Royal Caribbean Cruise Photographs

Royal Caribbean Cruise Photographs  Recently, one of my friends offered me the chance to go on a cruise for under $200 (plus getting to and from San Juan Puerto Rico). I couldn't pass it up.  Would you?

It was my first cruise.  With Sherri (my late wife) having vertigo-she definitely couldn't have gone on a cruise. I didn't think it would ever happen for me, even though it was something I've always wanted to do.IMG_4546a

The Adventure of the Seas held more than 4,000 passengers and 1,000 crew. IMG_3864 IMG_3716 Three pools, ice skating rink, theater, mini mall....it was like a small city.  14 Decks. IMG_3211 IMG_3580 IMG_3185 IMG_3534 IMG_3201 IMG_3194 This is not the Love Boat...far more sophisticated with many more upscale elements and things to do.  As a newbie, I was a bit overwhelmed.  Others who cruise a lot probably take it all for granted-but it was a "WOW" experience for me.  This map was by all the elevators showing you the floor deck and the layout of the ship.IMG_3195My bathroom, small but adequate.  It was great having my own room though.IMG_3199The shower stall had a rounded plastic door for space reasons.IMG_3200My room was on the 9th floor towards the back of the ship (less movement, but it took me days on dry land to stop rocking).IMG_3189Every night, my room attendant (from Trinidad and Tobago) made towel animals and placed it by the next day's agenda. He was so nice and talented too!IMG_3217Entry into the Italian restaurant.  Fancy smancy.IMG_3182 IMG_3210 Lots of attractive looking elevators. IMG_3538

Pool side.

Royal Caribbean Cruise in the Caribbean West Indies Islands

But the hallways had that fancier, but still Titanic feel to them.... IMG_3198

From San Juan we cruised to the U.S. Virgin Islands.  I've been to St. Thomas and St. Johns, but never St. Croix.

Very cool old Dutch fort.IMG_3735

Then it was on the St. Kitts and Nevis (where Alexander Hamilton was raised) 2 islands=1 country.  Did a Catamaran (so fun!) cruise and hung out on a private beach with lunch.

The next day, it was cruising all day.  Which was fine, because I'd picked up some virus from the plane ride from Bora Bora back to Eugene Oregon.  Photographers like me love to travel, but sometimes there are consequences....so I mainly slept and rested.  One bonus from the virus?  I didn't have much of an appetite. In fact, unlike most people who gain 5 pounds on a cruise, I lost 7!

We then docked on the most eastern islands in the West Indies-Barbados. IMG_3968 It is also the only non-volcanic island in the Caribbean, all the rest are volcanic. It is also the home of Rhianna, who still comes home every Christmas. We took a 4x4 tour of the island-which took us through the jungle, to the beach and past the neighborhood Rhianna grew up in (very poor). What a great story.

On day five, we docked in Dominica.  I confess, though I'm pretty well traveled, I had never heard of this country.  Dominican Republic, yes, but not Dominica.  It was the most beautiful island of them all with large green mountains, cool old churches and brightly colored buildings.  IMG_4153 IMG_3250Our choice of excursion was the "Champagne Snorkeling Trip"  No, not champagne per se, but hot bubbles coming up from the ocean floor due to the volcanic activity.  Pretty cool.  Got to see tons of fish and coral, plus a spiny lobster.

Day six was St. Maarten, the "shopping island".  Divided in half, there is the Dutch side (where school kids learn Dutch and English) and the French side (where they learn French and English)-I think it is 14 miles long, but it is international long distance to call from one side to the other and they have their own government, police force, and post offices, etc.  I did buy some jewelry for my daughter and bamboo sheets for my son (softer than any other fabric except satin). I HAD to play tourist. It was a great deal for all kinds of stuff.

Royal Caribbean Cruise in the Caribbean West Indies Islands

One thing that struck me about all the islands is that the population-from what I observed-were all descendants of African slaves. In reading about the history of all the islands, it was quite sad about the brutality that existed in the 1600-1800's from the Europeans to the slaves.  So it just ISN'T just an American sin-it was unfortunately ingrained in the culture of those times.  But if we are honest today-slavery still exists and appears to be growing around the world while most of us-me included-do nothing. From sex slavery (Portland Oregon is one of the worst cities for this problem) to human trafficking for religious, social, economic or other purposes, it is a huge problem.

Sigh. Humans can be lovely.  We can also be very cruel.

After docking back in San Juan, we got a rental car and checked into our hotel.  The following day Richard went scuba diving and I explored old San Juan.

Royal Caribbean Cruise in the Caribbean West Indies Islands

 Fascinating.  I love history.  Puerto Rico was Christopher Columbus stop on his second voyage and he is revered by most there.  It also has a history going back to the 1500's and this is a Commonwealth of the United States.  Pretty weird.  Loved seeing the old forts and all the colorful doors and homes.IMG_3231IMG_4658a

This is the 2nd oldest church in all of the America's.  Wow.  Cathedral of San Juan Baptista.Royal Caribbean Cruise in the Caribbean West Indies Islands

Hope you enjoy the short video trailer I made of my trip.  Highly recommend visiting these countries and catching a cruise.  Just watch those calories!

Royal Caribbean Cruise Photographs