Things We Do At Sea

Crossing the Atlantic 

 

Every evening, before retiring for the night, we find a schedule of the next days’ activities in our mail slot.  There is something (often many things) to do every hour of every day!  Tai Chi, yoga, exercise & fitness in the gym or in the pool, sports, arts & crafts, bridge games and tournaments, board games, puzzles, lectures, passenger talent shows, choral, casino gambling, movies, book club, spa treatments, salon services, cooking demos, celebrity chef cooking classes & luncheons, mixology lectures & wine tastings, afternoon tea, dance lessons, ballroom dancing, evening DJ dancing, floral arranging classes, jewelry-making classes, computer classes, photography classes, reading, shopping, ship’s tours, eating and drinking and being merry!  It should not be possible to get bored.  But, you know, we often do!  You feel confined on sea days.  Even though you can go out and walk laps around the deck, you KNOW you’re stuck in this finite space.  Sometimes, we just sit in the barco, watch the world go by, and take a nap!

 

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Roger & Sandy doing what we most enjoy–trying to keep connected and in touch! Sandy writes the blog. Roger edits the photos.
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Roger has the task of staying on top of all those daily details from home. He makes sure bills are paid; schedules are monitored; work gets done. He’s well organized and does a great job!!
We get a daily schedule.  Hour by hour!
We get a daily schedule. Hour by hour!
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There is more to do than a person could possibly accomplish. It is planned that way. We must make decisions! And, hopefully, 1200 of us will not try to do same thing at the same time! It seems to work.
Tai Chi
Tai Chi
spinning class
spinning class
self-motivated exercisers
self-motivated exercisers
water exercises
water exercises
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Making and donating blankets to the Linus Project. The passengers made (from donated yarns) 135 blankets for the project!
Art lessons--both fine art and watercolor taught by accomplished artists.
Art lessons–both fine art and watercolor taught by accomplished artists.
Art lessons by Benjamin Sack.  His work was also available to purchase!
Art lessons by Benjamin Sack. His work was also available to purchase!
puzzle solving
puzzle solving
board games
board games
card games
card games
Mah Jong
Mah Jong
bridge
bridge
chess
chess
Lectures about the ports we will vsit.
Lectures about the ports we will vsit.
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Barbara Hanne, Location Guide, provides port information including taxis, shuttles, museum hours & admission fees, festivals, markets, etc.
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Ship’s musicians lead passengers in choral singing. In addition, there will be a pasenger talent show in the lounge tomorrow.
Slot machines ae always waiting!
Slot machines ae always waiting!
Gambling is always available.
Gambling is always available.
Having your hair done comes with a great view!
Having your hair done comes with a great view!
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The salon ran out of polish for manicures and pedicures! It is wise to bring your own!
Sandy trying her hand at a cooking class!
Sandy trying her hand at a cooking class!
Cooking class with celebrity chef, Paulette Mitchell.
Cooking class with celebrity chef, Paulette Mitchell.
Mike & Jeff, The World Wine Guys, make Singapore Slings
Mike & Jeff, The World Wine Guys, make Singapore Slings
Our Tasting of Greek wines
Our Tasting of Greek wines
afternoon tea
afternoon tea
ballroom dancing
ballroom dancing
floral class
floral class
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We get to take the finished products with us. Eddie and Calista usually do a class every two weeks. This means we always have flowrs in our stateroom!
The Digital Workshop for all things computer!
The Digital Workshop for all things computer!
Digital Workshop class
Digital Workshop class
Sales are offered everyday.  Shopping is always open on a sea day!
Sales are offered everyday. Shopping is always open on a sea day!
Sales are offered everyday.  Shopping is always open on a sea day!
Sales are offered everyday. Shopping is always open on a sea day!
Milling about the stage with the cast and crew during a backstage tour.
Milling about the stage with the cast and crew during a backstage tour.
We eat!  Sausages!
We eat! Sausages!
We eat some more!  Suckling pig!
We eat some more! Suckling pig!
And more!  Mussels and Lobster Tails!
And more! Mussels and Lobster Tails!
We drink!
We drink!
And drink some more!
And drink some more!
And we're merry!
And we’re merry!
1001 Arabian Nights Party On the Lido Pool
1001 Arabian Nights Party On the Lido Pool
Briana Galligan and DebbyBacon Under the Stars.
Briana Galligan and Debby Bacon Under the Stars.
Double rainbow on a stormy day taken through a rain soaked window.
Double rainbow on a stormy day taken through a rain soaked window.
Ahhh....the Barco!!!!!!
Ahhh….the Barco!!!!!!

 

Wednesday, we arrive in Ft. Lauderdale.  Thank you for following this journey with us.  We’ve enjoyed your company!  Let’s do it again, soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cadiz, Spain and Casablanca, Morocco and Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

Preparing to Transit the Atlantic Ocean 

I apologize!  I’m really, tardy in posting the last ports-of-call.  The hold-up with Cadiz is simply due to the fact we’ve been here so many times that we tend to treat each return like being home.  So, this time, we simply took a cab to the department store, El Corte Inglais, and started with a cappuccino at the café.  After doing some normal shopping, we went back downtown and grabbed lunch at a local fast food restaurant.  We were there the day before Easter and the downtown area was preparing for a celebratory procession.  All the cafes were full with anticipatory revelers.  The squares were filling up with kiosks and hawkers pushing their wares.  It was all festive and fun.  We simply enjoyed the pleasure of being there!  And that was pretty much “IT” for Cadiz.  As we returned to the ship, we could see all the provisions lined up and waiting to be stowed for the upcoming Transatlantic crossing.  I’ve taken the liberty of including some old photos we have of Cadiz just to show you how beautiful it is.  There are Roman ruins, museums, cathedrals, parks, beaches, and so much more.  This is one of our favorite ports!

The Cathedral in Cadiz
The Cathedral in Cadiz
The Cadiz Cathedral
The Cadiz Cathedral
The main square in Cadiz, Spain.
The main square in Cadiz, Spain.
weekend in the square
weekend in the square
Victoria Beach
Victoria Beach
Sand art at Victoria Beach
Sand art at Victoria Beach
Caleta Beach
Caleta Beach
Wonderful Banyan Tree
Wonderful Banyan Tree
Home In Cadiz
Home In Cadiz
Final provisions for the long Transatlantic crossing.
Final provisions for the long Transatlantic crossing.

On the other hand, Casablanca not so much!   We started coming to Morocco about 30 years ago, and have watched changes take place.  It’s not all good.  On this visit, we didn’t even leave the ship.  But we certainly could have visited the Souk with its marvelous leather vendors selling beautiful jackets, wallets, bags, etc. that were once produced in Morocco for fashion houses such as Cartier and Chanel.  The quality is still evident.  And the prices are outstanding!  The spice and olive markets are my favorites!  Side trips to Fez, Rabat or Marrakech are exciting and exotic.  The old Mdinas are mysterious and confusing.  Carpets are still hand-made, but it’s getting harder to find them as machine-made is ubiquitous!  However, the ceremony surrounding a carpet purchase remains the same.  Copious amounts of tea are consumed and hours of pleasant conversation are spent before the deal is sealed and the carpet is folded into an amazingly compact “package” that is easy to carry and transport.     Of course, a visit to Rick’s Café is always nice.  And it is very close to the port.  Rick’s was never anything more than a set on a Hollywood move lot until an enterprising American member of the diplomatic corps had the idea to replicate the Café in Casablanca.  A faithful reproduction ensued.  Rick’s Café is now a pleasant stop for lunch or a drink or to simply sit for a while and watch the movie, Casablanca, play on a continuous loop. 

Hassan II Mosque
Hassan II Mosque
Rog in the rug section of Expositional Artisinal in central Casablanca
Rog in the rug section of Expositional Artisinal in central Casablanca
the famous piano in Rick's Cafe
the famous piano in Rick’s Cafe
Sandy departing Rick's Cafe
Sandy departing Rick’s Cafe
We were in Casablanca on Easter Sunday.  The Easter bunny joined us for dinner.
We were in Casablanca on Easter Sunday. The Easter bunny joined us for dinner.

 Funchal, on the island of Madeira is almost always a cruise ship’s last port before transiting the Atlantic.   Madeira was discovered in the 15th century by two Portuguese sea captains blown off-course.  Joao Goncalves Zarco and Tristao Vaz Teixeira were sent by Prince Henry the Navigator to explore the west coast of Africa.  When they approached the large, forested island they named it Madeira (which means wood in Portuguese) and claimed it for Portugal.  Prince Henry immediately sent colonists to the island (most of them coming from the Algarve region of Portugal.  Today, the climate and beauty of the island attracts more than a million visitors annually.  And we are two of the happy visitors who love coming to this beautiful island!  The following photos will tell the rest of the story.

 

Walking through Funchal.
Walking through Funchal.
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The Ritz Cafe is an interesting Portugese building with lovely azulejo tiles that tell a story. This story is about the hammock excursions that were once available. Two men would carry a tourist (in a hammock) on their shoulders!
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The Ritz Cafe in an interesting Portugese building with lovely azulejo tiles that tell a story. This story is about the wicker sleds that descend from Monte.
Cable car to Monte
Cable car to Monte
Top of the Run
Top of the Run
Those are our feet as we descend!  Note the car ahead of us!
Those are our feet as we descend! Note the car ahead of us!
Antique photo of Funchal sleigh rides.
Antique photo of Funchal sleigh rides.
Sleigh ride in Funchal.  FUN!
Sleigh ride in Funchal. FUN!
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Walking through town, we noted the statue of Zarco who was sent by Henry the Navigator to organze the colonization of Eastern Madeira.
The old fort, Fortaleza de Sao Tiago.
The old fort, Fortaleza de Sao Tiago.
Fortaleza de Sao Tiago offers some wonderful views of the sea.
Fortaleza de Sao Tiago offers some wonderful views of the sea.
Many of the doors in Old Town are really works of art
Many of the doors in Old Town are really works of art
Beautiful Door Art in Zona Velha (Old Town)
Beautiful Door Art in Zona Velha (Old Town)
The historic Reid's Hotel.
The historic Reid’s Hotel.
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This is the stairway guests to Reid’s Hotel, who arrived by boat, would be carried up in hammocks slung over the shoulders of two men! Today, there is an elevator.
Our ship as seen from the terrace of Reid's Hotel while we enjoyed high tea.
Our ship as seen from the terrace of Reid’s Hotel while we enjoyed high tea.
Funchal Mercado
Funchal Mercado
Central Market
Central Market
Fish Market
Fish Market

Now, we are “at sea” transiting the Atlantic on our way back to the United States.  The journey comes to an end.