Rock and roll might well describe the daily atmosphere on this delightful seven day international cruise to Bermuda on the Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas. The only day we couldn't enjoy the never ending party was on our return trip when rock and roll took on a whole new meaning that left us a little bit green around the edges as our captain skillfully navigated us through a major cold front with 14 foot waves and 60 mile an hour winds. It was tough enough leaving behind glorious seventy degree weather to return to fifties. Not so many smiles on guests faces then. In fairness thought, of the three cruises I have taken, this bad weather was a first for me and it wouldn't stop me from taking another.
After two splendid days at sea, our beautiful floating city docked at the meticulously manicured Kings Wharf Royal Dockyard at the tip of the island. As was the case in the past, Royal Caribbean provided us with an exceptional experience, from the friendly stateroom attendants to the ever cheerful “washy washy” greeters in the Windjammer cafe. For those of you who may not have yet attended one of our annual cruises, to keep illness at bay, at the entrance of every eatery there stand multiple stations of hand sanitizers that you are encouraged to use by staff standing nearby. There you can hear the ever cheery chorus of “washy washy” which I thought became endearing enough to make me smile.
On this trip we had the most wonderfully funny and entertaining cruise director Leigh and his side kick “Erky from Turkey” who kept us laughing from the shows and shenanigans they pulled off on a daily basis. As my husband told the cruise director, a cruise is 50% ship and 60% crew, meaning that a good or bad crew can make or break a cruise experience. Of the cruises we have done these guys were the best. There are few places you can go where at every turn you are tended to in such a happy manner. I had to ask one of the waiters one evening if everyone is really that happy or is it just a part of the job. The answer impressed me that they really do love their jobs, and it shows especially when the waiters sing while they do their work.
This particular cruise took place on Halloween which made for extra fun to do things like take a glass bottom boat into the Bermuda triangle on all hallows eve to see a shipwreck and live to tell about it!
We watched below the surface at the fish and coral that live beneath the beautiful crystal clear water where we were able to see the remnants of a long ago shipwreck where part of the ship actually eerily remains above the waterline. This was one of the many excursions available to experience among others such as snorkeling, hiking, beaching and swimming with dolphins.
This Explorer of the Seas cruise provided, on apparently short notice, a Halloween Monster Mash party on the top decks around the pool stage area at which, pardon the bragging, my husband and I happen to have won the Best Couple Costume contest with our Pirates of Bermuda costumes.
Most of the cruise goers either participated in Halloween costuming or lounged around observing all the great costumes and grooving with the band. My husband and I swapped luggage room for our formal attire for our costumes which apparently paid off.
It wasn't just the upper decks decorated for the holiday but also the Promenade deck where minutes after midnight on October 30th, the decorating began. Everyone is free to roam the ship at all hours of the day and night.
We found Bermuda and its exquisite pink beaches and pastel painted houses and stores to be absolutely charming. From buses beeping one another at every pass and smiles we received at every turn, Bermuda locals were a friendly and accommodating people. I guess that would be a necessity when you live on a small island in the middle of the very breezy Atlantic Ocean.
Bermuda is known mostly for its gorgeous pink sand beaches. Of course at first sight I asked where is the pink sand, expecting the sand to actually be a full shade of pink. Upon closer observation, the pink tone is really the coral that washes up with each wave that mixes with the sand to give it that delicate pink shade. Beautiful indeed in combination with the crystal clear azure blue waters. Breathtaking really. These pictures show probably the number one attraction, “Horseshoe Bay” with its picture perfect beachfront and ragged imposing rocks that lure guests to explore the caves and hideaways they present. Kind of a romantic place to sneak a kiss!
What makes a TCA Cruise so wonderful is the opportunity to meet and get to know other members and share ideas and solutions to tricky problems with collecting and displaying trains. My husband was happy to gain some ideas for his particular train issues. There are members with various degrees of interest in the hobby, but always happy to get together and talk about the love of trains and life in general.
On this particular cruise we had about 67 members from mostly the east coast but several came from as far west as California, Texas and Oregon!
Our TCA Host and treasurer Bob Mintz, TCA Escort and Operations Manager John Luppino and Travel Leader Escort Mindy Eveler, with assistance from her husband Mark (no, not Mork) did a wonderful job of keeping us organized and informed on all the things we needed to know to enjoy our experience on board and ashore. We were fortunate to have had the same wonderful experience when my husband and I took the TCA Legacy Tour in Europe in 2011 on the Royal Caribbean “Liberty of the Seas,” an absolutely beautiful ship and fabulous bucket list cruise for us. We were excited to cruise again with TCA and create more new friendships that we anticipate will continue in the future. We look forward to our next opportunity.