Location: CocoCay, The Bahamas
~ 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.
~ To be continued ~