Sunday, January 8, 2012

Our Ocean Voyage - Part 4

So after the lousy weather of yesterday, we were hoping for some better weather today. The schedule had us in port at Grand Cayman today. The evening before they had made an announcement that due to the weather, we weren't going to be docking in Georgetown, but at another site and they would have shuttles to take us to town. I shouldn't say docking, though, because at Grand Cayman there is no pier. You are brought ashore on tender boats.

Once again I woke up early and I got on my running shoes with the intention to go run. I went up on deck to grab a cup of coffee and saw that we were approaching Grand Cayman and the sun was starting to rise. I stood up near the front of the ship and watched our approach, watched the sunrise and generally felt the beauty of the day. Next thing I knew I'd been standing there for an hour. The scene was just gorgeous. There was even a huge rainbow in the sky, a full end to end rainbow.  Unfortunately, because my intention was to run and not take photos, I have none of this morning. By the time I went back to the cabin and got my camera, the rainbow was gone and the sun was high enough that the moment had left.

As we were approaching the harbor, I noticed the waves were really crashing against the island with tremendous force and all the little boats in the harbor were rolling around like crazy. It was shortly after that they announced that the port officials have closed the harbor and we would not be able to make the port that day. Instead we'd head off to Cozumel and have an extra sea day.

My wife was a bit disappointed because she'd heard great things about the shopping in Grand Cayman. We didn't have any excursions planned, but we were going to wander the town, find some lunch and enjoy the culture. I guess I dodged a bullet on that one, because shopping can be expensive. Instead we figured we'd have a nice easy day on the ship. The girls had been begging us to go swimming since we boarded, so we put on our suits and headed to breakfast.

We went to Parrot Cay for the buffet there rather than back up to Topsiders. It was at this breakfast that I discovered Muesli. Its probably not that good for you, but oh my how wonderful it tastes. Fruit, nuts, granola in milk (or maybe cream, it was thick) with honey. It was sweet and crunchy and delicious. My wife was a little disappointed because they didn't have the crunchy hashbrowns here that they had upstairs, but breakfast was good.

Mickey Pool
We headed to the pool and met up with our tablemates there. It was windy and chilly, but the girls had a good time. We started in the Mickey pool and they loved the slide there. They tried to go to the Goofy pool for a bit, but they didn't like it so we went back to the Mickey pool. We ate lunch out there, tacos for the girls and some fruit and wraps for the adults. I found that the food on the pool deck was pretty good, better than I'd expected. The only thing I didn't like was the hamburgers, as they were overcooked. But hot dogs, tacos, chicken fingers, and a variety of wraps were all very tasty. They had plenty of fresh fruit too.

Goofy Pool (in the morning when it was empty)
Pluto's Dog House

Our friends all rushed off to go to the Character Dance Party at noon, where they were going to have a New Year's Eve style countdown. We decided to skip that and instead went and showered the girls and changed them because there was a Mousekateers in Training class at the Kids Club at 1. I was hoping that they'd do a better job at Mouskateer training since Britney went through it, so I let the girls go. We sent them off to the club and we spent some nice relaxation time. I found a great spot on the deck by the adult pool and promptly fell asleep with my Kindle on my chest.

The show this evening was Villains Tonight, which featured all the Villains from the different movies. This show was really funny. There was a lot of topical humor for the adults, and silly humor for the kids. Once again we played "spot Kera" and once again she didn't disappoint. She played the one character who I had never seen before, the villain from Emperors New Groove which I'd never seen. But, she killed it and was really funny. The girls decided that she must be a really good actor because she's so sweet but she plays wicked people on stage.

Tonight we had reservations for dinner at Palo, the adults only extra fee restaurant, so after the show we took the girls to Topsiders for dinner and then dropped them off at the club. Palo is a Northern Italian inspired restaurant and I'd read nothing but rave reviews about it in all my preparation. Well, suffice it to say that it did not disappoint. Our service was top notch. Jelena from Croation took care of us and guides us through a delicious meal. She made some great suggestions for appetizers and dinner and we enjoyed them all. But, the coup de grace was dessert. They serve a chocolate souffle that is out of this world. I'm not much of a chocolate lover, but this was outstanding. After a good 2 hours we were stuffed to the gills and thanks to the bottle of wine we were rocking as much as the boat.  A fantastic experience.

After dinner we were walking the deck to get some air and we ran into our friend who we met the day before in line for Mickey Mouse. She was getting pizza for her family and we started talking. We remembered this time to get her room number so that we could get together later in the cruise and of all the crazy coincidences, they were in the room we were originally supposed to have. It was really funny when she realized we were the Baker's who's luggage she got on the first day of the cruise. We had a good laugh for sure.

We went to get the girls from the club but they were all playing a game of "where's tink?" so we stood by and watched. It was great to see them having a good time and really connecting with the other kids and counselors. I can't say enough about how great every one of the youth staff were, taking the time to get to know our kids and going out of their way to make the trip special for them. One in particular named Coco was their favorite and was bombarded by hugs each time we went to pick them up.

As with everything else so far in this trip, anything negative was immediately squashed by the weight of a hundred positive moments.

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