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Saturday, August 15, 2020

I Was Born To Be....


California 1989 after a UCSD speaking engagement. 



What would you like to substitute for "REDHEAD" in the above quote?

"Live you objective - Escape!"








Friday, August 14, 2020

Cruising '19 - Travel Log



This was a post from my cruise taken in June of 2019. I did not get around to posting this travel-log and was thinking yesterday how much I have missed doing a cruise this year. Someday the conditions will be favorable again and I so look forward to doing this again. It was one of the most magical and fun experiences one can ever imagine. 


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My Royal Caribbean, "Symphony of the Seas"* adventure of last year was outstanding in many ways. I mentioned that one Cruise Critic question was, "Would anyone bother to get off the ship in port, as it could take a week to try out all the on-board activities?" That was so true, however I did manage to book several excursions and had an adventure in each port. I will address, if anyone is interested,  the name/passport/security gymnastics. Suffice to say,  absolutely no issues. Cruise ships are incredibly accommodating. 

My ports were Roatán, Honduras; Costa Maya, Mexico; Cozumel, Mexico; and Coco Cay, Bahamas. The first three of these were western Caribbean destinations; a different route from 2018's Eastern Caribbean Islands. 

The first port was Roatán, Honduras. This is a beautiful small island off the coast of mainland Honduras. A safe cruise ship destination with many options and eager tour operators. I wanted to see the island, experience the culture and enjoy the day. The tour I booked with Anderson Roatán Tours, which included a chocolate factory, a native rum factory, beach time and lunch. The factories were very crude and not anything like what we call factories but still interesting. My tour guide/driver, Delon Washington, was wonderful, and in his new Honda van, took me all over the island - As he said, "anywhere I wanted to go". I was his only passenger and had his full attention.  The best part was lunch at a local's tree house cafe. I was the only tourist there and everyone was so friendly; plus good "local food". We all watched Women's World's Cup Soccer - a true international experience. The leftmost photo above is from the cafe overlooking the port and my ship. 


Temple of the Masks
The next port - Costa Maya, Mexico.  The port was very organized and the excursion booked was a Mayan Ruins Adventure. The site Kohunlich (X-làabch'e'en in Modern Mayan) was reached by a 1.5-hour modern bus ride into Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula near the Belize border. Kohunlich has relics dating back to 200 B.C. It covers about 21 acres, is surrounded by dense sub-tropical rain-forest, and contains almost 200 ancient mounds; all of which we are allowed to explore freely. The site is best known for its Temple of the Masks, an early classic pyramid whose central stairway is flanked by huge humanized stucco masks. 

During the bus ride there and back to the ship, we were treated to a wonderful history lesson by our tour guide, Carlos, detailing the The Mayan culture was far more advanced than I ever knew. The whole experience was impressive. 


Blue Topaz with Diamond Halo 
The last port was Cozumel, Mexico. As you get off the ship in Cozumel, there is an extensive tourist shopping village. That day it was an absolute mad-house of activity with two mega-ship in port. I passed through the port shops quick as possible and got a cab to the downtown shopping area; about 3 miles (4.8 km), $8 US. Downtown was a clean and interesting area where I had an authentic taco lunch. After that I found a cool and interesting jewelry shop where I did purchase a blue topaz ring from a very friendly and accommodating jeweler. He re-sized it as I enjoyed much needed air conditioning, a fan and bottled water. After getting home, I researched the stone, its size, and quality. I am very pleased with my purchase. 

Perfect day at Coco Cay
Our final stop was Coco Cay, Bahamas. Not exactly a port-of-call. It is a privately developed island exclusively for Royal Caribbean cruise ship guests, named "Perfect day at Coco Cay". It includes an optional all new thrill water park with multiple water slides, zip-lines, plus much more. Accessible for everyone is a lagoon overlooking the ship, freshwater pools, and a crystal blue water Caribbean beach. There are plenty of free beach lounge chairs with umbrellas, coming soon luxury cabanas. Available on the island are multiple buffets with endless ship's food and cooked on-site picnic hot-dogs and hamburgers.       

The final photo above is the ship docking before sunrise, back in Miami. What a wonderful time and I so enjoyed myself. Sorry, this got so long - the good news, is that you were spared separate posts for each port.

Cruising is the real deal of a vacation. I was sad to say goodbye to a friend who made the cruise such a wonderful memory (ESCAPE).  


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*I want to thank Barbara Muhlbauer, (barbara.muhlbauer@frosch.com) Travel Consultant with FROSCH Travel Management, Vero Beach for taking care of many of the cruise and travel arrangements/details.  A super job! 


I am so ready for another cruise escape.