Saturday, February 8, 2014

Yee Haw on the high seas……

We tried something a little different this year for our cold weather cruise…we decided to leave out of port we had never been out of and take a different kind of cruise…we went on the Holland America Eurodam out of Port Everglades and went on a Country Music Cruise…this is the cruise part…there will be another blog for the Country Music part…

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Fort Lauderdale was nice but my heart belongs to Daytona Beach Shores…there is no other beach for me…and it was a little expensive for my taste.  It was fun to walk on the beach and people watch, our supper at Chipotle was delicious, our stay at the Best Western Express was clean, comfortable and luckily short, but by far the best 2 things about Ft. Lauderdale was the Krispy Kreme and the port at night.  The marina was filled with boats and cruise ships and was all lit up…it was beautiful and a nice surprise.

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The sunset as we sailed away from Port Everglades was breathtaking…the Krispy Kreme doughnuts that morning and this sunset was a great way to start a cruise.

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The ship was very clean and the service was great.  They run a top notch hotel on the high seas.  Our room was plenty big and of course (my sweet honey insists) we had a balcony.  I do not require a balcony BUT a balcony usually means we get a bath tub…that I require…I love a bath :)
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After a day at sea (not my sweet honeys favorite at all) on Monday we parked at the port in Grand Turk on Tuesday.  We have never been to Grand Turk and it did not disappoint…the water was absolutely gorgeous…that is my favorite thing about a cruise…it is crystal clear where it is shallow and out in the ocean it looks like blue Hawaiian Punch.

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Did I say I am well loved….my sweet honey even poses for me…he has to or I will not let him take any bathing suit pictures…the resorts on this island were really pretty…and there were hundreds of chairs…which made us wonder if they were ever all filled since only 2 ships could port here at once…it looked like a deserted island even when our ship was there…which was nice…I am not a big fan of crowds…
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Our favorite excursion is always a catamaran…we sailed to a white sandy beach where the water was so beautiful and clear (and looked like pool water) and the weather was perfect.

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Pug loves to snorkel and did see a few fish on this trip…the guide was feeding the fish and these snapper were getting so close that people could just reach out and touch them.  I have been known to snorkel and even swim but did I say that I was well loved…my sweet honey told me I did not have too if I did not want … I love to swim but the whole mask fogging up and making me claustrophobic thing is sometimes too much…but I was cheering him on and keeping my eye on him just in case I had to bulldog a shark or something…I ain’t scared…

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As we were sailing back to the ship, they were line dancing on the front of the catamaran…I am not as apt to dance without my people with me so I watched from the back but as you see I was definitely doing some toe tapping and some slight booty shaking on the side…its in me and it has to come out…sometimes…there just was NOT enough room on the front of that boat for me to properly “get down on it”…another time…another time…

As we were sailing through the beautiful blue waters to Grand Turk I saw many white buoys.  As soon as I saw them I nudged my sweet honey and pointed and he immediately said “those are your Daddy’s”.  My Daddy always said ALL the white ones were his.  He had been known to check quite a few but he always baited them back whether he found something or not.
I wished I had some chicken necks to put in those traps…I used to get aggravated with him because he used chicken necks…I am not sure why but as a child,  that was my favorite piece…probably because when he fried it there was a lot of crunchy part on the outside and that first bite in the crook of the neck was so good.  And it could also be the fact that my Mama was a bone gnawer and loved the boniest pieces of chicken…the back being her favorite…like Mama like daughter. 
Speaking of fried chicken…my Daddy always fried the very best…he would cut up and fry the whole thing…the back always had the tail on it…or at least the part of the chicken that the tail feathers were connected to…it was a joke between me and my Daddy to see who could get it first and then secretly place it on the others plate.  I many times found it in my tea, in my potatoes, or even in my napkin…and he did too…..I know it sounds really weird but to me it was fun…good times…
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Wednesday we sailed into San Juan.  We have flown there before and sailed out of the port but never toured there.  Unfortunately there was no catamaran or beach excursions so we decided to just walk around a bit.  Lots of history but not much excitement and I have to admit I did not want to venture far…we just walked along the water both ways and returned back to the ship.  Seeing the mountains out back behind that gorgeous water was definitely a plus.

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We did get a picture of a big dang seahorse…and we did get a picture of Pug’s finger and the big dang seahorse :) As we went to get back on the ship we saw a big black bus limo…we knew that Vince Gill was getting on the ship in San Juan so we joked that it was him…so of course we waited to see…we ARE tourists AND fans…we watched as a variety of people got off the bus…looking like they could definitely be band members but after seeing no Vince we followed them to security.

While in line I heard a really tall man speak and as soon as I heard it I knew…IT WAS VINCE.  I quietly told Pug that it was him and he said where and I tried to motion in his direction without pointing.  Mr. Gill had done a great job of blending in with his odd glasses, t-shirt, and beachy shorts.  He has also aged (very well I might add), gotten gray haired, grew a small beard (he later said to hide his holiday chin), and yes, he had gained weight.  But his voice was the same…there was no disguising that.
I had to go through the security checkpoint because I had a small bag but Pug could just walk on through…with Vince…Vince Gill actually looked right at my sweet honey and said and motioned go ahead and my sweet honey said oh no, YOU go. Such gentlemen…no doubt Vinces’ mama was as great as my sweet honeys.  Finally I got through and I had to walk right by Vince…I actually had to turn by body as not to rub against him as I went by while he was getting his ship card.  He and his band members were very nice and expected no special treatment whatsoever…just nice regular people…I LOVE country people…

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That night the ship had a b-b-que on the deck.  The food was quite good…we had grilled steaks, ribs, chicken and fish…all the fixins with beans, cole slaw, baked taters and fruit.  They really did a good job to make us country folk feel at home…even had their Asian crew members wearing cowboy hats and bandanas. The one serving our food was even yelling “yeehaw”…he was cute…Pug had to ask him if he had ever ridden a horse and told him it was part of our jobs…not sure if he was impressed or not but he did continue his smiling and yeehawing as we walked off.

My favorite thing about San Juan was that dinner…not the food but the view.  We sat on the front of the ship out under the stars with the view of the beautifully lit up San Juan all at a 180 degrees view…that and the reflection of it in that ocean was stunning to say the least. Unfortunately this picture does not do it the proper justice…

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Our next stop on Thursday was St. Maarten.  We have been here before and it was very pretty. Lots of good shopping if you like jewelry, diamonds, gems, watches, Tiffany & Co., cameras….not my kind of shopping…I am a typical tourist…I like the cheap necklaces, hand made stuff, refrigerator magnets…those kinds of things…we did not have much time and since we had to take a water taxi to shop it limited our shopping time even more…but we did get to walk the streets of St. Maarten and it was nice. Another place, good to people watch.

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We did another catamaran in St. Maarten.  The snorkeling was not as good as it has been before but the catamaran was nice and the weather was great.  We parked in Mullet Bay and swam to Mullet Beach and walked and tried not to stare at topless women…I actually enjoyed watching the older gentlemen from our ship…they were trying to be so nonchalant about it but it was really obvious.  But hey…whatever makes them happy…life is short…enjoy it while you can…

Our catamaran crew was serving beer and rum punch…they even made a tray and let it float in the water where people were floating around on noodles…no diet coke though…they had canned beer but NO canned diet coke…only flat diet coke from a two liter bottle with four pieces of ice…may have to fill out a complaint card…so far the complaint list was very short :)

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We saw two really gorgeous yachts in the port at St. Maarten…this was one of them…that door that is open at the back contained not one but two very nice sporty speed boats…I could smell the money$$…I will admit I would not mind being part of the cleaning crew on this little boat…

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This was a Country Music cruise so of course we packed  jeans, boots, and Pug’s hat…not our usual cruise attire.  But now y’all know that we can dang sure do the country thang right!!!

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When people hear us talk they automatically ask if we are from Alabama, I guess I am so used to our twang that it is normal to me…it was also funny at the people that would see Pug’s cool boots (black alligator from Mexico) they always asked if we were from Texas…cause I guess only Texans have cool boots and when he told them we lived and worked on a cattle farm in Florida they were so surprised…people don’t think there are cows in Florida…go figure…personally I think that is where all the pretty and happy cows come from :)

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I am not sure why Pug got behind this plant for his picture but I don’t ask questions often and just took the picture…it makes me think of Artie Johnson wearing the safari hat in the bushes from that old show Laugh In…and that makes me laugh :)

On another side note…they played free movies on the t.v. …… Convoy, Smokey and the Bandit, Next of Kin, Coal Miner’s Daughter…can you see a theme here… my sweet honey was channel surfing he came across Dirty Dancing (not sure how this one got in the theme)….unbeknowest to me…my honey has never seen this movie…he is so deprived…not only did we watch the second half of it…he let me quote the lines before they said them on the movie…he was quite impressed…did I say I was well-loved…” Nobody puts Baby in a corner! “

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We got our nightly towel animals and always looked forward to what was next…although the turkey kind of cracked me up…maybe it was supposed to be a peacock which I am sure are on these tropical islands somewhere…I understand the stingray, lobster, and pig, but the elephant was kind of strange too…I think they are venturing out from just the cruise type animals…

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…..but I have to say that this mouth breather monkey really creeped me out…as soon as we got a picture I took him apart…I was not going to be able to sleep a wink with THAT looking at me…too much creepy…and I do have boundaries…

This cruise was by far the best as far as entertainment…I am going to do a Country Music blog on that part of the cruise soon…all in all I would highly recommend it to everyone…like I said it was clean, great service, really good food, they seem to try hard to make everything just right.  We found many neat gifts on our bed each night…two water bottle jugs, two led flashlights, two airplane carry on size duffle bags, two sets of coasters, two pocket knives and two white baseball caps…everything had the Country Music Cruise logo on it.
This was the very first of this kind of cruise and I am pretty sure there will be many more.  They are already getting people to book one for 2015.  I saw where they had a Jazz and a Malt Shop cruise and……..a Soul Train Cruise…I would probably like that but I doubt I could talk my sweet honey into that one…I am well-loved but he, too, has his boundaries.  My sweet honey prefers more ports to visit…me personally…I do not mind the at-sea days because to sit out on that deck, in that sun, and stare out at all that beautiful blue water…well, it is really one of my favorite ways to relax…I cannot get enough of that…

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Normally we don’t purchase any of the pictures taken by the cruise photographer but my sweet honey looked so good in his hat…we just had to.  They also make a video of stuff on the cruise, activities, parties, and just candid things…and they show clips of this video on the t.v. throughout the trip.  We were flipping through the channels and noticed that they videoed us as we were about to board the ship….they stop you for that first (of many) picture…so there we are on the video posing and looking cute and then Pug realizes he has his Gator hat on and reaches up, grabs it, and tosses it to the side, all the while still smiling and then the photographer snaps the picture…so that is on the video…Pug said we are NOT buying that video for our 4 seconds of fame…haha…I had to agree but I do hope someone that does splurge and buys it …sees us …..remembers us …and says hey that’s that nice couple from Alabama or was it Texas…whatever…they sure talked funny but were really nice…:) :)

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We started our trip with a beautiful sunset as we left Ft. Lauderdale on Sunday afternoon.  This gorgeous sunrise is what we saw as we were getting ready to get off the ship Sunday morning…what a beautiful way for God to say welcome home…did I already say I was well-loved...