We docked in Port Canaveral and then Miami, Florida
Family Cruise To The Bahamas
Part - III
When we got off the ship in Port Canaveral, Florida, I went along with Roseann and Dan to the Magic Kingdom, the excursion of choice for us that day. Richie and his family headed out to Typhoon Lagoon for a few hours. The other passengers did their own things. There was so much to see in Florida. Once, we left the ship, It took almost an hour to get to Disney by bus. The ship had docked at nine in the morning, and it was scheduled to depart at 8 o’clock, so we had to be back on board at least by 6 o'clock. It was so hot at the Magic Kingdom that I had difficulty walking. The crowds were awesome. Since we would only be there a few hours, we rented a wheelchair for me. I felt a little uncomfortable sitting in it, but it sure helped to get into a few attractions. We were ushered in ahead of the standing lines. At least we got to see some shows.
Earlier, we had made reservations for lunch at a busy Disney Buffet restaurant, The Crystal Gardens, which was fabulous. The waiter made our dining experience a treat to behold. Every so often, the staff would don Disney characters and dance around the restaurant. Lively Disney music could be heard in the background. The Disney characters stopped at different tables, and picked up children along the way to prance around the restaurant with them. Then they would pose for pictures with the diners. In fact, I took a picture of Eeyore with Dan and Roseann. He came over to me and I kissed him on his snout. When we were ready to leave the restaurant, our waiter sent us off with iced cold cokes to go, straws and all. I guess we made his day with our very generous tip. There was only a little time left to visit a couple of gift shops before we headed back to the Transportation Center and board a waiting bus that would take us back to the ship. I bought myself a nice Mickey Mouse watch, which was tax-free. They are so expensive in the Disney stores at home.
Much later when we got back to the ship, we went to a chocolate buffet. And it was just that! We had our pick of chocolate delicacies some that have never passed my lips before. Forget about dieting! But most impressive were the chocolate sculptures on display. Roseann took many pictures of them. There were white and dark chocolate sculptures such as the Statue of Liberty, an eagle, a dolphin with a waterfall, a guitar, a grand piano, and even a castle. Some were as tall as five feet. We sat at elegantly set tables and sampled the endless array of decadent treasures, but, of course, the sculptures were untouchable. They were there just to look at. The waiters served us coffee or tea. Exquisite!
The next day was a fun day. We had docked in Miami. Passengers got off that were going on different excursions. A group of us were bused to the Miami Sea Aquarium. Again, it was so hot. I wasn’t the only one to show discomfort from the heat. We dragged ourselves through the area. Then it was time to meet up with our instructor and form a group for the session with the dolphins. But first, we were going to see the Flipper show. There were many visitors to the Aquarium already seated in the bleaches. With dismay, I realized that we were assigned seats in the highest section of the bleaches. No one questioned the reason for this. Maybe it was easier to keep us together when the bleachers emptied out. The instructors, mostly girls, put the dolphins through their amazing routines, and we were thrilled with their performances. I caught my breath when one dolphin jumped up into the air for a distance that I would guess to be more than 30 feet. The dolphin hit a hoisted basketball purposely placed at that height. Amazing!
After the show it was time for our scheduled session to swim with the dolphins. Our group of about 20 people marched to an air-conditioned building. There, we were seated comfortably and watched a short movie clip about dolphins. Our instructor explained how to behave with the marine mammals. We were told to keep our fingers out of their airways and eyes. Then we were told to don wet suits and rubber shoes. We were urged to remove any piece of jewelry on our bodies, and that went for earrings and piercing. For a while, I thought I would have to wear rubber gloves, because my rings wouldn’t come off. One of the instructors sprayed Windex on my fingers and off came the rings. Our outer clothing and personal effects were put into personal lockers for safekeeping.
At the last minute, one of my grandsons didn’t want to participate in the encounter with the dolphins, so he watched from the bleachers. He was spooked by what the instructor said earlier. My daughter In-law, Maryann, was a little disappointed that she couldn’t get the money back that was spent for the ticket. It cost $155.00 to visit the Miami Sea Aquarium, including transportation and the swim with the dolphins. One man, who overheard Maryann’s conversation with the staff, said that he could only get one ticket aboard ship for the actual swim with the dolphins, and he was letting his son have the session. There were no more tickets left. We had ordered our tickets in advance before the cruise. We were so happy to have done that. The man offered my daughter in-law $100.00 to take Petey’s place. Maryann accepted. At least it was not a total loss, and that father was ecstatic for the opportunity to join his son in the session. After his encounter with the dolphin, he said it was worth every penny that he spent. The photographer took pictures of everybody in the water. Later on, I bought a family group picture of us petting the dolphin in the water, and two other prints of me posing with the dolphin.
The group was split up, because they only allowed about 10 of us in the water at one time. We each took turns swimming with the dolphin. Well, actually we were being towed. The dolphin would swim up to an individual and then turn belly up. I leaned over and grabbed a hold of both pectoral fins. I couldn’t believe the exhilaration that I felt when I was towed across the lagoon to the other side. Some chose to be pushed across by their feet. What an incredible sight to see a swimmer being toed by a dolphin at great speed across the water to the other side. The dolphin practically lifted the person out of the water. Danny and Richie chose that route. Outstanding!
On the return crossing, we took turns swimming back with the dolphin. At this point, we had to grab hold of the dorsal fin on the Dolphin’s back. When it was my turn, I swam out a few feet, and then turned around facing the dock. The dolphin swam up to me and I grabbed the fin with my extended left hand. That's what everyone else did when it was their turn. But, after a few moments, my hand slipped off and I wound up in the middle of the lagoon. I floated back to the starting point and tried again, but the same thing happened. By then I was out of breath, and I was flailing about in the water. I should have grabbed the fin with both hands. Maybe I would have had a better hold. Gasping for air, I announced that I was 72 years old and hadn’t swum in 27 years. My audience got a chuckle out of that. I guess I was the oldest in the group. I blamed the weakness in my hands on arthritis and a weak grip. I was in no position to try the maneuver again, and welcomed the assistance of the instructor, who stood up in front of me and gently pulled me to the other side by just touching my shoulders.
I had great admiration for those instructors. They may have been female, but they had superior strength and vitality. They were very young adults with slim forms and they were all attractive. I thoroughly enjoyed my encounter with the gentle dolphin and so did everyone else. After the session, snacks and cold drinks were available to each person and we were given a colorful beach towel as a souvenir to take home.
On to the next chapter, "Family Cruise - Part IV" I do appreciate your comments and rate.