life in and around NYC is insane

Sunday, November 20, 2016

So...about that vacation

Two weeks of fun and relaxation.

We flew from NYC to Orlando, FL and then took a shuttle to Cocoa Beach.  We spent one night in a lovely beach resort, International Palms.  A bit dated, but still a nice place to spend some time.

The next day we headed over to Port Canaveral to begin a week-long cruise on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas.   Since we were sailing just before Halloween, the ship was decorated for the holiday.  I especially liked this one:

It's not a cruise ship, it's a floating city...we loved our cabin (we had a balcony), loved the layout of the ship.  Food was OK -- Carnival had better food and more choices, but Royal Caribbean wasn't bad.  And the entertainment was top notch -- several performances by the ship's singers and dancers, two different comedians (both did family-friendly and "adult" shows), and even a performance by Drew Thomas, a magician who competed on America's Got Talent.  The ship also features an ice rink, passengers may skate there, but it is also used as a performance venue for a figure skating show.

The weather did not cooperate.  We had to deal with rain every day of the cruise, we had to alter some plans, but we still managed to enjoy ourselves.  We made use of the adults-only pool and hot tub and the fitness center.  We shopped on the Promenade, we played trivia, we even managed some stargazing.

There were four ports of call:  Labadee, Haiti; Falsmouth, Jamaica; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico.

Our plans for Labadee (Royal Caribbean's "private island") included a short cruise around the coastline and lounging on the beach.  We managed to get in the cruise -- which gave us a taste of the history and culture of the island -- but the rest of the day got rained out.

Jamaica was an interesting day.  Our excursion took us to the Green Grotto Caves and to Dunns River Falls.  The caves were fascinating.  Drew climbed the waterfall.  I intended to climb, too, but...I put one foot in the river, slipped on a rock, and refused to go any further.

We'd been to Grand Cayman before, so we didn't plan an excursion for that island, just walked around downtown, shopped a bit, that sort of thing.  You're never far from "home":

Mexico was the most interesting of our trips.  We went to the Mayan site at Chichen Itza.  So impressive.

On our last full day at sea, we took a "behind the scenes" tour of the ship.  It was fascinating to see the galley, the laundry, engineering, back stage at the ice rink and the main theater, and ending at the bridge.

Look at the size of those mixers.

After the cruise, we spent a day at the Kennedy Space Center.  Yes, we are geeks.   We spent a full day there, and didn't see everything that the museum had to offer.  But I really loved the Apollo-Saturn V Building and the Atlantis Shuttle.

Here's the Rocket Garden:

And Atlantis:

We'd seen Enterprise at the Intrepid Museum just a few months earlier, but Atlantis actually flew in space....

If you want more details of the cruise, you're invited to read my cruise blog.

The second half of the vacation was spent with friends in Tampa, but that's a tale for another day.

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