As you probably know, enjoying the sun and warmth is our simple goal for this winter. Since I last posted in early January, we are continuing our escapades with that goal in mind. From Congress, Arizona, we traveled short distances to Quartzsite to Yuma and to Casa Grande. On our brief stopover in Q we were happy to see our rving friends, Mary and Elaine, Chuck and Jan and Ann and Mick. We had fun reminiscing with all of them. Our Yuma time was mostly consumed with my dental work just over the border in Algodones, Mexico. But we did have a chance to take a ride out to Sidewinder Road area where we've boondocked in past years, in the shadows of the Chocolate Mountains. There we found more friends, Karen and Mickey Bennett and Kaaren and Bill Payne, who welcomed our surprise visit to their winter parking spot and shared stories for the afternoon.
Then…..there’s the Caribbean! I (Nancy) took a plane ride east to Ft. Lauderdale in late January to join some friends for my first cruise. (Jerry had a solo week in AZ, about which he is still secretive! I know it involved trying out his new Kindle and not making the bed, though. )
Karen, Connie, Patience, and Ed (Karen’s Dad, who we all loved having as our escort.) were superb cruising companions on the Ruby Princess, as we made our way to the Bahamas, St.Maarten, St.Thomas and Grand Turk. Oh, and we also had about 45 other friendly folks in Karen’s group of lawyers from the Clearwater Bar Assn. where she is the director. We all shared Karen and I discovered new Florida friends.
I learned quickly from all my veteran cruise friends that you shape your own cruising experience. Actually, it could involve choosing to simply watch the ocean or an island go by. The beautiful oceanic views, the variety of excellent entertainment and the assortment of feasts provide a super atmosphere for as much relaxation and as much excitement as one would choose to have.
The singing and dancing entertainment in the theater was one of my favorite activities onboard. There were also karaoke contests and an art auction, a magician and a comedian, a hilarious chefs demonstration or you could talk with the engineer about the workings of the ship….just to mention a few of the events. The spa is always open for pampering. There are movies on a humungous screen at one pool and music/games at another pool.
We had lots of fun off the ship, too. Such as, exploring the Dutch and French sides of St. Maarten, the cable car ride to view St. Thomas from above, our market shopping for knockoff purses and the National Museum on Grand Turk that has relics of a 1500s ship that may be the Pinta.
Looking back, I would say that our evening meals together were another highlight. Our groups at dinner would share experiences of the day…getting kicked off a massage table at the nude beach, etc…..I met some fun, interesting people and the array of food choices brought something unique each night. And our smiling and helpful international wait staff, from Thailand and the Philippines, even broke out in a song occasionally.
A special ingredient on this trip was the opportunity to spend time with Ed France. He is a vibrant and humorous gentleman that brings his individual recipe for life to the gathering. He shared the right combination of travel tales and sage advice, had a few jokes to liven up the happy hours and was on the spot with his camera. What a joy!
As you can imagine, good photo ops were around every corner. I chose a few of my collection for an album that is linked at the end of this post.
One more good thing….I did not get seasick! Yay! On the other hand, I think I must have put on ten pounds from the yummy desserts and breakfast pastries.
I can now understand why some people take cruises repeatedly. You can relax and let the captain do the driving. You just have to make your choices of what to do when.
For this group of old friends it was a great time for making memories. Thanks Karen, Ed, Patience and Connie for a special cruise!
So glad you visited Hurley Travels. Stay safe.