Sunday, 31 May 2015 00:06

2015- Second Gay Cruise

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This is about part 2 of our 2015 vacation. Milton was turning 60 in 2015 and wanted to visit Disney World in Orlando again. We had both had such a wonderful time on our first RSVP Vacations gay cruise so we decided to do another one of those too. We would fly to Orlando and spend a few days at Disney World and then drive down to Fort Lauderdale to get on the ship.

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This was our seventh cruise. We had previously been on several Carnival ships, a couple Royal Caribbean ships and one MSC ship. This was our first Princess ship and like the MSC ship, it was an RSVP Vacations charter. RSVP Vacations really do a spectacular job of entertaining their passengers and so it makes it a little difficult to sort out who gets accolades for the positive and blame for the negative but I do want to try and sort it out here. 

First of all, the positive: Last year was our first RSVP Vacations cruise and they had chartered an Italian line, MSC and that crew was a bit aloof, inattentive and unfriendly. The Regal Princess crew was just the opposite- they were warm, attentive and friendly and seemed to enjoy having us as passengers. They genuinely seemed to be having almost as much fun as we were. We appreciate that. I would give the crew a 10 out of 10. They were great. 

22 loveboattdanceThe ship was fairly new and beautiful as most of the ships we have been on. It was a bit smaller than some of the other ships Milton and I have sailed on. My preference is for larger ships- favorite being RC "Allure of the Seas." There is just more to do and see on those out at sea days on a larger cruise ship. With RSVP Vacations handling most of the entertainment on our cruise, things to do were certainly not a problem, but seeing a couple of the Regal Princess shows in their theater, I would put those on about the same level as Carnival or MSC- kind of a Las Vegas sort of vibe. Once we had gone on "Allure of the Seas" with their full production of "Chicago," their ice skating shows, their Cirque De Soleil type show, their promenade parade, rock climbing walls, etc, etc... it is hard to go back to just mediocre Vegas type review shows. 

There were a few negatives for me on Regal Princess. I thought they were a bit skimpy on the jetted pools. Out of the seven cruises we have been on, this ship had the least number of jetted pools and these were all very small.CIMG4960 

The cabins also left a bit to be desired. They were about the same size as MSC. I don't know the exact footage off hand but both RC and Carnival have two beds and a couch in their cabins. Their was no couch in the MSC or Regal Princess cabins. The balconies are very small in comparison as well. 

As a retired Registered Nurse that has taken microbiology, I am always aware of cleanliness on a cruise. Every cruise we have been on have been great in the public areas for the appearance of cleanliness but most get a fail when it comes to the buffet. Royal Caribbean probably did the best job of encouraging passengers to use hand sanitizer as the entered the buffet line. As you entered, a crew member would tactfully direct each passenger to the hand sanitizer. I think that is a good idea. Watching passengers enter the buffet line on the Regal Princess, I think only about one in ten passengers used the hand sanitizer. CIMG4424Tiny Regal Princess cabinCIMG4425Tiny Regal Princess cabin

IMG 3691The other thing about the buffet cleanliness on Regal Princess was that it was not always clear to the passengers where the serving utensils should go after the passenger served themselves. On most of the other cruises we have been on, there are plates in front of each dish on which one can lay the serving utensil after use. On the Regal Princess, this was not always the case. People would be seen coughing or sneezing into their hands, serving themselves and contaminating the handles of the serving utensils and then, not having anywhere else to place the utensils, they would just lay them across the food. You get a few hundred people doing this and those buffet dishes become petri dishes for noro-virus and other contaminates. The dirtiest thing in restaurants are the menus because they are handled by everyone and rarely wiped down. The dirtiest thing in a cruise buffet line is the handles of the serving utensils. It grosses me out. I won't eat anything from a buffet line where the handle of a serving utensil has been in contact with the food. 

This was the first cruise we have been on that I have gotten sick. The night before I got sick, we had eaten in one of the dining rooms which should be relatively safe compared to the buffet lines. I ordered what they called a Caribbean Shrimp Cocktail. The shrimp itself seemed okay but the cocktail sauce seemed a little off to me. I also had a dish that was made of chicken breast with a thin slice of ham over it. The first bite was disgusting. I should have spit it out but I didn't. I swallowed it and thinking that it was just the ham that tasted so bad, I peeled the ham back and discarded it to the side of my plate but then foolishly ate the chicken. I am pretty sure there was something wrong with the ham and it had probably contaminated the chicken and I do believe that was very likely what made me sick. One other option, though was the made to order omelet I had the next morning. I love the idea of a made to order omelet BUT it should be thoroughly cooked. Mine was cooked on the outside but the egg was runny on the inside. Regardless, whatever it was that made me sick, the shrimp, ham, chicken or omelette, it put me out of commission for most of one day. Thankfully, I just had one episode of vomiting and had some Ondansetron (Zofran), with me and took one of those and was feeling much better within about an hour. 

I was a little surprised at the dining room food on Princess. For some reason, I was thinking it might be a step up from Carnival or RC but definitely not!! Out of the seven cruises we have been on, MSC and Princess had the worst food. The only positive thing I can say about the food on The Regal Princess, was that most of the cruises we have been on only serve hamburgers, hot dogs or pizza after 10pm. I don't know if it was due to RSVP Vacations or if it is just standard, but the Regal Princess had a full buffet every night! Milton, who has a cast iron stomach, was eating at the buffet every night as late as midnight and 1am. 

 

As is usual on all cruises, we started out with a "muster" drill. Everyone has to bring their life jackets to a location where you would board the life boats. 

 

IMG 3670Muster Drill as we leave Fort LauderdaleIMG 3678Leaving Fort LauderdaleIMG 3680Leaving Fort LauderdaleIMG 3686Getting ready for "Hello, my name is..." party

We were late to the "Hello, my name is..." party because Princess Cruises had lost Milton's bag which had our "Hello, my name is..." t-shirts we had bought specifically for this occasion. We kept checking with our steward but finally, he told us to check at the purser's desk. After checking there a coupe of times through the evening, Milton's bag finally appeared. This was the first cruise that we have ever had problems with our bags arriving in our cabin. 

Later that evening, around 8pm, we went to see "Charo" in the ship's theater. She was only doing two performances and they were both on embarkation/sail away day. She did a wonderful show. I think everybody was impressed by how great she looked. Milton and I talked about seeing her on the old Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. We estimate that she must be close to 70 but then we did read somewhere that she got married at 16 so maybe she just got a very early start? Maybe she was only 18 or so when we say her originally back in the sixties? 

 

At 10:30pm that first night, we attended the RSVP Vacations 30th Anniversary Diamond Party. There were a lot of people wearing silver in their outfits and so it kept feeling more like a "Silver" party than a "Diamond" party but it was great fun regardless. We love to dance and never miss an opportunity to do so if the music is good and the music is great on RSVP Vacations cruises. It is more than good! 

diamondwelcomepartyDiamond RSVP Vacations 30th Anniversary T-Dance

The first day had been wonderful. There is such an abundance of activities on a RSVP Vacations Cruise. It is impossible to attend every activity and show. 

 

The next morning, we woke up in Princess Cays.

 

CIMG4392We spent the second day of the cruise at Princess Cays

 

CIMG4376Our Tender Boat to IslandCIMG4377Inside the Tender BoatCIMG4381Regal PrincessCIMG4387Laying on the Beach- February 9th, 2015

 

Princess Cays is a private island owned by Princess Cruises. I rented some snorkeling equipment and saw some lovely fish out among the rocks offshore. Milton doesn't swim and not interested in getting a tan but always sweet to let me have my "beach day." A hamburger and hotdog buffet was served on the beach. Although we had purchased "soda" cards which are supposed to cover all the soda you want to drink during the cruise, our soda cards were not good on this island. Princess seemed to want to nickel and dime us for sodas. They should have been included at this buffet!

 

Upon return to the ship, after we had rested and had dinner in one of the dining rooms, we attended the Princess Cruises show "Fiera!" In addition to all the incredible activities that RSVP Vacations provide, we still get the standard fare from the cruise line. Fiera! was the typical cruise line show for a midsize ship and had a few singers and a few dancers. There were some interesting visual effects. The Princess Theater was the smallest of any of the cruise line theaters we had seen.

Carnival and MSC offer similar shows. Royal Caribbean exceeds all the others in entertainment, though. Royal Caribbean has full Broadway productions on some of their ships. On the "Allure of the Seas," that we had taken a couple of years previously, RC had a production of "Chicago," an "ice" show as they also have ice rinks on their ships. They also had a Cirque du Soleil type water show as well. In all the "straight" cruises we have been on, Royal Caribbean far surpasses MSC, Princess or Carnival when it comes to entertainment. When it comes to gay cruises, RSVP Vacations does such an incredible job that it really doesn't matter much what the cruise line offers. 

 

CIMG4421In The Princess Theater waiting for Fiera! to start.

 

At 10:30pm, we went to the "Disco Inferno" party with DJ Robbie Leslie. He had been on the gay cruise we had taken in 2014. He does a great job of playing all the hits from the "disco" era. We heard all of favorites from the 70's, including Sylvester, Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, Chaka Khan, and many others.  

discoinferno

 

CIMG4451Disco QueenCIMG4456There were a lot of "afro's" at the Disco Inferno partyCIMG4464CIMG4466This is Jimmy, who we met at dinner the night beforeCIMG4467Disco BallCIMG4469CIMG4473CIMG4478Milton having a good timeCIMG4479Divine!CIMG4483

 

As we were leaving the dance floor, we saw a guy laid out on a couple of tables. He looked like he was unconscious. I asked the guy that was standing over him if he was okay. This guy replied that he was okay. But as we approached the doorway to where the elevators were, we saw a ship medic of some kind coming out and going toward where we had seen this guy. 

The next morning, upon awakening, it was announced over the loudspeakers that we were heading at top speed to Miami as there had been a medical emergency. We heard somewhere along the line that there were two people who had overdid it at the Disco Inferno party and were possibly in coma's. We assumed that it was probably due to some bad drugs. Upon arrival in Miami, we were meant by multiple police cars, ambulances and drug sniffing dogs. We were in port in Miami for a couple of hours before we were allowed to go back out to sea. The itinerary had to be changes slightly but really didn't have much effect on the cruise. 

IMG 3708Miami Dock

 

Once we left Miami, it was back to lounging around the pools and wandering around the ship. 

 

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On the third day of the cruise, February 10th, we spent a relaxing day out at sea. In the afternoon we attended "The Love Boat T-Dance." Princess Cruise line was the one used in the seventies television show. The actress that played the daughter of Captain Stubbing was on the ship and we kept running into her. She was no longer a chubby kid. Of course, Charo had also been a guest star on The Love Boat, too. A special message from the actor that played Captain Stubbing was played on the big screen.

CIMG4534Milton and I in our "Captain" hatsCIMG4538CIMG4547CIMG4552We met Lynn and Bunny at the Best Western hotel the day of embarkationCIMG4578CIMG4586CIMG4607CIMG4613

 

After resting for a while, having dinner in one of the dining rooms and wandering the ship and checking out various shows, including Bob the Drag Queen, we attended the "Code" party. This was a bit risqué with many of the men in leather or minimal clothing. 

 

CIMG4645CIMG4655CIMG4666CIMG4668Wicked Witch with Toto in the basket passing judgment on festivities

 

On Wednesday, the 11th, we had another day out to sea. We attended various shows and lounged around the ship. That night, we attended "The Pajama Party." 

pajama

 

CIMG4780CIMG4784CIMG4793Baby Jane giving Blanche her lunchCIMG4794CIMG4796CIMG4808CIMG4819CIMG4828CIMG4830Jimmy as a provocative bunnyCIMG4844CIMG4848CIMG4855


 On the 12th, we got off the ship for a few minutes in Cozumel. I wasn't feeling very well and when we got back to the ship, I had to rest in the cabin. My stomach was churning and turning and finally I ended up on the bathroom floor next to the toilet. Finally, I vomited. This was the first time I had been sick on a cruise. I am convinced that it was something I had eaten the night before- the awful shrimp cocktail, or the disgusting chicken breast with a slice of ham on it. The only other possibility was the "made to order omelette." I was too sick to attend the "Diva's" T-Dance.

 

divas

 

Later that evening, I was feeling better and we did go to the "Time Machine Party."

 

timemachine

 

On Friday, the 13th, we were anchored off Georgetown, Grand Cayman. Milton and I had been there a couple of times on other cruises but we did get off the ship and took a walk. When we returned to the ship. the "Ranch" T-Dance was underway. 

ranch

 

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That night, they had the "Anything Goes Costume Contest" party. First there was a fun costume party and then more dancing. 

anythinggoes

CIMG5110CIMG5118CIMG5119CIMG5133CIMG5139Winner of the costume contest

 

On Valentine's Day, February 14th, we attended the "Blush and Bashful" T-Dance.

blushandbashful

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It was a wonderful cruise. Disembarkation is always the worst day of any cruise. The ships always want you up and out of the cabin early in the morning. Some ships are better than others in getting everybody off the ship. Since our plane didn't leave Fort Lauderdale until the afternoon, we decided to take the Everglades- Flamingo Gardens excursion that would kill some time and get us to the airport in plenty of time for our flight. We boarded an airboat and zipped through this part of the Everglades. We did see an alligator. 

CIMG5291CIMG5294CIMG5301

 

From the Everglades tour, we went to the Flamingo Gardens before heading to the airport. It was a lovely gardens and we did see some flamingos.

 

CIMG5327CIMG5331CIMG5341CIMG5355At the Fort Lauderdale Airport 

Read 6938 times Last modified on Monday, 14 September 2015 18:44

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2014- Road trip to San Diego- Click for story.
Escondido 1960's- Click for story
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.
Forbidden Dreams of Love- Click for story.
Summer of Love- Click to read story.
2005 Darlene Visit for Gay Pride- Click for story.
Women in Oils- Click for story
Beatle haircut- Click for story.
4th Grade- Click for story.
1974- On Larkin Street- Click for story.
1967- Summer of Love- Click to read story.
Earthquake! Click to read story.
Me in first grade- Click for story.
Black Men in Oils- Click to read story
2005- Darlene Visits for Gay Pride- Click to read story.
Cockettes & Angels of Light- Click for story
1974- First Trip to Europe- Click to read story.
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click to read story.
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.
Click to read "Introduction."
1964- Luv Please- Click for story.
1982-1993 Waller Street- Click to read story.
1973- Psych Tech Program- Click for story.
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1957-1958 1st Grade- Click to read story.
1973 "You have to be hurt..." Click to read the story.
Palouse- Click for story
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My Dad's Family- Click for story.
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My Mother- Click for more photos.
5th Grade in Abilene Tx- Click for story
Me in 3rd grade- Click for story.
Amber- Click to read story.
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click for story.
Gay Disco 70's- Click for story
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Article

01. Introduction

03- Dads Family

03- Photos of my Father and his family

04- My Mother's Family

04- Photos of my Mom

04- Video of my Mom

04- Walling Family Reunions

04-Audio Files of My Mom

04. Billie

04. Ole

04.1. Forbidden Dreams of Love

04.2. Flames of Forbidden Love

04.3 Mom Writing Her Life Story

05- Jim Tarbert

05. Roger

1950's Grandview to Toppenish

1957-1958 1st Grade

1958-1959- Third Grade

1959- Palouse

1961- 4th Grade- Last time I wore a dress

1962- Abilene

1963- Escondido- Early 60's

1964- Darlene Marries Chuck

1964- My Beatle Haircut

1964-The Luv Please

1965 or 1966- Steve Castle

1965- In Foster Care

1966 Living with Darlene & Chuck in Seattle

1967- Juvenile Hall

1976- I Praise Thee (poem to Stanley)

1976- My Second Lover, Stanley Dunne

1976- Paul McCartney and Wings

1976-1330 Bush Street #9J

1977- 1667 Haight Street

1977- Trip to San Diego with Mary Jo

1977-1980- Tumultuous Relationship with John Perry

1978- 525 Haight Street

1979- September- Dad is Murdered

1980's- AIDS- Death and Dying

1980- Winter- First Trip to New York

1980- Word, Sound and Power

1981- Milton- Falling in Love

1982-1993 465 Waller Street

1982-1994 Computers to MacNursing

1984- 33rd Birthday

1985- Graduation from Nursing School

1985- Trip to Hawaii (Oahu)

1988- MIdnight Caller

1989- Earthquake!

1991- Aug 10th- Mom Passes Away

1991- Black Males in Oils

1991- Crack of My Life

1993- Move to Vallejo & Our First Home

1995-1. Road Trip to Washington

1995-2. Surprise Trip to Vegas

1995-3. Grandmother Rogers & Aunts Visit Darlene's

1995-4. Amber

1998- Camping at Russian River

2000 -Thoughts about Progressive Christians

2000- Resignation from John George

2001- April- Trip to Cancun

2001- Peace and Justice

2001- September 11th

2002- April-Puerto Vallarta & Blue Bay Getaway

2002- Nov 12th- My Stepfather, George McHenry Passes Away

2003- Trip to D.C. and N.Y.

2004- Feb- Road Trip to Baha Mexico

2004- Walling Family Reunion in Spokane

2005- Christmas Poem

2005- Darlene Visit for Pride Celebration

2005- Trip to Orlando

2005-1. Europe- London

2005-2. Europe- Paris

2005-3. Europe- Venice

2005-4. Europe- Florence

2005-5. Europe- Rome

2005-6. Europe- Athens

2005-7. Knee Surgery & Tongue Biopsy

2006 Christmas Poem

2006- February 23- Times Herald

2006- Palm Springs White Party

2006- Trip to Seattle

2006-July 8th Solano Peace and Justice Coalition BBQ

2007- Feb- Carnival Destiny- Our First Cruise

2007- Tre and Casey Visit

2008- Aug 15-18 Spokane Visit

2008- Psycho Song

2009- Honored by Vallejo Gay Network

2009- Women in Oils

2010 Christmas Poem

2010- Feb. R.C. Mariner of the Seas Mexican Riviera Cruise

2010- June 24- Badlands

2010- Trip to Seattle

2010-1. Europe- Amsterdam

2010-2. Europe- Paris

2010-3. Europe- Barcelona & Sitges

2010-4. Europe- Madrid

2011-1. Feb. My Fabulous 60th Birthday Weekend

2011-2. April- L.A., Palm Springs & "The White Party"

2011-3. Poem- Girl From Medical Lake

2011-4. Old Man Dancing

2011-5. May- Misty and Alex Visit

2011-6. August- Darlene and Sean's Visit

2011-7. Alex 16-18 & Pics

2012- March- Carnival Splendor Mexican Riviera with Family

2013- Wedding

2014- Christmas Poem

2014- First Gay Cruise

2014- September Road Trip to San Diego

2015- Seasonal Affective Blues

2015- Second Gay Cruise

2015- War on Christmas poem

2015-"Badlands" and Gay Bar Etiquette

2015-September 8. Political History

2016 Do Not Speak for Gay Males

2016- April- Palm Springs RV Adventure

4/4/2016- Not Going Along to Get Along

9/4/15- Liberals vs Conservatives

Cockettes & Angels of Light- Click for story
1957-1958 1st Grade- Click to read story.
Darlene Marries Chuck- Click for story.
Black Men in Oils- Click to read story
Me in 3rd grade- Click for story.
Amber- Click to read story.
2005- Darlene Visits for Gay Pride- Click to read story.
Second Gay Cruise- Click for story.
2005 Darlene Visit for Gay Pride- Click for story.
1958-1959- 3rd Grade- Click to read story.
Grandview- Click for story
1970's Promiscuity- Click for story.
Escondido 1960's- Click for story
1974- First Trip to Europe- Click to read story.
1974- On Larkin Street- Click for story.
Photos of Dad & His Family- Click for story.
The Psychedelic Experience- Click to read story.
2014- Road trip to San Diego- Click for story.
Me in my 20's in 1970's- Click for story.
My Mother- Click for more photos.
Gay Disco 70's- Click for story
My Dad's Family- Click for story.
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.
1973- Psych Tech Program- Click for story.
1982-1993 Waller Street- Click to read story.
1964- Luv Please- Click for story.
Summer of Love- Click to read story.
Me in first grade- Click for story.
Palouse- Click for story
Beatle haircut- Click for story.
Click to read "Introduction."
Women in Oils- Click for story
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.
Earthquake! Click to read story.
5th Grade in Abilene Tx- Click for story
Where I was born- Click for story.
1967- Summer of Love- Click to read story.
1973 "You have to be hurt..." Click to read the story.
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click for story.
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click to read story.
4th Grade- Click for story.
Forbidden Dreams of Love- Click for story.