Welcome to our travels and adventures

Welcome to our travels and adventures

Ya Mon

Nuf said! Can y’all tell where we are now? That was the first  bit of dialect oSmokes and beer shop and unfinished home in back.ur tour bus driver taught us while on the road to tour the Good Hope Plantation – Ya Mon. Our ride over to Good Hope took us through the town of Montego Bay, through the country side and into the rural areas of Jamaca. I was surprised to see so much litter as we drove through Montego Bay. Such a tourist area, I didn’t expect the untidiness. Otherwise it was a pleasant trip, the driver provided information of our drive. We saw lots of homes that were partially built but not finished – like the second floor of a house was not roofed but the owners were still living in it. The driver explained that the owners build what they can when they have the money to do so – save a little then build a little.

Goats doing the highway cleaning! We make our turn off the freeway and onto the inland road to the plantation and we find a small herd of goats grazing on the garbage left along the road side. This road took us up the mountain and into the plantation Sugar Cane Fields on the Plantation. with some bumps and tossing around but it was paved so no dust. The driver explained that the plantation used to grow lots of sugar cane but now grows oranges and cane and provides tours. We roll up to the visitors centre and were given instruction on where to go and wait for our plantation tour guide. It never ceases to Beautiful Fauna at the water wheel. amaze me how some people can not follow instructions. After a pee break, we were to gather in an area to meet our tour guide and to begin the tour. Yes, you guessed it, we had to wait for a few while they perused through the gift shop and somehow our group was spilt up and we continued to wait at the various points of interest throughout the tour.

Our first stop after the visitors centre was For you people watchers, here's an interesting couple! the ‘water wheel’. We walked down a short trail beside a trickling creek – I have to assume it used to have a lot more water in it to channel water to the wheel. Anyway, we come upon an old ruin building that housed the wheel with several stone pillars that must have held the water viaducts  that routed water to the wheel. Since the water wheel was the only source of power for the plantation, you would think that it would have been restored and working for a better illustration Abother pretty butterfly at the water wheel.of plantation life back when. Anyway, we find the wheel corroded, rusted and deteriorating beyond help. The foliage around us was however fascinating with very large banyan trees, bamboo and lots of butterflies. Back on the bus to the house. It overlooked the plantation and the road up was snake like but paved.

All unloaded but again have to wait for the others that decided to wander off at the visitors centre – you probably can tell Plantation property as far as you can see! this was a burr for me. Anyway, the plus side was that we got to sit under the tree and gaze out over the hill top view and it was terrific so all is forgiven. We entered the home and were amazed at the heavy construction of the exterior walls but I guess they learned early that they do get a few Front Of The Plantation House windy days there! When you looked up at the ceiling, all you saw was the underside of the roof boards and in some places, daylight. Apparently, when it rains the cedar shingles expand quickly and seal up the holes and no or very little water leaks into the home. The ceilings are left open for the heat to rise and keep the living area cooler. Large windows in all directions help to direct the breezes to flow through the home. After the house tour, we Look up, see the light! were directed to the dining room for a buffet lunch of a Jamaican prepared meal of 2 varieties of chicken, fish, potatoes and green beans. Rum cake was served for Our Lunch in the dining room of the Plantation dessert. We left and boarded the bus for a quiet ride back to the pier to board the ship.




Our Boat from the 'high road' in Montego Bay


Last minute shopping from the local merchants.



As we walked through customs to the pier, there was a marching band playing for all the cruisers as we shopped or boarded the ship to leave for Grand Caymen. We had  Marching Band greet us as we board the Boat another nice evening with our cruise’n buds from the Rainbow Plantation. Returning to our room for the night – after pizza and ice cream and a stroll of course, we were greeted by another towel pet. It’s neat to have these critters there when you walk in….Our room critter.

We hope all is well where you are, all is good here.

Head’n to Montego Bay

Breakfast With Jerry & Diane This is our first full day at Sea and we were excited to see what mischief we would get into while cooped up all day on the boat. After all, when you take a walk around the deck, what else is there to do? To start our day, we got in line forDiane Playing Bean Bag Toss the breakfast buffet. Wow, I can’t say that I have ever seen so much food available. We also could have gone to a dining room for a full service breakfast.  There certainly is no reason to be hungry while on board! We met up with Dianne & Jerry and discussed the possibilities for the day. The sea was calm and the weather was great.

Collecting For Happy Hour In Lobby Before Dinner


Kicking Back on the Lido Deck



Well, like I said in the last post, there is the activity calendar with all kinds of things to  do or watch or listen to. We watched the bean bag toss and then decided to try to play tomorrow. We did some people watching, the ‘hairy chest’ contest – I think it Large TV On Lido Deck for Movies at Night should have been called the man’s biggest belly contest – and no, I would not have Midnight Pizza on Aft Lido Aft With Diane & Jerry won that one either, these ‘lads’ were bigger than me! There were 2 pools and 4 hot tubs – and they were busy all the time. Before we knew it, we were gathering for the 5 o’clock beverage and then dinner. Where did the day go? I can’t remember any moments of boredom with nothing to do. The  evening was spent watching the shows and listening to the comedy acts, pizza at midnight and a stroll around the deck looking out at the blackness of night while eating more ice cream! Of course, our ‘towel animal’ greeted us as we came into the room.

There's an Elephant In Our RoomTuesday started off much the same only this time we went to the dining room for a more ‘civilized’ breakfast. There’s something to be said for being waited on! It was also a selfish decision – this was our last morning of leisure since we have booked our shore excursions for our 3 ports of call and know that we will be getting off the ship fairly early with no time to be lazy. After our ‘up town’ breakfast, we have a leisure day, people watching, trying our hand at bean bag toss, music trivia and of course, eating! For having a cBarb all Dressed up for Dinnerouple of days that we wondered what we would do to consume our time, they went by in a  blink. Soon, we were meeting with many of the Rainbow We're on the 5th Floor Balcony Watching the Giant Tumble Puzzle on the 3rd Floor LobbyPlantation group for our pre-dinner beverages. We checked out what each other has been doing and comparing what shore excursions we are going on.  To-nights dinner dress code is called ‘Cruise Elegant’ so everyone going into the dinning room dressed nicely. The rule is no swim wear, flip flops, tank tops etc. If Barb hadn’t insisted that I take my sport coat, I would have had to go to the buffet for my dinner – thanks babe for looking after me again!



Barb Playing Bean Bag Toss The Hairy Chests Contest








Wednesday morning brings into Montego Bay, Jamaica. We’re having breakfast again with Dianne and Jerry and he wants to go forward to an open deck and watch our entry into port. As Jerry said, he wanted to watch to make sure they did it right – he used to be with the US Coast Guard. We had the deck to ourselves. We watched the pilot boat bring the harbor pilot out to the ship as he guides the big boat into port. Jerry says even the US Navy have to turn control over to the harbor pilot when they come into a port. Who knew? Anyway, it takes some time to get us in and moored for de-embarkation.Arriving at Montego Bay, Jamaca

This is probably a good place to end this for now and I hope all is well where you are…..

Just Cruis’in

We did it, we went on our first cruise and made it back without any mishaps or capsizing or the ship running aground on a sand bar! But, we did find a bar and I’m sure that is a surprise to y’all. I hope I don’t bore you so I‘ll try to keep it a fun and interesting read.
Bagel Breakfast In Clubhouse Before Cruise Departure We started out at a time that is somewhat foreign to us – 8:00AM! The group that was going from here at the Plantation had to be at the club house by 8:30 for theNew Orleans, Here We Come bus ride to New Orleans to board the cruise ship. Waiting for us at the club house were bagels and coffee – apparently served every Sunday – wow, who knew? Anyway on the bus now and heading off to the boat – oh, excuse me, the ship. We turn into the rest area as we cross the Alabama – Mississippi state line so many could get off to deposit the coffees consumed. I guess it’s an age thing and we’re back on the road again but again, we pull off at the rest area as we cross the Mississippi – Louisiana state line, what’s with that? We’re finally at the ship and we think it’s great, we don’t have to touch our luggage, it gets taken off the bus and delivered through boarding to the ship and will eventually end up at our stateroom – we hope. Now, before I go to much further, try to imagine the line ups to go through security. There are 2 boats to be loaded with First View Of Our Ship approx. 3500 people each. Our first reaction was that this was only a small inconvenience and once on board, all will be good. Barb goes through the scanner and sets off all the bells and whistles. As she explains about her knees, they escort her off to the side to be ‘wanded’. Wow, she got the full treatment with a pat down! She gets all the luck ;) At registration, we get our cards which is like a credit card – wait a minute, it is a credit card because whatever we spend on the ship with that ‘card’, ends up on our credit card! On the gangway to the ship Be patient with me, this is our first ever cruise and it is all new to us so imagine us all wide eyed and a little bit scared.
All in all, the boarding went very smoothly and before we knew it, we were standing in our stateroom and our luggage was waiting for us, that was a relief. We had a quick look around then headed on up to the Lido deck to the lunch buffet – it has been a long time since the bagels this morning and we didn’t want to miss any of our ‘free’ meals! We managed to find our way from deck 7 – our stateroom to deck 9 where the buffet is and what did we see? Another line up from both sides of the ship. So, this is to be our future for the next 7 days, line after line but hey, it’s a holiday right? We The 3 Amigos on the jogging track - Not a chance! gather our meals and meet up with Jerry & Dianne from the bus. The food was good and we had some laughs about our experiences so far. After, the 4 of us toured the ship to see where things are and what is available. Nothing is open – bars, shops etc until we have passed the 12 mile limit when under way. But, endless coffee, lemonade and ice cream – yes John, endless! So we walked the deck, mowing down on ice cream and watching all the action dock side – a crew painting the side of the ship, crew loading luggage and lots of trucks buzzing about delivering their stuff to feed the lot.
We leave port at 4PM and head out the Looking Aft, past the water slide mighty Mississippi River toward the Gulf. We were informed by other experienced cruisers that it will be midnight before we exit the mouth of the river and enter the gulf. Who’d have thought that New Orleans was that far up river from the Gulf of Mexico? After a little wandering to get our bearings, we went back to the stateroom to unpack and ‘move in’. The rooms were bigger than we expected and quite comfortable. We decided on an inside cabin since we were Always a time to kick back with a beverage. only on the boat for 7 days and not likely to be in the room that much. With no window, when the lights went out, it was dark – great for sleeping. We agreed to meet in the lobby bar for happy hour at 5Pm before dinner then onto the dinning room.
We have the early seating for dinner which will be good to get to the shows on time. So, at 6, we all headed on down to the dining room and met up with another line trying to get into dinner. Lesson here, go a little later to avoid that mad rush. We entered to find the tables covered with starched white linens, napkins folded just so and a table staff poised and eager to serve. We are with 6 other Escapee cruisers and they have all cruised before so Our Evening Dining Companions we were able to gain some experience. Our table was perfect, our table mates were very enjoyable to dine with and we were at the very back of the boat with a large window overlooking the stern and the water below – unfortunately, it was always dark at 6 but we could still see the water turbulence below from the props. Oil rigs could be seen all lit up along with other freighter traffic going and coming from the Port of New Orleans. Our dinning companions suggested that whatever is on the menu, one can order as much of it as you want. Hello shrimp cocktails and crab cakes,  ok, so I will gain a few pounds.
The cruise ship publishes an activity calendar everyday as to what’s available for activities, shows, events and stuff to keep the cruiser busy. We went to the first show The Seal In Our Roomto watch a variety review of the Motor City. It was great, live music and acting, this is covering off all the things that we have missed the last few years! After the show, we met a bunch up on the Lido deck for midnight pizza and more laughs and good times. Can it get any better? Good friends, smooth seas and warm temps, it was great. Finally, we break up the party and head back to our staterooms but not before Barb & I grab an ice cream cone and take a twirl around deck 8, looking out at the blackness and down at the swirling seas as the huge ship pushed us toward Jamaca – mon. As we finally arrive back at our  stateroom, a little around 1AM – holy – we were greeted by a seal. Yes, a seal. The stateroom staff left an animal folded from towels on the bed to greet us as we came in. That was neat.
Our stateroom Our stateroom looking from the door
But I think this is enough for now so stay tuned for more, after all, this is just the 1st day with 6 more to come. Wishing you well out there and  send Jim some good karma to help him on his journey.