A continuation of Part I

a diary of our
Jewel Cruise

Dec 6-13, 2009

Following the adventures
of Heidi, Gerry and Peter.

Saturday: Arrival in Miami
We land in Miami afer a 3 hour flight from Toronto and take a taxi to the Day's Inn in Miami Beach. Taxi cost? $32. Gerry gives the fella $35 .
The driver says: "Make it $40" ... and Gerry did.
For dinner, we had a huge pizza, caesar salad & beer ... just around the corner.
This Day's Inn motel is an older motel with a sort of tired elegance, but it's cheap ($121), close to the beach and near a variety of restaurants.

Day's Inn

View from our room

Sunday: Embarkation
This morning, a friendly member of the motel staff ordered us a taxi for 11 AM.
He asked me where were were going on our cruise. I started: "Our first stop is Roatan, Honduras ..."
Then he got excited: "Roatan is beautiful, tropical, white sand beaches..." He was quite elegant.
It turned out that Honduras was home, for him.
He asked if we'd be returning to the Day's Inn since he'd like to hear about our Roatan visit.
I said no, but I took his email address so he could read this diary.

Our room
Our taxi arrives at 11 AM sharp. It's the standard fare to the pier: $32 + tip = $40.

It takes an hour to get through the lineups at the pier, then to our suite by about 1 PM.
We head for the Great Outdoors restaurant for lunch and I'm surprised at the rather small buffet.
After lunch we walk through the Garden Cafe and see the real, gargantuan buffet:
A dozen circular islands, a huge variety of foods and little or no lineups.
As you might imagine, we have dinner there!

At 3:30 there's muster ... a very relaxed muster. Everybody gathers at a restaurant, sits at a table with their life jackets, listens to instructions ... then we all go back to our rooms to store the life jackets.

In Miami, Gerry had bought a bottle of white rum, filled a water bottle and stuck it in his luggage.
He was ready for rum & coke ... all week. Did I mention that bringing rum on board ain't legal?

Lunch at the Great Outdoors
Our luggage arrived in a few hours ... except for Gerry's. At 5 PM a message was slipped under the door.
Gerry was to head for a certain ship location to pick up his luggage. They had discovered his rum !!
They removed the rum-in-a-water-bottle. He could pick it up at the end of the cruise.
Monday: at Sea
This morning we try a reg'lar, order-from-a-menu restaurant at the Tsar's Palace.

Breakfast at Tsar's Palace

English muffins, Omelettes, Eggs Benedict with salmon ...Mamma mia!
Why would anyone pay at one of them thar restaurants that charge from $10 to $25 for a meal?

After a large LARGE lunch at the Garden Cafe, we Heidi & Gerry jog around the open deck,
(to work off the calories), then a short nap (that's me)... then relax with a book.

We saw a group of dolphins jumping by the side of the ship.
Alas, by the time I got my video camera, they were gone.

Our travel agent had provided a bottle of Merlot.
It was waiting in the cabin when we arrived, on Sunday.
Gerry whipped out his Swiss army knife, but it had no corkscrew ... yet he managed to get it open.
Sipping wine, admiring the view, breathing in the warm breeze - what could be better, eh?

Heidi relaxes on the balcony with a book
For dinner we head off to the Tsar's Palace again at about 6:30. Heidi had made a reservation, so we passed the few in the lineup and were taken to our table by a window.

It was "dress up" night ... so we dressed up.

After a sumptuous dinner, the waiter asked if'n we'd like another round of lobster.
We were stuffed (as usual, having gained at least a pound a day).

At 7:30 we went to the Stardust Theatre and saw a great show: dancing & singing, with guys who could flip and turn like dolphins and a gal who could twist her body into curious shapes.
I told Heidi I wanted to see her do those tricks. She gave me a dirty look.

Scallops, grouper & lobster, sirloin pepper steak ...

Tuesday: Roatan
As usual, I was up at 3 AM, down to the Blue Lagoon to pick up a coffee (open 24 hours) then up by the Sapphire Pool to puff my pipe.
By 6 AM the sun came up and we were ready for a day at Roatan. We find an island tour at the pier and take it.
Our driver, Aaron, is a school teacher who taxis visitors during school breaks.
We head to a resort at West Bay Beach, Gerry snorkels, Heidi & I relax under a palm tree, then Aaron takes us about Roatan Island.
We get back in time for lunch: calamari, shrimp, beef curry, apple pie ... another pound gained.

Roatan Pier

Sunrise at Roatan
For dinner we head off to the Azura restaurant then to the Stardust Theatre to see a very funny ventriloquist.

His dummy is a Jamaican gal who makes fun of Miami, Jamaica, hi tech gadgets and gaining weight on the cruise.

"They take a picture when you get on and when you get off and send them to Weight Watchers as before & after photos."

Cruise ship toilets are something to behold.
Press a button and there's a GREAT WHOOSH.

The Jamaican dummy said the toilets were designed to lose butt-weight and
"NCL stands for Nuclear Colon Liposuction"

Wednesday: Belize City
We have breakfast at the Garden Cafe.
Heidi & Gerry pile up on omelettes and smoked salmon.
I have a very tiny bit of scrambled egg.

Goin' ashore, eh?
They get their tender tickets.
It's a long way to shore.
The small boats take about 20 minutes.

I decide to stay on board to look after the dogs   take a nap read a book ... so Heidi takes the camera.

While on shore, they find a taxi for a city tour.
The driver says "$30 each".
Heidi & Gerry shake their head(s).
The driver says "$10 each?"
They agree and after the tour they each give the driver $20.
He's a very happy fella.

They get back after some three hours. Heidi says its a very poor city.

After a short rest we head to Tsar's Palace for lunch. It's closed.
We had noticed that it was nearly empty for breakfast and lunch
... now it was closed.
In fact, even the Azura was closed for breakfast and lunch.

So we head off to the Garden Cafe ... again. Another pound gained.
I feel like trying the Colon Liposuction. WHOOSH !!

Breakfast is being served

Thursday: Costa Maya
After breakfast, Heidi & Gerry head ashore.
(My leg ain't up to snuff, so I stay on board and read ... but Heidi has the camera.)

Heidi buys a couple of neato blue cobalt beer glasses.
Then, no sooner does she get back to the ship ...

We got us a bunch of matching wine glasses when in Puerto Vallarta a few years ago.

A couple of days ago an NCL staff member came to our room.
There had been a complaint that somebody was smoking a cigar.
Did I mention that pipes & cigars ain't legal on the balconies.
Was it us? No ... not us.
He apologized and left.
This afternoon we were standing on the balcony, watching the guests rush back before the ship left port.
Two balconies over, we saw a fella smoking a cigar.

Surprise! Tonight is Chocolate Night in the Garden Cafe

... another pound?

Friday: at Sea
Today is a day at sea, a time to relax ... maybe try the Colon Liposuction.

I've spent just a few cents on this cruise.
However, our tab will be HUGE 'cause Heidi & Gerry have been spending like crazy!

So, after breakfast, Heidi & I head down to the excursion desk.
If we put a $250 deposit on our next NCL cruise, we get a $100 credit for this cruise.
Since there will definitely be a next cruise, we plunked down our Heidi's $250.

Relax, read a book, inhale the sea
Note the laptop in the foreground.
It's where (before I forget) I write our daily diary.

There's a neat show this evening: le Cirque Bijou, with acrobatics (where trapeze artists drop from the ceiling) and that gal that does tricks with her body.
(Heidi still refuses to do those tricks for me.)
At the end of the show, the captain and a bunch of chefs and NCL staff go on stage to be appreciated by an enthusiastic audience.

Then, for that extra pound, an "international" buffet with Indian Butter Chicken, Italian Pasta Bolognese, Chinese Stir Fry, Greek Souvlaki, Mexican Quesadillas
... and a wee pig:

This little piggy ...

Saturday: Great Stirrup Cay
Every morning, early, I walk down this long, long corridor to get to the elevators.
Then to the coffee machine and the smoking area by the pool, to puff my pipe.
I'm not alone. A half dozen "smokers" are there at 5 AM.

The carpet has a fish design: the fish face foreward ... so you know where you're going, eh?
At the end there's a window - you can see the bridge and all the hi tech equipment.
This morning, I walk the mile to take a picture and the window has the blinds closed.    

Later, the bridge window is open.

Due to rough seas, we won't be able to visit Great Stirrup Cay today.
The tenders would have a tough time getting us to the island.
Presumably, that means we'll be spending the day eating reading, playing cards, scrabble, etc.

the Bridge

Sunday: back in Miami, then home.
Today we stay on board until 10:30 AM, have breakfast, disembark, take a taxi to the airport ($24 + tip) then wait for seven hours until our plane takes off for Toronto.

We heard that there was lots of snow in T.O. ... but it was mostly melted by the time we arrived (at 11 PM).
Gerry drove us to Burlington, Heidi cried over a few plants that suffered from lack of water while I sat in a hot tub ... then to bed by 1:30 AM.

It was a great cruise: friendly and cheerful staff, varied and awesome food, entertaining shows in the evening, fantastic weather and the ship was ... a jewel.

P.S. It'll take me a week to respond to a hundred e-mails ...

P.P.S. There's a short youTube video here (on Roatan) ... and a longer one here