As I said earlier, there is plenty to do while at sea. The ship's cruise director and staff make sure guests are sufficiently occupied if they so choose.
Our first at sea day activity after Jamaica was to participate in Wishes At Sea that benefited the Make-A-Wish Foundation. You purchase a t-shirt for $10 and then walk a mile with several crew members around the track on the upper deck. All of the proceeds are then donated to Make-A-Wish. On our cruise, we raised over $3,300!
|Wishes At Sea|
For lunch, we had a regular barbeque up on the pool deck. There were ribs, chicken and sausages along with plenty of fixins' to go with it. Oh, it smelled so good while they were cooking!
|If Only You Could Smell This!|
After lunch, it was time to continue exploring the ship. One thing I really liked was the variety of artwork on display. Some of it was simply amazing. There were sculptures, pottery, paintings, metalwork and more. The piece below was made of entirely of paper. I wish I got the artist's name but I forgot. I guess I was too enthralled by the details of this and two other companion pieces.
|3D Paper Artwork|
Later I got to watch another type of artistry in action - ice sculpting! The chef had to work fast in the heat and in short order the block of ice became a piece of art.
One of the funniest things I saw was the belly flop contest. I think about eight guys were brave enough to participate. I didn't have the greatest of viewpoints to watch from, but at least I (and my camera) didn't get wet. I will bet the pool had to have some water pumped in after it was over.
|Belly Flopper in Action|
Dinner that night was our second formal dress of the cruise. And guess what? No pictures -- at least that I'm willing to share. I just hate having my picture taken. Maybe next cruise. One of the main themes for dinner was Surf & Turf. All you can eat, no less. I know a couple of people at our table had more than one plate of lobster. Actually, there are several menu choices to pick from each night in the main dining room starting with appetizers, salads, entrees, side dishes and desserts. Honestly, it can be very easy to gain weight while cruising if you are not careful.
After dinner, there was always a show of some kind in the main theater. Music, dance, comedy -- all done by very talented performers.
The next day at sea was almost as busy as the previous day. We started off with another walkabout around the ship and found the peek-a-boo bridge where you can look in on the helm. Pretty neat although hard to take pictures of it.
|Peeking in at the Bridge|
Then it was time for a game of miniature golf up on Deck 12 at the stern. Talk about challenging. It was a bit windy even though there are glass partitions around you. Add in a little wave action while you are trying to line up a putt and things don't always go as planned. Still fun to play though.
|I hope it goes straight!|
We watched our Alaskan friends climb the rock wall. The ship provides the climbing gear including the helmet and shoes. Sharon made it to the top on one of the hardest routes and rang the bell.
Just before dinner, there was a circus-type parade down the Royal Promenade. It was very colorful and noisy. There were performers on stilts, little bicycles and moving platforms. Some just danced in the "street". The little kid in me enjoyed watching the parade.
|Royal Promenade Parade|
After dinner, it was time for one last show aboard the Mariner of the Seas. But not before being treated to a beautiful sunset.
|Last Sunset of the Cruise|
When we awoke the next morning, our ship was already docked at the port in Galveston. To facilitate an orderly disembarkation, the ship assigns group numbers to passengers. We were not scheduled to go to our meeting area until 9:30. There was plenty of time for breakfast and to watch the activity at the port preparing the ship to sail out again later that day with a whole new set of passengers.
The semi trucks were lined up and the forklifts buzzing around moving the supplies the ship needed. Pallets of food and beverages, maintenance items, even new ladders were made ready to load onto the ship. In another area, luggage was being offloaded along with the recyclables such as paper, glass and cans. The picture below doesn't reflect the amount of activity going on, but it was super busy. In the midst of all of this action, a border agent and his dog were in high gear inspecting the shipments and the loading zone area.
All too soon our cruise came to end and it was time to leaving our floating resort. My fears of being at sea away from the sight of land were greatly diminished. I was an experienced cruiser now, ready to go again.