I used the old worn statement 'we are spending our children's inheritance'. But then I explained on the cruise no one would have inherited this money we are spending, if it wasn't spent on this cruise, Sherry and I would have spent it on something else. ;-) It was my intent for this to be a completely expense free vacation for everyone (except Sherry), I think we succeeded.
The first thing I noticed on cruise ships is the 'elegance' and elaborate (ornate) designs .
Above is the main elevator system reaching the 12 decks. These are set in amid ship, curved glass enclosed. As you are in the elevator you can vied the circular dance floor below, usually with a live band.
Looking across from the elevator is the 8-10 balcony levels for folks to relax and view the action below.
The action and dancing below on the shiny tile dance floor
Gratuities, big subject aboard ship. Tips over the years have become part of a 'bill' instead of the voluntary 'tip' for service. In the case of the workers aboard, I would say 99% earn their 'tips'. The ship will add $12 a day per guest for tips. We prepaid everyone's tips. At the end of the cruise you will take note the servers/stewards are 'exceptionally' nice and helpful. They appreciate an 'extra' gift. Many will miss Christmas with their families or travel a long way to see them. Anyway we always leave a little extra to see the smiles, although I think the ship should pay more. ;-).
Before we are out of the channel and into TAmpa Bay the cousins (new 'friends') are in the Kiddie Pool on the upper decks.
Our first Sunset, and we still have not reached the Skyway bridge.
Below The shops are opening, listed as 'tax and duty free' I imagine some of the prices are good, to me they were all expensive and over priced. (However I did buy a $10 watch ;-) )
An aerial view of a ship leaving Tampa Bay and heading into the Gulf of Mexico.
Below is a shot of a Carnival Ship going under, you can see there is not a lot of clearance. As we went under in the lights it looked like we only had a foot or two clearance, but the sight up close is impressive, none of the pictures came out on my camera. I think Sherry has found one on her phone, when I learn how to get them off I will show them.
We are now headed for Georgetown in the Cayman Islands.
WE see most of the family on a yearly/monthly/daily basis but Ben and Elsie we see in frequently. This was a chance to sit and talk with everyone, many one on one. I must say the trip was better than getting a new car, which we do not need.
I have no word counter anymore and the blog is much harder to input, I hope to get the system back soon.
What a wonderful gift for everyone! I agree much better than a new car! The memories of this time together will last forever!
Sounds like everyone had a great time. What a wonderful gift to your family.
Loved the pictures aboard the ship and the picture of you and Sherry :)I think it was a wonderful thing you did for the family, Jack and Sherry, by taking them on this cruise. You got to see their joy and enjoyed the time spent together :)
I'm still so moved by your generosity. Were the 'boys' and the grands like totally blown away by all the ship had to offer?
You've some good information here for those readers who may not have cruised before; I especially like what you've said about the 'extra' gratuities. :)
That is a beautiful ship. And I agree about tipping. When folks do a good job taking care of us we usually tip more than is expected.
Enjoyed seeing more about the cruise. I'm sure everyone had a good time and will keep as memories. I want to hear Stella tell about it.
She can put in words that will be funny. She is a smart little
girl. Her conversations are so grown-up. Is was a wonderful gift for
everyone. I will send you some money to help you get food. hee hee hee
That Skyway Bridge is a marvel, and what a wonderful sunset to set sail to! The ships are almost overwhelming in all their splendor, this one is a beauty. Your family must still be reeling from the excitement and activities of their trip, you two looked absolutely wonderful in that hug photo, been doing that a long time Gramps!!! So happy it all went well, glad Shirl is sending money, she's a good sis :)
Nice pics - Hope you guys had fun!
I can only imagine how good you both felt knowing that you were responsible for getting the family together. It is quite a feat with everyones busy schedules. I love seeing all the pictures. The ship looks small leaving the bay there but I realize it is huge. Gives one some perspective for sure.
Glad you had a good time...Never get me on one of those...lol
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