Sailing onward to destination Bermuda – West End

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We’re on a three-week cruise celebrating our 50th anniversary, along with the Caribbean Princess Cruise Line!

Our journey so far, after a delayed start from Houston due to severe weather, took us to Port Everglades in Florida (See my first post in this series.)

Trying to make up for lost time, the Caribbean Princess sailed away during the wee hours of the morning on Thursday, April 21, leaving Port Everglades in our wake and headed for the next port destination, West End – Bermuda.

Just call us lazy because for the past few days we have requested breakfast delivered to our room to enjoy as we watched a little news on TV, and kept current on the ship’s course. We decided to take our paperbacks out to the deck chairs for some contemplation and relaxation. We have settled into our lazy days, gourmet meals and live entertainment every evening.

Tonight will be our first formal evening, so we made sure that we had our party clothes ready to go to the Coral Dining Room on this always-fun occasion. The dinner was a culinary delight, unfortunately, I felt ill a while later and stayed in my room the remainder of the night. These things do happen and it’s a good idea to pack Imodium for such occasions. The next day is Friday and I thought it best to take it easy and do some reading on the balcony, which is really an awesome alternative! The weather is in the 70’s, mild and pleasant. The views of the Atlantic are spectacular in its deep, aqua-blue sereneness.

The Caribbean Princess is back on schedule. Today we would prepare for our arrival in West End Saturday morning April 23 around 7 a.m., by watching a presentation on Bermuda. The island offers glass-bottom boat rides, an aquarium, museum, zoo and several golf courses, plus lots of beaches and water adventures! We were planning a tour on our own and take a boat ride from West End to Hamilton, then take a bus back to the port area, or vice versa, with our friends Don and Margie.

This island is quite spectacular! As we near our destination, from our ship we can see the British Royal Navy WWII staging area in our sights. The weather is perfectly pleasant and in the 70’s.image

West End, Bermuda, is a bustling place full of tourists, buses and traffic. Buses have the right of way here, where every possible post boasts a sign that says, “Give way to buses!” I wonder what’s the rush, as buses fly by.image

Once in town, we walked the streets and found shopping malls, churches and restaurants. The history here is British, so traffic drives on the left, which makes American’s uneasy to say the least. There are narrow, winding streets, so our bus ride was pretty much like a fast ride at DisneyWorld. I could see pedestrians hopping out of our path as we barreled through, barely missing bus stops!

The City Hall and Arts Building caught our attention with its pristine white exterior and clock tower — very British!

Our walking tour led us to a church with beautiful stained-glass windows and tall steeple. The Anglican Church of Bermuda, Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, was consecrated in 1911. Beautiful!image

Walking around West End was exhausting on sloping streets, and often the walkway would lead to steps down to the next street level.

We decided to stop for a beer and snack at a restaurant with outside tables – Bone Fish Bar & Grill. Here was the best place to do some people watching, and enjoy our cold drinks during the heat of the day, which was still only in the 80’s.image


Our boat ride across the bay by water taxi was uneventful, although the scenery was well worth the effort.image

We left West End, Bermuda, thinking that for a tropical island, this one’s climate was not too hot to enjoy the surroundings — I give it an A+. I would like to return for a longer visit one of these days…

The Caribbean Princess would now set its course for Liverpool, England. Yes, that means we won’t see land for about a week on this trans-Atlantic voyage.

(You are reading the second post in a series depicting my travels on the Caribbean Princess ship for three weeks from Bayport Cruise Terminal in Houston, Texas, to Ft. Lauderdale, Bermuda, Liverpool, Wales, Hamburg, Le Havre/Paris and South Hampton/London in the spring of 2016.)

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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!

One week to sail date!

Exactly one week from today, The Mariner of the Seas will embark on a 41-day repositioning journey from Galveston to Singapore. That leaves only six more days to finish packing and set our sights on the horizon.
As luck would have it, the Lyrid meteor showers will peak during the first and second nights on the ocean, and I’m really looking forward to that experience – far away from the lights of the coast. The Lyrid meteor showers come along this time every year, and it just so happens to coincide with the kickoff of this cruise. We lucked out!
With the countdown to the voyage speeding by, it seemed like a really good time to soak up as much Texas as possible today, while on a day trip to visit with family.
The first thing we did was chose a place to enjoy some real Texas BBQ. We chose the Chappell Hill Bakery and Cafe, where it doesn’t get any better. This eatery was recently mentioned in Southern Living magazine. We sampled all the BBQ meats on the menu, including brisket, ribs, sausage and chicken, which were all very delicioso. The sides were very yummy, also! Then, of course, we had to sample a piece of pie and take home some Kolaches! They are famous for pies and fruit and sausage Kolaches.

Another “pure Texas” experience presented itself as we made our way back home. Just east of Chappell Hill, hundreds of Bluebonnet lovers had pulled over to take advantage of this perfect Sunday afternoon to snap their yearly “Bluebonnet Pics.” Non-Texans may not know about this very traditional spring activity in Texas. The larger Bluebonnet fields were so crowded that we decided to make do with a small patch beside the road…it was better than nothing!

Now back to my packing list…and dreaming about a Royal Caribbean cruise that will take me and my fellow travelers on this exciting adventure, thanks to our friends at Next Sunday we leave the Port of Galveston and will dock in Nassau a few days later. After that, we sail across the Atlantic and on to the Mediterranean, finally ending up in Singapore after a total of 41 days. Pinch me to make sure I’m not dreaming!


Get ready for some southern comfort!

Here is a look at a few spots that I consider the cream of the crop!

Tuscaloosa! Dreamland BBQ — now that’s what I’m talking about.
Tuscaloosa pic
Read the story here!

Daytona! Not just for NASCAR lovers! The sights, the sounds, the aromas — Love Dayton and nearby spots, too!

Read more here:

Daytona Beach

Read more here!

Civil War Trail in West Tennessee! Follow the Civil War Trails in Tennessee and learn why both sides had their stories to tell. Memphis is a great place to start on this journey…
Civil War Trail in W TN
Read more here:

Sailing in the Gulf of Mexico from Kemeh – Galveston!
Sailing in the Gulf
Read about it here:

Beaumont! The little city with a big heart — visit Spindletop, home of the big gusher!
Beaumont treasure
Full story link:

La Torretta Lake Resort and Spa – Golfing, boating, swimming, and more — all on Lake Conroe, TX!
La Torretta Lake Resort La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa [/caption]
Read more:

Mountain Lakes in N. AL! Surprises around every bend makes this one of my favorite locations in the south for soaking in all the south has to offer!
Mountain Lakes region of N. Alabama!
Get the scoop here:

Shreveport-Bossier! Shopping, casinos, movie stars (yes, they make movies here!) and much more!
Read more here:

Mobile, AL! This is the ultimate location for southern hospitality and charm!
Mobile, AL

Navarre Beach! Located in the Florida panhandle, this is one of the lesser known white sand beaches…one of Florida’s best kept secrets!
Navarre Beach!