The 2005 Caribbean Cruise

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Mariner of the Seas

Sunday, 18 Sept: Depart Port Canaveral, FL (1700)
Monday, 19 Sept: At Sea
Tuesday, 20 Sept: San Juan, Puerto Rico (1600-0001)
Wednesday, 21 Sept: Charlotte Amaliee, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (0800-1800)
Thursday, 22 Sept: Phillipsburg, St. Maarten (0800 - 1600)
Friday, 23 Sept: At Sea
Saturday, 24 Sept: At Sea
Sunday, 25 Sept: Arrive Port Canaveral, FL (0700)

If you are "detail oriented," you'll notice the picture of the itinerary doesn't exactly match the actual itinerary list above.  If you don't recall, this was the week that Hurricane Rita came through the area. Nassau had closed their port in preparation for the storm, so Royal Caribbean had changed our route to include San Juan and skip Nassau. From what I gathered from other passengers, we got a better deal out of it anyway.

  I don't want to make one HUGE page detailing the entire trip, so I'm going to do our travel day and our first day on this page and then link to each other day from here.  I think it's better to spread it out and, if you want to read and come back later, you just know the page you were reading instead of trying to find your spot down on a long page.

  All of the of pictures are linked from one thumbnail page, but they are sectioned off by the page you are reading.  You can click on the link at the bottom of each page and see those shots or you can scroll up and down to see all the thumbnails for all the pictures.

Saturday, 17 Sept 05: We left our house around 2:00 pm for the 5 hour trip to the Canaveral area of Florida.  Although, not without a bit of drama the night before.  (Picture of drama) My sister had helped me get a reservation for the night at The Clarion Hotel on Merritt Island, Fl so we would only have about a 30 minute drive to the Port the next day.  (It's actually about a 15 minute drive and they offer free parking for the week if you tell them you are cruising.)  We traveled down to Florida with a care in the world. The traffic was light and the directions found on MapQuest were "spot on."  After we checked in, we drove around the area to find some supper and landed at the local Sonny's BBQ.  We had a good meal and then back to the hotel for a good night's sleep before boarding the next day.

Sunday, 18 Sept 05: Out of bed by 0900, dressed and ready to go by 1030.  After check out, we drove to McDonald's for breakfast.  Not the best breakfast we could have and not the friendliest people we've ever dealt with behind the counter either.  But, they didn't spit in our food, so it could have been worse.  After a stop by Target for some last minute items we realized we were missing the night before, we headed off to Port Canaveral to board the ship.  As I said earlier, it only took about 15 minutes to get there, so we were inline to drop off our luggage around 12:30.  The ship started boarding at 1200, so were about on time.  A little early as far as Heather was concerned, but not too much so.  We sat in the vehicle line for about 30 minutes or so.  As we were in line, this was the first view of the Mariner.  It was HUGE!!! Almost twice as big as the ship we were on last year.  After we dropped off the luggage at the front of the port, we then drove to the multi-level car park and dropped off the car.  (10 bucks a day, 7 days = 70 bucks... I'll remember the free parking from the Clarion next time I leave out of Canaveral)  After parking the car, we went to get inline to in-process the ship.  This is where you show your ID, get your seapass card (The "credit card" you use on the ship to purchase anything as well as it being your ID card for the week to get on and off the ship) and get everything in order for you to board.  This is also where we found out we would be going to San Juan instead of Nassau.  We were only in this line for about 15-20 minutes and then we boarded the ship around 1330.  Our stateroom was ready by the time we boarded, so we went straight there to drop off some stuff.  We looked around the room checked out the balcony and made a couple of cell phone calls to let everyone know we arrived safely and were on the ship and then headed out to learn our way around this massive floating city.
  We started walking around. I want to learn my new environment as soon as I can so I don't waste time reading maps or "You are here" legends.  I want to know where I am and where I want to go and how to get there as soon as I can.  So, we stopped by the first open bar we found, grabbed a Corona and started walking to check out the ship.  As I said, this place was huge.  It took a whole lot more walking and searching than Heather wanted to do.  After we walked around for quite a while and then stood on the top deck for the Bon Voyage celebration as we pulled out of port,  she got tired because I wouldn't slow down.  We went back to the room to settle down into our new surroundings for a bit.  After about an hour out of port, the seas started to get a bit rough.  As I mentioned earlier, Hurricane Rita was in the area.  We were on the outskirts, but she was going to make herself known over the next 36-40 hours.   Nothing major at this time, but you could feel it.  Heather has small bought of motion sickness when it comes to this, so she decided to lay down for awhile.  I was chomping at the bit to explore more, so as she laid down, I headed out for more walking.  As I got towards the bow of the ship with a cold Corona in my hand, there was a man in a wheel chair checking out the sites.  He hollered back to me that there was a rainbow ahead of us.  As I got up to him at the front of the ship, there was, indeed, a rainbow directly ahead of us.  It looked as we were going to pass right under it.  As we watched that, we also noticed there two big thunder storms to either side of the ship.  Over to the Port side (Left), there was a storm about 5 miles out.  To the Starboard (Left), there was one about 1 and a half miles out.  We passed right between them without a drop on us. They were amazing to watch as they passed by. Unfortunately, neither of us had our cameras with us at this time and we didn't get any shots of them.  Bernie, he said was his name, and I just watched the storms pass by. After they were past we said our good-byes and he rolled off to venture elsewhere, as did I.
  A couple hours later, I headed back to the room to get ready for our "Welcome Aboard Show" and our first dinner with our table mates.  We dressed and went to the show.  It was ok with a comedian and the Cruise Director.  After the show, we headed to our assigned Dining Room and Table.  (Sound of Music Dining Room, Table #560)  We met our tablemates for the week: Lou, Diane and Sandy.  Lou and Diane were married and from New Jersey. Sandy was Diane's cousin, originally from Jersey now living in Florida.  Very nice people.  Lou kind of reminds you of Patrick Stewart, the actor.  As of this time, about 8:45 p.m. on Sunday night, the seas were VERY rough and the ship was being pretty well tossed.  Heather was feeling the effects and not feeling good at all. She didn't eat but a bite or two of her dinner.  After dinner was over, we stopped by the General store and bought her some Dramamine.  It knocked her out, but it did the trick about making her feel better..  We were in bed about 11:30 or so that night.

Monday, 19 Sept: At Sea

Tuesday, 20 Sept: San Juan

Wednesday, 21 Sept: St. Thomas

Thursday, 22 Sept: St. Maarten

Friday-Sunday, 23-25 Sept: At Sea and Port Canaveral