At last the promised post. We are home, vacation is over. Where were we? We were on the Liberty of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean ship cruising to Puerto Rico, St Maarten and Labadee Haiti--not that we cared about the itinerary. All we wanted was seven days lost on a ship without a care, concern or responsibility--and cruising is great for that. Our room steward Wayne made up the beds every morning and turned them down every night--leaving chocolates and towel animals in his wake much to J's delight.
We had planned not to get off the ship at all, but they moved the Adventure Ocean camp (5-7 year-olds) to Labadee Haiti for the day we were moored there. J would have driven us stark, staring mad with nothing to do all day (all the rest of the kids having gone ashore) so we went to Haiti to the beach. Royal Caribbean International told us we went to an island off the coast of Haiti, but from the map it's apparent it was a peninsula, not an island. However the closest Haitians come to it is working in the straw market there. The view from our cabin, with a stretch, was towards Guantanamo, Cuba--hence the post title. The photo at right is J coming down the water slide on the beach in Haiti--she's the little tiny speck at the top. Wheeee!
While the goal of the vacation for Dave and me was downtime, J is not so down with the downtime. So I picked a ship that was a bit bigger and had a bit more to offer in the amenities department than the one we took last year. In all, I am not sure it was a good choice, but it may just be that we missed Bill, Bridget and Tom--our companions from last year. 'More amenities' did not translate into 'did more' for me. True, there was ice-skating in the rink on deck three--we didn't participate but we did catch the Russian skaters in their ice show spectacular. And there was surfing on deck eleven on the Flowrider--none of us did that either as J is so light she would have been swept right off the back and Dave and I just weren't exhibitionistic (or coordinated) enough.
We did meet nice people at our dinner table the third night into the cruise. The first night we stayed in our room exhausted after the three-hour grueling check-in on top of four hours of travel and the second night we were the only three people seated at a table for eight--we moved for the third and subsequent nights. The man in the photo at left is Dick, one of our tres cool dinner companions in his suit and shades on one of the formal nights.
The H2O Zone water area on the ship was a good place to frolic and cool off on the hot days (thanks to Avinash Kaushik who took the same cruise last year for the photo). The sculpture in the water park bears a striking resemblance to the work of Niki de Saint Phalle that we saw in the Atlanta Botanical Gardens a couple of years ago.
One of the highlights of the trip for the J was climbing the rock wall to ring the bell. Her face painted as a tiger from the morning at the Adventure Ocean camp, she geared up and attacked the wall. Her fierce determination got her about halfway up before the step spacings were just too great to go on by herself. Luckily her spotter gave her a little pull and got her up to a level where she could continue on and with a mighty reach she grabbed the bell cord and rang it for all she was worth. There were also a few rounds of father-daughter mini golf in the late afternoons while I snoozed. Bliss.
I read between six and eight books, and I didn't work at all for the entire week--I barely checked email twice (though Stacy will say I worried inordinately as I called home twice to check on the studio and the house after our break-in the week before the trip). Worst part of the week was the sunburn I got on the first day out that kept me out of the sun for the rest of the cruise--I peel in a constant little blizzard of flakes even as I write. I slept, read, cuddled with my family, slept, read, and cuddled for a whole week. What's not to like about that vacation?