Out to Sea

Joe Watkins view of Galveston Harbor from balcony Deck 12 SR #1234
Joe Watkins view of Galveston Harbor from balcony Deck 12 SR #1234

Sun. Dec 8th Liberty of the Seas
Deloris’s birthday. She’s 49. OMG!! We took our time checking out of Hampton. By 11 am we were leaving car at EZ Cruise where we and our luggage boarded the shuttle to the Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas, our home for the next 7 days. We joined a mass of humanity being herded through security, sans our luggage, which went ahead of us, supposedly to be waiting for us in our state room later this evening. We were separated from JR and Jackie  and had no idea where De and Rudy were. It took about an hour as thousands (later I learned there were over 4,000 souls on board) of people were directed and moved and processed before boarding the ship. Joe and I struck up a conversation with a couple in front of us (2 men) when one turned to us and said, “We are being herded like cattle.”  This caused me to chuckle as this is exactly what Joe says anytime we are being moved with the masses.  Then our new friend asked, “Why are there so many kids? Don’t they have school?” This time I laughed out loud and told him he sounded like my husband, who always asks this same question anytime we go somewhere on a school day and there are kids there. “Why aren’t they in school?”

Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, our home for 7 days
Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, our home for 7 days

Once on board we were told we could not go to our rooms yet, but could go to Deck 11 to the Windjammer to have lunch, which we did.  But it was so crowded, that we had to wait to get a seat. By 1 pm we were able to go to our room on Deck 12, Forward, Right (Port). #1234. But no luggage awaited us. By 3:30 we were all miserably standing on Deck 4 for the mandatory muster drill, an exaggerated version of the flight attendant’s ‘what to do if we crash’ demonstration. This is my second cruise and I still do not believe there is enough room in the 20+ lifeboats I counted.  I always recall the Titanic, where those in steerage had no seat on the escaping vessels. At least we are up high, Deck 12. We’d have a lot more time to be saved if this massive ship started going down.  Besides, there are no icebergs in the Gulf of Mexico, are there?
           Back in our state room, we enjoyed sitting on the balcony while the big vessel turned around and headed out of Galveston Harbor. Later we walked around the decks and all of us met for dinner on Deck 11, the Windjammer Cafe and Jade, an Asian buffett and Sushi bar, the complementary food part of our fare. So much to choose from.  Multiple buffets and cuisines.  Rudy, who is vegan, had the chef making him a special dessert. We were all impressed. When Rudy told us that the chef was taking special care of him, Joe asked “Well, did you ask him about our luggage?” We all laughed. It is always great to have good food in good company.
           On our walk back to our state room, we passed the pool area on Deck 11 and the jumbo TV screen where the NFL football game was on. It was cool and windy. We headed back to our state room where our luggage awaited us.  Maybe Rudy did say something to the Chef.  JR and Jackie are next door SR 1236.  De and Rudy are on Deck 7 forward, SR # 7202, no balcony. They do have a big port hole window where they can see the front of the ship and the blue water before us. We relaxed on the balcony in our PJs enjoying the sound of the water swishing by as the massive boat sliced through the waves.

Sunset on the Gulf of Mexico, from starboard side
Sunset on the Gulf of Mexico, from starboard side

Mon. Dec 9th At Sea
Enjoyed room service breakfast and coffee 7 am. Sitting on balcony, nice breeze, partly cloudy.  Probably in the 70s – no cell phone service to consult for weather. No internet either. We are facing west on our balcony, so we did not see the sunrise. The boat is heading south, slicing through the beautiful blue waters of the Gulf. We could feel our bed vibrating all night. Not sure if we are over the engines or what.
           We walked around the track on Deck 12 after breakfast and ran into Dee and Rudy who were also walking. Very windy, beautiful sunny day with dark blue sea all around us.  We spent the morning exploring the boat. JR texted us later that he had reservations at 12:30 pm for all of us, compliments of our AAA travel agent, at the Sabor.
           At 11 am me, Joe, Dee and Rudy went to the Schooner Bar to play “Guess that Beetles Tune”.  The DJ was having technical difficulties and got off to a rocky start.  He would play a few seconds of the song, then we were to quietly record our answers. Rudy was great, telling me the names of tunes I did not recognize. But what we found most entertaining was that every 2nd or 3rd song was by Queen.  We Are the Champions,  the beginning chords of Bohemian RhapsodyFat Bottom Girls and more.  Me and Rudy and Joe kept yelling out “That’s Queen.”  Several of the ladies sitting near us, seemed quite puzzled. I suppose they slept through the 80s, missing Freddy Mercury’s amazing talent. When the game finally ended with only 15 actual Beetle tunes – Help, I Want to Hold Your Hand, Penny Lane, Back in the USSSR ….   played, and correct tallies were totaled, there were too many contestants who got all the answers correct, which Rudy did and so did I thanks to cheating, to award any prizes.
           Our lunch at Sabor was great, Mexican food, complete with guac, chips and 3 bowls of salsa; mild, medium and HOT. The waiter was very nice to work with Rudy to be sure he got a good vegan dish.  But before we were served the Maître d’ came to our table to inform us that the Zepeda’s in State Room 7202 did not have a complimentary meal and would have to pay. Joe was pissed at Greg McDonald, our AAA Travel agent who booked this cruise for us.  He said he was going to call him when we got back.  We let it go, Dee and Rudy were gracious, and did not make a scene.
           While we dined, we made decisions on which shore excursions we wanted to book for our three port of calls; Roatan Honduras, and Puerto Costa Maya, and Cozumel both the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Dee and Rudy decided to do an Eco Nature hike at our first stop in Roatan, while me, Joe, JR and Jackie will be free styling in Honduras.  We all will be taking the 2 and half hour bus trip to see the Mayan ruins in Costa Maya and the last stop we’ll be doing the Mexican Christmas.

Family Karaoke: Deloris and Rudy Zepeda take the stage
Family Karaoke: Deloris and Rudy Zepeda take the stage

           After lunch Joe and I hung out at the pool, one of three pools actually. I took a short swim, then joined Joe relaxing on the deck chairs.  Later we headed to the Windjammer where we had a light dinner. Still recovering from our Mexican lunch. Back in our state room, we found our complimentary bottle of wine, a sparkling white. (I’ll have to ask Dede what it was. She’s the wine expert.) Joe and JR said they were going to the pool deck to watch Monday night football on the Jumbo-Tron.  I told him I’d join them, but neither of us wanted to stay outside for the game. It was so windy up on the top deck that that it felt like you’d have to be tied down to keep from being swept overboard. Instead he tuned into the NFL on the TV in our room and I joined Dee and Rudy for Family Karaoke in the On Air lounge, Deck 3. It was great fun. We all had a glass of wine, while Rudy checked the book and picked out the songs he wanted to sing. There were several guys who were really good. One guy who sang Wise Men did a good interpretation of Elvis. Another guy did a Johnny Cash song.  Deloris, who always brightens up the stage with her dancing and animated performance, did a great job with Rosanne Cash’s Tennessee Flat Top Box  and  an 80s song I did not know called We Can Dance. I thought it sounded like a David Bowie song, but Rudy said it wasn’t.  As always, I believe Rudy was the star of the night. When he belted out Eta James At Last and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes everyone quieted down and listened, then gave him a big hand.  I taped him singing Tom Petty’s Free Falling and Guns and Roses Sweet Child of Mine which had the lady in front of us bobbing her head and pumping her fist. go to FaceBook video

           I got back to our room before 10 and Joe was enjoying a TV program, not football.  We decided not to tune in to any news programs, fasting from our usual nightly fare of Chris Matthews, Rachael Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnel.  It was good for our souls.  Less stress at bed time.

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