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Published: June 13th 2018
JOHNNY’S JOURNEYS: COZUMEL MEXICO CRUISE 2018
January 18, 2018 (Thursday)
It is 22 degrees and sunny this morning. Snow is still on the ground. After a quick shopping trip, we are ready to drive downtown around 11:00. Bethany drives us to the Mobile Cruise Ship Terminal right at 12 noon.
Since I had pre-registered, check-in was a breeze. We ate lunch on the Lido deck and saw a pharmacy buddy, Sue (from Bay Minette). Our cabin/room was ready at 1:30. We could see the U.S.S. Alabama battleship, just off the causeway. Now we can take a nap.
At 3:30 there is a mandatory safety drill. We learn where to assemble in case of an emergency and the location of our life-boats. Around 4 p.m. and the cruise ship is heading south into Mobile Bay. I checked both sides of our ship, but could not see the Mobile Middle Bay Lighthouse. Back in 1985, I had won a radio contest for a sailboat ride in the bay. And we pulled up to the Middle Bay Lighthouse. I either overlooked it, or it’s no longer there. Gotta check the internet.
Soon I saw the Dauphin Island Bridge in the distance as the sun set. Then I was off to the Electricity Lounge around 5:00 for a pharmacy meet-and-greet. Many of these pharmacists and their spouses I had seen last January , on a cruise out of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Supper offered a nice variety tonight. The fresh baked cookies and whipped mousse were wonderful. Janet and I went to the Universal Lounge for the 10:00 show. We got seats on the second row! There were 4 men and 4 women that put on a high energy song and dance show. We look forward to seeing them again. The cruise director, Mikey from South Africa, introduced himself. Mikey found a few young volunteers from the crowd and entertained us. It was a fun ending to our 4-day Carnival Fantasy cruise. And we’re in bed by 11:30.
January 19, 2018 (Friday)
I did not plan on waking up at 3:33. After looking out at so many stars, I’m glad I woke up this early. The wake-up call came at 6:45 and I soon go upstairs for breakfast. Now, this is a big reason why we’re here. The Alabama Pharmacy Association presented a 4 hour Continuing Education program. We all have to have 30 hours C.E. every 2 years. Might as well get it on a cruise ship!
12 noon and the C.E. program is finished. There is a Trivia contest going on nearby and I go and sit in on that. Arriving back at our room, Janet is ready for lunch. The food today has a Caribbean theme. A couple from the African country of Niger join us. He works in Mobile at the AAA headquarters. Couldn’t recall his name; so we called him Mo from Mobile.
Okay, I’ve been waiting for this for weeks: a 2 and ½ hour nap! I’m up in time to join the other pharmacists for a 5:30 group photo. I then wandered the stairs, taking pictures of paintings in the stairwells and in the walkways.
We get good seats for the 7:00 Motor Town Show tonight. Very entertaining singing and dancing. Lots of fun songs to sing to. Several dancers awaited the audience outside the doors to the Universe Lounge. And Janet got a hug from one of the dancers. Afterwards we had supper. My wife and I visited a jewelry store, where they had a jewelry trivia contest going on. Yes, Janet knows her jewelry and got 9 out of 10 questions correct. She won a pair of platinum pearl ear-rings. Happy! Then there is a 9:45 MoTown trivia contest with more singing and dancing. Lots of good, old songs like My Girl, Play that funky music white boy, I will survive and YMCA. I’m humming as I hit the bed at 11:15.
January 20, 2018 (Saturday)
A wake-up call at 7:00 and I go and retrieve breakfast for my wife, so she can eat in bed. I then return to the 10th
deck for the breakfast buffet. It is time to move the watch one hour ahead.
We leave the ship around 10:10 and need to meet our tour guide by 10:30. Hello COZUMEL! We had to take a 5 minute taxi drive to meet our Safari bus tour guide. Well, we are the only two and it is canceled. So, we upgrade from a 4-hour to a 5-hour tour. We join a couple from Houston. He drives the stick-shift Jeep and we sit in the back.
Cozumel is located about 12 miles from mainland Mexico. This small island is roughly 10 miles by 30 miles. We drive about 15 miles south until we reach the Punta Sur Ecological Park. On our first stop, we climbed up an observation platform and looked out over the Columbia lagoon. We enjoyed viewing pink flamingos, egrets and swallows. At the southern tip of the island, I climbed the 132 steps to the top of the Celarain lighthouse. Built in 1934, oh, the view!
There is a small museum and a tequilla tasting room. The chocolate tequilla was my favorite, then strawberry flavored, then the plain. Yes, we brought back some tasty souvenirs to Mobile. Walking past the hammocks and along the beach, we saw several iguanas. Janet found a place selling black coral jewelry… and it just had her name on it! There was a stop at a small, ancient Maya ruin called El Caracol. Legend says that there was a large conch shell on the top. It was supposed to have served as an early warning system for hurricanes. Our guide told us that there were many crocodiles in the area; and we did see one! There were very few tourists at this southern tip and the water was so pretty.
The next destination was a restaurant on the beach (Cielo ?) I waded out in the water and put on my new snorkeling mask. By myself, so I didn’t swim way out to the reef. But I did see lots of seaweed and fish. The water is cool, but hey, there’s snow back home.
Janet was waiting for me under an umbrella at our beachside table. This was a great time for a couple of fish tacos. Wonderful… and the view of the crystal blue water mesmerized us. Did not want to leave.
There was one more stop along the roadside to walk up to a natural “blowhole”. Every 20 seconds, water would blow or shoot up about 25 feet in the air! That was so cool. Yes, we could come back here again.
The jeep ride took us to the shopping district. There seemed to be a sinkhole, or cave-in area. The sign said it was a cenote. At the Diamonds International store, Janet picked up a sombrero charm for her bracelet. I was lugging a very heavy bag, with three bottles of tequilla. Bought a few postcards, a tee-shirt and some rum cake. And we are boarding the cruise ship at 3:28, two minutes ahead of schedule.
That 2-hour nap was wonderful, before I go up to the pool deck. The first hot tub I pass has 5 kids in it. So, I get in the one with 5 adults. And they are all from Alabama. Several work with AAA in Birmingham. They knew Mo from Mobile, who had lunch with us yesterday. We must have talked for at least an hour. Just very relaxing. When I returned to the room, we watched a little television. Then, room service delivered our supper. There is salad, tuna salad sandwiches, apple juice and cookies. Janet had a reuben sandwich with cheese-cake. There is a sliver of a new moon on the horizon. Pretty!
I’m going to the 10:00 movie, Dunkirk, while Janet goes to bed early. Wow, so glad I finally got to see it. At 11:45, there is a musician playing and singing country songs. Then, he just takes requests. Lots of favorites including Friends in Low Places, Piano Man, and Folsom Prison Blues. Fun! Finally off to bed at 1 a.m.
January 21, 2018 (Sunday)
No need for a wake-up call. This is our last day of vacation and we’ll be at sea all day. Hey, I slept until 9:00 this morning. We go to the Celebration Dining Room for brunch. It’s time for steak and eggs, corned beef hash, chicken sausage, ham and eggs omelette, apple juice, coffee and banana cream pie. Met a family from Semmes, AL as we were leaving.
Passing a lounge, we listen for a little while to a guitarist named Jace. Then onto the highest deck, we see a few families playing mini-golf. Our cruise ship crew is made up of workers from 67 countries. Wayan from Indonesia is taking care of our room.
This is wonderful… another 2-hour nap! Then, we go to Guy’s Burgers for a late lunch / early dinner. Now it’s about time to get a good seat for the show: Country Road. Enjoyed it. Several of the dancers / singers greeted guests afterward. Took a selfie with one of them. Janet and I went to the Atrium and listened to a few singers. Then we went on up to the Lido deck
for a small supper. There was pumpkin soup, penne marisco, fried shrimp, stuffed chicken, stir-fry beef and broccoli, tea, lemonade, water and 3 desserts.
At 9:30, Janet decides to call it a night. I want to go to the Atrium for an 80’s Music Trivia Contest / Dance Party. Our cruise director, Mikey from South Africa, was the emcee. There were so many fun songs from the past: Jessie’s Girl, Hey Mickey, Midnight Train, Love Shack, Go Ahead and Jump, Walk Like An Egyptian and Men at Work’s Down Under .
Hundreds of us were split into two teams for a little competition. Mikey was dressed in Richard Simmons attire and was sporting a big wig. What a character! We competed with the loudest screams, the best dance moves, which team gave the most hugs. When the song “I had the time of my life” was played, Mikey came a running and jumped onto the hands of our strongest man… just like in the movie. We end the fun by participating in a “mannequin challenge”. There was a confetti shower as the competition was declared a draw. Had my photo taken with Mikey; then gave my confetti necklace to a friend from Hattiesburg. Back in the room by 11 p.m. What a fun 4 days and nights!
January 22, 2018 (Monday)
Before I went to bed, I was finally able to view dozens of stars on a clear night. And saw a few constellations. When I awoke at 3:30, clouds had rolled in. But I did see six oil rigs and knew we were getting closer to home.
With a 6:15 wake-up call, we have a view of Mobile. We soon dock and go up to the Disco Lounge to retrieve three tequilla bottles. I’m now going to my last breakfast buffet. One of the cruisers speaks to me on the way out. I then grab pastries, yogurt and coffee for Janet. She still enjoys being served breakfast in bed. After our last little bit of packing, we walk down to deck 4, to await being called. “Hello Mobile”… it’s good to be back home!
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