Grandma Stogdill is visiting us this Christmas for a week. She’ll get to celebrate two birthdays (Lizzie’s and Josiah’s) plus Christmas plus hear some of her grandchildren perform in the Christmas recital at church.
Josiah was initially a little discouraged because he was still full from a big lunch at Carlitta’s Diner. But later he got going and had five or six empty bowls on his tray.
So we chose self debarkation. That meant that we had to carry off our own luggage but it also meant that we didn’t have to pack up the night before. That was so much nicer. So finally on our last day, we used the elevator to get our luggage up to deck 3.
Since we had enough time to enjoy breakfast, we got a made-to-order omelette with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, spinach, arugula, bell peppers, and some cheddar cheese. Yum!
For our last evening with Aunt Vivian, she treated us to burgers at BurgerFi.
They had some vegan options. Jeri got the BEYOND BURGER: 100% Plant-Based Beyond Burger® From Beyond Meat®, American Cheese, Ketchup, Mustard, Mayonnaise, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickles, Onions. Tim got the VEGEFI BURGER: Crispy Quinoa + Fresh-Cut Veggie Burger, White Cheddar, Lettuce, Tomato, BurgerFi Sauce on a Multigrain Bun.
Aunt Vivian got a “real” burger plus she shared one of their chocolate shakes.
Saturday morning, we head to the gym. After our 20-minute aerobic workout, we switch to weights. John, who we met and talked with the day before, helped us and his wife workout on four weight machines.
We enjoyed getting some instruction and encouragement on using the machines. As the four of us took turns on each machine, we got to know each other. John’s a retired military veteran; Linda graduated with her law degree at age 60 and is now a lawyer. Amazing! Plus they’ve been married 46 years!
Here’s a picture of the four of us.
Then it was our normal fruit, shower for Tim, and lunch. Today they had the Chocolate Extravaganza which featured maybe eight or more different chocolate cake plus a chocolate fountain and more. We chose the chocolate cheesecake and the chocolate pecan cake.
Jeri took her shower after lunch. Then we relaxed. Later in the afternoon, we walked around to check our photos. Also we were hoping to see Donato and Maria. And we did run into them!
We went up on the upper deck to see the sunset.
Next was our final dinner on the ship. Jeri’s appetizer was a Caprese Salad – Tomato and fresh mozzarella, balsamico, virgin olive oil and basil.
Cinnamon pumpkin cheese pie with glazed cherry tomatoes and cheese puffs.
For dessert, they brought out flaming baked Alaska. Jeri had a slice. Tim had the melting chocolate cake.
We said good bye to our servers: Nikola from Macedonia, Dmitriy from Belarus, Pujiasih from Indonesia.
That evening, we caught two performances of the band along with the horn trio. We also finalized our photo purchases. We really liked how the photos were digitally retrieved and browsed.
Fauzan was our Stateroom Steward. He was exceptionally friendly. Starting the very first day, he would greet us by name. Sometimes in the morning, we’d hear him call “Good morning, Tim and Jeri” from down the hallway.
Here’s a picture with a display of our favorite photos. Because they took a lot of good ones, it was hard to decide.
Friday started the same as most of the days: gym, plate of fruit (with some pastry), shower, then a trip to the buffet for salad and more.
Today’s lunch menu included cauliflower with green tahini (we both loved it), broccoli mac-and-cheese arancini (deep-fried panka-coated arancini stuffed with broccoli and cheddar).
For dessert, Tim had a slice of chocolate chip cake and Jeri had a slice of key lime cake.
We listened in on a question and answer time with our cruise director, Leigh. He told a number of interesting stories of life on a cruise ship.
After a relaxing afternoon, we get dressed up for “elegant night.” We stopped at a number of photo stations. Then at 6:00 pm, we head to dinner.
We started with stuffed mushrooms (stuffed with spinach and Romano cheese). Absolutely amazing!
Tim’s entree was spiral pasta with a creamy mushroom sauce.
Jeri had spanakopita (a Greek pie with layers of phyllo dough, spinach, and tomato) and a couscous-stuffed bell pepper.
For dessert, we each had amaretto cake (chocolate and almond) with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. We keep telling ourselves “Too much food, too little appetite.”
We caught Jim McCue for a PG comedy show. Although the show was officially a repeat, he spends most of his show interacting with audience members. He’ll come up with funny lines based on their home state, occupation, family/marital situation, and more. (Jeffrey Jena does the same.)
Here’s a picture of us with Jim McCue.
We also caught Jeffrey Jena’s PG comedy show at 9:30. All new material and lots of laughs!
Thursday was our last port day with a stop in Aruba. With the ship due to arrive around 8:00 am and our excursion meeting at 8:30 am, we start our day at 7:00 am.
While Jeri gets ready and pretty, Tim goes up to the buffet and gets a big breakfast. Then we eat in our room.
Because we’re (thankfully) not getting on the water this time, we don’t have to coat ourselves with sunscreen. This tour is in an air-conditioned bus.
Our first stop was the California Lighthouse on the north side of the island. We paid $5 each to climb to the top of the lighthouse.
Here we are at the top of lighthouse. It was very windy!
Our next stop was where we were shuttled by boat to the vessel that had underwater windows.
Here we are waiting at a dock for the boat to shuttle us out to the wreck area.
Here we are heading out to the shipwreck. Our friend, Maria, is sitting next to Jeri.
Donato and Maria who were our dinner table partners for the first two nights were on the same tour. Here’s a picture of us in the sightseeing vessel, sitting below deck.
Here we saw the sunken remains of the German ship, Antilla. Our guide told us its history. We saw lots of fish, some scuba divers, some snorkelers, as well as the ship. Unfortunately the pictures don’t have much detail.
We also noticed the living barnacles on our ship.
After our viewing, we transferred back to the boat that took us back to land and the bus. Just above Jeri’s right shoulder is a boat which they use for pirate shows. And to the left of that you can see the California Lighthouse which was our first stop of the day.
Back on the bus, we traveled to the Natural Bridge. Due to erosion, the bridge collapsed in 2005. So we saw its remains and the “baby bridge.”
Because we were now on the north coast which is the windward side of the island, the waves crashed pretty hard on the rocks.
Our final stop on the bus was the Casibari rock formation. We climbed to the top of the formation. We could see our cruise ship.
There were some tall cacti in the area.
We were back on the ship around 1:30 pm or so. We went straight up to the buffet for another yummy lunch with a variety of salads plus a grilled tofu and vegetable dish and a pastry that had kale and mushrooms.
We finished with Black Forest Cake and Apple Crumble Cake.
We went to our room to rest. However because they were painting the outer hull of the ship and because we were on deck 1 (people were exiting and entering the ship on deck 0), we had paint smell in our room. So we ended up reading and resting in the library.
Here’s a picture of an empty Renoir Restaurant during the day. (Our evening dining was in the Monet Restaurant.)
When the ship pulled out of port, we went up top to see Aruba for one last time.
Then we walked another mile on the jogging track. Tim got a quick shower before supper.
Although we weren’t sure if we’d like the vegetarian entree when we ordered it, we were pleasantly surprised. It was Corn, Chili, Quinoa Baked Tomato with potato jalapeño croqueta, cheese sauce, and leek hash.
Jeri’s dessert was cheesecake with strawberry sauce. Tim had the Carnival Melting Chocolate Cake again.
Dancing in the dining room.
That evening we caught three comedy shows at 7:30, 9:30, and 10:30. The first two were PG and had very clean language. We loved Jeff Jena’s show at 7:30. He’s on Dry Bar Comedy. Here’s a photo with him.
So we decided to check out his adult-only show. The material was funny. We only wished that he hadn’t sprinkled used the f-word for emphasis instead of the word “very”.
On Wednesday, our port of call is Curacao which is a Dutch territory. We dock at 10:00 and our excursion isn’t until 10:45…so we have a little bit of time. (By the way, Curacao is pronounced with the first “C” having a hard “C” sound like in “Cat” and the second “C” having an “S” sound like in “snake.”)
We again started at the gym.
Then, instead of fruit, we get a heftier breakfast. We even got a made-to-order omelet! We will be snorkeling later in the day.
After coating ourselves with sunscreen, we’re ready! We disembark and meet our tour group. After boarding the open-air bus, our tour guide took us through parts of Curacao and explained its history.
We stopped at an old salt flat to see some flamingos.
Eventually we arrived at Blue Bay which is part of a resort community.
Here we got our snorkel gear and then headed out into the water. The water was still cool. By comparison, when we snorkeled at La Paz, Mexico, the water was warm.
The beach was picturesque. Clear blue water, palm trees, lounge chairs, warm temperatures…what more could you ask?
Seeing tropical fish with their variety of shapes and bright colors is always fun and amazing. Because Jeri’s mask couldn’t seal tight, she just used the mask to peer into the water to see the fish and coral.
Iguanas live on the island.
After we returned to the ship, we cleaned up and then grabbed a salad at the buffet. We also got another vegetarian enchilada; this one had kale and canolli beans…a little spicy, but yummy!
After our late lunch, we tried the water slide. Although you start slow, you keep gaining speed as you approach the bottom. Here’s Jeri at the top.
Here’s Tim hitting the bottom.
Back in our room, we took showers and got cleaned up. We again leave the ship to walk around and shop.
Close to the ship is Rif Fort which was built by the Dutch. Inside now are various shops and restaurants.
We saw gun holes and took pictures for Josiah who had already explained their function to Jeri. The openings are called arrow loops or arrowslits. The design made it easy to shoot out but hard for the enemy to shoot in.
Here’s a view from the outside. Notice the three slots.
Near the fort was the waterfront from which you could see the Queen Juliana bridge which is the highest bridge in the Carribean.
We walked across the floating bridge (which you can see in the above picture) to the historic part of Williamstad.
The sun was setting as we were ready to board the ship.
For dinner, Jeri’s appetizer was a tomato and green bean salad. Tim had a regular salad.
We each had the Italian dish, penne noodles in a tomato sauce with eggplant, zucchini, olives, capers, and some mozzarella cheese.
Our server gave us plenty of cooked broccoli!
Dessert was Boston Cream Cake and Orange Almond Cake.
Edge performed for our evening entertainment. He was funny and entertaining.
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.