Viva Las Vegas

I hit 60 years of age last week. Not quite sure how I feel about that marker. Seems old. My wife thought I needed some cheering up and so she planned a special birthday getaway for the two of us. Off to Las Vegas.

Well, not quite Las Vegas. A little bit outside of Las Vegas. A small town called Techatticup.

The flight down to Techatticup was uneventful although the pilot had a bit of a hard landing.

We love travelling in our Class A motorcoach however, given the short period of time we would be down in Vegas, we decided to rent an RV. It was a bit older than we expected but it did have some character.

We stayed at an RV resort about 200 miles from Las Vegas itself. A bit far from all of the action, true, but you can’t beat the rates at this park. And look at the main reception building. Quality, my friend. Quality.

The owners of the RV resort were a bit different than I expected but then again, the U.S. has changed a lot since Trump was elected president.

Entertainment? Elton John was the headliner. Just not at this RV resort.

And, of course, high end shopping was everywhere.

Petoskey Motorcoach Resort

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Part of our summer was spent exploring with our new Dutch Star 4002. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Petoskey, Michigan, located in the Upper Peninsula, where we stayed at a beautiful motorcoach resort property. This was a shot of one of the coaches as it was leaving the property. The coach is very similar to ours. The one pictured below is a Dutch Star 4369.

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We were located on site 4 of the park.

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We enjoyed panoramic views of the property from inside our coach.

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This was our view from the front of the coach.

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Beautiful sunsets.

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Wonderful trip and wonderful memories.

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Disney Fantasy At Sea

As we come to the end of our Disney Caribbean Cruise, we enjoyed one more day at sea before we made Port Canaveral.

This was our stateroom for the week.

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Lorraine on the grand entrance staircase of the main lobby of the Fantasy.

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On deck heading towards the Animator’s Palate restaurant.

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One of the details in the main elevator area. Mickey can be found everywhere on this ship.

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A couple of views of the main lobby of the Disney Fantasy.

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One of the hallways that runs off the main lobby area.

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The head table at the Royal Court restaurant. Sadly, we were not seated here.

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Artwork was abundant throughout the ship.

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The main elevator area for the Cabanas restaurant topside.

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Shopping area of the ship.

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Lounge chairs on the deck.

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Every evening we had a different figure on our bed.

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It was a bit more challenging to get a couple’s shot with my camera when we were at dinner so two singles will have to do. We had an amazing time together on this Caribbean cruise. So many great memories.

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Castaway Cay

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I have posted about Castaway Cay before. I put a few photos up from this same cruise here and I also posted about Castaway Cay when we first visited the island back in 2011. It is such a beautiful spot that I will share a few more photos from our recent Caribbean cruise. This will keep the series of posts about our cruise in chronological order. Castaway Cay was our last port before returning back to Port Canaveral, Florida.

Disney purchased a 99-year lease for the island from the Bahamian government. The lease expires in 2096 so we should be able to go back if we ever take another Caribbean cruise with Disney.

The island is roughly 1,000 acres. Disney has developed about 55 acres. I found out that there are permanent residents on the island. Somewhere around 100 people maintain the property.

Disney created a mooring site for their ships to dock at Castaway Cay which you can see in this photo.

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This is the entry point to Castaway Cay. Guests can continue walking out to the beaches or wait for a tram.

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We elected to go to Serenity Bay, a second beach area designated for adults only. We had to travel along the runway of Castaway Cay Airport (MYAG) to get to Serenity Bay and we found a few wrecked aircraft like this one.

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The beach areas are wonderfully maintained.

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There are restaurants and bars nearby although Disney folks will serve you right at the beach. Castaway Air is a bar for the adult beach.

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We did bike the island and we found a viewing tower that allowed us to spot this small vessel.

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There was always something of interest to see on the beach.

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It would not be Disney if there were no shops.

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The Heads Up bar is for the family beach.

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Water slides at the family beach. Lorraine rode this one a few times.

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As our day at Castaway Cay came to a close, we walked back towards the ship. Truly an island paradise.

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Falmouth, Jamaica

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Falmouth, Jamaica.

How did we wind up here? A port of call on our recent Caribbean cruise, which, at first glance, appeared to be some massive condominium complex. Except that it was only the Allure of the Seas. One of the largest cruise ships in the world.

Time to get ready to go ashore. No selfie stick so an elevator mirror had to serve the job.

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The port is really a gated shopping and dining complex. As you can see from the next two photos, it is a surprisingly beautiful spot in the Caribbean.

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And then we got here. The gate that keeps the Jamaicans outside and the cruise ship passengers inside. I counted over a dozen police officers in front of this gate. It looks so different out there that most people, including ourselves, debated whether to go on the other side of the gate. And most people, like ourselves, decided to stay inside the compound.

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It just felt safer. I mean, there is the Mickey Mouse logo on the horizon.

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We did drop by Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.

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This Margaritaville is more of a destination restaurant with its own water park.

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Here are a few more shots of the port.

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You can see how the two cruise ships tower over the port of Falmouth. And the economy of Falmouth would be largely based on the cruise ships.

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After several hours of walking through the port, we retreated back to the ship for a late afternoon beverage. And then, off to Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Caribbean.

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Grand Cayman Islands

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The Grand Cayman Islands was certainly the nicest port of call on this particular Caribbean cruise. Beautiful beaches. Beautiful homes, particularly around the Seven Mile Beach. And very clean.

No dock so we had to get aboard a tender to go ashore.

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We walked around the main shopping and dining area by the port and decided to take lunch at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.

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Our tour started around 1pm and so we made our way back to the pier to find our group and our guide. We had several stops along the way including the far end of the Seven Mile beach. It just seems too perfect to me.

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So we went to Hell. Hell, Grand Cayman Islands that is.

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Fortunately, Lorraine is an angel and she helped me out of Hell. Thank goodness.

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Our last stop on the tour was the turtle farm. Lorraine was able to hold one of the baby turtles.

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We have a bit of a tradition in that if we happen to be near a large body of water, like an ocean or a sea, not usually lakes or rivers, Lorraine likes to get her feet wet. I have to document this tradition by capturing the event.

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We had a few more hours to explore our port of call before returning to the ship. Wonderful day.

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Cozumel

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Our first port of call on our Caribbean cruise was Cozumel, Mexico. Cozumel is an island off the eastern coast of Mexico. It looks as though the entire economy of Cozumel is based on tourism, most of it coming from cruise ships.

Our first stop was the Maya ruins at San Gervasio, located somewhere near the centre of the island.

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Miguel was our guide. He was very proud of the history of this place and he was very proud of the Maya civilization, art, architecture, mathematics, calendar and astronomy. He described the Maya calendrical system noting that the Maya solar year was more accurate than the Julian year.

Miguel was also prepared for the heat and humidity. You can see a white towel hanging from his belt. I could have used a white towel as well. So hot. So humid.

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We did not have much time at the ruins. The areas we did see were beautifully landscaped and the ruins showed well.

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Our next stop was the Mayan Cacao Company. This stop was created just for the tourists. More of a pseudo factory tour as no production chocolate comes off the island. It is described as a place to discover the origins of chocolate.

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Adrian took us through the process of how the Mayans made chocolate. The Mayans were the first to discover cocoa, perhaps as early as 900 AD. The beans inside the cocoa pods could be harvested and made into a liquid. I sampled the pure chocolate right there. A bit bitter for my taste as I have been conditioned to enjoy chocolate with a lot of added sugar. Interesting, though, to learn about the history of chocolate and to see how it was made back then.

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These two birds guarded the entrance to the Mayan Cacao Company.

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Our final stop was the Discover Mexico pavilion. The area contains a small museum, air conditioned. And an area of miniature buildings that highlight the main architectural features of Mexico.

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Our time in Cozumel was ending and we made our way back to our ship. Although the crew tracked us going out and coming back on the ship, there was no passport control in Cozumel.

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Before and After

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When we left Port Canaveral on our very first Disney Cruise back in 2011, we passed this ship on the way out.

And, less than five years later, we passed it again. This time it looked a little rusty.

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