Wednesday, October 13, 2010

At Sea Georgetown - Cartgena

Grand Cayman

Greetings from the Celebrity Infinity at sea between Georgetown, Grand Cayman and Cartagena Columbia, cabin 9149. Seas look to be 5'-7', which the ship rides very well in. Uploads are slow, as I get some pictures up, they will be added to my picasa album for the trip.

We left Ft Lauderdale at 5:30PM Sunday, were at sea Monday and arrived in Georgetown Grand Cayman at 8AM Tuesday. Weather was warm and generally sunny for that trip, sometime during the early AM hours of Tuesday, we dodged around the little hurricane that was supposed to hit the coast around Cozumel Tuesday.

We got up on Tuesday, had a light breakfast and tendered in to Georgetown. We were scheduled for the sub adventure at 11:15, but they had seats an hour earlier, so we went out on that. It was a lot of fun for me just because of the idea of being on an actual sub, and we did see a lot of sea life and coral -- or just "solid sea life" I guess and descended to the advertised 100' depth next to "the wall", where the ocean goes from 100' to thousands of feet deep. The nice thing about the sub ride is that if they can't get back to the surface, they refund half your money! We made it back though, so no discount.

My personal view is that glass bottomed boats are actually better viewing platforms because once you get below like 30', the light compression takes out most of the colors except for the blues and yellows. In the clear waters of the Carribean, the reefs are very nice to view from the glass bottomed boats -- and also a little cheaper. Of course you don't get to see 100' on the depth gauge on a GB boat, but I suppose one could view that as being a rather nerdy concern.

Spent the next couple of hours buying a few items arout Georegtown, including a T and hat from Jimmy Buffet's Margueritaville. Nice lunch at "Breezes" overlooking the 5 cruise ships tendered in the bay.

The trip back was a little more exciting than we would have thought. Turns out the hurrcan was generating 5-7' swells, which was on the edge of the limits for re-boarding. They had this brawny greek sailor that is the chief security officer on the ship manning the gangway and directing folks one at a time as the tender and the ship rose and fell at different rates. We got some film that comes close to showing how much, but it was clear that it was a spot that injury was very possible and someone might have even been killed (fall between a 40' steel tender and a 900' cruise ship, and if they come together, they will be able to roll you up and send you home in a tube).

It was really interesting to watch the big greek guy operate -- he seemed to very much know what he was doing -- but it was also clear that the forces of the waves and weight of the ships were something that had to be "worked with" ... the swells got too large at one point and it started to crush the railings on the ramp, so we had to detach. We got on board with no problem, but with more of an adrenaline injection than we would have expected.

Food has been excellent as would be expected. We have talked to a lot of people -- mostly 60+ aged folks on this cruise, and predominately folks that have been on many cruises and many on long cruises. I'd say that so far we like Celebrity just fine, but still kind of talk about Carnival. Might be just because those were the first cruises with the kids, but we liked the idea of the midnight buffet -- which maybe even they don't do anymore.

One couple that we had dinner with was a greek guy and his wife who had been from NY and were now from Ft Lauderdale. He came to the US as a young man to "make his fortune" as painter -- as in contractor, not artist. It sounds like they have been going on 2-3 cruises a year, usually 14 days or longer, so, since he was just about to turn 62, he must have done OK to be semi-retired and cruising.

The internet speeds, especially uplink, are slow ( 20K up, 500K down) and expensive ( .35 a min in bulk). That is an area of cruising that I'm surprised they have not upgraded over the 3 years since we have been out. Could be frustrating to have only something like a netbook or iPad out here.

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