Sunday, October 25, 2009

Top 10 things learned on our Bahama cruise

  1. Different accents (with crew members from 59 countries and passengers from 38) made every conversation a comical misunderstanding. When Robin's mom asked for iced tea, the waiter (from somewhere in Indonesia) wanted to bring her ice cream.
  2. You can get all the steaks and desserts you can eat, no questions asked. Or you can get all the free ice cream and coffee you want. But if you have more money than sense, you can wait in a the ridiculously long line to buy Ben and Jerry's ice cream for $4.75 or Seattle's Best coffee for $6. If you want the artificial sweetener Splenda, you'll have to ask. They treat it like gold and store it in a back vault somewhere.
  3. The onboard personal trainer is not really a personal trainer. He's just a front for selling detox supplements. A 3-month supply will run you about $500 for supplements or $800 for bath oil and a cactus exfoliating brush -- ouch.
  4. If the winds are blowing 30+ knots because of the tropical depression we were in, don't expect to enjoy all of the amenities. The winds and the 6-8 foot seas made it too rough for the tender boats to get to Cococay, the cruise ship's private island, so we didn't stop. They will also close the onboard climbing wall. The swimming pool, on the 12th story of the boat, becomes a wave pool, so be careful!
  5. Tipping is not at your discretion and you are told what to tip each person. Under the cruise ship's guidelines, your head waiter and your stateroom attendant can each expect to rake in $1,452 on a 5-day cruise. They work 9 months straight, so that ends up to be $52,200 a year in tips alone.
  6. Contrary to what the taxi drivers tell you, you can take a one-way ferry ride to Paradise Island (home to Oprah Winfrey, Nicholas Cage, John Travolta, Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan). The taxi drivers tried to convince us it was cheaper by taxi because you had to buy a roundtrip ferry ticket and the ferry stopped running in an hour. (We took the ferry one way and a taxi on the way back.)
  7. Robin is a natural at his casino game of choice: the Bar 7's slot machine. (He tripled his money but ended up putting it back in. The "free" drinks were worth it!)
  8. You can't bring your own alcohol on board. That would cut into their profits. Drinks were $8.25 plus a mandatory 15% tip/fee (and for your convenience, they add it on automatically). If a couple had two drinks each a day, drinks would cost more than the entire 5-day cruise. For those of you teetotalers who can't live without your soda for 5 days, $24 gets you all the soda you can swallow for the length of the cruise.
  9. Don't bother taking any cash on board. The only place that will accept it is the casino. The cruise ship wants you to link your credit card to your stateroom key card. They don't like taking your credit card, either, but will do so under duress.
  10. If you stay at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, the cheapest night there is $440. Again, more for one night there than the entire 5-day cruise for a couple! The aquarium at Atlantis is awesome and is free after 5 p.m.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bon voyage

To get a break from this record-setting heat in Florida (it was 106 degrees the other day with the heat index), we decided to take a cruise to the balmy Bahamas.

We latched on to this last-minute special for Florida residents ($150/person plus port charges and taxes). Robin's mom and aunt are going along. We'll be celebrating my belated birthday and Robin's aunt's birthday.

We sail on Monday for 4 nights and 5 days, going to Nassau and Cococay.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Exhausting recovery and rehab

I tell ya, it's hard to recuperate! After Robin was released to travel, we took a road trip to see my injured mom in Iowa, with a stop to see my long-recuperating base-jumping brother. The trip was relatively uneventful and very relaxing, except for the constant attention I had to pay to my forgetful mother and over-exuberant Robin.

We stopped at Big South Fork, TN on the return and stayed with a friend. If you're traveling through Georgia, remember my advice to avoid Macon at all costs. Drive a bit further to Cordele ... it's waaaay worth it!

This week, Robin goes in for his 6 week evaluation. All is going great with his recovery and we expect to see him off crutches and in the knee brace following that appointment.

Stay tuned for some exciting developments coming soon!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Quote of the day

"I'm so full I couldn't even eat an ice cube."

Robin in response to all the yummy fresh produce (butternut squash, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, raspberries, apples and more) we have access to on the mainland.