-free process. Just like that, Mike is free. Hooray!

Tonight for dinner I am super excited to see that they have New York Strip Steak on the menu. This has become one of my favourite cuts of steak while in the USA so there was no hesitation when ordering it as my main meal. In fact, it was so amazingly delicious that I had a second. Dessert was an incredible double chocolate mousse brownie with a dollop of cream and a strawberry. My taste buds may have just had a mouth-gasm. In fact, I think they did.

Sadly tonight was our last dinner on board Monarch of the Seas. This also meant it was our last night with our amazing waitress, Ning, and our phenomenal assistant waiter, Jonathan. They had both been incredible over the last few nights when dealing with our dislike towards veggies, Jessica’s love of cups of hot water and our mad obsession with the sour doll bread rolls they served us before dinner. We made sure to give them both an extra tip on top of the recommended tip because their service really was tremendous. After dinner, we said our thanks and good byes and then had our photo taken with them both.

We head to The Sound of Music Theater for our final night of on board entertainment. Tonight’s show is called Signed, Sealed, Delivered and is a dance and musical number performed to us by the Royal Caribbean Entertainers. The lights dim, the curtain draws and the show begins. The female lead vocalist gives an amazing rendition of Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You which brings down the house. It was absolutely incredible and she sang it perfectly, absolutely killing the big notes with what seemed to be such ease. As she sang she brought chills to my spine. What an amazing voice.

Everything ends early tonight on board the Monarch of the Seas. I feel absolutely buggered. The late nights, alcohol, sun and swimming has all caught up to me. I call it a night and head to bed at around midnight. When I wake up, we will be docked back at Port Canaveral, Florida and our cruise will have come to an end.

What an amazing four days this has been.

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The End

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Bahama-Rama II

August 4, 2010

Location: CocoCay, The Bahamas
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~ DAY TWO ~

I was feeling quite energized considering I’d only scored myself five hours of sleep. I can’t figure out if the incredible sleep was due to the fact that we have no windows in our Stateroom and therefore no light came creeping in or because my bed was just so damn comfortable. Waking up hang-over free was just an added bonus; kinda like the cherry on top of a sundae. Either way, I wasn’t going to complain.

We pack a day bag and make out way over to the Windjammer Café for breakfast. As I step foot into the café and take a peak out the window, I notice the ship has docked in the middle of the ocean. In the distance lays a small island which, without my glasses on, doesn’t look like anything too impressive. I wonder if this is Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean’s private island that we are due to visit today. I am hastily side-tracked by the grumbling of my tummy. Well, excuse me! The smell of breakfast aromas fill the air and my taste buds are quickly tickled. I grab a plate and am overcome by the wide offerings. Where do I begin? I head to the hot section and grab me some scrambled eggs, bacon galore, toast, sausage links, cured ham and a selection of fresh fruits and pastries; delicious. I think I have died and gone to food heaven.

After breakfast we decide to make our way down to Deck 1 which is the departure point for Coco Cay. Unfortunately, because the Monarch of the Seas is too big to dock at the island, we must take a ferry from the ship there. We are bummed when we realise the line is backed all the way up to Deck 3 but our disappointment is quickly overturned when one of the crew tell us we’ll be on the next ferry. Turns out they can seat a couple of hundred people at a time and turns out, he’s correct. As we board, I can feel the ferry wobble about while staying afloat in the ocean. I feel a sense of uneasiness and queasiness and my breakfast jiggles around in my belly. We sit there for a good fifteen minutes before the ferry pulls away from the ship and we are off to Coco Cay. We head towards the same island I was eying off over breakfast; I quietly pray it looks prettier up close than it does from afar.

The ferry docks at Coco Cay Island. Within minutes my earlier concerns are put to rest and my heart is at ease. Coco Cay is absolutely stunning. The waters are a gorgeous sparkling teal colour and the sand is so white and pure; the island is like a tiny slice of heaven on earth. The Market Place is an array of bright colours which compliment the dazzling green palm trees, adding to the tropical island feel.

Mike and Jessica head out to do their jet-skiing activity while Lauren and I walk around and explore the market stalls.  The sun is beating down on us; we haven’t even been on the island for twenty minutes and already I am dripping with sweat. It has to be 95, maybe 100 degrees Fahrenheit out and it can’t be much after midday. Phew; what a scorcher! After walking around for a while we decide to find two sun chairs, dump our stuff and without any hesitation, I throw myself into the semi-cold ocean.

Pure bliss. Life really doesn’t get any better than this. The water is lukewarm but still a welcoming cool off from the wicked heat. I doggy-paddle around for a while in the shallow waters. There is a fair bit of seaweed floating about. While paddling I can see it getting nearer so I try to blow it away. Stay away, sea weed, or you shall die a terrible, terrible death! I can’t stand the feeling of seaweed clinging to my bare skin while I’m at the beach; it freaks me out! I clear a path in the water for myself and swim down it to reach deeper waters but alas, seaweed touches my mouth. I panic. This is horrible. Terrible. I throw my arms around in a desperate plea for help. Get it away. Gross! I break free from the seaweed (a single strand, no more than 10cm in length) and I swim back to shore and lay face-down on my beach chair and close my eyes. I can feel the heat of the sun evaporate the water droplets on my back as island music is playing in the background. I open my eyes and sit up. The sky is such a crisp shade of blue; the sand so white,  the water, a sparkling light shade of teal and the palm trees gently whistle in the almost non-existent breeze. I am so relaxed. It’s a tough job, but hey, somebody has to do it. May as well be me.

After a short while, we meet back up with Mike and Jessica and grab a bite to eat. There is a massive BBQ buffet lunch on the island and, despite having our bellies showing, we do not hesitate when piling up our plates with food. I’m rather self-conscious, but after seeing a rather voluptuous lady in her late 70’s in a leopard-print string bikini, I feel a little more comfortable with myself. Lunch is great; we have BBQ ribs, chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, fruit, cakes… I’ve quickly come to realise that cruising really is the way of life.

We spend some more time swimming, sunbathing and shopping at the Market Place before we succumb to the heat and make out way back to the ship, not before a super touristy Coco Cay group photo though.

Tonight is formal dining night aboard Monarch of the Seas; yes, that’s right, it means we must get gussied up and not look like washed up trash. We spend a good few hours in our cabin showering, shaving, straightening hair, curling hair, dressing, doing make up, you know, all the pre-requisites for making ourselves look all pretty and cute. The end result is nothing short of amazing if I may say so myself.

Before dinner we are all invited to the Captain’s Formal Welcoming aboard Monarch of the Seas in The Sound of Music Theater. This takes a while to kick off but we are showered with champagne which is alright by me.  The Captain introduces himself, tells us some interesting facts about the ship and then introduces us to the Managers on board who then each introduce themselves. It turns out to be a rather enjoyable event and we are glad we took the time to attend. After this we head straight to dinner. My choice for tonight’s formal dinner is the beef which is delicious and tender. I’m not a fan of mashed potato so Jonathan, our Assistant Waiter brought me a baked potato which I sliced in half and enjoyed with a dollop of butter. Dinner was followed by an incredible dessert for the sweet tooth. I’m not entirely sure of the name of this one, but it was similar to that of chocolate pudding, only our Waitress, Ning, grabbed my spoon, put a hole in the pudding and then poured a Kahlua-like custard into the middle. Regardless of what it’s name is, it was an absolute treat on the taste buds; yum!

After dinner another visit was paid to Casino Royale and alas, another few dollars were kindly donated to Royal Caribbean. Damn slots, get me every time! It’s a good thing we have plans tonight because I can see all four of us easily losing more money than we have to that place.

Before heading out for the night, we make a quick detour back to our cabin. Much to our delight, our room has been made up and there is a towel creature sitting on my bed wearing Mike’s glasses. It’s so cute. Pretty shoes come off, flip flops go on and off we go to the Sound of Music Theater for a night of entertainment. Tonight’s show is called You Can’t Stop The Beat and is a dance and musical number performed to us by the Royal Caribbean Entertainers. We get there early and secure ourselves front row seats so that I don’t have to wear my glasses. The lights dim, the curtain draws and the show begins. Lauren and I are quick to spot our favourite dancer from 70’s night the night prior. His moves are amazing and his body just seems to stay in sync with the beat; he’s incredible… that is until we are introduced to the three main singers. Their voices are phenomenal and the female singer has a voice that could raise the nine decks above us off the ship. Wow; what a gift to be blessed with.

The show let’s out and Lauren and I make our way to Circuit Nightclub. Upon walking in, we are rather surprised that our favourite bar tender already has our two drinks waiting for us on the bar. After only one night he knows us so well; shucks. Tonight is another night of one too many beers, singing, dancing, a late night pizza rendezvous at Sorreno’s and drunken conversations with the friends we made last night. Who knows what time or how we got back to our beds? Good times.
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~ To be continued ~