Fifteen minutes after we returned to the ship, The Paradise left Cozumel. The idea of being on a seven hour excursion when you’re only in port for eight hours can cause some anxiety, but since it was a Carnival excursion it was Carnival’s responsibility to get us back to the ship. Therefore, they couldn’t leave without us! 😉
Unfortunately, we missed dinner in the Elation Dining Room, so when the clock struck eleven, we were ready for the Midnight Buffet! The theme for this buffet was, of course, Mexican food. The first thing available in line was a variety of salsa. I read the tags on each selection and for curiosities sake, I had to try two. My choices? Mango Pineapple Salsa and Octopus Salsa – I never had octopus before and was feeling a little adventurous. Both salsas ended up being delicious! Enchiladas and fish tacos were also on the menu. The buffets were served on the Lido Deck, but most folks went back into the Paris Restaurant to find a place to sit and eat. After our midnight snack, like the majority, we wandered off to bed…
Friday morning was our last day at sea and I was determined to enjoy it. So, that also means I didn’t take many notes when it came to concerts. 🙁 Instead of jotting down every song and tidbit that happened, I just sat, listened and absorbed the music. The theater of choice for the afternoon was the Queen Mary Lounge in the back of the ship. At four o’clock Mark Bishop sang and immediately following was The Mark Trammell Quartet. When those artists finished it was time to head back to the stateroom and get ready for dinner…
Now, as I reflect on the cruise, it crossed my mind that there may be a need for a quick overview of what to expect on the Singing at Sea. So, if you’ve never sailed before with Templeton Tours or contemplating coming next year, here are some things to keep in mind…
1 Singing at Sea is an all-Christian cruise. There are other Christian cruises you can sail on, but you can be guaranteed that Templeton provides a full-charter ship – which means that everyone on the boat is there for the same reason you are!
2 On the Singing at Sea, you will find that all the bars and casinos are closed. Which means you can avoid the rowdiness and sometime drunken vomit in the halls, say if you were to book a cruise on The Paradise at any other time of the year.
3 Because there are no bars and casinos open on Singing at Sea, the atmosphere on the ship is very peaceful. It isn’t noisy! Unless, you’re on the deck where the kids are playing in the pool, but that’s understandable. 🙂
4 The food options are unlimited. Gourmet food in the dining room, buffet on deck, ice cream and pizza 24/7 in the Paris Restaurant… The dining room menus even denote foods that are Gluten free, low calorie and/or made without sugar, so if you have restrictions in your diet it is still possible to be health conscience and enjoy your cruise.
5 Dress is pretty casual on and off the ship. As long as your clothes are appropriate, you are free to be yourself. Just remember to bring a set of dress clothes (like what you would wear to church) for the Captain’s Dinner. You may also want to pack a sweater or light jacket for the evenings – it tends to be a little chilly on deck and in some theaters (with the A/C).
6 If you do a little research online about Grand Cayman, you will find that the island has their own currency, which value is more than American money. However, upon arrival I found that every shop I purchased something in dealt with US dollars – so you would pay US dollars and receive US money in change. So good news, the currency difference isn’t a hassle or issue at all!
7 There are special perks to having a host group! If you sail with an artist they often have a private event set aside just for those who signed up with them and usually includes a special gift that could range from a tote-bag, T-shirt or water bottle that says you sailed with them.
8 If you have a window or balcony room, remember to close the curtains before you change for dinner! Sometimes those on shore can see in the rooms when you’re in port. 🙂
9 The Paradise can house 2,052 guests based on double occupancy. The advantage to this smaller ship is that it is easy to navigate and any theater/dining/deck can be reach in a short period of walking time.
10 Also, there are two dining rooms on the ship and you will usually be assigned the one that is closest to your stateroom.
11 Irons are not allowed on the ship. So if you’re clothes need pressing there are two options: a small launderette on one deck that includes irons (and if needed, washers and dryers) or you can have your clothes taken down to the laundry and pressed for you for a small fee. If you chose the latter, keep in mind that it will usually take a full day for your clothes to be returned to you. (If you need it done quickly, doing it yourself isn’t such a bad idea.)
12 I highly recommend the shuttles that Templeton provides back and forth to the airport and hotel! If you drove, the parking at the terminal is convenient (though requires walking), but for those who arrive and depart by air, it is worth the extra money for the shuttle.
Is there anything that I haven’t covered that you would be interested in knowing about the cruise? Just leave me a comment with the question and I’ll do my best to answer it for you!