the rest of Sunday night...
The salsa club had a live band, which was cool, and we stayed a little while...I did get to make my attempt at dancing the salsa with Erick from Brazil Telecom, including lots of spinning - whee! After that our group went back up to the thankfully-less-smoky Viking Crown Lounge again, where I stayed for the night, dancing & drinking & tying cherry stems, then I got to bed around 5:30am.
Monday - Jamaica-mon! ;)
I swear I set my cellphone alarm for 9am, but I woke to the captains drill announcement about 9:35 and was supposed to be on a bus at the end of the pier before 10am - ack! I forgot my extra camera battery, which came back to bite me, but at least I put on my swimsuit first, then clothes over, so I was set for climbing the Dunns River Falls at least. After the ship almost didn't let me leave since they said there was a problem with my ship pass, I just barely made it on the last bus for our excursion day - whew! We had a bus tour through Fern Gully, then of how the locals in Ocho Rios live, pointing out nutmeg, papaya & banana trees along the way, then a guided tour of some very nice gardens...including a gigantic red bird of paradise plant, and even a plant with true aqua flowers! They had a blossom already picked for us to look at up close, so I held it up to match my sunglasses & had my friend take a photo...heehee! I was at the back of the group, so I didn't hear the name, but I will look it up just in case I can possibly grow that vine in my own yard in Santa Clara...heh! ;)
We got back on the bus & over to Dunns River Falls to climb the waterfalls. I was surprised at how many people just didn't climb. I had already done it myself 11 years ago on my only other cruise, but I thought it was fun enough to do again. Unfortunately my camera battery died about halfway up the 1000 ft climb, so I don't have many of my own photos. I'll have to rely on others in hopes some good photos came out of that. After the falls at 2pm I was REALLY hungry with having no breakfast, so I was quite thankful that our next stop was the all you can eat buffet at The Ruins at the Falls restaurant. After lunch since my personal cellphone had full service all day, I quickly called my co-worker who needed my email from Sunday to be sure she got it, and she did - whew! The next stop was for shopping, where I got myself some Jamacain rum to bring back, then we caught another bus back to the ship. Good thing, since the line was horribly long, but that's when we realized that that sailing time was 4pm, not 6pm as on our official sheet we had received. Thankfully no one was left behind!
I had to get my ship pass fixed at the pursers desk, so after that I said I'd go off for a well-needed nap before dinner, but it sounds liike I missed quite the rowdy party in the hot tubs on the pool deck, with ice cube throwing, cherry diving & all sort of things! Darn! At least I got a shower & some decent sleep for a couple hours, which I really did need, even though I missed all that crazy fun. ;) Dinner was at 8:30 again, including singing Happy Birthday to Stacy, then back up to the Viking Crown Lounge again, which was dead when we got there. The DJ was at the pool party instead until midnight, so we tried to figure out how to connect an iPod Nano to the soundboard, but no luck. After 3 attempts at requests to the DJ, our entire group was still complaining about the DJ's selection & mix style, so most of them left around 1am. A bunch of us held out until 2am, when finally at 2:40 the DJ played a token 2 songs we requested 3 hours earlier...hrmph! I did go up & nicely discuss with him afterwards (at least I wasn't as drunk as last night! heh) saying if he just didn't have the songs or didn't intend to play them, he could have just told us so when we originally asked. I didn't get much response except that it was his 3rd day on the job, so that explains some...but he still could have mixed in a song or two in that 3 hours that was on our list...oh well...I jotted down some notes of the day then got to bed just before 4am, and we had to meet at 8:30am for leaving for Grand Cayman to swim with the stingrays & then have a beach BBQ before going back to the ship again.
Tuesday - Grand Cayman
I did put on my 30-block sunscreen before I left the ship, but got fried anyway, probably because the sea water washed it all off while I was swimming with the sting rays...ah well...I should fade to tan in a couple days as long as I can keep enough moisturizer on to keep from peeling...we'll see! The water was amazing shades of bright teal, and since I remembered my extra battery AND my extra memory card, I took plenty of photos, including one of beautiful blue sky, fluffy white clouds and bright teal ocean I hope to frame for my teal bathroom! ;) We took a little boat out to meet the sting rays, put down anchor, then got out of the boat into waist-high water, where one of our guides held a sting ray to show her to us. I took my turn trying to feed her a little squid, but instead she spit a whole mouthfull of sea water in my face - hilarious! There were a couple swimming around, but I never saw one swimming up close...BUT I got a "massage" from a sting ray instead! Haha... Their skin is very smooth like rubber, and the way they swim is a rippling motion, so the guide had the ripples going over my shoulders. On the ride back is probably when we all fried, since it was high noon, and the tour company had messed up with too few busses for us to get to lunch, so I was in the very last group who had to stand in the baking sun for abour an hour.
We got to lunch 10 minutes before it was scheduled to end, but at least we got our hot dogs and a daquiri or two. I got a photo on the beach with the ships anchored behind me, then I decided I really should get a Hard Rock Cafe shot glass since the HRC was right there. I blew it & didn't get one in Ocho Rios even though that was so close too, and I'm regretting that now. I also couldn't resist a stupidly-expensive HRC plush sting ray...heehee... HRC said my Visa was declined, and I've used that same Visa as my onboard ship expenses that will need to be run through at the end of the cruise, so since I had signal I called while we walked back to the docks. We found some others on the tender boat back to the ship, so we agreed to meet poolside in the shade, which turned into a very full hot tub, more silliness & lots of drinks. Everyone else was getting plenty tipsy, but I wasn't feeling anything, so I left at 7pm to get a shower before dinner at 8:30 again...unfortunately no time for a nap!
It was lobster tail for dinner, and my co-workers had the guts to ask our waiter (who happened to be the head waiter) for extra lobster...he brought back an entire plate full of shelled lobster! When we finished that, he brought ANOTHER plate! He also did a couple table tricks for us, but by the end of dinner after the waiter parade, he had disappeared so we weren't able to give him the big tip we wanted to.
After dinner, we obeyed the schedule & met in the salsa club first, but we just sat in the corner for a couple rounds of drinks & silliness before going back up to the Viking Crown Lounge yet again. We reminded him of our requests in case there was any way he could fit them before people left...and he actually did play a mini-set of Human League, Tainted Love, and the Cure - hooray! I went up later in the night & thanked the DJ since I had given him such a hard time before. For whatever reason, they only make mojitos & caparenos (sp?) in the salsa club, so 4 of us went downstairs to bring drinks back upstairs. To save ourselves trips between 5 deck levels, we asked for doubles, so we all came back with two doubles each! We took a silly photo even...heh! Those mojitos were yummy, and I danced until I had to give up at 3am, with the party still going after I left. I got to sleep again around 4am, making that two nights in a row with 3 hours sleep & no nap...ugh! The price of fun! ;)
Wednesday - more all-day sessions
Thankfully my alarm did go off this morning, and I got to the sessions on time, but since they were starting late since so many people had been out so late the night before, I went up to the buffet for yogurt & found Eggs Benedict to bring back down too. Delicious breakfast! Jay took a cameraphone pic of my eyes closing while listening to one of the presentations, but I really am able to keep listening with my eyes closing once in awhile... ;) Since tonight is the last night, there will be even more partying, so I'll absolutely have to have a nap somewhere today...
Since I fly back tomorrow, I'll catch up on the end of the story if there is anything of note when I get back home...hope everyone is doing well!