Number of Cruises: n/a
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Splendour of the Seas
Sailing Date: February 2nd, 1998
David Ellard's 50th Birthday Trip
February 2nd to March 9th, 1998
David and Pam's holiday schedule:
February 2 Intercontinental Hotel, Miami, Florida
February 3 Intercontinental Hotel, Miami, Florida
February 4 Board SPLENDOR OF THE SEAS
February 5 At Sea
February 6 Cozumel, Mexico
February 7 Georgetown, Grand Cayman
February 8 Ocho Rios, Jamaica
February 9 At Sea
February 10 Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI
February 11 San Juan, Puerto Rico
February 12 Labadee, Haiti
February 13 At Sea
February 14 Intercontinental Hotel, Miami, Florida
February 15 Intercontinental Hotel, Miami, Florida
February 16 Board SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS
February 17 Nassau, Bahamas
February 18 Cococay, Bahamas
February 19 Key West, Florida
February 20 Intercontinental Hotel, Miami, Florida
February 21 Board GRANDEUR OF THE SEAS
February 22 At Sea
February 23 Labadee, Haiti
February 24 San Juan, Puerto Rico
February 25 Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI
February 26 At Sea
February 27 Cococay, Bahamas
February 28 Intercontinental Hotel, Miami, Florida
March 1 Board ENCHANTMENT OF THE SEAS
March 2 Key West, Florida
March 3 Cozumel, Mexico
March 4 At Sea
March 5 Ocho Rios, Jamaica
March 6 Georgetown, Grand Cayman
March 7 At Sea
March 8 Intercontinental Hotel, Miami, Florida
March 9 Return to Seattle
Monday, February 2, 1998
Tom Schultz picked us up early in the morning from our condo and took us to Sea-Tac Airport for our flight to Miami. The flight to Atlanta, Georgia was smooth where we changed planes for a direct flight to Miami. This flight was very rough with severe turbulence and lightning flashes as we got closer to Miami in the dark. We were the last plane to land just before a storm with 100-mile per hour winds came. At the airport, the heavy rain and wind destroyed some smaller planes that were not tied down securely. After getting our luggage, we exited the airport and loaded our luggage into the rear of a Super Shuttle Express mini-van to take us to the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Miami. After 30 minutes of waiting and escalating heated confrontations from all of the people sitting inside the van waiting for the driver to get underway, the driver started up the engine. We all believed he was finally taking us to the hotel. Instead, he purposely backed up against the front of another van to prevent all 7 of us from opening the rear doors to remove the luggage. This maneuver by the driver was the end of my patience with him. Having noticed the keys were still in the ignition earlier, I got in the van and moved it forward myself. The van could hold 2 more passengers and he was attempting to fill it completely. But, due to the storm, all incoming flights had been cancelled and he did not know this. I wrote down his name and van number to call the Super Shuttle Express Company later. Finally found a taxi to take us to the hotel. Enroute, the roads were heavily flooded and the taxi had to drive up on the sidewalks to get around blown down palm trees and other debris lying across the road. After arriving at the hotel and getting our room, the local news stations were calling this the Storm of 98, the worst one of the year. What a way to start our trip.
Tuesday, February 3, 1998
Both of us were exhausted from the traveling and experiences of yesterday. Slept in and woke up to clouds, wind, rain, and a very cold room. We called the front desk to ask for heat. All they have is air conditioning, not even a portable heater. We have a nice view from our room of the cruise ship terminal and the ocean. Pam found her pills and a bottle of cologne had spilled inside her carry-on case. Fortunately, none of her pills got damaged. Still have jet lag and motion feelings from the severe bouncing flight last night. It is too cold and windy to walk to the Bay Side Mall. Feels like it is about 40 degrees. While Pam stayed in the room, I went down to the lobby, got some coffee, and people watched while reading a book and the newspapers. Saved the newspaper headlines of the storm to take home. Had dinner at the Palm Court inside the lobby, a very expensive place to eat, that was not worth the price. Noticed a lot of security people in the hotel. Not many people speak English. Many foreigners are here from all over the world.
It seems everyone has a cell phone. Called the Super Shuttle Express to inform them of our experience. I hope they fire him. Weather report said the seas were running over 30 feet offshore. Filled out the cruise ship luggage tags and the forms needed for tomorrow's boarding of SPLENDOR of the SEAS cruise ship.
Wednesday, February 4, 1998
Finished a book and started another one. Not sure if the cruise ship will leave port due to the many delayed flights carrying the cruise ship passengers not arriving and also the high seas off shore. Waited in the lobby after checking out and people watched. Amazing and interesting to see the variety of people and clothing styles. We could not board the ship until mid-afternoon. Our cabin number is 6009 on deck 6. Immediately upon boarding the ship and going to our cabin, we went to check our dining room table assignment location and type. We also filled out the tour selection forms before they filled up. The ship left port at 5:00 pm after doing the mandatory life drill muster. We had the early sitting for dinner at 6:15 pm. The others at our table seem to be somewhat compatible with us. Flowers and a food tray arrived in our cabin. The seas are not as rough as I thought perhaps due to the ship design and stabilizers. Went to the entertainment show after dinner and then played slots. Hundreds of Canadians are onboard. Outside temperature is only about 60 degrees. Wish it were 80 instead. This is a very beautiful ship with many areas to explore and view. Many different nationalities, languages, and many very old people are onboard. Watching people eat as much as they can and even take food with them to their cabin.
Thursday, February 5, 1998
Woke up before sunrise and went up to the pool deck where coffee is available and to read my book. Not many people up this early. Wanted Pam to sleep in. After having lunch in the Solarium, laid in the sun while Pam rested in the cabin. The temperature is much warmer than yesterday. Purchased a cruise ship photo album. All of the 3 other couples at our dining room table did not show up. They were all seasick. Tonight is a formal night. The Captain's Welcoming and Cocktail Party was held just before dinner. Had our picture taken with the Captain and told him of our 4 back-to-back cruises we were doing. Played slots after dinner. Sailed by Cuba today about 15 miles offshore. Passengers appear to be an older group probably because of this being a 10-day cruise. Some are in wheel chairs. Can tell some passengers have never worn a tie or suit jacket before in their life.
Friday, February 6, 1998
Arrived at Cozumel, Mexico this morning with high waves and wind making the docking take much longer than normal. Took Pam breakfast for her to eat in bed. Many of the tours that were water related were cancelled due to big waves and the wind. For something to do, signed up for a Swedish massage. It was not a pleasant experience bordering upon painful. For the first time ever, saw an albatross bird flying near the ship with huge wingspans. We did not know that Cozumel was an island offshore of the mainland town of Playa Del Carmen. This area is not very pretty but has a rich history from the Incas and Aztec nations. Laid in the sun, what little there was due to the heavy cloud cover. But, at least it is very warm and I am starting to get tanner everyday. Later, another RCCL cruise ship came into port, the MAJESTY of the SEAS. We will be back to Cozumel later in our trip on another cruise ship, so we did not go ashore. Met a couple from England while having lunch in the Solarium Cafe. They had never been to Miami or on a cruise before. They asked us about our experiences and recommendations. The Winter Olympics have started.
Saturday, February 7, 1998
Woke up to very little wind and warm weather. Schedule to arrive at Georgetown, Grand Cayman, but had to turn the ship around in the bay and leave. This area is shallow and the prop wash stirred up huge clouds of sand. Winds and seas were far to heavy for the ship to attempt to dock. All tours were cancelled. The locals were upset that the ship did not dock. Laid in the sun for a while slowly working on my tan. Ate a small lunch in the Solarium Cafe, feeling bloated. Bought photos of the ship for the album. Winds increased and so did the waves. People are getting seasick more and more. With the ship's bow headed into the wind and waves, with over a 45-knot breeze across the deck, walking outside is difficult in either direction. They had to drain the swimming pools because of the ship's motion splashing the water out of the pools. When they say 20 foot waves, this means 20 feet up and another 20 feet down into the bottom trough of the wave. Watched a movie in our cabin called "Out to Sea". Late in the day, the ship's course was changed which made a much smoother ride.
Sunday, February 8, 1998
Arrived at Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Woke up not feeling well and sneezing. Frustrating even after the care taken to avoid contact with door handles and other efforts. The normal dock the ship ties up to had been damaged due to the heavy seas from the latest storm, so the ship had to go to the commercial docks, which were very run down.
Upon walking down the ramp to the dock, a cruise ship employee cautioned everyone to remove his or her jewelry and strap purses across the chest. Took a cab to view the Dunns Falls and then to the Taj Mahal Shopping Mall. This shopping mall was tacky, had guards at the gates, and all of the shops were run by people from India. Poverty and junk all over the outside grounds and people living under trees. We started to feel very uncomfortable and went back to the ship promptly. Laid in the sun while Pam took a nap in the afternoon. The ship left port at 5:00 pm heading to St. Thomas, 674 miles away. We moved our clocks ahead 1-hour today. Now that we are at sea, believe sneezing was caused by allergies to something on the island. After dinner, played slots for a short while. Lost my $20 quickly. Just not my night.
Monday, February 9, 1998
At sea all day and night. Filled out post cards to mail. Did my daily fast walk of 10 laps around the bridge deck for some exercise. Each lap is 1/3rd mile. Tonight is a formal dinner and the Repeaters Party. One couple has done 38 cruises with RCCL. Finished a book and looking for another to start. A plate of fresh fruit and assorted chocolates arrived in our cabin provided by the cruise line.
Tuesday, February 10, 1998
Arrived at St. Thomas at 7:00 am. Most of the blue tarps on the roofs seen the last time we were here have been removed. The roofs had been blown off in a series of hurricanes. Took the gondola tram up to the top of the mountain. A great view from there. Mailed post cards to family and friends. After lunch, did my laps around the bridge deck and then laid in the sun to work on my tan. After showering, I walked over to the marina next door to get a closer look at some of the yachts. Took pictures of a huge Lurrsen mega-yacht, 2 large Broward yachts, and a Feadship yacht. Have seen photos of these in the magazines, but never in real life. The magazine photos do not fully represent how large and beautiful they are. The old deserted Marriott Hotel is still partially standing. Plans are in progress for re-developing the marina and tearing down the building. Went to the Show after dinner. Wrote a letter to the Environmental Officer onboard the ship. When in Ocho Rios, had seen one of the tour boats pumping oil overboard into the water. I also questioned the practice of anchoring causing damage to the coral and underwater sea life. Went up to the Viking Lounge that is at the topmost portion of the ship just before dinner to enjoy the view and have a glass of wine. Three more cruise ships came in today with probably 5000 more people going ashore. The old Frenchman's Reef Hotel we stayed at on one of our earlier trips now has been converted to a Marriott.
Wednesday, February 11, 1998
Arrived at San Juan, Puerto Rico at 7:30 in the morning to overcast skies. Big seas last night caused by high winds made the ship's motion very noticeable. Brought Pam breakfast to the cabin after I ate a light meal of fruit. Got off of the ship and walked around downtown Old San Juan. Went to the private RCCL club for a break and to cool off. It is hot and humid downtown with rainsqualls blowing through rapidly. Walked to get a closer look at another Lurrsen mega-yacht tied up to the Customs Dock. It was 160 feet long and called "Coral Island". The ship left port at 3:00 pm. Got a call from the Environmental Officer. He said they would contact the tour boat operator about the oil spillage. He also said the ships now have a system using GPS interfaced with the props and thrusters that automatically adjust to keep the ship in one exact position instead of anchoring. I was pleased to hear this. Did my daily laps after lunch while Pam took a nap. After dinner, I went to play the slot machines alone for a while. The movie "Contact" was playing on our cabin TV. Fell asleep before it ended. Rain and sun most of the day. The rain was so warm, most people that were laying around the pool did not move. The water and the air temperature is the same at 88 degrees. The ship has left the Caribbean Sea and has entered the Atlantic Ocean. Only one couple from our dining table offered to give us their address.
Thursday, February 12, 1998
Arrived at Labadee, Haiti, RCCL's own private island. Did my laps again. Ordered roses for Pam for dinner tomorrow night, our Wedding Anniversary. Went onshore via the ship tender and walked in the surf. Had a BBQ lunch onshore. Got dehydrated today. Not drinking enough water. Sure lots of fat people onboard. They seem to be constantly eating. At dinner later, a fish bone got stuck in my throat and I rushed out to the Promenade Deck just in case. Was able to cough it up. Went to see Frank Gorshwin, the evening's entertainment. He was the one who played the Fiddler in the Batman movie. It was sad to see how bad he was. Should retire. My tan is getting good. Finished another book. Glad the ship has an extensive library onboard. The shops are no longer operated by the cruise line anymore and are poorly run. Played slots and broke even. With the ship going in the same direction as the wind, it was a very calm and pretty night.
Friday, February 13, 1998
Our 27th Wedding Anniversary is today. The winds are calm and the seas are at the stern. This is the last night of our cruise on this ship. We have to pack and put our luggage outside our cabin door tonight. Being the last day, true to form, most all of the passengers are going to make this day as full as possible, even if it kills them. Before daylight, they were starting to fill up the chairs around the pool. They are going to go home tomorrow with a tan (more like sunburned), eat, and drink as much liquor as possible. The shops were full of passengers buying last minute souvenirs, clothing, liquor, jewelry, and other items. Did my laps after lunch. We will be at sea all day and all night long and will arrive back in Miami early tomorrow. Roses arrived at our table for Pam. She was very surprised. One couple at our dining room table are not very pleasant. Think they are jealous. El Nina causing odd weather patterns. Our friends Dan and Leslie should have arrived in Miami today to go on the next cruise with us. For Christmas, I bought them the cruise.
Saturday, February, 14, 1998
For some reason, was up many times last night. Did not sleep well. Hundreds and hundreds of people are in their traveling clothes and show weariness from last nights activities. All waiting for their turn to be called to leave the ship. Heard one woman complaining to her husband he spent more in the casino then on her. Got off of the ship and took a cab to the Intercontinental Hotel by 10:30 am. Went to see Dan and Leslie. After having lunch at the hotel pool bar, Dan and I took a cab to the Marriott Biscayne Hotel and Marina to see the Miami Boat Show. Should have stayed away. The four of us walked to the Bay Side Mall. Bought a new hat. Went to Perricone's Italian Restaurant with Dan and Leslie. Got to be the best ever Italian meal we have ever had. Ugly weather in the forecast.