Saturday, February 20, 2010

Princess Cays in the Bahamas--Feb. 5

We enjoyed a great sea day and decided to go to the Captain’s Cocktail Party. We joined two ladies from Quebec. We had met them at dinner one night previously, and they were really struggling with their English. We met the other lady, Judy, while we were waiting to go into the lounge and invited her to join us. Left to right in the picture are Mado, Rejean and Judy.

It certainly must have been our lucky night because I put our camera on the table and forgot it. It was only when we got back to our room much later that night that we realized we didn’t have it. We went to the purser’s desk and darling Rejean had turned it in. She didn’t know our last name or our cabin number, so we were extremely lucky. I mentioned this to one of the waiters the next night and he told us how lucky we were. Somehow “missing” cameras don’t seem to turn up.

The balloons were all ready for the balloon drop at 11:30, but by that time we were snug in our beds.

The next morning the seas were quite rough and I was surprised when they said we would still be tendering into Princess Cays. The captain did warn that you might get wet in the tender boats, and if you were prone to seasickness, it might not be a good idea to head out. The ride was dippy but we arrived dry without problems.

Princess Cays is located in the Bahamas, in the southern portion of the Island of Eleuthera. Often described as the most beautiful and scenic islands of the Bahamas, 100 miles long and about 2 miles wide, Eleuthera is a mostly flat, coral and limestone island, graced with gentle rolling hills and miles of deserted white sand beaches. It is surrounded by clear, turquoise waters and has a warm tropical climate. Its population is about 10,000 and it maintains an economy based on agriculture, fishing and tourism.

Here is the flag of Bahamas...very different!

There is no lack of things to do…

This is the little bungalow we rented for the day. I’m not a huge heat lover, so having an air-conditioned place to escape to was nice.

A cute little line of bungalows…

Our view for the day…

Jim noticed a group of people at the cabana by the beach and went to investigate. The lifeguards were throwing pieces of bread in the water and the fish were very happy! It made it interesting for the people snorkelling.

There were lots of pretty striped fish…

They have built an extensive breakwater…

If you wanted to snorkel or swim, you had to swim out around these rocks. With the choppy water and my limited swimming abilities, I opted for a lounge chair and a book.

The sailboaters were having fun, although a couple of them had to be rescued when their boats overturned and they couldn’t right them.

As part of our bungalow rental, you could opt for the “VIP” package. Note to selves: next time, DON’T! Way, way, way too much food. Here is our starter plate of antipasto. Our two plates would have easily fed four people.

Followed by a beautiful lobster salad…

By now, we’re both regretting this and try to convince our waiter to bring “small” portions. Our main course was a “sampler” of chicken, ribs, ground beef and pork. I think I was in food shock because I forgot to take a picture of it.

Then came cheese and bread and dessert. I’m dying here! Sadly, most of the food was wasted…

By 3:00 it was time to head back and catch the tender to the ship. These tractor like contraptions looked like fun! It also reminded me of a similar type of excursion we took once in Jamaica that ended with both Jim and I being tossed into the water, being rescued, and Jim losing his glasses. We wisely passed them by this time!

So it’s goodbye to our last port…the cruise is almost over. Our favourite waiter, Roque, had found us and presented us with our present. How adorable! So that we’ll remember our time on the Crown Princess…

A beautiful sunset to end a great set of cruises!

And here we are back at home…going to get groceries!

We’re heading to Las Vegas on February 23 and plan to spend a few days in Arizona as well. We're meeting up with fellow cruisers, Barb and Ed, in Yuma and hope to see Joni and Max, as well.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Roatan, Honduras and Cozumel, Mexico--Feb. 2-3

Roatan is an island just off the coast of Honduras. Honduras’ history includes Mayan, Spanish, British and United States influences. In the 1500s, the Spanish were attracted to the interior of Honduras and exported islanders to work on Cuban plantations and in Mexican mines depleting the population. The British were attracted to the coast for its mahogany. Gold and silver were also discovered and by the year 1600 Roatan was home to 5000 British pirates.

The flag of Honduras...pretty!

Visitors to Roatan can see evidence of its colourful history, as well as its pristine aquamarine waters, and a reef system offering great diving and protection for its sandy shores. The reef system is the second largest in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

This cruise port in Mahogany Bay is brand new and they are planning their official opening for February 10. Look at how pristine it is…

There is a pretty beach with a chair lift to take you from the pier right to the beach.

Normally the linesmen on the pier are dressed in dirty jeans and vests, with or without hardhats. These guys looked like GI Joe dolls in their brand new outfits!

Here is a partially sunken ship. I am not sure if it’s great for diving purposes, but it looks pretty in the beautiful water.

A boat taking tourists around. You can see an airstrip and another cruise ship at a different dock in the background.

We have already visited the medical centre and Jim has had his IV antibiotics for the morning so we are just puttering around the ship. No movies showing right now, but they do show one in the afternoon and another one in the evening.

You can walk to the beach or take this nifty chairlift.

The beach with all the facilities…shops and a bar and restaurant.

We haven’t even left the port yet, and all the beach chairs are neatly lined up and the beach has been raked.

I had debated getting off but heard from other passengers that the shops were pretty much the same as the ones we have seen in Grand Cayman and Aruba, minus the aggressive sellers. With one last look, we’re off to Cozumel, Mexico. Roatan will remain in my mind as the picture perfect pristine port…and that’s a lot of p’s!

We have been trying to make contact with Roque, the bartender we met in the casino on our transatlantic cruise in September, but so far haven’t been able to find him. We were told he was in the Wheelhouse Bar, but when we went there, we didn’t see him. The bartenders there said he was in Skywalkers, but we didn’t find him there either. We went back to the medical centre that night for the next round of Jim’s antibiotics and we told the nurse about our search for Roque. She called a friend of hers and we found out he was working on deck that night at the Island Party, so off we went. Jim spotted him and Roque was very happy to see us.

He had been going to the Princess Theatre on his break looking for us and finally went to the purser’s desk to make sure we were on board. He told Jim he had a little present for us.

It’s a good thing we were looking for Roque because that brought us up to the Island Party which we normally wouldn’t go to. It was fun…lots of streamers and party games.

It was all fun until my jaw ached so badly that I could no longer ignore it and we went back to the cabin in search of Advil.

The next morning we arrived in Cozumel. The Mexican flag...

We could see very early that there was going to be a lot of people in port today. Three cruises ships docked and another on the way.

We made our way to the medical centre and Jim got his IV drugs and the All Clear to get off the ship. Yay!!

I guess when you see ropes, you just gotta swing from them!

It was quite a walk to the shops, but there were rides available if you wanted them. The drivers work for tips and I am sure they did quite well that day.

We walked by the Three Amigos…it looked like a fun place. More to follow on that one!

There were a lot of nice shops but pretty much the same as we have seen in every port. We didn’t feel the need to go into town. I saw a pair of earrings I liked. Good grief…the paperwork! You wouldn’t do much less buying a car! They also hang onto your credit card while they try to convince you to buy something else…pushy, pushy!

Jim is happy to be free and feeling much better!

We checked out the shops but then decided we needed a margarita, so we headed back to the Three Amigos. I think this is one of them.

We sat at a table next to the water. You can imagine how many people were around by the number of ships!

It was so nice to sit and enjoy the outdoors!

Margaritas, por favour!

This guy was making tons of balloon animals and different hats. He was really good. The minute I went to take his picture, he whips out a toy gun! I think he’s done this a few times!

You can tell I’m on my second margarita now. Balloon hats! Good fun!

Look at the different hats…he was quite creative!

He’s a like a puppy with a sore paw! I am sure a balloon hat would have made him feel better.

This guy was balancing drinks on his head but then he got into pitchers of margaritas! Now that’s an accomplishment! It doesn’t seem to impress the lady in the picture!

A conga line? Oh yeah…!!

Whoa! The conga line has a tequila stop…

We conga-ed out the door after that! We took a pedicab back to the ship and I lost my balloon hat in the wind…it was great fun!

Tomorrow we have a sea day….