Tuesday was a day at sea. Sea days are always very relaxing. It’s so nice to just lie in bed and not be thinking that is time to get to work on the 101 things that need to get done.
We started in the gym again. We first worked out on the elliptical machine for 20 minutes.
Then we used some of their weight machines.
After showers, we had lunch which was mostly salads plus a kale and white bean quesadilla. You can see the quesadilla on Jeri’s plate in the picture.
We finished with a slice of German chocolate cake and one of tiramisu cheesecake. Sugar overload!
After lunch was total relaxation, Jeri read and worked on some puzzles. Tim took an hour and half long nap.
The we went up top of the ship and walked a mile on the walking/jogging track. We also watched a beautiful sunset.
The brass trio was playing as we entered the restaurant.
For appetizers, Tim had broccoli and cheese soup. Jeri had the minestrone soup. Tim saved his soup and added his steamed broccoli, carrots, and onions to it. Then later he used it as topping on his baked potato.
Our main entree was grilled tofu with vegetables.
For dessert, Tim had the Carnival Melting Chocolate Cake and Jeri had bread pudding.
After dinner, we headed straight to the lounge so we could find a seat for the comedy show. Percy Crews 2 did a PG-rated show called “Old School.” He was funny, but not as funny as the previous show.
Monday around 8 am, we docked at Grand Turk. This was four hours ahead schedule since we didn’t stop in the Bahamas the day before. Again we started in the gym.
Then we each had a plate of fruit. We wandered the ship and looked out over the island.
Then we changed clothes and got a falafel wrap from the California Deli.
We left the ship with plenty of time to spare. So we got to the excursion meet-up place early. We visited with Faith Anne and her husband who are the owners of Exclusive Escapes.
Shortly Gary and Marshall came back and dropped off one tour group and picked us up. Because our ship arrived in port early, quite a few people took an earlier tour. So instead of 12 in the group, we were joined by a couple and their daughter (who didn’t snorkel). Our group was nice and small.
Our first stop was a shallow coral reef. Gary led the way. He had some Cheerios in a bottle that he used to attract the fish. The fish would swim right up to him. One time we were close to him and the yellow fish would actually swim by and brush us as they swam past.
Gary caught a small nurse shark by his hand and let us touch it. Then he let the shark go.
Our second stop was a spot near an underwater cliff where the sea floor drops suddenly. The water is so clear that you can see the drop off. Gary dove down about 50 feet just holding his breath. Then he let out some Cheerios for the fish.
Both of us are still new to snorkeling, so we each swallowed some very salty seawater. Aside from that, we really enjoyed our time. Although initially the water felt cool, we acclimated pretty well.
After returning to the beach, we walked back to the ship.
There were two Carnival ships at Grand Turk that day.
Back in our room, we each hopped in the shower and got clean again. We caught the sunset as we sailed away from Grand Turk.
We got ready for dinner which is always one of the highlights on a cruise. Tonight they had vegetarian spring rolls! For the entree, Tim got stuffed Portobello mushrooms; Jeri got the Indian dish. The mushroom dish was exceptional!
For dessert, we both had the apple pie a la mode.
For our evening entertainment, we saw the Gender Showdown. The host was our cruise director, Leigh, who made it very entertaining.
The game show format involved a number of rounds. Each round required one or more volunteers from each gender. Two rounds were in the format of Family Feud.
One round had six people join hands and see how many people could fit inside.
The last round was a relay which required each person to blow up and tie a balloon. Then he or she ran to his or her captain and had to pop the balloon in some specific manner like chest to chest, back to back, our sitting on the captain’s lap. Hands could not be used to pop the balloon. Then the person ran back and tagged the next team member.
After the show, we stopped to listen to the string trio. An older man made a request and then got up to dance.
Sunday, our port of call was Princess Cays island in the Bahamas. However the strong winds forced the captain to cancel since he couldn’t properly anchor the ship and said that we were in danger of running aground. At this island, cruise ships anchor offshore and then use tender boats to shuttle people back and forth to shore.
We didn’t have any plans in Bahamas. So instead of relaxing day on the beach, we had a relaxing day on the ship. We first went to the gym and exercised 15 minutes on the elliptical machine and then did some weights. Then we went to the buffet and had some fruit.
Since our room wasn’t ready yet, we looked for a quiet place to read. Finally we found a spot outside of the sports bar where we read Ephesians chapter four. Then we went to the theater where we read the books that we had brought with us. Thinking, Fast and Slow for Tim. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus for Jeri.
We had nice salads for a late lunch. They always had fun cold salads and fun vegetarian hot dishes for us to enjoy.
The vegetarian enchiladas were wonderful!
In the afternoon, we took our showers and then rested and relaxed in our room until dinner. After bread, butter, and a small side salad, Jeri had a root vegetable pie; Tim had the Indian dish. Due to the spiciness, Tim was sweating a bit. So we finished our meals by swapping plates.
Dessert was definitely the highlight, malted chocolate hazelnut cake!
After dinner, some of the waiters would do a choreographed dance to some music. Each night was a different theme.
For the first two nights, another couple was assigned to our table. Donato and Maria immigrated to the United States over 30 years ago. When they came, they didn’t speak any English. Although he learned to speak English from coworkers, he is always working and has never had time to learn to read or write it. She said that she learned to read by watching the TV show, Wheel of Fortune. They were very nice and we ran into them several times during the cruise.
After this meal, Donato and Maria asked if they could be assigned to a different table so that they could be served by a waiter that they had had on a previous cruise. So the following evenings, Jeri and I had the table to ourselves. We enjoyed eating together without feeling like we needed to make conversation with others.
After dinner we caught two PG-rated comedy shows. Between the show we listened a bit to the band, Smooth Operators, with the horn trio, World Town Sound.
The second comedy show with Percy Crews 2 was hilarious. At the end, we were both crying and doubled over from laughing so hard. Our stomachs were literally hurting.
After we finished packing Saturday morning, we drove Aunt Vivian’s car to Dick’s Sporting Goods to buy two pair of water shoes for the cruise. We returned and had about 10 minutes to eat a quick bite before meeting our shuttle driver downstairs.
Neil dropped us off at the pier and within about 10 minutes, we were in our room. Totally amazing! So we unpacked and then went to the buffet for a snack.
Our room is on deck 1. A lot of stuff is on decks 3 to 5. The buffet is on deck 9. Jeri found that climbing the stairs seemed to help her sciatica and back pain that she’s been having the past few weeks. Plus Lizzie and others back home were praying for Jeri’s back.
We explored the ship. Here we are above the atrium.
Two violin players and a cellist composed the group called Liberty Sweets. They played a variety of music including some Christmas music throughout the cruise.
Several nights the brass trio would play music as we entered the restaurant for our evening dining.
The evening meal was always a highlight of the day.
Jeri chose the vegetable lasagna.
Every night they had at least two vegetarian options for the main entrée. One of these options was always Indian with different dishes each night. Our waiter told us that a number of the cooks were from India.
We chose the Carnival Melting Chocolate Cake for dessert this night.
After supper, we listened to some music by the Sweet Operators.
And then we watched the Welcome Aboard Show. Unfortunately the music was really loud!
Tim’s aunt, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, has invited us to visit several times. So this year, instead of cruising to Mexico like we’ve done the last three years, Jeri and Tim decided to do a Carribean cruise.
After a hectic few days trying to get ready for the trip as well as finishing up stuff for work and home, Tim finally finishes packing around 8:30 am…just in time to call Uber.
Our driver was William, who is Filipino. We had a good discussion of spiritual things and Tim shared the gospel with him.
Everything went smoothly at LAX. During our nearly five-hour flight, we watched two movies. The first was an amazing National Geographic documentary called The March of the Penguins which told of the sacrifices that the male and female Emperor Penguins make to hatch and raise their young. The second movie was Walk the Line which told the story of Johnny Cash and the struggles that he faced.
After our nonstop flight to Fort Lauderdale, we made it to Aunt Vivian’s place.
Thursday morning, after a late start, we visit the gym in Aunt Vivian’s building to do some weights. Then we swam in the building’s outdoor heated pool. The water was warm but getting out was cold because of the strong breeze. (Her building is right on the beach.)
That afternoon, we relaxed in her place and Tim took a nap. That evening, we checked out our excursion choices at the various ports.
Friday morning, Jeri and I walked down to a nearby pier and back. Although it didn’t look that far, it was about a mile away. So our two-mile walk in the soft sand took over an hour.
We came back and showered. Then Aunt Vivian treated us to lunch at a vegan restaurant, Green Bar and Kitchen. We were glad that she was willing to try something different and join us.
She got a hummus wrap; Jeri and I split a taco salad and a coconut burger. The coconut burger patty was one of the best that we’ve had. It had a great flavor and texture.
After lunch, we did some shoe and snack shopping to get ready for our cruise. After returning to the condo, Jeri and I walked to CVS to get a few more things.
Late Friday afternoon, Tim got a call about a bug in a website project that he’s been working on. So he had to spend a few hours debugging and fixing the issue. Fortunately for all, he was able to implement a fix.
The youth from our church minister at senior home (assisted living) place on some Sunday afternoons each month. This Sunday afternoon, they had a Christmas program.
Jeffrey, Lizzie, Victoria, and Joanna sing some Christmas carols. Although they didn’t practice much before today, they still sounded delightful.
Jeffrey played bass guitar while two Stevens brothers (Philip and Tim) played guitar and banjo.
The youth ensemble consisted of Christeen Oautu (flute), Lizzie Pau (piano), Joshua Oautu (violin), Philip Stevens (guitar), Tim Stevens (banjo), and Jeffrey Pau (bass guitar).
Then they switched up instruments. Christeen Oautu (flute/piano), Lizzie Pau (piano/vocal), Joshua Oautu (guitar), Philip Stevens (violin), Tim Stevens (bass guitar), and Jeffrey Pau (banjo) play some Christmas carols on Sunday, December 2, 2018, at Carmel Village in Fountain Valley, California.