Vacation Sagas

Bott Cayman Cruise Group

Pre-Cruise / Galveston At Sea Cozumel, Mexico George Town, Grand Cayman Falmouth, Jamaica At Sea /

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Whenever, Wherever

Whenever, wherever
We're meant to be together
I'll be there and you'll be near
And that's the deal my dear

The Cruisers

The itinerary for this cruise started in Galveston, Texas and continued to Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Falmouth, Jamaica before returning to Galveston, Texas.

John Bott Debbie Bott David Marrs Jody Marrs Don Otto Priscilla Otto
John and Debbie Bott
Royal Suite 1620
David and Jody Marrs
Owner Suite 1314
Don and Priscilla Otto
Owner Suite 1330
Bonney Bott Cindy Ebner Bruce Bott Page Bott Chris Crystal Manny Cafeo Tina Cafeo
Bonney Bott and Cindy Ebner
Inside 1605
Bruce and Page Bott
Inside 1639
Chris and Crystal
Junior Suite 9522
Manny and Tina Cafeo
Promenade 8609

Although this trip had been planned for a long time, I had not been scheduled to participate due to lack of a cabinmate and lack of funds to go it alone. As a "just in case", I called to see if there were any last minute deals and found one balcony left at a totally unreasonable price (to me ) for one person...$1100 and some change. No way was I going.

It was sometime Sunday night before the cruise was to leave, I was Skyping with my sister-in-law Debbie and brother John and told them I had looked. but couldn't afford the last available stateroom. They asked how much it was and then offerred to pay for a stateroom for me. Woo hoo! I was excited until I started investigating and learned there were no longer any staterooms available, not a single place anywhere on the ship for this sailing. The one I had found on Friday was already gone. Bummer....

So for the next week, I called two or three times a day in hope of finding a cancellation. Nothing. I had been added to a waitlist but they will only accept a name in one cabin category. I picked an inside cabin category L because that was the most available on this ship. Still nothing.

On Friday morning, as time was running out before the cruise line set the final manifest and no one else could be added for the sailing, I called once again. Nope, the ship was full. You'd think at least one of the 3100+ passengers scheduled for this ship would get sick, wouldn't you? Even if they said "Yes" right now, I still had to pack and drive to Galveston to board the ship. I went back to sleep. When I woke up around noon or a little after one, ready to write off this great opportunity, I phoned one more time. "Do you have any staterooms available on this sailing?"

"Yes, we have a Junior Suite!"

"REALLY? How much is it for a single?

"$2,6353.73." Now that's more than twice as much as the balcony stateroom I had missed on Friday.

There goes that opportunity. I asked if I could hold the suite so I could check with John and Debbie. Yes. They would hold it for an hour. I called John. Nobody answered his cell phone.

Then, Debbie called me right back as I was dialing her number. She and John were in a store and he was somewhere on another aisle. She had his phone so she couldn't call him. So, Debbie went up and down every aisle looking for him to ask if this suite would be okay.

Debbie found John and called me back. It was okay. Woo Hoo, again! In the mean time, I had decide if I could go, I'd let my niece Crystal and her husband Chris have the larger Junior Suite (with the bath tub I didn't know about) and I would take their inside cabin (with the silo shower) for myself. So I got all that settled. I was now on the manifest. Then I started thinking... for the price of port charges and taxes, I could ask someone else to go with me if they could get away for a week and leave in 24 hours. I called one high school friend. She would have to give 24 hours notice for leave from work and it was too late for her to do that. Then I called my high school friend, Cindy, who hads been pulling her hair out helping sell her mother's house, pack, and move into an assisted living apartment. I didn't think she'd be able to go, but it would be more fun to have someone else in the room.

"Let me check with my husband and I'll call you right back," Cindy said.

Wait. Wait. Wait.

"Yes! I can go," Cindy said. Yea! Cindy lived in Pearland, so she actually had a day (my driving day) to wind things up, knowing the closing appointment for her mom's house sale wouldn't be until February 29.

So, I called Royal Caribbean back and booked her, thankfully before they closed the manifest.

Now it's pack pack pack. The phone rings and I get two bookings on my upcoming Diva cruise in September that I had to reserve and fill out paperwork for.

Pack pack. Eat all the perishibles in the refrigerator, none of which are on my two week old diet where I've already lost 10 pounds. Pack pack.

A 9:30 PM email arrives. One of my website clients wants an update done right away, if possible! With more to come in a few days. I called him and told him I was on my way out of town for a week. But I made his current updates while we talked for 15 minutes. (Talented, aren't I?) I updated my books and email him his bill. His other updates would have to wait.

Pack pack pack. Eat some more. Everything but the actual clothes were in one suitcase, but dresses, slcks, nd blouses were hanging all around the 4-poster bed curtain frame. All of that wouldn't fit in my carry on. Hmmm. Wait! I have another BIG suitcase and I'm not flying. Woo hoo! I opened the second big suitcase, took the clothes, hangers and all, and rippled them into the suitcase. Done. It closes. And there's even room for my pillow in another compartment.

Time to go to bed. And it's only 2:00 AM! The alarm's set for 7:30 AM. Oh, no! Gotta take a bath first! Sleep at last.

Saturday, February 18, 2012 Drive to Galveston
U.S. Flag

The alarm went off at 7:30 and I was up and dressed in time to get out of the house at my desired time of 9:00. Right after I finished off the perishibles. I made a ham sandwich for on the road, packed up the remaining grapefruit and two servings of a delicious pecan pie. No, that wasn't on my diet, but was a left over from my Valentine dinner. I loaded the car and made it out of the house by 9:15. I was on my way to Galveston...via the place where I get a pedicure.

Another 45 minutes and I was on my way to Galveston with pretty toes. Too bad I couldn't say the same about my hair.

I arrived at John and Debbie's condo in Galveston around 4:00 PM, having made only one stop on the road. I hadn't noticed the 75 MPH speed limit signs on I-45 before and wondered if that was new since my trip in early January. In any case, I was glad for a faster trip. 75 MPH really means 80, right? I am Superwoman!

John, Debbie, Tina, and Manny were already at the condo when I arrived. We were waiting for Bruce and Page (who had arrived from Colorado and stopped to say hello to Page's mom), and Crystal and Chris (who were on their way) so we could all go eat at Willie G's restaurant. We managed to get in and out of there (with reservations) even though Mardi Gras celebrations were going on.

John and Debbie Crystal and Chris Bruce and Manny
John and Debbie. Crystal and Chris. Bruce and Manny.
Page and Tina Tina and Bonney A fancy crab something?
Page and Tina. Tina and Bonney. A fancy crab something?

After dinner we returned to the condo and visited awhile into the night before retiring to bed so we could be rested when we start our adventure.

Sunday, February 19, 2012 Depart Galveston
Mariner of the Seas
The elevator carpet reminded us what day we were on.

Cindy's husband Mike drove her to Galveston and arrived at 10:00 AM, as planned. Mike helped put her luggage into Manny's van (which already had several bags in it), before returning home wearing a dark shade of envy green. It took three vehicles to load all the bags and ten of the fourteen people who were going on this trip. Then our three drivers returned to the condo to park the vehicles and catch a ride with a friend, back to the dock.

Boarding is much easier when you finally earn enough Crown and Anchor points to go through the line for "special people" that helps one avoid the winding cattle call lines. We got our key cards and headed onto the ship.

Our other four cruisers were meeting us aboard the ship. We found each other in the Windjammer, a buffet style restaurant. Since we boarded early, we had to wait for our cabins to be ready and eventually we dwindled away with plans to meet up again at dinner.

But first, Crystal, Chris, Cindy, and I had to arrange for the cabin swap, which was accomplished with more ease than I anticipated. When originally booking this group, I had arranged for "My Time" dining with a designated time of 6:30. This did not include the two new arrivals, so I also had to get this rearranged before dinnertime. Again, excellent service.

Finally, Cindy and I were free to take our carry-ons to our room and wrestle with our luggage that had been delivered...all four large bags. Dinner the first night onboard is always casual dress because many people may not have received their bags by dinnertime. We were lucky to be able to do some unpacking before the evacuation drill.

(By the way, for those who have been concerned about cruising, I want you to know I have never been on a cruise that didn't have the evacuation drill before the ship left port. The International rule was to do it within 24 hours, but that has now been changed to before leaving port since the Costa Concordia disaster.)

The Mariner's dining room was three decks, two of which over looked the lowest one. It was decorated in grand style with gold or white columns and magnificent chandeliers. We ate on the top deck.

Chandelier Chandelier
Dining room chandeliers.

At dinner we had a table for 8 and a table for 6 next to each other. Our intention was to mix dining companions at each meal. This worked well to allow everyone to visit and get to know each other.

John and Debbie Jody and David Priscilla and Don
John and Debbie. Jody and David. Priscilla and Don.
Cindy and Crystal Crystal and Chris Chris, Bruce, and Page
Cindy and Crystal. Crystal and Chris. Chris, Bruce, and Page.
Bruce and Page Tina and Manny Bonney and Cindy
Bruce and Page. Tina and Manny. Bonney and Cindy.

After dinner we rushed to the opposite end of the ship to see the show in the Savoy Theater, a commedian / magician who was very good. Cindy is still wondering where the bowling ball came from.

owel Animal
A cute bunny towel animal greeted us when we returned to our room for the nnight.
Pre-Cruise / Galveston At Sea Cozumel, Mexico George Town, Grand Cayman Falmouth, Jamaica At Sea /

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