Friday, July 4, 2014

A Day at Sea

Today was spent entirely on the cruise ship, Jewel of the Seas. Our destination is Puerto Rico once again.

The waters were smooth for most of the morning and a deeper blue than a twilight sky. In fact, when I first woke and went to sit on the balcony and breathe in the ocean air, I could see flying fish sparkling in and out of the waters like small birds.

My family was up fairly early, so after breakfast we ventured to the top deck of the ship to see what activities awaited us. Royal Caribbean offers so many events on board, but it can become easy to get absorbed in your own little routines, even during a brief 7-day trip. On the top deck alone, there are pools, water slides, golf simulation machines, a rock climbing wall, and miniature golf.

We played mini-golf on a small, aged course with 9 holes. No one kept track of the points, but I'm pretty sure I was dead last. I blame my failure on the rocking of the ship.

Luke went to play basketball, so Grandma Marcia, Dad, Amy, and I took up a game of shuffleboard. We are a competitive family, so we played several rounds and it was eventually decided that my Dad was by far the best at this game and whoever was on his team would win by a landslide. I got my very first sunburn of the trip during this game: a saddle of pink across my nose and the apples of my cheeks.

We had lunch as a family at the Seaview Cafe. All of us were flushed and excited from our individual games and activities. I chose to finish lunch early and go back up to my cabin so that I could sit on the balcony, study the bane of my life (business calculus), and read Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. The book was both challenging and inspiring. Every few pages I finished seemed to be filled with jotted notes and highlights.

It is a little sad that this trip is already coming to a close. I said goodbye to my family's two precious waiters, Shirlyn from Jamaica and Julian from St. Lucia. They have been so gracious to my family, especially to Nawnie. Shirlyn called her "my favorite lady" and always tried to make her day brighter. The staff on this ship make the cruise even more delightful. Even the steward who keeps our cabin tidy was a joy to meet.

Perhaps the saddest of my farewells was when I finished my final creme brûlée of the cruise. This dessert will always hold a special place in my heart.

My little brother and I have a weird bond. Throughout the cruise, I've been making up nicknames for Luke depending on each island we've visited. He didn't get a nickname for the day at sea (probably because his idea was to call him "Loser" because it kind of rhymes with cruise!), so I've returned to calling him by the first nickname on the list.
Puerto Rico: Lucardo
St. Croix: Lu-Cray-Cray
St. Maarten: Luken
Antigua: Aunt Lou
St. Lucia: St. Luka
Barbados: Bob

Tomorrow we will arrive in San Juan bright and early. Our luggage has been taken from our cabins the night before departure so that it will be waiting for us in the morning at the gate. My family will spend no more time in Puerto Rico; we will leave straight for the airport where a plane will be waiting to take us back to our beloved home in Texas.

Two years ago: Better Than Christmas
Three years ago: Parched.
Five years ago: I became ill... in Africa.

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