Sunday, April 3, 2005

Some Images from a Quick Spring Vacation

Karen, the girls and I have just returned from a 4-day cruise to the Bahamas and Key West, out of Miami. A fine time was had by all. We were broiled by the sun and are still somewhat fried by travel. Here are a few scenes from our week in the tropics.

We sailed on the Majesty of the Seas, part of the Royal Caribbean fleet. We planned our trip late and ended up on about the lowest level of the ship, but were comfortable and glad to be there.

Our favorite part of the ship was the pool deck (Deck 11 out of 13).

Our first stop was at Nassau, in the Bahamas. That's not our ship in the background; it's one of four that were in the harbor that day.

We took a tour of a nearby reef in a semi-submersible version of a glass-bottomed boat. It wasn't great for taking photos, but we got a neat look at some sea life and enjoyed a cruise through Nassau Harbor.

We had a short time to explore the town. This included being mass-accosted by folks offering everything from taxi rides to hand-crafts to hair-braiding. We opted for the latter for the girls and spent an hour in a pleasant pavilion by the port entrance, watching the other tourists pass by while the girls were braided.

Colleen and Karen shared a quiet moment while Christina was being braided.

We also took a bus tour of Nassau, and stopped at the remains of a colonial fort at the top of the Island.

It gave a great view of the flotilla of cruise ships in the harbor.

Our next stop, after an overnight cruise, was at "Coco Cay" one of the smaller islands of the Bahamas that has been taken over as a private retreat by Royal Caribbean for its guests. It was originally Little Stirrup Cay and features pleasant beaches and broad, shallow reef areas.

That's our ship in the background. The foreground is entirely taken up by our fellow sun-worshipers.

We took a kayak tour of the waters around the Cay and saw stingrays, conches, sea cucumbers, starfish, and a great many finned fish. We also were visited by a single nurse shark which cruised directly beneath Karen and Colleen's kayak while Christina urged me -- as captain of the kayak we shared -- to keep a certain distance from the beast.

Colleen and Christina were determined to get in some Caribbean swimming, and they did.

We had a nice view of our ship on the shuttle-boat trip back from the Cay to where the Majesty of the Seas was anchored.

On board, we were delighted to settle-in late each evening for a form of dining we don't usually enjoy. We were in the second seating of dinner, and so ate at 8:30 each evening; past Christina's usual bedtime and very nearly past our fall-asleep-on-the-couch time as well. Still, we had great companions and wonderful service and we ate like kings, queens and princesses each night.

Our dinner-time crowd (from left): Davide and Veronica (newlyweds from Mexico), Christina, Colleen, Mr. Wayan (of Bali), Adrian Golinschi (of Romania), Karen, yours truly, and Tam and Angel (newlyweds from Florida).

Our next port of call was Key West, where our ship loomed over another tourist-filled port area.

Our planned outing here was canceled when the sailing catamaran that was to take us out for an afternoon of snorkeling broke down at the dock, but we took a walk through town to a nearby State Park for a swim.

There are some lovely places in this little town.

And that was the end of our Cruise.

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