Day nine at sea on The Mariner of the Seas – we’re half way across the Atlantic!

Ahoy, there! As Day 9 comes to an end, it seems we are at the half-way mark in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, as we continue on this journey to the other side of the world. We will see land again in four more days, when we dock in Funchal, Madeira near Portugal. An excursion called “A Taste of Madeira” is planned for us, and we hope to see some awesome sights and sample a few local wines that are made there.
I last updated my blog on Friday, April 26. Since that time, we’ve been making our way to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. On the map, we can see the Azores in the far distance. Other than that, we are pretty much in the middle of nowhere! The captain said we are as far away from anywhere as we can possible get! It’s a really weird feeling…but nice!
Let’s talk about getting our bearings. As I write this blog the time is 8:50 p.m., and the sun is shining so bright it looks like mid-afternoon. Sunset today will be at 10:07 p.m. We are traveling at a speed of 17.9-18.2 kts. Sea depth is 11,150 ft., and we have now cruised a distance of 3,283 nautical miles from Galveston. Sunrise tomorrow, Tuesday, will be at 8:39 a.m. We are loving this cruise and all the good servers and attendants who try to make our journey as enjoyable as possible.
Mariner of the Seas Captain Flemming has assured us that the worst of the wave action is behind us. Truthfully, we expected to endure a lot worse turbulence than this, so we have no complaints!
We haven’t seen anyone experiencing seasickness, thankfully.
Come back soon for another update!

A gorgeous sunset on day 9 at 10:05 p.m.

A gorgeous sunset on day 9 at 10:05 p.m.

Mariner of the Seas – Atlantic Crossing

April 26 – Day 6
Cruising across the Atlantic Ocean on The Mariner of the Seas is like living on a resort! Meals are served, rooms are kept clean and entertainment is provided all day and most of the night! On the ship you can be as active or as laid back as you want to be – it is up to you. Activities are available every day and every evening/night. Sometimes it’s nice to just chill!
Now for some sailing statistics for all you sailors! When we left the Port of Nassau on Wednesday, April 24, on day 4 of this 41-day cruise, the time of departure was approximately 5:30 p.m. The ship’s log is displayed on its own TV channel continuously, so we can see the stats anytime. Temperatures were in the 80’s on day 4, and we had traveled 1,132 nautical miles (nm). Our ship’s speed was 18.5 kts, and the sea depth was 10,180 ft.
By Thursday, April 25 – day 5, we had covered a total distance of 1,522 nm, sea depth of 17,870 ft., and it was exciting to see the color of the ocean waters change from Caribbean blue to a deep, dark navy blue, when the ocean floor dropped deeper below us. Temperatures had dropped into the 70’s with gusting winds, making it seem much cooler.
Today is Friday, April 26 – day 6. At 4:40 p.m. we have covered a total distance of 1,924 nm, and the sea depth is 16,240 ft. This morning the sea depth was 16,990, so you can see that it fluctuates. We were nearing Bermuda, and at one point at 8:20 this morning the sea depth was displayed on the TV screen as 215,010 ft. We thought that couldn’t be right, but just figured that anything is possible in the Bermuda Triangle!
The temperature is still cool tonight and expected to become even cooler as we cruise NE toward Funchal/ Madeira.
After dinner last night we took in the stage production that was performed by the Royal Caribbean production team, which was an absolutely sensational Broadway-style show.
Tonight Paul Tanner, an impersonator/singer from Killeen, Texas, wowed the audience while impersonating Neil Diamond, Tom Jones, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Elvis, to name a few. We just left a 70’s party that is in full swing at The Promenade…so fun!
Something that I forgot to mention, which makes an enormous impact on our day-to-day life on the ship, is the time change as we are on this journey on The Mariner of the Seas from Galveston to Singapore. As we sailed out of the Gulf into the eastern Caribbean in line with the tip of Florida at 11:30 a.m. on day 3, the ship’s captain asked that everyone set their watches forward one hour. After that, we have been asked to set our time forward one hour at 11:30 a.m. on several days. As of today, we have moved the time forward three or four hours – nobody can remember exactly. So we are sort of out of kilter, not knowing what time it truly is – we only know the ship’s time now.
The first leg of this six-week cruise will end in Barcelona on May 6, and we have two more ports of call before we dock there. I’ll report on our stops at Funchal/Madeira, Portugal, and Alicante, Spain, next week followed by the last stop on this leg of the cruise – Barcelona!
Come back soon for more updates at sea! (I’m at the mercy of the ships WiFi.)

Saying goodbye to The Bahamas!

Saying goodbye to The Bahamas!


Everyone loves The Promenade in the center of The Mariner of the Seas!

Everyone loves The Promenade in the center of The Mariner of the Seas!


Towel elephant takes charge!

Towel elephant takes charge!

Relaxing in Atlantis before starting our trans-Atlantic journey

Hi!

Hi!

The day on shore in Nassau and Paradise Island, The Bahamas, was planned as a time to enjoy the beach and all the other exciting features of the Atlantis Resort and the many shops in Nassau. Our excursion included transportation to and from Atlantis, a spot on the beach with towels, chairs and shade.
Our particular beach location was in Cove Beach, where the waters are calmed by breakers and the sound of the surf, along with the aquamarine color of the water, helped to bring peace and calm.
We made the most of our time spent there, including lunch and tropical drinks. No doubt about it, the large marine life enclosures on the grounds were astounding! We saw sharks, stingrays and barracudas. The sheer architectural magnificence of the buildings and their almost surreal surrounds is absolutely breathtaking! We also visited the casino, but no winnings to report!
The tour bus brought us back into town with time to spare for shopping in the many stores of the Diamond District, which proved to be very productive.
The last time we visited The Bahamas, which was about three or four years ago, we toured the city and Paradise Island by car. We also took a leisurely ride on a glass bottom boat to see colorful fish and coral offshore. This time we just wanted to relax and enjoy an island setting that is unique by any standard – Atlantis! In case you’re wondering, the Michael Jackson suite can run $25,000-$36,000 per night! Yikes!
One reason we just wanted to relax and enjoy this island day, is because we were gearing up for an eight-night, seven-day journey across the Atlantic Ocean on The Mariner of the Seas. We left Port Nassau about 5 p.m. tonight (Wednesday, April 24, 2013) on a charted course to Madeira in Portugal.
Unfortunately, we just found out that the ship’s satellite Wi-Fi will encounter dead zones during the trans-Atlantic crossing. So, if we thought Wi-Fi was slow before, it’s going to be practically non-existent for the next few days/week.
If the signal will allow, I’ll post an update before we reach Portugal. If you don’t see and update, I’ll try to catch up whenever possible.
Until next time…

There will be a slight delay

The captain says our delayed departure from port is due to loading and unloading. No problem here – it means I can still use my phone for blogging.
We were not concerned when the captain made an announcement following our emergency procedures briefing that the ship would be in port until 7 p.m. for loading and unloading. Eyebrows were raised, however, when he announced that departure would not be till 9 p.m. At 9:30 we’re still in port.
We had a nice lunch with our friends Janet and Steve in the Windjammer Cafe after boarding. The Bon Voyage cocktail party in the Dragon’s Lair Disco at 4:30 was certainly premature, since the ship has yet to move, but it was so nice to meet fellow travelers from Kingwood and beyond. The cocktail party was followed by a lovely dinner in the Rhapsody in Blue dining room, where we met our waitstaff and enjoyed their service and a very scrumptious meal. We then spent about an hour in the Savoy Lounge.
It could be that the ship’s Bon voyage party will take place before midnight but I think we’ll just call it a night.
One sad note concerns the casino — it will not be open until day nine of the cruise, due to renovations. And they have promised it will be worth the wait!
Stay tuned for an update on the reluctant cruise tomorrow.

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Did someone say Bon voyage?

Today is the day! Our journey of a lifetime begins now! We are actually on the shuttle to the Port of Galveston, where we will begin embarkation on The Mariner of the Seas! Everyone is so excited! Why? Because this cruise will take us from Galveston to Singapore by way of Nassau, Portugal, Spain, Egypt, Jordan, Dubai, India, Malaysia — Incredible! Bon Voyage to us!

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Sailing, Sailing over the ocean blue…

This is the tune I’ve been busily humming to myself the past few days!

The excitement level around here is sky-high and climbing. It will culminate on Sunday, when we are actually on the shuttle bus that will drop us at the Port of Galveston, where we will board The Mariner of the Seas!

Kudos to Kingwood Travel for arranging transportation to Galveston for approximately 30 travelers from my area that are embarking on this 41-day cruise to Singapore. Parking our car near the port for six weeks would not be an acceptable option

Not only is Kingwood Travel arranging our shuttle, they have also planned a Bon Voyage cocktail party for our group on board The Mariner of the Seas at 4:30 Sunday evening. Then we will truly know that this unbelievable journey of a lifetime is actually happening!

Royal Caribbean International Cruise Lines allows us to bring two bottles of wine per stateroom, per each leg of the cruise – or six bottles for the bon voyage celebrations! We’ve chosen a couple of bottles of celebratory wine — bringing just a little bit of southern comfort from Texas with us.

A favorite Texas wine!

A favorite Texas wine!

Every day this week was spent either sorting and packing or shopping for the last minute have-to-haves. I’m certain we don’t need half of what we’re taking.

Another chunk of time was spent with AT&T customer service sorting out what we need for calls and texting on the other side of the world! Jodi did a good job helping us out. Let’s just hope we made the right choices!

Did I mention that we are excited? Our son and his family live nearby and will drive us to our shuttle bus. They will have fun using the pool and looking after our place while we’re gone. They have promised not to throw too many parties!

We’re looking forward to chatting with our family members via Skype from exotic ports of call such as Medeira, Portugal, Barcelona, Alexandria, Egypt, Dubai and Singapore to name a few.

I’m also excited that my newspaper publisher has linked my blog to http://www.ourtribune.com!

Just two nights and one day left!