Cruising With My Family to the Bahamas
Our Vacation On Royal CaribbeanClick thumbnail to view full-size
Relaxation, Good Food, Fun and Entertainment on Monarch of the Seas
Cruising with my family to Nassau, Bahamas was a vacation of pure gratification. Unfortunately, it had been at least six years since my family took advantage of a cruise. Finances impeded us from these titillating adventures. One night after our family Bible study, my daughter went online and discovered a reasonably priced five days/four-night cruise, for less than $300 per person. Remnants of summer fast approached and we had not gathered for a family vacation. Each of us worked diligently on our secular jobs and tried to stay spiritually alert in our ministry. It was time to recreate in preparation for our new beginnings that would evolve during the month of September and onward. The family reunion had been scheduled toward the end of August in Tampa, Florida. Due to the financial interest, we wanted to combine our vacation with this major family event. Airfare was outrageous because our reunion was planned the same weekend of the Republican National Convention. We decided to rent a reasonably priced vehicle through my nephew Elliott Duren, rather than put a lot of wear and tear on our family car. For a mid-size Chevrolet during the entire week, our total was a little over $250. Although the car remained parked in the lot where we boarded the cruise ship; Elliott advised us that this would be the best way to alleviate opening two different contracts from Enterprise Car Rental. The travel time was not that difficult because we had a total of four drivers which included our daughters, Wanisha and Jeleesa. We left mid-afternoon and arrived in North Carolina for dinner at our favorite southern restaurant, Cracker Barrel. It was crowded which did not bother us because we had an opportunity to sit lackadaisically on their porch and rock in those big rocking chairs. Our dinner included southern fried catfish, country ham, fried okra, spiced apples and other delectable items from the menu. We arrived safely for our reunion Saturday morning after our GPS directed us through back roads off the main highway; where big willow trees intertwined as we felt we were going through tunnels. The reunion was over on Sunday afternoon. On that Monday, we left early to go on our cruise. Swirls of wind and rain surrounded us as we left the hotel for our cruise.
Our Cruise on the Monarch of the Seas
After we checked in, there was the routine ritual of emergency guideline and instructions given during a demonstration. The ship left Port Canaveral, Florida before 5:00 p.m. Our dinner time was scheduled for 5:45 p.m. When we arrived at our table, we met our charismatic waiters, John Jeffrey from the Philippines and Bronson Alfonso from India. People from all over the world either traveled or worked on cruise ships. That is why we chose to sit at a table for eight rather than one for four. This would give us an even greater opportunity to meet different people from other countries. We longed to meet people from various nations because our Bible-based teachings help us to understand that Almighty God wants us to worship with people of all nations based on Isaiah 2:2 where it states, "...all nations must stream," to the house of Jehovah. Our family first met Terry who sat our table. He was an interesting character who shared vital information with us. Terry discussed how he had been on more than 98 cruises. He had just come off a cruise the previous Friday and immediately did a turn around because of the great deals. Terry lived in Florida and he got the same cruise that we were on for $145. He enjoyed the good greetings from people all over the world along with the good food. During his travels, Terry has met people from numerous countries such as China, Germany, Trinidad, Mexico, and Spain. He then reminded us about how we should turn off our cell phones because the roaming charges can be astronomical. Unfortunately, he learned the hard way while on one of his cruises. Terry expressed how he returned to a bill of more than $500 due to roaming charges. We appreciated that information and immediately turned our cell phones off. A mother who could not speak English along with her daughter from the Philippines also sat at our table. We enjoyed our discussion with them. Individually, our succulent dishes included such things as sirloin steak, baked potatoes with sour cream, Ceasar salad, lobster bisque and key lime pie for dessert. After dinner, we met Shelley Stanislas, who served as our attendant for games and karaoke. We were now cruising toward the Bahamas and our first day at sea had been enjoyable.
Our Second and Third Day at Sea
The second day was spent at sea due to the weather. That gave our family a wonderful opportunity to sleep in and relax around the pool, eating pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw, and sweet tea. By Wednesday, the third day of our cruise after breakfast we booked an excursion to view Nassau's island. Our tour guide discussed how tourism was their main source of industry. He mentioned salt mines and 83% of the jobs in the Bahamas are associated with tourism. We were then shown the homes of such famous entertainers like Oprah Winfrey and Tom Cruise. Queen Victoria's Staircase and a fort built by Viscount Fincastle on Bennett Hill was also a feature of the tour. The straw market was also amazing with a variety of straw hats, creative artwork, and beautiful clothing. We returned to Monarch of the Seas for lunch because we had a champagne cruise later that afternoon. This tour had been described as "magnificent." Our tour guide was correct. My husband Walker and I, went on this tour alone with about eight other couples. We sat on various parts of the boat as the wind blew briskly through my hair. We basked in the warmth of the sun, drinking champagne touring various parts of the island as the sunset. I was thankful to be alive because those sunsets proved that there was a creator greater and much wiser than we are. We watched the sun go down with a beautiful haze that was simply unforgettable. Afterward, we joined our daughters for production in the theater that demonstrated the talents of Broadway in New York. The performances were stunning and exquisite. My husband and I realized, these are truly the times we must cherish as husband and wife. This had been an interesting day.
Thursday, the Fourth Day of Our Cruise
After a breakfast of eggs, bacon, oatmeal, and french toast it was time to check out Cococay Island in the Bahamas. This was to be a day of fun and sun as well as the last tour of our cruise. My daughters NeNe and JoJo along with my husband Walker played in the ravishing blue waters. The sun was a little intense so iced drinks enhanced our endurance. Hundreds of lounge chairs were meticulously placed throughout the beach which was not for purchase. We played vigorously in the crisp blue waters of Cococay as drinks arrived to refresh us. By noontime, we enjoyed the aesthetic barbeque of spareribs, hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken and various pasta salads. After we baked in the sun, it was time to return to the ship for dinner and entertainment. We decided to have the surf and turf which consisted of filet mignon and broiled lobster which was absolutely delicious. I appreciated the fact that I could have what I wanted rather than go to a separate restaurant facility on the ship. My waiter John Jefferey had proven to be quite capable of handling our desires for dinner although it was a little additional cost. After dinner, we attended our final Broadway performance which featured the music of such artist like Beyonce, Whitney Houston, and numerous other talented artists. We thanked the Monarch of the Seas' staff for their enduring support and hard work. Finally, it was time to end our trip with a final performance of karaoke. I walked up to Shelley, the attendant for karaoke and told her that I wanted to sing a song by Anita Baker that I could not sing. When I realized that, I started to improvise and Shelley so graciously helped me. This made it a memorable experience that I will never forget. Good job Royal Caribbean for making our vacation something we will always remember.