Vacation Sagas

2009 Caribbean Cruise Trip Report

Pre-Cruise Next-> At Sea Cozumel, Mexico Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands Montego Bay, Jamaica At Sea / Post-Cruise

I've added some background music to play as you read. If you don't like it, just click it off.

Whenever, Wherever

Whenever, wherever
We're meant to be together
I'll be there and you'll be near
And that's the deal my dear

On Friday the thirteenth of March, I was wondering if the previous three days of rain was an omen for this cruise vacation. I had even more doubts as I reviewed the weather forecasts from when we were to leave Galveston, Texas to our ports of call: Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman Island; and Montego Bay, Jamaica. More rain! Then for a brief moment, checking on the next day, I learned there WAS a possibility of sunshine! Woo hoo!

At this point one might wonder why we ended up with this group for the cruise. The short answer is that John and Debbie paid for Bruce, Page, and me to go. I needed a cabin mate and asked Katie if she'd like to come along. So, meet the cruisers and their assigned cabins.

James Beene Silvia Beene James Beene Silvia Beene Bobby Adair Barbara Adair
John and Debbie Bott
Suite 1310
Bruce and Page Bott
Stateroom 8289
Bonney Bott and Katie Cobb
Stateroom 8555

Friday was also the day my brother Bruce Bott and his wife Page were to fly from Denver, Colorado to Houston, Texas in anticipation of going on the cruise, too. They spent the night with Page's mother, who lives in Houston.

Saturday, March 14, 2009 Drive to Galveston

On Saturday morning, my brother John Bott drove Bruce to the Houston Investor's Association meeting at the University of Houston to listen to a financial lecture. The university is close to Page's mother's home. Afterward, John headed to Galveston and Bruce returned to join Page and have her mother take them to Galveston. By this time, it had become gloomy and gray and started to rain.

Katie Cobb, one of my high school classmates, and I left my house in Mansfield, Texas about 9:30 in the morning, driving toward Galveston, Texas with a planned stop at Margaritas restaurant in Conroe to meet Allen Hoffer, another classmate, for lunch that he offered to buy us. Just as we entered Conroe, it seems we caught up with the rain that had generously soaked our area on previous days.

Right after the first of the year, Katie and I decided we were going to do some new and different things this year. With that in mind, I told her we were going to try to sing Karaoke on the ship. She said that would be no problem once she got a drink in her.

We sat in the restaurant with Allen longer than intended, while we ate some great Mexican food and visited. Katie had been anxious to order the fried avocado that was served there. We talked about the upcoming Game Night that I had planned at my house in April and about the high school class reunion that is scheduled for the end of July. Katie and I arrived in Galveston about an hour later than I had told everyone we would be there. John, his wife Debbie, Bruce, and Page were chomping at the bit to go to another Mexican restaurant for dinner. Since there were six of us, it took two cars, so I followed John, who subsequently seemed to wander about Galveston, ending up at a CVS pharmacy. I learned he had not picked up his medications to take on the cruise the next afternoon. Unfortunately, the pharmacy had already closed, so we purchased other necessities for the cruise and continued on to Salsas restaurant. The Mexican food was great (again), although the room we were in seemed to be the noisiest in the restaurant. After our meal, we returned to John's condo at Palisade Palms and pretty much collapsed into bed.

Sunday, March 15, 2009 Depart Galveston

We were able to sleep in a bit, but John and Bruce returned to a closer CVS pharmacy to get John's medicine and then returned to the condo. Our intention was to board the ship around 1:00 pm. Then came the discussion of how we would transport the six of us with ten checked bags plus carry ons. This "planning" took about thirty minutes while we were waiting for John to complete some last minute work. In the end, around 1:30, Bruce and I drove two cars to the dock where our cruise ship was boarding this week's passengers. We dropped off our checked luggage with a porter, tipped him, and returned to the condo to transport the bodies. The six of us loaded ourselves and carry ons into my car, a Mercury Grand Marquis, which is large enough as long as we have at least one skinny person. That would be Page! Now you may be wondering why we didn't use this transport method at last night's dinner. Well, my car was still full of suitcases at that point!

We were sailing on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Voyager of the Seas ship and were to stop at three ports of call. Departing from Galveston, Texas; going to Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Montego Bay, Jamaica; then returning to Galveston, Texas.

Caribbean Cruise Caribbean Cruise
Bruce and Debbie at Pier 2. Bruce, Bonney, Page, and Katie wait in line.

Debbie waited for John's return while the other four of us got in line. John and Debbie are frequent Royal Caribbean cruisers, so they got to go in the line for "special people" that moves faster than that for us peons. Because it took John so long to return to the pier, it turned out the six of us finished customs and boarded the ship at the same time, then went in search of our respective rooms.

At stateroom 8555, Katie and I met our room steward, Edward Morrison, who did a great job all week.

This was an inside cabin that, on Voyager, had a window seat overlooking the Promenade three decks below.

Our suitcases had not yet been delivered. At times like this one might wish the phrase "Abracadabra!" could make them appear before us. But we were armed with the content of our carry on bags and the forethought to arrive dressed casually for dinner. But first, there was the mandatory evacuation drill just before the ship was to pull away from the pier. While we were waiting, one of the crew told us there were 1100 Spring Break students on board! During the cruise, the number of students was mentioned by more than one staff member and always with a dazed look in their eyes.

Caribbean Caribbean

Our evacuation drill was around 4:45 and had to be completed before the ship could leave the dock at 5:00. Debbie had chosen early dining. I was expecting our dinnertime to be at 6:15 pm, but learned it was at 5:30 pm for this trip.

On our way back to the room to drop off the life jackets, Katie and I discovered the shuffleboard area. She had mentioned a desire to learn to play but that, in fact, was our last time to see it.


Somehow time slipped by enough that we discovered we were late for dinner and we had to rush from our cabin to La Bohême dining room at the other end of the ship. We found my brothers and wives sitting at our table waiting for us. Our table had a nice view of Galveston as the ship left the harbor.

Caribbean Caribbean Caribbean

Caribbean Caribbean Caribbean

We met our waiter Jose Tejada and assistant waiter Kahshakah Scott. They were assigned to us for the whole week.

Caribbean Caribbean
Jóse Scott and Jóse

Our dinner was excellent. I selected the main course option of pork tenderloin medallions with asparagus spears. In Texas, we don't get many opportunities to order a good pork chop, ham, or pork tenderloin in restaurants. After stuffing ourselves, this was the first of many times to moan as we left the table and waddle back to our cabins.

After tossing around the suitcases at the loading dock, standing in the customs line for about forty-five minutes (a quicker than normal wait), and having the drizzling weather outside, my body was well aware of its unaccustomed activity. My biceps hurt, my back ached, and I had one of my annoying sinus headaches (I call them rain headaches). I was ready to hit the medicine in my carry on as soon as I returned to our room. Katie wandered off and I found that Edward had deposited our luggage from the hallway to our stateroom. So, I started putting things away.

My first bag mostly contained gift boxes for my traveling companions. Usually on a cruise or trip, I try to make something to give to my friends. One time it was flannel bags that could be used for packing shoes or other items. This time, I had some oval boxes that were filled with a laminated bookmark commemorating our trip (I always make a bookmark), homemade caramels, homemade white chocolate coconut haystack candy, and a few other items.

A souvenir bookmark.

When I got to my second bag, I found that I had put one of those little suitcase padlocks on the ziper. This one had most of my clothes in it. I looked in my purse for the key, but my keys weren't in their usual place!

Because of the car and luggage juggle, John ended up with my car keys, which is where I thought my suitcase key was, but when I phoned his room to ask if he had them, I wasn't sure if the condo helper had returned John to the dock in my car and had the keys or if John had them.

It turned out that John had my keys, but wouldn't bring them to my room until he finished smoking one of his cigars out on their balcony. Bruce and Page had gone to John and Debbie's suite for drinks. An hour and a half later of not being able to unpack the suitcase with traveling nightgown and other clothes, Bonney was getting very cranky, in pain with her headache, sore back, and blown out shoulder from tugging and lugging HIS suitcases (and her own) out of the car at the loading dock. Believe me, you don't want to be around Bonney when she's cranky. And my brothers know that. So Bruce volunteered to bring the keys to me so I wouldn't be so irritable. He was rewarded with the gift box I had made for him (and the others). He returned to John's suite with his gift and a pair of John's shoes that they didn't have room to pack. Of course, the others didn't get their gift boxes! Unfortunately, Katie returned to the room in time to witness my crankiness. We did manage to get to sleep.

Pre-Cruise Next-> At Sea Cozumel, Mexico Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands Montego Bay, Jamaica At Sea / Post-Cruise

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