Saturday, June 1, 2013

My First Royal Caribbean Cruise

My First Royal Caribbean Cruise 2013      
 by Joan S. Hust 

May 2013 I went on a one month cruise with my girlfriend. We use to double date.  I married Bill, and she chose to remain single. I flew on Southwest Airlines from Spokane, Washington to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. It was 55 degrees when I boarded the plane, and it was 80 degrees with buckets of humidity when I walked off the plane in Ft. Lauderdale. 
We went on the Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas ship via Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Ponta Delgada, Portugal, Paris (LeHavre) France, Cork (Cobb) Ireland, Zeebrugge, Belgium, Amsterdam, Holland, Oslo, Norway and Copenhagen, Denmark.

 The ship docked at all of the above cities.  The ship always arrived at the port early in the morning so after a very nice breakfast there were many options when we walked down the plank.  Would we walk into town or would we board a bus, or would we team up with a couple of ladies and hire a taxi to drive us to and from the city?

The weather on this excursion was in our favor daily as the sun was always shining but it was cold.  I wore a lovely white sweater, and a black and white waterproof windbreaker jacket with a hood in Russia that I wore daily everywhere.  I enjoyed meeting people from many countries and I played Trivia every day with a team of seven or eight folks on the ship. It was such fun. There were several teams that would play. The team I was on won a couple of times, and we would get a prize. My favorite prize was a Royal Caribbean hat.
 I really enjoyed going to the movies in the evening as they had the latest movies flown in from NYC.  The library selections of novels and magazines were wonderful. I attended art auctions daily.  I enjoyed the lectures of the history of the paintings. I did not miss an auction so as a prize I received a free print of my choice which was a water color country setting.  It was mailed to me and I  received it in the mail when I returned home.  It is now being framed  at a local store in Coeur d'Alene.

I am always asked where and what was your favorite place.  Well…My favorite in Ponta Delgada, Portugal was the statue of the Archangel Michael; in Cobb, Ireland it was Cork Harbour; in LeHavre, France it was the paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts, in Zeebrugge, Belgium. Village on the coast is quite quaint, in Amsterdam, Holland it was the house of Corrie Ten Boom because having read her book THE HIDING PLACE, stayed one week at a Bed & Breakfast and the owner went out of her way to make me comfortable driving me to see the Keukenhof flowers and not only did I have breakfast but dinner as well.  I was a guest of a lovely couple that raised Icelandic cows in Warnsveld.
 Oslo, Norway it was the architect of the local churches, and of course The Little Mermaid sitting on the rock in the harbor is quite significant in Copenhagen, Denmark.

 It was an occasion I will never forget as during the time I was in Amsterdam when Queen Beatrix who reigned for thirty three years stepped down and inside the Nieuwe Kerk Church and outside the Dam Square she signed the Act of Abdiction, and her son Willem-Alexander became King of the Netherlands with his beautiful wife, Maxima, as Queen and their three daughters.  The new King and Queen of the Netherlands with his mother, Beatrix, greeted the people from on board a ship on the canal. It was a sight to behold. I felt they were personally waving to me.  The new king and queen's eldest daughter, Catharina-Amalia, became Princess of Orange and first in line to the throne. 

Returning home I stayed for a week with JoAnn in her lovely condo in Ft. Lauderdale, met some of her nice, fun friends, attended a ballet performance, and the Sunday morning service at her Southern Baptist Church in Hollywood, Florida.

I feel most fortunate and blessed that I was able to go on a Royal Caribbean cruise, visiting so many countries, and meeting so many lovely people.
Was I happy to return home to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho?  You bet I was and I am blessed to have such a wonderful husband of 49 years to welcome me back.