Monday, March 31, 2014

Cruising, A Conquest Day At Sea



SAM_4269After surviving a “Category 5” hurricane along with conch fritters, sliders, jerk wings and coconut shrimp, we are back onboard the Conquest in time for a round of golf.





The course is in pretty bad shape and we both have a tough time on I think the seventh eighth or ninth hole. We are told by our ten year old caddy that so far today no one has been able to get the ball into the Mayan God's mouth. That does make me feel better about my triple double bogey.



2014-03-09 16.58.54



It is unfortunate that the outdoor sports area for basketball, volleyball and miniature golf closes at 5:30 in the afternoon. This area of the ship seems like an afterthought and it is not given much attention. I guess I will have to save my “Slam Dunking” for “Sea Day”.


2014-03-09 14.41.05So far we have managed by choice to miss the formal dining. We have been content to live on the more healthy “Guys Burger” option.

Caramelized onions, fresh chunks of bacon, banana peppers along with donkey sauce, who could ask for more? Me!



Before long it is time for some night time activities. A Broadway show that is energetic then a pass through the casino to see if I can still count to 21 and not go broke. After about an hour of play on an electronic machine I earn a free drink, an ice cold and refreshing Samuel Adams Boston Lager. Surprisingly, we walk away winners but I know it is only temporary because in the casino business eventually the house wins even on the high seas.

For the second night in a row we stop in at the “Piano Bar” and it is still less than energetic. There is no “play us song piano man”, it more like lets talk with the piano man than sing with him, boring. We really miss Billy.

Remember the name, “Percy Crews 2” because if you do he will make you laugh your pants off which is what happens to us in the Punchliner Comedy Club. Fortunately, we were able to get them back on in time to make some moves on the disco dance floor before calling it a night as the Conquest sailed on to our next destination, Cozumel.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cruising, Grand Cayman



2014-03-11 11.12.39Since we had been previously visited Grand Cayman, we were in no really hurry to leave the Conquest which involved a tendering process.





Around 10am we head to the lower level of the ship and with no clear signs posted for disembarkation, we wander with a few other passengers looking for the cheese at the end of the maze. This certainly was not one of the better tendering experiences that we have had while cruising.

After waiting for about twenty five minutes for the tender to fill up we are soon enjoying the tropical breezes of Grand Cayman as we leave the Conquest behind for a few hours.

The planned highlight of our shore visit is to snorkel at Devil's Grotto and Eden Rock.



2014-03-11 12.59.22A short walk from the tender port and we are at Paradise Restaurant, a bright green building.

Here for $18 a person we get snorkel gear for the day, a small locker and free Wi-Fi along with some of the most awesome off shore snorkeling we have done.



Devil's Grotto and Eden Rock is a must if you visit Grand Cayman.



2014-03-11 14.53.26A walk around town and I purchase a $5 souvenir hat for $3 but have to change my name to Deshon.






At Breezes for lunch, we overlook the waterfront as we enjoy conch fritters, delicious wings and sliders all while surviving a “Category 5”. The 151 goes down smooth well hidden and blended with other flavors that make being in the Caribbean fun.




2014-03-11 13.37.49A Category 5




Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cruising, A Disappointing Conquest



While the rest of the country is suffering through an extended winter it is another beautiful and sunny day in South Florida as I walk towards the Port Of Miami.


2014-03-09 13.22.34We are about to set sail on another “Spring Break Cruise” this time on Carnival Conquest with ports of call in Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize and Mahogany Bay, Honduras.




A little after 5pm we begin our sail away from the Port Of Miami and the Lido deck is literally jumping as I watch the Carnival Breeze and the Miami skyline go by. It's about two days of sailing before we reach our first port of call and this gives us an opportunity to explore the Conquest.

From a “Whoop There It Is” Gender Competition to laughing at the Punchliner Comedy to listening to karaoke then dancing around an empty beer can on the disco floor, our first night on the Conquest is a bit of fun.


2014-03-09 16.49.40A “Fun Day At Sea” is where the disappointment begins.

A weak list of entertaining activities in the Fun Times and having to watch employees that seem less than enthusiastic in doing their job we soon realize the Conquest may not be a “Fun Ship”.



However, after listening to a few “Tarzan” calls during the day and sailing under a full moon at night we know we are going to have an enjoyable time even with our disappointments so far.




Friday, March 7, 2014

St Lucia, Feelin All Right


2014-02-24 23.02.34After a night of listening to karaoke and spending time at “Rehab”, I am up before noon in time to savor a delicious breakfast buffet at Coco Palm Resort Hotel.






2014-02-25 08.35.05Salt fish with cinnamon plantains, sausages and guava juice are just the beginning of my most important meal of the day.





A walk around town and I am back for “The Bar Man's Special” that soon has me feeling all right as I enjoy the sounds of a Caribbean entertainment icon, Bob Marley.

Next it is a trip to beautiful but hot Rodney Bay to revel in more of St Lucia's warm waters and cool white sand beaches. I find shade under some sea grape trees and really enjoy the beachfront views.



2014-02-25 12.10.39Rodney Bay


Before long it is time to head to the airport (SLU) to return my rental car. Fortunately, SLU is located next to another picturesque and relaxing beach.


2004-12-31 19.17.05I spend some time here before taking a popular walk in the local neighborhood.






My journey to the Vigie Lighthouse takes me by the St Lucia National Archives which is already closed for the day but still has some interesting machinery on display on its porch area. The views on this hike are amazing as I can see some of the coastline as well as airplanes taking off from the airport that is now below me.



2004-12-31 21.19.08


I do make one discovery that has some potential. An estate home is available for rent that has me wondering if my Swiss account can cover the payments.


2004-12-31 21.09.15Maybe, My Next Estate Home







At Vigie Lighthouse I watch a St Lucia sunset before returning to the airport. Around 8pm I am on board a LIAT ATR-72 headed for my next “Island In The Sun” adventure.



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

St Lucia, Drive From Hewanorra


With the need to go from the main international airport (UVF) to the more local inter-island airport (SLU) in Castries, I opt for a rental car instead of an airport shuttle.

Just outside of baggage claim I am met by Andy a Thrifty car rental employee. We find a shaded spot away from the airport terminal building and in about ten minutes after exchanging credit card and drivers license information I am on my way to exploring St Lucia.


2014-02-24 14.59.39A beach stop along with a few photo opportunities and I take in some of the awesome and tropical beauty that St Lucia has to offer.





It is less than 50 miles from Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) to Castries but I take over four hours to cover the distance along a mountainous and scenic coastal route.



2014-02-24 15.34.28Grace Church (1846) Riviere Doree



IMG_0061Coastal Town Of Souifere







One of the most impressive St Lucia offerings, The Pitons, A UNESCO World Heritage Site that is just spectacular no matter how many times you see them and from any view point.




2014-02-24 16.44.23The Pitons




Saturday, March 1, 2014

St Lucia, A Transit Paradise


This is my second time visiting St Lucia and like the first time my visit here will be a brief one since it is my transit point to St Vincent then Grenada.


SAM_4203However, in less than five hours after leaving the frigid temperatures of Atlanta, Georgia, my feet are stepping in the white sand and warm tropical waters of this Caribbean Nirvana.