February 22, 2015

2015 Cruise – Day Five

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 2:07 am by msweet42

If it’s Friday, this must be Bonaire. This is also the day we could sleep in. We reached port at 7:00 am. We didn’t know this because we slept in until 9:00 or so. Since there was no excursion that required our attention or anything, we did the best possible thing. Caught up on our sleep.

I got up first and went up to Deck 10 to take pictures. Somewhere it is written that you weren’t really there unless you have pictures. I have pictures of Bonaire.

Once Diane was up she raided the Windjammer for breakfast and I enjoyed a coffee. With that out of the way, we headed off the ship to see if we could find free wifi.

I was wrong about North Korea and Starbuck’s. They’re not the only ones. Bonaire doesn’t have a Starbuck’s either. Truth be told, there are a few things Bonaire doesn’t have. Sandy beaches are another thing. More about the great beach discovery later.

I asked around and heard there was free wifi “over there… just before the white building.. in the yellow one.” Bonaire has approximately 4,325 buildings. Twelve of them are not yellow. Thanks for the tip. We went over there, by the white building. Saw a sign that advertised, among other things including laundry service, free wifi. With an arrow pointing to some unseen place some indeterminate distance from the sign.

Right after that was the Bonaire Tourism Office. It was small. Everything in Bonaire was small. We went in and inquired about wifi. Success! It was available right there – for fifteen minutes. This was just fine. It gave me time to upload the blog posts, check in on Facebook, and answer a couple of quick messages from Sister Mary Ann and Daughter Dominique. If I were writing this for Cruise Critic, that would be DS Mary Ann and DD Dominique. A whole special code there.

Having accomplished our social media goals, we set out to explore a bit. A little bit. Seriously. Bonaire is a tiny island as far as cruise ports go. You can check out the whole shopping area in a brisk fifteen minute walk. We walked slower. We were killing time.

Just for the heck of it, we tried out an ATM. It asked if I wanted US dollars. I said yes. It said too bad. It didn’t want to process either my debit card or Visa. Fine. See if I care!

Diane found a nice dress for $15. These people didn’t mess around with the whole local currency prices converted to USD. Everything was priced in USD up front. Works for me. I snuck a peek in the cash register and all the change was US, too. Diane now has a great beach dress she can wear in Sea Isle City that will make people wonder where is Bonaire.

We actually found a wee tiny little beach tucked between the edge of the breakwater and a pier. Not really a sand beach but something you could walk on barefoot. We took turns taking pictures of each other standing in the water at the beach. It was too small for both of us. But it was a beach and we found it. Score one for the good guys.

There was a bar at the end of that pier with a great ocean view. We stopped by for a Coke and a Mudslide and spend a moment or two just enjoying being there.

The water in the port was the first crystal clear water I’ve seen. Bonaire’s main claim to fame is fantastic snorkelling and scuba diving in said clear water where you can chase multicoloured fish. We didn’t gear up but got to see some fascinating big blue fish foraging in the water by the dock. What can I say. We impress easily.

If you drag out your atlas or check Google Maps, it is a relatively long way from Bonaire to our next port, Grenada. Go ahead, check. I’ll wait here.

Anyway, because of the distance, we left Bonaire at 2:00 pm. As I write this, we are under way scheduled to be in Granada at 1:00 pm tomorrow.

Leaving Bonaire at 2:00 meant everyone was to be back on board by 1:30. Right. The last people I saw boarding arrived about 1:40 or so. No true Dock Runners but getting close. The boarding crew was yelling encouragement to the last few stragglers.

Diane and I finally got to see the process of releasing the lines in preparation for the ship’s departure. Clearly this has happened before. We just never were at the right place and time to see it done. Kind of cool if you like that sort of thing.

We took some sun in the afternoon. Do I detect a pattern here? Mid-afternoon, we were by the pool and participated in helping to score a Belly Flop competition. All in good fun. Besides the passengers around the pool, there were members of the ship’s crew helping with the judging. It was a lot of fun. Lots of water was splashed. Somebody won. And the Entertainment Director was thrown in the pool. What more could you ask for?

We retired to the Solarium for some quiet and a quick bite. Diane had a sandwich and cole slaw. I had a Cuban (a panini with ham, mozzarella, pickles and mustard) and some Waldorf salad. We encountered Deb and Dave, our dinner partners, and chatted with them for a while.

The thing about the Solarium is that it has a pool and hot tubs, it’s adults only so it’s very quiet but it’s enclosed so the temperature and humidity are quite high. We finally reached our limit heat-wise and moved on. I noticed several elderly passengers sound asleep scattered about the place. It crossed my mind to wonder if you died in the Solarium, how long would it take them to notice?

We prepared for dinner. I read Diane the first two blog posts while she was doing her hair. She seemed to enjoy them..

We had our full complement of diners tonight. The four couples come from very diverse backgrounds and experiences. This kind of thing either be a really good thing or can go really wrong. We are fortunate that all eight of us seem to genuinely like each other. Conversation is spirited and friendly. We just have a good time with each other.

Our Head Waiter is a woman from Romania name Claudia. Take all the stereotypes you might have about former Eastern Block women and throw them out. No, wait. Keep a lot of them. I swear she tries but she doesn’t come across as the friendliest or the most concerned person.

Case in point. Pepper shakers. One can reasonably assume that when you turn one over and shake it, pepper will come out. This does not happen for us. Our (and by Our, I mean all eight of us) experience with Royal crew members has always been when a problem is identified, it is either rectified immediately or a reasonable explanation is given. According to Claudia, the problem with the pepper shakers is the pepper is too big. End of discussion.

Seriously? I surreptitiously uncorked the bottom of one of the reluctant shakers so as to liberate the pepper so we could have some.

Her assistant waiter is Yang. This is Yang’s first cruise. He’s learning. He’s learning about being an assistant waiter and he’s learning English. This works about as well as you might guess. I give the kid credit, though. His learning curve is quick. He’s getting the hang of it. I feel sorry for him, too, a bit. Claudia is not drowning him in the milk of human kindness. But hey, if you’re an assistant waiter, you learn to deal with all kinds of people. Including less than kind Head Waiters.

Remember Yang on Grey’s Anatomy? Always quick, witty, insightful? Our Yang is not that. But he’s working his way up there.

Diane had shrimp cocktail for her appetizer and beef bourguignon with no dessert. I had a cream of cauliflower soup with buttermilk battered fried chicken. The chicken was okay, not spectacular. Diane noticed the sauce for her beef tasted remarkably like the pot roast broth we get from M&M. I had a passion fruit meringue and a chocolate bread pudding for dessert. Both were tasty.

And that was pretty much the day.

Oh, there was one heart-stopping moment. I was sorting our excursion tickets into the order of the remaining ports. I noticed that the receipt for the tickets said $XXX on Seapass. Wait a minute. I remember seeing the charge for the tickets go by on my Visa statement right after we booked them. All things being equal, I’d like to pay for them only once.

I took the receipts to Guest Services. They looked at them and agreed the way it was written it looked like I was going to be charged. They reviewed and even printed out our account and verified we were not, in fact, going to be charged again.

Nice…

And with that, we close the books on the first two ports. Four more to go starting with Grenada tomorrow afternoon. Here is the blurb for tomorrow’s adventure: “Hop aboard a colorful, uniquely decorated vehicle for a lively, commentated drive around St. George’s, the countryside and beach that emphasizes photo opportunities. Discover the capital’s mixed Anglo-French heritage as you ride past the historic marina, colonial-era churches and up to hilltop forts that deliver panoramic vistas. Venture into Grenada’s lush interior, visiting a leading distillery along the way. At the beach, enjoy free time to swim, stroll or just relax with a cool drink.”

History? Photo ops? Beach? Did someone say distillery? Hmmm… this could be fun.

We shall see what we shall see.

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