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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 09-20-2007, 04:47 PM
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DAY 2
We woke around 8. We were too cold during the night. Somehow the fact that there was a thermostat in our room had escaped me. It was too cold with just the sheet and too warm with the thick comforter. We asked Eyner for blankets for the beds and an extra pillow. He took our comforters off and replaced them with a blanket sandwiched between two sheets. With the blanket and the thermostat turned down a bit more the second night we slept much better. Donít be afraid to ask your stateroom attendant for what you need. We also asked him to take the drinks off our desk. He missed doing that but we were glad for the blankets and pillow. We just put the drinks on a high shelf since we had plenty of storage room.

Our camera was not functioning well. It kept saying the batteries were discharged, sometimes just after they were totally recharged. The irritating thing was that we had just gotten the camera replaced with a brand new one recently because the previous one did the same thing. Luckily we bought the warranty and will get another module of camera. I only missed a few shots because of this but had to remember to keep changing and charging the batteries. By the way, I took over 1400 shots. With that many you just have to have some good ones.

We had breakfast at the Windjammer. I was going to go to the Weight Detox seminar but it was cancelled for lack of interest. I think they offered it later in the week and had better success, when people were thinking about how much weight they had gained during the cruise.

DH went to Bingo with my mom and some friends. They were playing for the Ownerís Suite which had not been booked. Some lucky person got a very nice upgrade. My sister and I went to the cake decorating seminar. A sous chef, Warren the cruise director and an audience volunteer created black forest cakes. Of course, the chefís looked the best, but we sampled the volunteerís and it was delicious.

We walked though a watercolor class that was nearly finished in the Schooner Bar. We were surprised with the results since several people said they never painted before. Wow, if the teacher could help students produce these results I thought I had a chance. I was going to try it later in the week but something else was going on at the same time. That reminds me that the schedule of events didnít seem to flow on this cruise like the last one. I talked to some others who had been on more cruise than me and they agreed. This was especially true in the evening. With such a small ship people could have gotten from one venue to another quickly but there were gaps of time between events or there were events happening at the same time that would likely have attracted the same people.

I went shopping and bought a ring. The shops and the casino had not been open at all the first day. They were not allowed to be open until we got off the Delaware River and onto the Atlantic Ocean. That should have happened at 9:00 p.m. the night before but because of returning to Wilmington for the medical emergency they never opened that day. Imagine how much revenue that cost RCCL. I was irritated the night before by a comment from another passenger. When we were waiting for the ill passenger to be offloaded this lady said, ďI think we should be compensated for this delay, donít you?Ē Instead of smacking her I politely mentioned how much it was already costing the cruise line and that they were possibly saving a life.

Something I noticed on the cruise was several rude passengers. I only noticed one rude person on our first cruise. One lady on this cruise was very rude in the fine jewelry shop but was responded to patiently by the sole staff person there. I made sure I told her supervisor about that incident and wrote it up on a comment card to commend her.

We had lunch in the Carmen Dining Room. It was more relaxed and quiet than the Windjammer. The food quality was a little better. We went to the Scrapbook Workshop after lunch. It started at 1:15 so we were late but we got the packet. Donít expect this to be a class. You receive 3-4 cut out shapes/words and some paper. There are minimal tools and paper supplied. If you scrapbook Iíd suggest going to the workshop to get the packet but keep your expectations low.

The afternoon was filled with a Learn to Salsa Dance class and the Wine Tasting Seminary. Both were good. It was nice to have the wine tasting coupon in our Gold booklet. We probably wouldnít have done it for $9.95 each otherwise. I wasnít fond of most of the wines offered.

Dinner was good but we left before dessert as we wanted to go to the Captainís Welcome Aboard Reception. We wanted to meet the captain but didnít want a picture, but they took photos of everyone who met the captain. Capt. Jim Olsen, from Norway, is a quiet person. He looked uncomfortable in the photos. I think he was very glad when the whole reception was over. PR is not his forte. This isnít a criticism but an observation. He was the opposite of the captain, from Greece, we had on the Legend of the Seas in January who was very outgoing, even walking around the ship to talk with passengers.

I skipped the evening show, a singer, to take a nap but others said he was good. I got up at 11 p.m. to go to the 70ís Disco Inferno. I ended up at the Viking Crown Lounge at 10:40. How did that happen? It turns out our clock radio kept gaining time all week. On Friday at the captainís Q&A the reason was explained that the ship operates on a slightly different megahertz level than the typical U.S. home.

So I waited for the Village People to arrive. And dancedÖ and waited. The Viking Crown Lounge dance floor is small. It wasnít bad until the second evening show let out. Then it became so crowded you couldnít even get to the dance floor. The Village People finally came at 12:20 a.m. And when they came the dance floor wasnít cleared so people were standing 4-5 deep around the edge. All we saw was some feathers from the Indian headdress. Oh well, somehow we later got to the dance floor and at least saw them. We were ďconsoledĒ by a snack at the Windjammer Cafť. I dropped by the library on the way to the cabin for the daily trivia and Sudoku. I got to bed around 2 after making some notes of the daysí activities. Day 3 tomorrow.
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 09-21-2007, 07:16 PM
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DAY 3
We slept in until 10 and had breakfast in the Windjammer. Itís nice to have breakfast served until 11 a.m. We went to a Line Dance Class at the pool deck. At lunch we filled out excursion forms for an excursion on Day 4. I know it should have been filled out sooner but with a group it was hard to get everyone to agree and get it done.

We went to deck 11 port side to watch arriving at Bermuda. We basically circled the island since Hamilton had to be approached from the northeast. Iíd definitely recommend being up on deck 11 for a few hours before scheduled arrival in Bermuda. Make sure you put on sun screen before. My DH got sunburned. We docked and got off the ship by 4:00 p.m. This was only one hour later than scheduled. Considering we lost several hours for the medical emergency on Day 1, that was very good.

Since most people went to the shops on Front Street we headed to Fort Hamilton. Itís about a 15 minute walk. It has a good view of the ship and harbor. Itís a nice little park if you have the time to visit. Remember to take water as part of the 15 minutes is uphill. On the way back we walked down Church Street and stopped at a church and the cathedral. The cathedral is worth a short visit.

At dinner the dining room staff sank ďO Solo MioĒ for Italian night. We went to the show called ďViva!Ē presented by the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers. It was well done. We walked around for awhile and ended up at the Viking Crown Lounge for the romantic dancing. Then we headed back to the Strike Up the Band Lounge for the 50ís and 60ís Name That Tune and Rock and Roll dancing. We went to the Windjammer Cafť for snacks.

Is anyone interested in my continuing this travelogue? I don't mind either way. It's been fun for me to write it down and remember a great week. But I don't want to use up space or people's time. I'll still work on putting the photos of the trip online.
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Old 09-22-2007, 04:53 PM
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Yes! Please continue. I am enjoying revisiting Bermuda through your words.

We loved Fort Hamilton. It was pretty much the same for us when we visited Hamilton our first time -- most people went to the beach or shopping, and we walked to Fort Hamilton. Our son was about a year-and-a-half old and in a stroller, making the walk a real workout.

Do they still have the beautiful gardens within the Fort complex?
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Old 09-22-2007, 06:05 PM
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You can't stop now...I've yet to take my first cruise and I am enjoying your experience. Please do continue...can't wait for day 4!

Thanks

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Old 09-23-2007, 01:31 PM
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Well, back by popular demand - or at least two of you - I bring you Day 4. Another day in paradise. I'm glad I wrote notes on the cruise or I would have forgotten some of the little details already.

DAY 4
This was our first full day in Bermuda and it was going to be fun! But first, there was a mix up with the excursion tickets due to miscommunication and mistakes within our group. However, the excursion desk personnel were patient when we double booked the excursion for some in our party returned the tickets and then ran back at the last minute to get two of the tickets back. (The morning of departure we found some of the tickets didnít get refunded. I can believe it. We really messed up but the staff fixed it all.) We made it just in time to walk to the pier and board the glass bottom boat.

The captain of the Fantasea tour gave a running narration which was humorous and very informative as we crossed Great Sound. We were on the top deck so had a good view. We went passed the Royal Naval Dockyards to an area where sea turtles are sometimes seen. We saw one or two pop their heads up. We went below to the glass bottom part of the boat. Itís a good way for those who canít snorkel to look underwater. Then we went to a lovely cove which was a great place for children. Most people snorkeled outside the cove near the rocky shore. The water was very calm. We saw some nice purple fan coral and fish but being divers it wasnít especially impressive. DH and I went on this excursion to be with family and friends who wanted to go on a glass bottom boat. But they werenít overly impressed with the amount of sea life either. (They did better on a Day 6 excursion. More about that later.)

DH and I went down the shore line a bit, just out of sight of the boat and found a cave with shallow water and a large opening. We went back a ways and had a look around. It was quiet in there except for softly lapping waves and when some started birds flew out. The cave went back further and got dark. We didnít have a light and didnít want to make people on the boat worry so we went back to the boat. I was getting cold by then anyway. On the way back to the ship they served Rum Swizzles. Refills cost $3, which was less than the ship. Though the quality and quantity of sea life wasnít the best it was still a good excursion.

After lunch at the Windjammer we all split up. DH and I walked around Hamilton and then took a #7 bus to Horseshoe Bay. We had purchased a one day pass at the purserís desk which must be punched by the bus driver before its first use. Though it was only around 3 p.m. it was standing room only. Many were passengers returning to the Explorer of the Seas docked at the Royal Naval Dockyard who had been in Hamilton shopping. It was a good time to go to the beach since there werenít as many people. Itís a lovely bay with light pink sand. Think pinkish beige, not Barbie doll pink. We just walked on the beach and headed east (left) and went to other nice beaches. I took lots of nice photos. The colors of the water are calming and restorative. We walked to Chapin Bay and campground and headed up the hill to catch the bus back to Hamilton. It was again standing room only.

We got a snack at the Windjammer before taking the 6:50 p.m. ferry across the Great Sound to the Royal Naval Dockyard for the street festival. We docked beside the Explorer O.S. She sure is a lot bigger than our little Empress. There was a tram to take us to the shopping area. It is walkable but it is a bit long for older people. Since we were with my mom we rode. There was a local gentleman on the tram. I asked if there was a charge and he said it was free. I thanked him for the ride since his taxes paid for it. He got a chuckle out of that and said we were very welcome.

There werenít as many vendors there as I thought but it was a nice selection. Apparently the street festival at Hamilton is bigger but it was the next night and we would be in St. Georgeís by then. They had a live band and lots of chairs to sit and watch the show. The local shops were stocked with typical tourist items and the prices were reasonable. Some items were of quite good quality. We werenít sure of the ferry schedules but asked local people who were happy to help us. We always greeted them first by saying Good Morning (afternoon, evening). We had read that it is considered impolite to start a conversation before greeting someone first. We walked back to the pier and caught the next ferry back to Hamilton.

We had missed the magic and comedy show on the ship, which was OK by me. I donít especially enjoy magic shows. Of course the Windjammer Cafť Grab & Go snack area called our names so we went there for pizza. There wasnít anything tempting for dessert and we were too tired to wait up for the poolside buffet and dancing under the stars so we went to our cabin and ordered room service. One can get really spoiled on a cruise.

Here's a picture to whet your appetite for a cruise to Bermuda.
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Old 09-26-2007, 05:13 AM
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I'm waiting! lol

Please tell what happened on Day 5

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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 09-26-2007, 05:14 AM
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Please let me know when you will post your pics too!

saublewater
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Old 09-26-2007, 04:59 PM
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Well, things have been very busy here which is why I didn't get to write up Day 5 sooner. I will let you know when I post the photos. Tomorrow should be a slow day so I should get Day 6 written up. Did you know that you can use the Notify feature so that the new postings are sent to your e-mail. That way you don't have to keep checking the board for a posting. Anyway, enjoy.

DAY 5
We didnít set our alarm clocks and should have. We missed leaving Hamilton and going over to St. Georgeís. I was doubly glad we had been on deck 11 on Day 3 when we were arriving in Hamilton. But we did wake up in time to look out the window of our oceanview room and see the land passing by very, very closely. We were in the Town Cut, a narrow passage into St. Georgeís Harbor. Itís amazing how close the ship comes to the land and is the reason bigger ships donít dock there. We got ready quickly and ate breakfast, of course, in the Windjammer Cafť.

We walked around town and did a little shopping. Davidsonís was a nice shop and had good prices. St. Georgeís is a lovely, old town and small enough to navigate easily. It was nice to have the tourist map we had gotten at the purserís desk. There is an internet cafť on Water St. with better prices than on the ship. It was $4 for 15 min., $7 for 30 min. and $10 for 60 min. The same shop also has tourist information, maps and brochures. We walked to the customs house on Ordnance Island to get a Bermuda stamp in our passports. Of course, I took a picture of DH in the stocks at the town square.

The people in St. Georgeís were much more pleasant to talk to than in Hamilton. One of their concerns is what will happen to business when ships no longer dock there because they are too big. We talked with a lady and asked her if people on the island get what we used to call ďcabin feverĒ in Alaska. She said they do but they call it ďrock fever.Ē People in Bermuda often travel outside the country just to get away for awhile. She usually flies to the U.S. since itís only a 1 Ĺ hour flight to New York.

We walked up to the Unfinished Church. If you are walking to Tobacco Bay it is on the way. Itís an interesting place, though a little sad. One can imagine what a beautiful building it would have been if things had been different.

In the afternoon four people in our group took a snorkel tour excursion booked through the ship. My sister, who had also done the glass bottom boat and snorkel in Hamilton, said the sea life was much better on this excursion. She saw a variety of colorful fish, which we didnít see on the excursion out of Hamilton. So, if you are only going to do one excursion tour in Bermuda do the one at St. Georgeís. My 75 year old mom even snorkeled for the first time. It was a big deal for her since she doesnít like to get her face in the water and has health problems, but she loved it once she got used to it.

I took a minibus to a little beach to collect sea glass. The other ladies on the minibus were going to Tobacco Bay or St. Catherineís Beach. We all paid the required $3.00. Later we heard that some people paid $3 and some paid $2 for the minibus rides. Either way, it was worth it so I knew where to go. I walked back along a nice road that went beside the Town Cut and Gateís Fort. It was a pleasant 25 minute afternoon stroll and had lots of nice photo opportunities.

After dinner DH and I walked into town. There were a few shops open though most were closed. We returned for the nightly show. It was comedian Joey Van and was very good. Then we went to the Viking Crown Lounge to listen to some Rat Pack music. We talked with D.J. Alan for awhile. We then headed back downstairs for the Quest which was fun to watch. Amazing what people will do for a key chain (plus bragging rights). Then it was back to Boleros for Karaoke. Got to bed at 2 a.m. Another fun-filled day came to an end.
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Old 09-26-2007, 06:12 PM
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Thank you for another great instalment!

In all my visits to Bermuda, I never got my passport stamped. I think that calls for a return visit!

Town Cut is really something, isn't it? I felt as if I was right back there when reading your narrative.

And, thank you for the great information on Bermuda... it will be very helpful to our readers.
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Old 09-27-2007, 09:22 AM
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DAY 6
I got up early to take photos of our departure from St. Georgeís and Bermuda. I went up to Deck 11 forward port side (the Sun Deck towards the front on the left side of the ship) and got some nice shots of the crew on the outside bridge extension controlling the ship for departure. It was amazing going through the narrow Town Cut with little clearance on either side of the ship. Then we were treated to a beautiful sunrise as the sun hid and then peeked out from behind a large cloud. We were headed directly into the sunrise before turning and heading northwest.

Later I realized Iíd taken over 50 pictures of the sunrise. Iím so glad for our digital camera, even though we had to keep charging the batteries due to a defect in the camera. At least it worked for the cruise. I was also glad weíd bought an extra memory card as the 2.0 GB memory card was full shortly before leaving St. Georgeís. It was good I had the extra one in the camera case to change and get the picture of going through the Town Cut and the sunrise.

Since four of our group were up at the same time we decided to have breakfast in the dining room for a change. My sister and friend met a waiter they had on a previous cruise on the Empress. He remembered them because they jokingly asked for a banana split every night for dessert. On the last night he brought them one. The food for breakfast in the dining room was about the same quality as the Windjammer but it was nice to be waited on instead of going through the buffet line.

There was a Crayola Adult Art Class and nothing else very interesting so we went. It was coloring a lizard with oil based crayons. It was interesting to try, but not being artistically inclined I wonít need to do it again. I went back and took a morning nap.

At 2:45 p.m. five of our group did the Country Line Dancing Class on the pool deck. They taught four dances, though the last one wasnít familiar even to the staff teaching the class so we actually did three. They were the Electric Slide, Boot Scootiní Boogie and Honky Tonk Stomp. The class was held on the Pool Deck in the sun. It was a little hot for dancing but it was good exercise. Soon after the class they had an ice carving demonstration. The sculptor turned a block of ice into a beautiful swan in less than 15 minutes. That was fun to see.

Only one more day and we had to thank about departure. Since we only had two bags each, including our carry on, I signed up for Express Departure at the purserís desk and was given a paper indicating we had signed up. He made it clear that we could only have two bags, must be able to handle them on our own and had to be in the lobby at 7:30 a.m. I assured him we fit the criteria.

We watched a movie in our stateroom in the afternoon. I couldnít believe I was watching TV while on a cruise ship, but there wasnít much else going on and it was nice to relax and tidy up the room. It was formal night so we dressed for dinner. The entrees included lobster and prime rib. Both were quite good. Two people at our table had a birthday coming up so we had a cake for them. Some staff came over and sang Happy Birthday. We then went and had a photo taken of the eight of us on the Centrum steps.

The show for the evening was Swing City with the RC singers and dancers. It was well done. Then we watched the Love and Marriage Show which was funny. One couple was married 51 years. Several couples wanted to participate and had to do a short, impromptu audition for the audience. The couple who got to be on stage was married 32 years. Iíve heard that usually one of the couples married longer wins, but this time the couple married for only two weeks won. After the show we went to take pictures of the midnight buffet. Everything was so well presented. I especially like the blue Crown and Anchor ice sculpture. Having eaten such a big dinner we decided not to have any more to eat. We had only one more day left and wanted to make the most of it so got to bed early. Since we changed the clocks back an hour it was only 11 p.m.
 
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