Barcelona and Transatlantic Cruise 2008 – Day 17 – Atlantic Crossing

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Today was our fifth and final straight sea day as part of the Atlantic crossing. The seas have continued to remain very calm with swells of only 3 feet. The weather warms up every day as we approach the Caribbean. Temperatures are in the low 80’s with some humidity. As we have approached the Caribbean, the water has shallowed and the water temperature has risen. Hard to imagine, but the water temperature is now at 80 degrees.

These five days at sea have been marvelous and almost perfect, if not perfect. We have had some really cool times as a family and as individuals. That is one thing we love about a cruise. There is plenty for everyone to do and it doesn’t always have to be together. After 17 days together and we certainly aren’t tired of each others company. We have had some awesome family moments.

It’s a shame the cruise is coming to an end, but I must admit I am a bit tired of all the fancy food. Or perhaps it’s the quantity of food. With the five course meals every night, you tend to eat more than normal. I have limited myself to two or three courses on most nights, but still manage to feel quite stuffed by the end of the day. I have also skipped breakfast on some days or limited it a Danish on others. Savannah has made a few breakfast runs for the family to enjoy together on the balcony. Thus far, we have not eaten a single breakfast in the dining room. Plus, we have only eaten two lunches in the dining room, so we are doing a pretty good job of avoiding a lot of food, yet I feel stuffed on many a nights.

This morning, Suzanne went to the disembarkation (yuck) talk to understand what the process for getting off the boat will be on a couple of days in San Juan. Since tomorrow is a port of call in St Maarten, they did the talk on the last sea day. I spent the morning again walking the ship and staring at the ocean from many vantage points. I also stopped in and see the cruise sales manager to discuss a few options for our next cruise. The kids spent the morning in the Fun Factory.

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After the disembarkation lecture I met Suzanne to get a tour of the helipad on the very front of the bow of the ship. The ship planned to open the helipad to the public at 12:00 for about 30 minutes. The Cruise Critic group “leader” had arranged with the guest relations folks for us to get out there a half hour before the open session. There was a bit of confusion as the invitation we got said 11:00 vs the expected 11:30. We ran into the Cruise Director at the end of the disembarkation talk and asked him the time and location, but he was unaware of the event, but offered to take us out there right then. So, we got our own little private tour of the helipad. It was quite impressive to stand at the bow of the ship as we plowed through the Atlantic Ocean. I continue to marvel at the deep azure blue color of the ocean.

The kids were supposed to have met us for the helipad tour but failed to show up. They lost track of time in the Fun Factory. So of course when we went back there to plot a lunch plan, Sean had to see the helipad. So, I took him up there since I knew the secret recipe now. Actually, we hooked up with the Cruise Critic group and he and I spent about 15 minutes on the helipad. I think he enjoyed it. It was quite hot up there, probably hotter than other places on the ship. It probably had something to do with the deep green paint and the lack of wind movement.

We dined for lunch at the poolside grill again enjoying some burgers and fries. Of course, we just had to end lunch with a scoop of ice cream.

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After lunch, the kids and I lounged in the room while Suzanne got dressed for the Starring You talent contest. On Celebrity, they have replaced the passenger open talent show with a passenger voted talent contest. During karaoke nights on the cruise passengers voted for their favorite singers and during the Dancing with the Stars nights they voted for their favorite singers. The top four dance couples and the top three karaoke singers were brought back to perform for the passengers. Suzanne was one of the three karaoke singers selected. She sang well, but a big burly guy’s rendition of The Impossible Dream was selected as the winner.

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After the competition, Suzanne and the kids went for a swim at the pool while I enjoyed a couple of draft beers with my English and German friends at the Mast Bar. All in all, it was a very enjoyable afternoon – like most on a cruise ship.

I also decided to bail on dinner tonight. I just didn’t want to eat a big meal tonight. I was more interested in enjoying the last sea night with the ocean. Yeah, I know – I am weird. Suzanne and the kids went to the show before dinner, as I passed. It was a bit of a variety show. The comedian made an appearance which the kids enjoyed. They said the rest was okay at best. Just before the dinner time, we met for a magic show by one of the activities staff. It was pretty good. That’s when the three of them went to the restaurant and I grabbed a slice of pizza for dinner.

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After dinner, tonight was our first and only night pool deck party. It was a Caribbean party themed night. I am not sure why this was the only pool deck party but it was. I am used to at least a couple more on our Mexico and Hawaii sailings. We had all planned to meet at the start of the party by the Mast Bar. However, only Sean showed up as the girls bailed on the party and went to bed early about 9:00 with our hour time change that night.

The party was okay, but not quite what I expected. The band played dance music but only limited Caribbean or Calypso music which I didn’t get. The ship had their Dessert Extravaganza during the party too. I managed to avoid getting anything, but Sean enjoyed a couple things. We stayed at the party until about 12:30 AM before we retired for the night.

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Tomorrow is our last day of the cruise. We will be making a port of call in St Maarten. We are undecided if we will get off the boat or not. I suspect at a minimum, we will get off and do a bit of tourist shopping in the local town. We may also walk over to one of the beaches and let the kids take a quick Caribbean swim.

This may be my last post on the cruise until we return home. Since we disembark in the AM, I won’t have a chance to get a post up. So, it will depend upon access in the hotel in San Juan. Otherwise, I will catch everyone up when we get home with the last port day, the travel home and some wrap up thoughts.