Posted by: Gary Guertin | May 12, 2013

6. Disney Bahamas Cruise – Miami & Home

Hi All,

Well, it’s over, Teresa’s first cruise. I want to finish by giving you a quick look at our ship, the Disney Wonder.

Disney Wonder

The length of the ship is 964 feet (the Eiffel Tower is 986 feet) the width is 105.8 feet.  Is cruises at a speed of 24.7 miles per hour and it’s top speed is 27.6 miles per hour.  It’s passenger capacity is 2834 with a crew of 950,  It has 875 staterooms and 509 crew cabins. It makes 500,000 gallons of fresh water from seawater every day.  Oh, in case your wondering that gold painted anchor on the front of the ship weights 34,250 lbs. (one on each side – forward).

Let’s look at a few photos around the ships upper decks:

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The big screen up close with movies, etc. playing day and night:

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The huge central Atrium Hall):

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Next I want to correct my identification of one of the Disney Characters.  I said the photo below was with Princess Tiana, actually it was with Belle from Beauty and the Beast:

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Now I would like to give you my co-writer on this cruise for her final comments:

TERESA’S CORNER:

As to Sunday evening, 5 May, my additional comments are: “After the show we went to dinner and once again saw precious. We went to karaoke and saw all the characters from Disney.”

As to the cruise overall: “All together for my first cruise I thought it was great. My favorite part was being with my grandparents. I would love to go on another cruise with them.”

Teresa

Well, that’s my granddaughter, short but sweet.  She has to know that her grandparents favorite part was being with her.  Misu promised to take her on another cruise when she was twenty (ha, ha, as if she wants to go on a cruise when she’s 20 and we’re 85/78).  We told her she had to get Mom to take her next, so Mom your on!!!!.

I want to thank those of you who made comments during the cruise.  I have read them all and love to hear from you. It was a great cruise, no word from my better half on where and when the next cruise takes place, but you will know when I do.

Finally, I want to leave you with my usual closing photo, which if you go to my site (blog) you will see is my heading from now on when we are not cruising. “THIS IS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT”:

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Love You All,

Gagu

Posted by: Gary Guertin | May 7, 2013

5. Disney Bahamas Cruise – Castaway Cay

Hi All,

By now you could tell from the date and time of yesterday’s post that we are home, even though we wrote the Nassau post Sunday, 5 May, in the evening before dinner.  Our last port,  Castaway Cay, a private Disney island, we’re finishing up and posting also after getting home.  This last full day (Sunday, May 5) started out rather quiet, but turned out to be probably the best day of the cruise.   But I don’t went to get ahead of myself, let’s start with Sunday morning.  As usual during this cruise I was up, dressed, and ready to go and what did I find (Mother, this confirms she did sleep):

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Misu was asleep also, so after some convincing I at least got Teresa going and the two of us (Misu sleep in) headed for land and this beautiful Caribbean island.  Here’s a look from the deck of the Wonder:

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Teresa stopped at the Castaway Cay port sign:

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We took a trolley bus to the beach, which was packed:

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Teresa spent a little while swimming, but discovered a water slide off to the left and off she went.

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You probably guessed she choose the tube, which she said was dark and fast, but a lot of fun.  When she finished with the tube, she said she wanted to go back to the ship, so I took this last photo of Teresa in front of the Disney Wonder:

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Back on the ship, we joined with Misu and went upstairs to the Pool area, for lunch.  Right away we found Precious, Teresa’s friend with her mother.  Precious’s mother had said she would braid Teresa’s hair if she wanted it, so Teresa got it braided beside Mickey’s pool.

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Here’s her new hairdo:

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It was late afternoon by the time we finished with hairdo’s so we headed off to the Walt Disney Theater for the last stage play of our cruise; “Dreams, an Enchanted Classic”.  No photography during the performances, but before we got these:

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The musical was “Disney” at it’s best.  Peter Pan, the Lion King, Cinderella, you name it and it was in this show.  After the show Teresa wrote her notes for the day.

TERESA’S CORNER:

Today in Castaway Cay we had to go off the ship without Misu because she had a terrible back pain.  Once we got to the island I went to the beach and I also went to a water slide which was very dark and fast, but fun.  After that we took a trolley back to the ship and had lunch.  We met up with Misu and my friend Precious at the pool and Precious’s mother braided my hair.  I went down to the cabin, got in my bathing suit and went back to the ships pool.  After the pool I went to the Oceaneer Lab for a little while. After we went to the Disney Dream show.  The show was very inspiring to me to believe in my dreams.

Teresa

Little did she know the day was far from over.  At dinner she met her friend, Precious, and they decided (with Precious’s Mother’s OK) to stay together for the last Karaoke at 10:30 PM. The two at dinner:

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And of coarse, just when you think it’s going to be a quiet last dinner, in comes a surprise guest for the children:

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Yes, it was Mickey himself.  What a surprise.  Thinking that was all until Karaoke, we decided to wait in Studio Sea (where the Karaoke is held) and we no sooner walked in when all of the Disney Characters also walked in to await their next appearance out in the main Lobby Atrium.  Hold on to your hats for the next photos beginning with the “little girl” who was the star of “Dreams”:

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Then the Little Girl with her co-star Peter Pan (they actually flew during the musical):

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Then Princess Aurora:

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Then Princess Tiana:

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Then Cinderella:

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Then Minnie Mouse:

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And of coarse always near her, Mickey Mouse:

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Then Stitch:

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We got Goofy again:

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Then Daisy Duck:

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And Snow White:

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This next photo is of the lady who was the star of the second musical; “The Golden Mickeys”.  She had her “Dream” come true when she was made the MC of the Golden Mickey award show.

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Then Captain Jack Sparrow:

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Then the girls posed with the star signer from the Lion King segment of “Dreams” and one of the native dancers:

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And last, but not least, Donald Duck:

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Kids stand in line for an hour to get a photo with just one of these characters, while our girls got almost everyone in about 15 minutes.  Well, after all that we still had Karaoke.  Both girls got to do not one, but two songs, so they had a full night. We recorded all Teresa’s songs but the files are to big to put here so I’m going to pass them on to Misu and let her make distribution to those of you who want to hear them.  Here’s Teresa during one of her songs:

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What a day!!  Now you see why I said it was probably the best.  As I said we all got home the next day OK even though I had to get the girls up at 7:30 AM.  I’m going to close this cruise with a final post in the next few days.  I have to get some inputs from my co-author, but I’m getting some excuse like she has to go to school and study. So until then,

Love You All,

Gary (alias Gagu)

Love You All,

Posted by: Gary Guertin | May 6, 2013

4. Disney Bahamas Cruise – Nassau, Bahamas

Hi All,

Yesterday, Saturday, 4 May 2013 we stopped in Nassau, home of Paradise Island and the famous Atlantis Hotel, Spa, and all it’s surrounding buildings and villages.  As soon as we left the ship (Teresa’s off for another day in port),

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and took our photos at the port,

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including one in front of Paradise Island and the Atlantis Hotel:

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We had to stop in front of the tourist desk in order to find our way to the Atlantis:

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We took a taxi to the Atlantis Hotel, and Teresa, like her grandmother heads straight for the Casino:

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We took a couple of photos on the front porch of the complex:

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and a final photo from the Marine Village beside the Hotel:

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In order to get back to the ship we decided to take a water taxi, instead of the land one which Teresa said went too fast.

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The show for the evening was “Toy Story, The Musical”.  Teresa said she would rather watch it in the room so Misu and Gagu went to it alone.  It turned out Teresa was right, it was for little kids and these two adults were bored stiff.  After the show we we left for dinner and Teresa again saw her new friend Precious and her sister Taylor.

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It was Pirates night, and the biggest party of the cruise was thrown on the top deck, middle swimming pool.  Here’s a photo across the crowd up above the party:

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The party was filled with all the Disney characters dancing and everyone had a great time.  At 10:30 PM Mickey Mouse came into the party on a cable strung from one of the tall smokestacks.  Then, and this is the only cruise line/ship in the world, a fireworks display went on for 10 or 15 minutes above the ship.  The kids went crazy.

And now for our guest writer:

TERESA’S CORNER:

On May 4th, we stopped at the wonderful Nassau, Bahamas. The first stop we made in Nassau was Atlantis. In Atlantis, we went through a casino and saw jewelry and the hotel. After the Atlantis, we took a water taxi which was very load.  During Toy Story, I missed it because I thought it would be boring. When Gagu and Misu came back we went to dinner and I met up with Precious.  After dinner we went to a pirate party with pirates.  And that was my day in Nassau.

Teresa

Teresa’s Corner has a few more capital letters because it was late at night and Teresa wanted to dictate to Gagu, who did the typing.  Sorry, if it is not as good her first ones, but she had to put up with both Misu and Gagu trying to have her get it done fast.

Love You All,

Gary (alias Gagu)

Posted by: Gary Guertin | May 5, 2013

3. Disney Bahamas Cruise – Key West

Hi All,

Our first port of call was Key West, Florida, USA or as many of you may not know, “The Conch Republic”.  Key West many years ago had it’s Mayor send in a letter of succession from the United States because the military were blocking the entrance to the island  to catch smugglers.  Since the government lifted the blockades after the protest they forgot about the letter.  An unanswered letter of succession (all of Texas’s letters have been replied to) becomes effective after a period of time, and Key West actually is the Conch Republic.  It has/can issue passports and is recognized by 39 countries in the world including the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

So, let’s go ashore, first you need to see Teresa and yours truly in front of our ship (hat and hatless):

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As we strolled along the boardwalk we came across an artist:

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If you haven’t guessed the artist is a statue.  Next Teresa and Misu sat down to talk to one of the local fisherman:

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After shopping for awhile Teresa and I (with Misu’s OK) decided to take a 90 minute trolley ride all around both the old and new part of the island of Key West.  Can you believe Misu went back to the ship to rest and missed this exciting tour of the city????

Our trolley operator and tour guide was Lance and he was excellent.

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No tour would be complete without passing by Sloppy Joe’s Bar.  Teresa did not go inside:

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Another interesting part of Key West is the southern most point of the United States:

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Teresa and I returned to the ship to find Misu taking a siesta (what a surprise):

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Since Misu was resting, Teresa and I headed for the swimming pool and lunch:

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Next, before dinner we attended the show, “The Golden Mickeys”, a wonderful Musical:

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After dinner we enjoyed another evening of Karaoke in which our favorite performer again proved to be the “best”

Now for our guest blogger:

TERESA’S CORNER:

On May 3rd, as you know we went to key west. On our first stop in key west was to a shop where I got a wonderful purple dress. After that, Gagu and I went on a trolley for 90 minutes and learned some interesting facts about the island.  We went to eat lunch at the pool deck and I try going in the pool but it was to crowded so I went out after 5 minutes. We went back to the cabin and the ship started to sail. At 6:00 we went out to the Walt Disney theater to see the golden mickeys. the show had romance, comedy and villains and I loved the show. Some of the characters that we saw were Mickey and his friends, some of the Disney princesses with there princes, and a girl who thought that she couldn’t go on the stage but she realized she could if she followed her dreams. The show was really good. When we went to dinner, I was surprised to see my friend, Precious, not there at dinner. The last thing we did was karaoke and I sang defying gravity. I thought I was pretty good. So that was my day on May 3rd.

Teresa

It is on to Nassau in the Bahamas,

Love You All,

Gary (alias Gagu)

P.S. My guest writer doesn’t use capital letters very often which I believe is a generation thing. da!!!!

Posted by: Gary Guertin | May 3, 2013

2. Disney Bahamas Cruise – Boarding

Hi All,

Yesterday we boarded the Disney Wonder and started our cruise.  We got on the ship at about 1:30 PM, but believe me when the two girls fell into bed about eleven o’clock it seemed as if we had been going for two days.  Since it’s best to tell the story of the day with photos, let’s start with my girls waiting at the cruise terminal for me to park the car:

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As we were about to board the ship we took a photo of the “family”, but before I show you it, do any of you recognize the family going on their first cruise 2 Apr. 1982?

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Here’s the next generation boarding her first cruise 2 May 2013:

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After checking in to our stateroom we immediately had to start exploring the ship.  Teresa ran into one of these funny characters that roamed the halls:

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We were lucky to catch a tour of the ship and here is Teresa in front of one of the pools:

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As soon as the tour was over it was time for the “Emergency Drill” that you have to go through before you sail.  Teresa found out where the life boats were located, and here she is with Misu at the lifeboat station:

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As we sailed away there was a big welcoming party in the center of the ship and after that it was time for the evening show.  Scott Pepper, a Magician, kept us spell bound for one hour, including sawing a woman in half and making her disappear.  After the show it was dinner time (we’re on the 8 PM seating) and here is our first dinner photos:

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Dinner turned out to be one (of a hundred) of Teresa’s best times of the day because we shared a table with a Mother (Marie) and her two daughters, Precious 10, and Taylor 4.  Precious and Teresa talked throughout dinner and by the end had become friends.  Here’s Teresa with her new friend:

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You would think the evening was over when it’s almost 10 PM after dinner, but no, Teresa and Misu had to go to Studio Sea for some Karaoke.  Here is Teresa going full blast with “You Belong With Me”:

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Needless to say it was Misu and Gagu’s opinion she was the best singer of the evening.

Now I want to turn it over to my guest blogger:

TERESA’S CORNER:

Yesterday, May 2nd, for my first cruise I had a great day aboard the Disney Wonder. We took a lot of pictures and my favorite part was meeting my new friend Precious. I met her in dinner and we talked for a long time. After dinner, we went to karaoke night and I sang “ you belong to me” by Taylor Swift. I was kind of nervous. Tonight, I’m going to do karaoke night tonight again. Check in tonight for what I did May 3rd.

Teresa

Well that’s it “kids”.  Until our ventures at Key West, our first port, on Fri. May 3rd,

Love You All,

Gary (alias Gagu)

Posted by: Gary Guertin | April 18, 2013

1. Disney Bahamas Cruise – Itinerary

Hi All,

Anybody recognize the ship above in the heading.  Well, it’s the Disney Wonder, the next cruise ship Susy and I are taking.  This cruise, however, we are going to be accompanied by our granddaughter, Teresa Mathis.  Let’s first look at the itinerary:

Cruise Itinery 2 - 5 May 2013001

Now, not only is this our first time aboard a Disney ship, but it’s the first time we get to travel with Teresa and we can’t wait.  On top of that, for your great reading pleasure I have asked Teresa if she wouldn’t join me on this blog as a guest writer and give you  another view of our port stops.  So here is the first input of the new section, enjoy:

TERESA’S CORNER

So excited for the Disney cruise! mickey mouse even called me saying that he was excited that i was going! i would like to thank my grandparents for letting me go on the cruise! thank you!

That’s it kids. Until some time after May 3rd (depending on how busy Teresa is),

Love You All,

Gary (alias Gagu)

Posted by: Gary Guertin | March 17, 2013

Cruising with the Guertin’s – Why Cruise?

Hi All,

You all ask me this question from time to time and I usually give you the standard answer; “you can travel and see the world without having to pack and unpack your bags all the time” or “you get to bring your “home” along with you as you move around the world”.  Well, those reasons are all true, but in going through the photos of our last cruise to the Caribbean and Brazil it finally hit me (sorry, you know I’m a little slow) that one of my major reasons to cruise is because I see my better half at her best.  Susy, when cruising, gets to extensively use her wardrobe (showing her excellent taste in clothes), but more importantly she has the opportunity everyday to make new friends, to cement ties with old friends, to interact with people.  In a sense, she sparkles when cruising.  It brings out all her wonderful traits, for example one night our wine steward, a young lady from the Philippines, who we had gotten to know very well, just gushed when she saw the blouse Susy was wearing.  Susy didn’t forget that night, and at the end of the cruise she gave that blouse to the wine steward.  Here was a young lady who was saving with her husband (who also worked on the ship) to build a home back in the Philippines, who could never afford to have a blouse like the one Susy had just given her.  She was in seventh heaven and you could tell Susy was just as happy.

How did I reach this conclusion? Here’s what I saw day in and day out on our last cruise:

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Susy with two Argentines she met, one of whom is the wife of a doctor who is retired and lives in Ft. Lauderdale:

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The blouse Susy is wearing below is the one she gave to the wine steward.

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Do I make my point?  Susy loves to talk to people, ask where they are from, and find what we have in common.  I can’t tell you how much pleasure I get seeing my mate in full blossom.  Yes, now there’s no doubt in my mind why I love cruising.  Even though we now have covered the world in our 22 cruises, I hope we can cover it again, as long as I can watch Susy in her element, rubbing shoulders with everyone from the wine steward to the lady that has the Presidential suite ($2000.00 a night).  Treating everyone like they are the nicest people in the world.  Oh, and I can’t forget, all those hours in Macy’s looking for the best bargains can be demonstrated every day and night when she dresses like a million dollars and no one can tell the difference.  She loves it and it shows when cruising.  Don’t get me wrong, everyday at home she shows the same qualities, it just when we’re on a cruise she can put them all out there every day.

Until our next cruise,

Love You All,

Gary (alias Gagu)

Posted by: Gary Guertin | March 15, 2013

26. Caribbean – Brazil – Home

Hi All,

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Yes, this is the night before the end of the cruise.  All bags going ashore out in the hall by 12 midnight.  This is the night when you are both happy and sad.  Happy because tomorrow your going to be seeing your family and friends at home and sleeping in your own bed for the first time in 49 days.  Sad because tonight you have to say goodbye to your ship board friends and especially the crew who have taken care of you for the cruise, your cabin stewards, your waiters, your wine steward, and all the rest throughout the ship. 

To end my posts on this cruise I am not going to take you on a tour of the Maasdam as I usually do, mainly because this is our third cruise aboard her and you have seen her twice before.  No, what I would like to do is give you a “Kaleidoscope” of photos from the last 49 days.

First I talked about our waiters and wine steward. Here is Herde and Mary Fey our head waiter (in costume) and wine steward:

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The piano bar player “Stryker” (the one in the back sitting on the piano) became our good friend.  Here he is as yours truly (Susy is hidden behind me) and our friends enjoy him one evening:

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A costume ball in the big theater:

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Susy with our best drinking buddy, Wendell (from several cruises):

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An “Asado” (cook out) next to the main swimming pool:

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A local folklore group on the main theater stage:

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A Carnival party on the back swimming pool deck:

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No photo gallery would be complete without showing Susy and my last photos compared to the first.  Susy’s first Jan. 18, 2013:

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One of Susy’s last, March 1, 2013:

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Yours truly first, Jan. 18, 2014:

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One of my last, March 1, 2013:

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You don’t notice my extra 10 lbs. brought about by Susy making me drink and eat excessively (ha, ha).  It isn’t fair because she stays the same!!

Well, that’s the cruise.  It was really one of our best.  The last few days when we got sick dampened it a bit, but we’ve completely recovered and seeing Gigi, Dirk, and the grandchildren has got our spirits back to normal.  From the Caribbean Islands to the beautiful Brazilian villages and cities, from cruising the Amazon to sailing the Brazilian Atlantic coast, this cruise will not be forgotten by us.  In a few days I’m going to make an additional post which has to do with my cruising in general. One last thing, I finally awoke to a fact I had not thought about before.  Susy and I covered (traveled) 12,518 miles in 49 days.  This was our 22 cruise.  Sure many were much shorter, but can you imagine how many miles we have traveled?

I want to thank you all for following my posts.  Please forgive the grammar, sentence structure, punctuation and English in general.  I just hope you enjoy reading about our travels as much as we do living them.  I want to especially thank Leonor and Marcelo for their comments from time to time.  Even though I didn’t address them directly, I read every word and appreciate every comment.

Let me close with some of my favorite photos of cruising on this trip:

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Until our next cruise, this is what it’s all about:

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Love You All,

Gary (alias Gagu)

Posted by: Gary Guertin | March 6, 2013

25. Caribbean – Brazil – Philipsburg, St. Maarten

Hi All,

Yesterday, Tuesday, Mar. 5, we visited our last port of this cruise, Philipsburg, St. Maarten.  I have to tell you up front, I didn’t go ashore, and Susy did, but just for a short while.  What happened is the stomach flue hit me bad in the morning and when Susy returned she went straight to bed with the same thing.  We’re better today and will be fine by Friday to go home.  If we were going to get sick St. Maarten was the best place for it to happen because we’ve been on this island several times and know it well.

St. Maarten is known as the smallest land mass to be governed by two nations, France and the Netherlands (36 miles).  The two sides of the island are like night and day.  On the French side it’s reminiscent of its colonial roots, excellent restaurants, outdoor cafes, and designer boutiques.  The Dutch side is slightly smaller and filled with casinos, nightclubs, and some of the best duty-free shopping.

I did get one photo of what I call “a peaceful, beautiful, Caribbean island”:

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I sent Susy out with my camera and said to do the best she could to take pictures of the port.  Well, she got the ship’s port sign right:

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That’s it.  No I’m kidding, she did get these other photos:

 

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She did take a lot of photos of the cruise ships in the port because it was overwhelming.  There were three of the “giant” cruise” ships (4000+ passengers + 1000+ crew):

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Our Captain announced later that the five cruise ships in port dumped no less than 21,414 passengers and crew in Philipsburg that day.

Well, that’s it.  This is the last post before we get home.  As usual I’ll wrap up the cruise and show you a little bit of the Maasdam sometime next week.  I hope you have enjoyed reading about the cruise as much as we have going on it.

Love You All,

Gary (Gagu)

Posted by: Gary Guertin | March 4, 2013

24. Caribbean – Brazil – Roseau, Dominica

Hi All,

Our second Caribbean island, Dominica, is as different as night and day from Barbados.  Were as Barbados is rather flat, Dominica is very mountainous.  In fact, Dominica has some of the highest elevations in the Caribbean.  The island is 29 miles long and 15 miles wide and is a 290 square mile nature retreat.  The people are very different from the Barbados inhabitants.  Even though both islands are independent and are British Commonwealth Nations, Barbados is very English, while Dominica is very French-Creole.  The Dominica people speak some English, but they have their own Creole language that is spoken among themselves.  Let’s look at the island’s history.  The name, “Dominica” came from Christopher Columbus who in 1493 sighted the island on a Sunday (Dominica).  In the 17th and 18th centuries the island was controlled by the French and English.  The English had control last when in 1978 the island became fully independent.  It’s very obvious that the French influence dominates the island even though it is British, especially in the language.  Roseau, our port today, Monday, Mar. 4th, is the capital of Dominica.

The mountains, with some active and in-active volcanoes is a sportsman’s paradise.  The island has 365 rivers running through it, and waterfalls abound.  It has the second largest boiling lake in the world.  Also around the island are some of the best diving and snorkeling spots in the world.

Today’s “Susy and Gary” activities included walking around the port of Roseau.  Take a look at the port from the ship with mountains everywhere you looked in the background.

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If you look carefully along the waterfront there is open air market, which attracted my traveling companion immediately.  Let’s start with the ship’s port sign and two great port signs:

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Here’s a look down the coast from the pier:

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As we left the pier where do you think my traveling companion went first?

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A look down the main street along the pier:

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As we walked around the town we encountered an old church:

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The President of Dominica’s home:

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A look at one of the streets:

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Now to important things, we spotted this bar, which is part of an old fort:

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In we went and on a hot, Caribbean day, there is nothing better than a cold one.

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One strange thing about this bar was the “Spice Shop”.  Notice the sign over the door:

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“Hum”, why can’t we take photos of Spice’s, unless there not Spice’s?  While we’re here in the bar, take a close look at the beer we drank.  It’s Dominica’s best:

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Lastly we’ll step outside and take one last look at a street and a building:

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That’s it for Roseau, Dominica.  Tomorrow, Tuesday, Mar. 5th, we stop at Philipsburg, St. Maarten, our last Caribbean island before we head home.  Yes, that’s right, we arrive in Ft. Lauderdale, this Friday, Mar. 8th.  The Captain said today we have travelled 11,255 miles since leaving Ft. Lauderdale on Jan. 18th. It seems like we left only yesterday.  Time flies when your having fun.   Well, until St. Maarten;

Love You All,

Gary (alias Gagu)

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