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Jessi Howells

Age: 16

Occupation:High School Student/ Writer

Number of Cruises: 2 (3 soon!!)

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Sovereign of the Seas

Sailing Date: August 16th, 2004

Itinerary: Bahamas

Jessi Howells

Our trip on Sovereign of the Seas was my second cruise experience. My first, on Majesty of the Seas, didn't even begin to compare, though both cruises were wonderful.

My darling baby brother, at the time age 12 (I was 15), were force to share an interior stateroom next door to my parents. But even the cramped quarters couldn't put a damper on our spirits.

The Crew: Our stateroom attendant, Earl, was older. balding, and slightly cross-eyed, but very sweet tempered, gentle, caring, and impeccable at seeing to our needs even though his thick Jamaican accent made him hard to understand. The entire crew was amazing. No matter their nationality, you couldn't pass a crew member without "Good morning/afternoon/evening miss/ma'am/sir." (I got "sweetheart" a lot) Everyone was very smiley and helpful. And Earl was always asking me where I was going. He would point me in the right direction and make sure my parents knew where I was, even thought they had a different stateroom attendant. Around every corner, someone was waiting to answer your every beckon call.

Embarking- Flew in from Pittsburg to Orlando Monday Morning. (7 am flight with a 2 hr layover in Atlanta **groan**) We landed in Orlando at about 11:30 am. We were their 3 days after Hurricane Charlie hit. Literally. The destruction was absolutely unbelievable. We went down to the baggage claim, and signed in with the Royal Caribbean people who would send us on a shuttle to the port. Just walking into Sovereign of the Seas' breathtaking four-story golden atrium told me this was going to be a great vacation. Around every other corner, someone was waiting with beers, Pina coladas, and strawberry daiquiris. The Sail-Away party on the pool deck was a blast. We learned Caribbean-style dances with Calypso music in the background, people lounging in and around the pools, and the gentle sea breeze washing the hot air away as we sailed down the Florida coast. All this, of course, after the oh-so-fun muster drill. At least our muster station was in one of the lounges. In the air conditioning. One hint, you may or may not get your luggage in time for the Sail-Away party. Once you get to the port, you don't see your luggage until they pile stuff in the lobby of each floor to deliver bags to the rooms. Royal Caribbean recommends you bring the first night's dinner close and any toiletries you may need in a carry-on bag so you have it. We also recommend throwing your bathing suit in there too. Just in case.

Venetian night in the dining room. All the food in the dining room was great. Windjammer is ok, but since stuff sits out instead of being delivered to you, you never know how long it's been sitting there.

Day 1- Coco Cay
One of Royal Caribbean's private islands, Coco Cay is any beach lover's paradise; the true essence of the Bahamas. The water in the Bahamas is gorgeous. It's a beautiful turquoise blue, and so clear you can see straight to the bottom. (Except where it's real deep of course) We tried to swim for a while, but since we were a mere four or five days after Hurricane Charlie came through, all the jellyfish had been stirred up out of the deep a little too early for their September mating season. My brother got stung, so we got out of the water and went to the straw market and then caught the next tender back to the boat. We didn't even stay at the BBQ on the beach. Back in Windjammer with our delicious Coco Locos (the island drink special) we ate lunch and hit the (empty!!! or nearly) pool deck and the jelly-free water. (They fill the pools from the ocean, so they are also saltwater) We took turns going back to the rooms to get ready for dinner. I went first because I wanted to go to the dinner show: the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers in Flashback! an 80's revue. Which was incredible. Cameron MacDonald was one of the two male singers, and totally gorgeous with a beautiful voice.

Caribbean night in the dining room, which mend some exotic and spicey treats to be had. I went to the first Midnight Buffet/Deck Party. Disco theme. Fun! And then to bed, only to find my covers turned down, a bunny folded out of a towel on the foot of my bed, a chocolate on my pillow, and the cup of mint tea Earl had promised me.

Day 2- Nassau
Nassau had remained pretty much untouched in a year. We signed up for a shore excursion- snorkeling with the stingrays at Blackbeard's Cay. At first, I was very scared. But after being assured they wouldn't hurt me because their tail barbs has been removed, I had a great time. We has our pictures taken with a stingray, and then it was feeding time. Which I refused to take part in. So this one really cute worker brought over to me a stingray they had saved after a shark bit it's tail off. His name was Nemo, and he was very small. I got to hold him. Then it was back to the ship for showers and lunch in Windjammer, then back to Nassau for shopping. (Read: HOT!) Del Sol is a must (psst! They have a Gucci!) The carnival-colored center off the pier is an awesome tourist place. But the real deals are found in the city itself. If you plan on getting your hair braided, plan on $2 a braid for a few, or plan on having around $100 with you to get your whole head done. This night was the Captain's Gala, the only formal night. The menu was impressive, with dishes such as Duck a L'Orange and Fettuccine Alfredo. A lot of people went to the salon for fancy up-dos. I just curled mine.

Tonight's towel art was a sea turtle, and the chocolates from our pillows were used for the eyes.

Day 3- At sea
Not my favorite day on board. There was no getting anywhere near the pool deck by the time we finished breakfast in the Windjammer. Luckily, there was a behind-the-scenes tour of Follies Lounge with the Singers and Dancers, or at least some of them, followed immediately by trivia with our cruise director, Chris. After that, it was the Schooner Bar to write, because they kicked me out of Follies so they could rehearse. I did manage to get up on the pool deck for the "hottest guy" shirtless break-dance contest. But seeing as in order to spend the whole day at sea we were going half the speed of smell, there was no breeze at all. Even the Windjammer was packed. But there was no lack of things to do. Even when you didn't want to do anything, countless lounges were quiet enough to just have a drink, gaze out the window at the seemingly endless expanse of ocean, and relax.

A Feast of Nations tonight in the dining room. The farewell show was Rock on Broadway starring the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers. I loved it so much, I watch it before dinner (the 2nd seating show) and then skipped out of dinner early to watch it again (the first seating show) I was sad to leave when it was over.

And my personal favorite towel animal- a monkey hanging from the ceiling on a hanger.

Disembarking- my least favorite part of the trip. But since our flight back home didn't leave until 1pm and we got off the boat at like 10, we book a shore excursion. Our awesome New Zealand "tour guide" was waiting for all the people having a "fun day" on shore to get them off the boat first. We went on an airboat ride through the wetlands with a Captain (his name was Chuck) that reminded me of Larry the Cable Guy meets Steve Irwin.

Leaving was the worst part. I miss the amazing food, the crystal clear water, there never being a bored moment. Even the Adventure Ocean kids' program was great. I miss the turned down covers and fun towel animals. I can't wait to do it again. Especially with the entire boat being refurbished.

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