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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Crossing the Atlantic with a Stop at the Azores

Crossing the Atlantic with a Stop at the Azores

After sailing out of Fort Lauderdale last Thursday evening, we spent the next five days at sea.  Maybe you’re wondering what one does at sea on a cruise ship for five days with no land in sight. Well we get into a routine and then change it, ever flexible to events, and there are many to choose from here.
But for example, I order room service coffee the night before and the steward is at our door the next morning, promptly at 7:00 am, coffee service in hand.  I have a cup, and then get ready to walk the Promenade Deck 7 for an hour, approximately 4 miles.  By the time I get back to the cabin, MA is up, well most of the time, and from there we go to breakfast. 
For lunch (notice how no meals are missed…ever!) anyhow for lunch sometimes we eat in the buffet and other days we would decide on the dining room with table service. Breakfast and lunch is where you join any table, meeting lots of cool folks every day.

The rest of our schedule depends on the ship’s itinerary and there is a lot to choose from.  For example, there was a Sunday church service, with over 300 in attendance.  Then there are movies going on all over the place, Bridge for those who like to play, seminars usually on travel related topics, Zumba fitness classes, golfing on the top deck, Bingo (we don’t do Bingo but lots of folks do!).
Let’s not forget MA’s line dancing classes, also Scrabble and other board games, Afternoon High Tea, cabaret shows, comedians, and like last night a juggler who could maneuver around with 12 trays of wine glasses without dropping a one.  Anyhow, trust me, you can’t do it all but there’s something for everyone!
MA at a crater lake

One of the highlights for me so far was a veteran’s reunion which was attended by over fifty vets.  There were three WW2 vets, one gentleman 90 years old, several Korean vets, a lot of Vietnam vets and an active duty Navy seaman who was on his honeymoon.  Every vet was asked to stand and give name, branch, and where they served.  The only woman vet turned out to be a USMC three star general and her husband, a bird colonel Marine. Both are retired.  MA spoke up when it came to her time and she shared how she was a flight attendant on Pan Am MAC charters that took the Vietnam vets to DaNang, Camron Bay, and Saigon and then picked them up for R&R to Hawaii or Japan, all of which got a hearty applause from the veterans who remember those flights.
Our routine usually includes some time on the Piazza, Deck 5, at 4:30pm having one of the many specialty coffees. We’re working our way through the coffee menu! We then get ready for dinner and sometimes catch a show before our 8:15 dining reservation. 
St Peter's Church

Today the Emerald Princess docked at Ponta Delgada on the Island of San Miguel in the Azores, a group of Portuguese islands. Our tour took us up into the mountains to see the volcanic crater lakes and visit some small villages.  The Azores was formed by volcanic eruption and you see lava rock everywhere.  It is even used as a building material on the buildings.  Our main stop was at a village called Sete Cidades.  MA and I walked to the small church made from lava rock.  It was beautiful inside.  I also found a couple of birds later that I did not recognize.  Maybe some of my friends will look them up for me.
We then drove up the mountain and saw a couple of lakes formed from the rim of the volcano.  One of the lakes has a blue cast and the other lake has a green cast.  We stopped again another volcanic lake and then headed back to the port, stopping to sample local cheeses.  Our guide told us there are as many cows on the island as there are people.  And we saw a bunch of them.  But obviously dairy products, cheese being primary, are a big deal here. We ended our time ashore shopping in a local store for bottled water (too expensive aboard the ship!).
Interior of St Peter's Church

Princess offers evening get-togethers for “frequent sailors”, and tonight’s snack was “all you can eat shrimp”. We still have dinner ahead, filet mignon and more shrimp and cherries jubilee.  Guess we both better do some walking tomorrow although the Captain has warned us we might be sailing in semi-rough waters for a little while.
One of the best things about our trips is time away where we do lots of fun things, we talk, we laugh, we meet nice folks, we see God’s awesome planet.  We leave Fox News behind, politics behind, gas prices behind, and just enjoy being a couple on a wonderful vacation.
God is truly great!
Unkown Bird Azores



  2. Wayne,

    Thanks for the update. As usual for you and MA, sounds like a great trip with plenty of scenery, fellowship, activities, and food. Keep the updates coming.

    HAVE A GOD BLESSED DAY - dave b.

  3. Hi Wayne,
    It was wonderful to hear about everything that's available on these cruises. No wonder you two like to cruise around the world! I love the fact that you're able to leave gas prices, politics, and Fox news all behind you and simply revel in being together. Fantastique!
    Love, Nola XO


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