Dec. 10
Well, we just got married.  The ceremony was wonderful.  The room was all done up with
candles and fresh flowers.  My bouquet was absolutely wonderful.  The best part was that the
couple that we met at dinner last night, Al and Peggy, attended and took tons of photos on Al's
digital camera that we're going to download onto the computer later.
After running all over the ship taking photos, we went to one of the lounges and had a drink.  I still
didn't really feel like anything was different, I wasn't feeling married ('cause of course I'm thinking
it should feel different right?)  Then, as we were leaving, Richard told me to watch my step, and I
immediately responded, "Watch it do what?"  Right then and there I knew I had become a
We came back to the room before dinner and they have our gorgeous floral arrangements on
either side of the bed.  We get our cake and champagne at dinner tonight to share with our new
friends Al and Peggy.  Tomorrow we stop in Cabo San Lucas.  Our shore excursion (sailing and
scuba) has been cancelled due to lack of interest (our cruise is full of 80 year olds-seriously,
Richard asked me if this was senior week or something) so I don't know yet what we'll do.

Dec. 16
So, I'll try to remember everything, there's been so much going on.  Friday night our wedding
cake came to the table and it was awful.  We had requested chocolate cake with chocolate
frosting, and the wedding coordinator had confirmed it.  We ended up with a white rum cake.   
No one ate it, it tasted so nasty.  The head waiter came over and swore it was white chocolate.  I
made him taste it, and he still insisted it was white chocolate.  I kept the rest, and took it to the
wedding coordinator on Saturday.  Saturday night we had our second cake.  It came over and
was still white.  Our waiter told us he had been assured it was a chocolate cake.  When he cut
into it and pulled up a white slice, you should have seen his face.  He only had the slice pulled up
about 1/2" when he saw it, and he tucked the piece back in.  We started laughing about how he
had cut into someone else's cake.  So of course he took it back and sent the head waiter over
who once again insisted it was white chocolate.  He told me again that the kitchen is having a hard
time because wedding cakes are always white.  I suggested he stop calling it a wedding cake
when he puts in the order.  Gheesh!!  Anyway, we were becoming celebrities by now because we
were getting a cake every night.  Finally on the third night we had a great chocolate cake with
chocolate frosting and chocolate-dipped strawberries for desert.  Third time's the charm.  Richard
says that's for the cake and also for wives.

Anyway, on Saturday the 11th we went to Cabo San Lucas.  Since we didn't have a shore
excursion planned, we walked around for a few hours looking for black dress shoes (since I
forgot to pack mine.)  Finally we were directed to a nice store with cheap black shoes, but the
largest size they carried was an 8.  I should have known.  Anyway, we were on our way back to
the marina to see if we could take a boat tour when Richard suggested we go into a dive shop we
had passed.  We had our masks and snorkels because we had planned on going snorkeling, but
we had not brought our diver certification cards.  The dive shop didn't care.  We went on an
awesome dive at a great price.  It was just us and the dive master.  I made him promise we would
see a sea lion, and we did.  We saw two rays, two eels, several star fish, a lobster, and one sea
lion.  Then we had him drop us off at lover's beach, which is only accessible by water taxi.  We
sat on the beach and then headed back to the boat.  It was great.
Sunday the 12th was an at sea day.  We lay by the pool and slept and walked around
the ship.  That evening we joined our table mates for family feud.  We lost, but since we were
up on stage, and we had been getting a cake every night, people were really starting to know
Monday the 13th we were in Acapulco.  It hasn't improved since I was unimpressed back in
1997.  We took a taxi to the flea market, and then walked back, stopping to get Richard a
hair cut.  We got back on the boat very early, and I took a nap.  I've been sleeping more than
I've been awake lately.  That night, we played the newly wed/not-so-newly wed game.  I told
Richard we didn't want to play, that all we would do would be learn how much we didn't
know about each other, and embarrass ourselves, but he insisted.  Remember, we were
already becoming celebrities, now that we got on stage and embarrassed ourselves, the entire
ship knows us.  (And we didn't win, but we didn't lose either.  We took second out of three
couples {one married for 51 years, one for 23, and then we had been married for 4 days,}
not too bad I guess.)
Tuesday the 14th we were in Huatulco, which is this cute little town that is just starting to get
into the tourism business.  We walked into town, and then lay on the beach and I ordered a
margarita, Richard had tacos.  That morning was pretty bad because I felt nauseous.  See,
after being on the ship for so long, walking around on regular land I kept weaving and stuff
and feeling like the earth was moving.  Richard assured me it was normal, but I sure didn't like
it.  It took about 2 hours for that feeling to go away.  We only had from 8:00 to 1:00 in
Huatulco so we could make it to Coast Rica by Thursday.  
This is where things got bad.  At about 2:00 we hit really rough water.  They had to
empty the pools, and close the upper decks.  Things were falling off of our bedside
tables and stuff.  All the drawers kept opening and closing.  We were really surprised
at how unprepared the furniture is for such motion.  Our RV is much better prepared.  
I hate to admit it, but I got miserably sick.  We headed back to the room and Richard
kept telling me that sitting up would be better, but laying down was the only thing I
could do.  It was awful.  At about 5:00 we had a huge lurch in the ship and our water
glasses fell off the table and broke.  They have this fancy ceramics and crystal store on
the boat, and everything fell over and broke.  All our family and friends were going to
get some gaudy ceramic trinket, but luckily for them, the store didn't have a scratch
and dent sale!!  The liquor in the gift shop ALL fell off the shelf and broke, over 100
bottles.  I had taken a Dramamine, but it hadn't done anything.  I finally fell asleep for a
few minutes and woke up feeling a lot better.  However, what woke me up was an
announcement from the captain.  We had a medical emergency on board, and even
though we were 5 hours south of Huatulco, that was the closest port, and so we had
turned around (that was the large lurch, with the waves hitting the ship as she turned)
and going all the way back to Huatulco, through the storm!!  [The captain told us later
it was a force 10 gale, according to Richard, force 12 is a hurricane!!)]  We got back
to Huatulco at 11:00PM and left again at 12:30.  {A lady had an aneurism and was
risking loosing her legs.  We also heard that a crew member had been crushed when
the boat turned and lurched, but that may have just been a rumor.}  I have such a hard
time believing that there were no other ports where we were, or that it wouldn't have
been better to keep going south until we were out of the storm, and having a helicopter
take her, but I guess this was the only way they could do it.  I was hoping that since
Wednesday was a day at sea anyway, we could make up most of the time, and just
arrive in Costa Rica late.  (It was the port I was looking forward to the most.)  
However, it is Thursday, and we should be well on our way to the volcano in Coast
Rica by now, but we are in our state room, being lazy.  They had to cut out the entire
stop to get us back on schedule.  VERY disappointing.  What's worse is that now I'm
getting sir crazy.  We've been at sea since Tuesday at 1:00 in the afternoon, and since
they cut out Costa Rica, our next stop isn't until Saturday at 4:00 PM.  There's not a
lot to do on the boat except lay in the sun, eat, sleep, drink, and gamble.  I know, I
never thought I would get tired of any of those things, but it's getting old fast.  (Oh, and
I did win $74.25 in the slots!)
We've decided we would get a bloody mary for breakfast since I've never had one,
and we'll try to participate in some of the activities today so we don't get too sun
burned or too fat.  We're going to do ceramics today, and maybe participate in a
scavenger hunt.  There is a Grandma's bragging party at 3:45 that I want to go to, but
Richard says they would throw me out.  Besides, the only pictures I have with me of
Chelsea and Lexi are on the computer.  Old ladies would be falling over if I showed
up with my lap top.

Cruse Journal up date By Richard:
The extra time at sea resulting from missing our stop in Costa Rica gives me time to
insert my input into this saga. It takes me a longtime to type a little.
Leaving San Diego was a beautiful sight. With the lights of the city sinking below the
horizon the breeze took on a chill that heightened the excitement and as we reached
open water the ship took on a slow steady roll. The seas remained fairly docile all the
way to Huatulco but the air temperature grew increasingly warm each day.  Expanding
on what Kyra said, Acapulco is a big noisy, dirty, smelly city.  Cabo was much
smaller, nicer and prettier. The diving was great even though the visibility was not what
I've seen in the Caribbean.  Huatulco  is my favorite so far with much less North
American influence and much nicer beaches.  Our stop there was only 4 hours but we
still enjoyed walking to the older part of town, lying on the beach and doing some
When we cleared the sheltered waters at Huatulco the seas were the strongest we had
encountered yet and they increased as the day went on.  People were fun to watch as
they staggered along and then went scurrying across the deck looking surprised as the
ship rolled and pitched.  We saw stacks of plates go flying in the buffet and heard from
our waiter that the first dinner serving was something of a mess as plates and food
went sliding.  By sundown they had closed the outside decks, drained what water was
left in the pool and the ship was lurching and pounding.  It was an interesting night for
sure. Yesterday the seas had calmed some, but sitting on the Lido deck in the
afternoon the wind noise was so loud blowing through the railings that conversation
was difficult.  This morning the waves were small and glassy.  As we began turning
east toward Panama we followed the coast and anticipation began to rise as everyone
is looking forward to getting off the ship again.

Dec 19
(Richard again)
We had a quick breakfast snack and secured a rail position on deck 10(the highest
forward deck) way before sunup.  We passed many ships waiting their turn to enter
the canal, passenger ships have priority, and had a good view of the lights of Panama
City as we passed under the bridge of the Americas with  the sunrise glowing on  the
horizon just to the starboard side of the stern.  After passing the locks we wandered
the decks to view the passage from every possible angle.  Describing Panama in two
words:  HOT and GREEN.  Everything we saw was interesting and it would take a
book to tell it all so I won't even try but it reminded me of Vietnam, made me think of
what  we'd missed by not going inland in Costa Rica and made me want to visit this
part of the world again.
We were scheduled to dock in Cristobal at 4:00 pm with four hours to explore.
Let me set the stage for the next part of this story.  First of all life aboard is relaxing to the
extreme. Everyone is pampered and well fed, still its impossible to please all the people all
the time. Ship board activities seem to be planned around the less active passengers which
helps explain why many people begin to feel a little cooped up after a few days at sea.
There was a near riot when, after waiting crowded together in a disorganized mob, we
finally docked at 4:45 and found out that the crew responsible for our disembarkation was
not even in place yet.  Even though we were near the front of this chaos we didn't step off
the gangplank until 5:25.  Disregarding all warnings that it is not safe to leave the market
area along the wharf, we (along with several other more adventurous travelers) boarded
the first available van and headed into down town Cristobal.  The streets were narrow and
jammed with cars, busses, and shoppers, the buildings were old and crumbling.  Two
couples got out, the rest of us requested something a little less crowded.  Someone
shouted out the name of a place reported  to have good food and we were off again,
honking and weaving our way out of the crowds, past boarded up buildings, then block
after block of shanties built out of the rubble where buildings had once stood and finally a
stately, sprawling old stone resort complex right on the beach. The diners departed but the
remaining four of us asked for something more of an average of the last two stops.  "How
about a shopping district out side of town?"  the driver asked. It's well after dark now and
we don't have much time, so we're off again past warehouses, abandoned autos, then the
outskirts of the city. Suddenly we arrive at a modern mall filled with well dressed
Panamanians loaded down with groceries, packages and of course had we forgotten it was
Christmas.  We were very surprised to see live cut Christmas trees for sale outside of the
grocery store.  It wasn't your picture post card setting but it was a lot of fun and we paid
with plastic.

Dec. 21
Well Richard finally gave me back the computer.  We were in Aruba yesterday.  We had
booked a shore excursion through Princess for a two tank scuba trip to two of the wrecks
around the island.  It was nice, but due to recent storms, the visibility was only 40 feet.  
They also did not provide wet suits, so I was very cold.  The first wreck was in 45 feet of
water, we saw eels and fish and lots of coral and stuff.  Some of our group actually went
through the inside of the ship.  I started to go in, but my dive buddy/husband was having
trouble with his buoyancy so he was having trouble staying off the roof of the ship, so we
turned around and joined the rest of the group on the outside of the ship.  That's where we
saw the two eels, one huge one and one baby, so it was probably a good decision.   The
second dive was in only 25 feet of water, and there were two huge schools of fish.  One
school was millions of these tiny 1-1/2" long silver fish.  They swarmed around us and just
made room wherever we went.  It was totally cool until I noticed all the stuff floating in the
water around us and realized it was fish poop.  I grossed out and almost had to surface.  
We finally swam out of the swarm of fish and the water cleared up, but not for long, we
came back to where we started to surface at the end of the dive, so we swam right back
through it.  I know, you're thinking that I'm being silly, and of course there is fish poop in
the ocean, but seriously, think of millions of tiny fish swarming around you, and at least half
of them were pooping on our heads.  Little tiny fish turds suspended in the water, and
you're lips are exposed down there.  It gets in your hair, in your swimming suit, need I go
Anyway, then we got off the boat and walked in town (fish poop and all) for some
shopping.  The city was beautiful, but we hear that's not normal.  Everything was lush and
green, but usually it's a desert.  They have been having much more rain than normal, and it
has made the island gorgeous.  It was such a contrast from Mexico where vendors hound
you to come into their shops and buy their junk.  Here you have to ask for help from the
store owners.

Dec. 22
We were in Jamaica today, in Ocho Rios.  We had a scuba trip scheduled and I wasn't
looking forward to it.  My ankles still hurt from the last dive (yes, I'm a wuss) and the air
was a little cold so I'm sure the water would have been colder.  It was too late to cancel,
so we sucked it up and went to meet our group.  Fortunately they had cancelled the trip
due to poor visibility so we walked into town to do some shopping.  The cruise ship
director had told us to watch out for people selling drugs, but I thought she was just over
cautious.  However, the third person we passed on the street asked us if we wanted any
"smoke."  (The first two and just about everyone else hounded us to take a taxi.)  After
buying a few trinkets for a white elephant gift exchange some of the younger passengers
have arranged for tonight, we walked up to Dunn's River Falls.  It was a long walk uphill,
but we got to see some great sights along the way.  When we got there, it was $10.00
admission per person, we paid to get in, but decided not to climb the falls.  First of all there
was a $5.00 shoe rental fee, and then the lines to climb it were huge, and we would have
had to rent a locker for our bag.  Anyway, we sat around on the beach for a while, and
then took a cab for a tour.  He took us to a botanical garden and through the rainforest,
which is just a fern gully, very cool.  He wanted $30.00, we told him all we had was
$20.00, so he didn't stop at all the tourist traps along the way.  He also didn't take us into
the botanical garden, which charged admission, but pointed out what we could see from
the road, and told us all about the native and non-native plants.  The shop owners were
giving him dirty looks for not bringing his tourists to their shops.  Then we went back to the
boat and had lunch.  After 13 days we feel like this is home.