It’s the last day of a cruise, how do you spend your time? Plan every hour down to the minute and pack in as much as you can? Find a chair on deck and relax? I’ve found that the answer varies from cruise to cruise, and this year, I took a more relaxed pace on my last day at sea. (<— Starting with a little room service and time on the balcony!)
For lunch, I had a sandwich at the Park Cafe in the Solarium. That area of the ship became one of my favorite places during the week. The food was delicious, it was always quiet and the plants/flowers gave it a garden like atmosphere. If I was the type to read a lot on my cruises, I’d be in the Solarium all the time!
In the afternoon, I went to the atrium for one of the audience participation functions – Name That Gospel Great with Paul Heil. For an hour, Paul and Sheila would play small clips of songs and artist interviews under different segments and people in the audience would guess what the song title was or the name of the singer talking. If you had the right answer, you got to choose a prize – a small flashlight or package of mints, both with the Singing at Sea logo on them. Templeton Tours introduced this to the cruise a few years ago and it’s been a fun addition to the sea days. I even got a question right and won a package of mints!
I also spent some time out on deck, walking around and enjoying everything there was to see on the ship. On the sports deck, folks had an intense basketball game going, some kids were making use of the pool slide and then there was an impressive rock climbing wall. It was a bright sunny day with the calmest waters I’ve ever seen on a cruise. Literally, as we were walking around, my sister asked me, “Does that water look different to you?” I stared over the railing for a minute and scanned the horizon. “There are no whitecaps anywhere,” I replied. “That water is still as glass.” What can I say, we had the perfect day at sea.
The day flew by and before I knew it, I was in the atrium again, only this time watching the Mark Trammell Quartet close the last concert of the night (for that stage). They kicked off their set with “Leave Your Sorrows,” “Your Walk Talks” and “Go Show John.” Trevor was featured again on a piano solo with “The Hallelujah Chorus” and then they sang “Jesus Is Coming Soon.” Mark took a moment to introduce their next song – one that Dad Speer wrote. As Mark mentioned the much loved songwriter’s name, the crowd applauded. They knew they were going to like this one and didn’t hesitate to show it as the quartet sang “He Is Mine and I Am His.” Bass singer Randy Byrd was featured next on “Led Out Of Bondage,” Nick sang “I Know” and then Mark shared the story behind how they came to record, “Thanks To Calvary,” which featured Randy as well. The concert ended with the groups’ #1 song from 2011, “I Want To Know.” I gotta say, it’s been forever since I heard MTQ sing that barn-burner! What a way to end a cruise! But, it wasn’t completely over. Before the folks could get up and go, Mark asked everyone to remain a moment so he could close the week in prayer. Everyone stayed with heads bowed as Mark thanked the Lord for a refreshing week with like-minded Believers.
Conclusion: The 2018 Singing at Sea was hands down the best one I’ve been on yet! (Just in case you were wondering, I’ve been on five Singing at Sea cruises.) *wink* What made it so great? Many things! First and foremost, the music. There’s such a unity to the artists onboard, both onstage and off. Second, the ports of call. Seeing dolphins in Key West will be something I’ll never forget. And a trip to Chichen Itza was icing on the cake! I couldn’t have planned a better vacation myself! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading about this year’s cruise – remember, if you ever have the opportunity to go yourself, do it! You won’t regret it!