December 07, 2023

Curacao and Aruba on The Odyssey

Normally I add to this blog on a daily basis during the cruise. This time my plan was foiled by failed technology. I was unable to pair my keyboard with my phone. I was convinced that the old keyboard had just given up after many trips and thousands of keystrokes. It was only after I returned home and was ordering a replacement that I discovered the instructions printed on the back of the keyboard were incorrect. No wonder multiple attempts to pair the keyboard with my phone produced no result.

So, despite the technical issues, or I should say because of the technical issues this will be a brief blog instead of my usual more detailed blog.  We are headed to Curacao and Aruba with an additional stop at the inevitable CoCo Cay, Royal's private island.

The trip to Ft Lauderdale, or Port Everglades, whichever you prefer, was uneventful.  We borrowed my old van from my youngest daughter so that the 6 of us could ride together. I even enjoyed the luxury of not having to drive.

Once on the ship reservations were quickly made for those few shows and dinners that were important.

The weather remained near perfect for the entire voyage. Mostly sunny skies, temperatures in the mid 80's and only a few sprinkles at most. The seas were never able to rock the ship. Honestly, not an easy task considering her size. 

Seating in the main dining room was near chaos, but mostly avoided by wearing my Pinnacle badge. Yes sometimes being a good customer does have benefits. As soon as I was spotted by one of the staff, we would be whisked to the front of the line. Well that is what it looked like to other passengers while actually it was a separate, but very short line, for their best customers.

Most evenings Lynn and I ate in the Coastal Kitchen. Excellent service and food. They were gracious enought to allow me to bring the rest of our party on Lynn's birthday.

The headliner shows were good. The magician Martin Brock from Denmark I had seen recently on another ship. The first production show, The Effectors was so loud no one was able to understand the music. Even with ear plugs, the sound was deafening.

Showgirl was much better. Updated from two years ago the costumes were spectacular and the performers excellent. The first production show I have seen in a long time where passengers were turned away at the door as the theatre was at capacity.

There are always a few incidents that provide for humor or disbelief. The routine on boarding day is similar to the process in an airport when headed to a plane. All luggage is scanned and all passengers must pass through some type of scanner. Simply empty your pockets and put your carryon on the conveyor to be x-rayed.

The passenger in front of me didn't get it. His bag didn't pass the x-ray scrutiny and he set off the alarms when he tried to go thru the body scanner. He suddenly discovered he forgot his phone in his pocket.  Try again, still failed. Next pass it was his keys. Security wasn't amused. They had thousands of passengers to check.

I was waved on to go in front of him, and as I walked on his carryon was going thru for the fourth time. Was he just so oblivious? Or was this all a plan to smuggle something on to the ship? I don't know, but I am convinced if it was a deliberate plan that it didn't work.

For about 15 years I have been keeping an eye on a stand of trees on the sandbar at the port in Aruba. Unfortunately I sadly must report that warming ocean temperatures and the increased pollution have finally taken their toll. The stand of trees is reduced to a few shrubs. A sad day for our planet.

There are about 45 pinnacle members on the ship. Previous communications made no mention of us having access to the coastal kitchen, but we were, and I never saw the restaurant 50 percent full.

Most of the group, but not me, enjoyed a short lesson of simulated sky diving in IFly.  They enjoyed it very much. Somebody had to take pictures so I am glad it was me.

Jenn and Brett took a submarine dive expedition, Adrienne a scuba dive. Lynn did a little Christmas shopping for her grandchildren, and I verified the beverages were still being mixed properly at my favorite watering holes on the islands.

Back in port at Port Everglades one of the boarding ramps was broken, and something held up luggage for nearly an hour. Despite the hic cups we were still in the car and on our way home by 8:15.

I managed to come back with a cold. Out of caution it was confirmed that it was not Covid. By 5 PM all the laundry was done and put away.

Several months ago I found a perfect itinerary for the Greek Isles, a 14 day transatlantic followed by 12 days on the same ship. Unfortunately all suppliers indicated the ship was sold out for both cruises.

Brett mentioned on the way home that he found cabins available on the Transatlantic voyage. This is going to need further investigation.

In January we are headed to New Orleans, no not a road trip but a cruise from Tampa.