The anticipation built by getting to know others going on the cruise through the Yahoo group. The making of charms and ATCs added to the excitement. Packing was a last minute (Sunday morning)afterthought; I was more concerned with leaving room for new purchases. Someone on the blog had said that she came home with an additional 25 pounds after a cruise. I didn't know what she meant, but Anita and I wanted to be prepared so we packed with space to spare. We were a little concerned about the tropical storm and expected to face some rainy days while at sea, but we weren't worried. I packed several projects (beading, a new applique and some zentangle supplies) to work on if the weather didn't cooperate.
Day 1: Sunday, 9/25/11, Port Canaveral, Florida
We arrived at the port without incident and entered with very little wait or fuss. I am glad that Scrap Map had finally corrected my name change (the day before) so I could print a sea pass and we could enter the short line Once on board, we had a difficult time finding our room-we were misdirected several times. The Freedom of the Seas is so large and beautiful. We dropped off our suitcases and set out to explore. We had a light lunch in the buffet which had a great view of the port. It was windy on deck, but sunny. It was nice to meet new people at our dinner table that were also in our group. Our first "Tim" experience was after dinner for the meet and swap hour. I have so many beautiful trades and most of the ladies were so nice. I will include pictures of my trades at the end of this post. We also had a chance to meet Mario when we picked up our Tshirts.
Day 2: 9/26/11, Monday, CoCoCay, Bahamas
We set our alarm so we have time for all our plans today. After breakfast in the dining room, we departed the ship by tender to Royal Caribbean's island resort and arrived about an hour before our planned excursion on a glass bottom boat. Anita and I had explored one side of the island back in March, so this time we headed off in the opposite direction to the less developed side. It was wild and rugged with beautiful views of our ship. We were the only ship in port so it wasn't crowded at all. Our excursion was informative and showed us even more of the island coastline. I found that all the various colors of the water caught my attention. The guides were informative and entertaining. They cleaned and offered us raw conch (we passed up this opportunity). They gave us the shell as a souvenier, but it was taken back by customs before we could board the ship. We spent about an hour on the beach; it was windy and not too hot because of some cloud cover. We cleaned up and had dinner and eagerly awaited our first 1 1/2 hour class and our first time to shop in Tim's Marketplace. The first project was called the "Cup of Creativity." It was the perfect way to begin our "artful journey." We collaged and inked an insert for a traveling coffee mug. I really enjoy Tim's teaching style; he is entertaining as well as informative. The pacing of the class is perfect, and all supplies are organized and ready. We were given ample extras in our class kits. I began to be glad that we had planned extra packing space. We were able to pick up 5 empty mugs from the marketplace so we could make presents for our Stamp Cult Chicks. Tim set up an open studio near the class and marketplace and stocked it with equipment for our use and enjoyment. Anita and I visited several times over the week to complete their presents.
Day 3: 9/27/11, At Sea
This was our morning for sleeping in and eating in the Windjammer. We headed up to the pool and get some sun, had lunch and gathered for our class.
Day 4: 9/28/11, St. Thomas
A wonderful view coming into port as we ate breakfast in the Windjammer. We enjoyed an excursion around the island and a few hours at Sapphire Beach.
Day 5: 9/29/11, St. Maarten
Another day of excursions around the island and to Orient Beach followed by a short one hour class to make a pocketwatch.
Day 6: 9/30/11, Cruising at Sea
We spent a creative morning in a three hour class working on Part 1 of a configuration tray. We enjoyed a fun lunch at Johnny Rockets and then an afternoon by the pool.
Day 7: 10/1/11 More time at Sea
We had our last class today as well as the good-bye reception.
Day 8: 10/2/11 Back to Florida
Back on land. It took two hours to disembark; at least the weather is cool and pleasant. We had sticker shock getting out of the parking garage-it cost $105! We were home by noon; it was hard to believe that our time was over.