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 .
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.
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.