Saturday, December 20, 2008


With temperatures plummeting in Jacksonville FL, we are forced to look for an alternative. We find it at "I-WANT-A-CRUISE.COM". A five-day cruise to the Bahamas for $280.00 per person with all you can eat included. It should have been sold as " THE GLUT-BUCKET CRUISE". A breakfast to die for, lunch buffet till you can't take any more and then a beautiful five-course dinner and a very slow walk back to your cabin to find your bed made and turned down and a walrus in it. Next to the towel animals every night are mint chocolates as if there is space to put it. For those with space, there is a continuous buffet on the afterdeck 24 hours a day. Next morning its time to check the dock lines before going to town in Nassau. We see the sights and do some Christmas shopping for the grandkids, Rebekah, Zac and Ella and buy some more bottles of 'Ricardo's Mango Rum' for the bonded journey back to America.

We took the ferry to Paradise Island to visit the magnificent hotel "ATLANTIS" with its wrap-around aquarium filled with every type of fish, large and small and even Manta rays and of course the "QUEEN's" royal throne. The Casino has breath-taking glass sculptures by Chihuly and the marina has million dollar powerboats with jacuzzis on the aft deck. The gardens and flowers match the architecture. Inspiring to say the least.

We set sail as the sun was setting, we cruised all night through the Bahama islands past Eleuthera to arrive at dawn at the island of 'Little San Salvador' and the bay called "Half-Moon Cay". It doesn't get any better unless you are at the Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef. The crew offloaded more food by barge and put on a BBQ for two and a half thousand people on the beach. We took a very long walk to escape the multitude. In late February we should be anchored in this same bay and perhaps by then we will be hungry again. The Queen did suggest I leave her there and pick her up at that time, but even she would get sick of BBQ being served every couple of days.

The crew are forever working on maintenance including this guy further down, sanding the stairs and re-varnishing the brightwork. He should be finished with the stairs by the end of the month. Since 9/11 the bridge is off limits and even the crew and staff communicate with the officers by email. We made a special request to visit the bridge and when it was eventually granted we were escorted by three guards. The view and the technology is awesome. We learned a lot from them in terms of how they perceive people in small yachts. Our vessel next to this liner would look like a floating sea-gull and very difficult to observe on radar. The only thing we had in common was the size of the binoculars.

A smooth sail back to Jacksonville, clear customs, back in the car and home to ARITA which somehow just doesn't look or feel the same. It's just as well that I made the QUEEN sign a declaration stating..... " Being of sound mind and body I hereby declare that I will not demand turned down beds, endless food, constant runnnnnning hot and cold performed by orchestras.....

A wonderful birthday present for Laurie. The cake was inscribed with "27" since she certainly looks half her age. Feel free to double click on any of the photos. The next cruise leaves from Jacksonville tomorrow and if you're hungry......

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