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Wednesday, November 10, 2004 – Oklahoma to Texas drive.

The 35th Capitol High School reunion cruise adventure began today. We started on the drive to Texas in early morning around 7:45am. It was a brisk 51 degree Autumn day in Oklahoma City. We traveled on I-35 to Dallas and on to Houston arriving just in time for dinner at Margee’s brothers home in New Caney, Texas, about 2 hours away from Galveston.

Thursday, November 11, 2004 – Houston to Galveston drive.

We traveled to Galveston around 9:00am arriving by 10:30am. The weather was a sunny 81 degrees. As we approached the port the huge red tail of our fun ship, Carnival’s Ecstasy, came into view surrounded by various other ships and seaport structures. The seagulls were soaring around the water by the ship. Tony and I drove along the island shore drive and viewed the sights. We stopped to take pictures and enjoy the beach.

After a nice breakfast by the beach we entered the pier and dropped off our car and baggage and prepared to board the fun ship at 1:00pm. The entrance is similar to an airport terminal as you line up to slide through security and show ID and passport. As you approach the ship entrance a photographer waits to snap your photo surrounded by a decorated tropical beach scene—a cross between coconut man meets Tiki hut! Then more security makes you place your face into a camera for a photo with your Sail and Sign card that becomes your buddy throughout the cruise. The card is used conveniently for all purchases on ship that land directly onto your credit card! Finally we walked toward the stairway to our ship and a walkway over the water to enter the five story high Atrium. We were greeted by the staff and swayed to our cabin. The ship would launch a 4:30pm.

After enjoying cocktails on deck Tony and I walked to the aft or back of the ship and went to the top deck to meet all of Tony’s classmates and spouses that were going to sail to Cozumel, Mexico. It was windy and warm on deck and everyone enjoyed “catch-up” conversation and a toast to the class of 1969, Capitol Hill High Redskins!!!  The classmates included: Tony and Margee Gaeddert from Oklahoma City, OK, Steve and Angie Hendricks from Oklahoma City, OK. Glenna Stout(Moore) and Alan from Moore, OK. Judy Lay (Chadwell) and David from Choctaw, OK. Jimmy and Jan Thompson from Austin, Texas. Carolyn Richard (Stewart) from Atoka, OK. Elaine Shrum (Thompson) from Shawnee, OK. Steve and Janis Deason from Burleson, Texas. Leland and Connie Cook (Chandler, class of 70) from Yukon, OK.

At 3:45 we returned to our cabins and grabbed our life vests and gathered at our specific muster stations for the life boat drill. Our station was on the top deck by the pool.

The ship set sail and our adventure began. We saw bars, clubs, music, activities and food all over the ship. Many people were having parties by the main pool and enjoying the special cocktails of the day. We learned to use the sail and sign card quickly to purchase drinks and food and joined Leland and Connie on the mail deck and enjoyed the music and beautiful view of the ocean.

Dinner was at the late sitting at 8:00pm each evening. The first evening was casual attire. We met the classmates in the Wind Star dining room. The waiters were two gentlemen from Croatia. They were friendly and excellent waiters! They provided menus with four coarse meals for our selection of starter, salad, entrée and desserts, all gourmets. Presentation was everything and the taste was delicious. After the first two courses the Maitred’ greeted everyone and all the staff sang to us and swirled their linen towels around in the air to Italian and Greek music, one song was O Solo Mio. Dinner was a very enjoyable event with yummy food and friends.

At 10:30 each evening we could enjoy a show in the Blue Sapphire Theater. The first evening was Las Vegas style dancing performers and a really funny comedian. After the show we could attend the midnight buffet, but Tony and I snuggled into our cabins for the night dreaming of fun and gently rocked to sleep by the motion of the ship.

Friday, November 12, 2004 – Fun Day at Sea!

Today is the first fun day at sea! After reading the Cabin Capers, a newsletter provided under the door to your cabin each morning, we could read about a full schedule of activities for the day. Tony and I enjoyed a full breakfast in the restaurant and soaked up the sun on top deck. We enjoyed exploring the ship more and would see different classmates at different times of the day. Pizza was served all day long and you could snag a self-serve ice cream cone anytime you wanted a treat. We joined Angie and Steve, Leland and Connie by the pool to watch an ice carver carve a beautiful eagle from a 300lb block of ice. He was really talented, especially since his first sculpture broke and he had to change to the eagle!! We continued to just enjoy all the different areas of the ship and rested in our cabin to watch a movie before dinner.

Formal attire was required for dinner. Everyone looked so fancy and “decked” out! We were serenaded again by our wait staff and enjoyed a wonderful meal with special desserts. After dinner the classmates and their spouses had a lovely photo taken together on the grand staircase of the ship. The 10:30 show was really special with lots of music and dancing and beautiful costumes! Before the show the staff would have bingo sessions. One evening a person won a 5 day cruise!

Saturday, November 13, 2004 – Cozumel, Mexico

Our ship was scheduled to dock at 8:45 that morning. Tony and I enjoyed a breakfast on outside deck watching the ship approach the port. We met Angie and Steve and Carolyn and Elaine to see the ship dock to harbor directly across from another fun ship, The Sensation, it was a “twinkie” our of ship, and we could wave at the people on its deck as we docked. The weather was beautiful, sunny and warm 83 degrees. The water was such a striking color of turquoise and deep blue and crystal clear. Tony and I and Angie and Steve had selected an excursion to snorkel at the island of Cozumel. As you departed from the ship photographers were waiting to pose you with people dressed in native attire and snap a photo. It was so amazing to me to walk between two large cruise ships to enter the island pier!! We walked into a mall with duty free products, candy, perfume, cigarettes, liquor, and cigars plus much more! The Sail and Sign card wanted to jump out of my pocket!!! As we left the mall our tour guides were waiting to direct us to a boat that would escort us out in the ocean to snorkel. The pier was just lovely with many brightly painted shops and bars and restaurants, landscaping and fountains…mui bonito!

We boarded the boat and tried on our flippers and then our goggles. The tour guide gave us the needed instructions to have a successful snorkeling experience and after he tested four different areas of the ocean that the current wouldn’t take us out to sea, we slipped off the boat into the crystal clear ocean water. The coral was beneath us and ready to explore. We spent approximately 2 hours from start to finish and really enjoyed the experience. Tony and I saw a barracuda shark in the distance. Many colorful schools of fish danced around us as we explored. Tony could really dive deep and I had fun watching him float around under the water and I took photos of him with an underwater camera.

We said goodbye to Angie and Steve and entered a taxi to Mr. Sancho’s Beach about 15 minutes from the pier. The beach was just so wonderful. The entrance was decorated and landscaped with beautiful tropical plants and fountains and little shops were waiting with anxious sellers…”Please come in Mr. and Lady…beautiful items…you promise to come back on the way out?” The beach had perfect sand and water and was very clean and accommodating with the roofed beach tables and plenty of waiters to serve cold ones. Jimmy & Jan and Steve & Janis arrived right after we settled into a spot so we all joined at one table. It was such a blast, being together and enjoying the ocean, good drinks and reunion talk. A lady waiter approached with a whistle and bottle filled with a yummy looking drink. She said “Do you want to have Sex on the Beach?” Well of coarse we all said yes!! She proceeded to pour a shot down our throats and blew a whistle as she tweaked the guys nipples and smacked their bottoms, the girls got a shot down their throats too and she blew a whistle as she bounced our boobs up and down and smacked our bottoms. Well, I guess you could hear us laughing and screaming in Oklahoma and Texas! We all said what we did in Cozumel STAYS in Cozumel…but I couldn’t resist telling this fun time!!

The reunion group met at Fat Tuesdays a bar at the pier overlooking the ocean and the ships. We partied at the sound of rock n roll, country, reggae and calypso music, and of course, those party songs where they sing dance steps to follow. After a few cocktails and a shot Margee, Judy, and Jan couldn’t resist the table with the pole and got up and showed everyone we still had it…even if it did take me a while to crawl up on the table. Fun, fun and a wild time as we finished our party and headed back to the ship as the sun was lowering! Adios Cozumel!! We all vowed to see you again someday…how about 40th reunion time?

Dinner again was just so much fun! The waiters invited us to dance with them and sing. The meal was outstanding and delicious again! The evening theater show was so fun, the cruise director performed, by playing guitar and singing. A really funny comedian followed—perfect day and perfect way to end the night onboard.

Sunday, November 14, 2004 – Fun Day at Sea-Cruising back to Galveston

What a perfect way to spend a Sunday, cruising at sea! The meals and entertainment was so much fun and relaxing. There were games at the pool, one group of people had to retrieve as much fruit stuffed into their swim suits to win. Now what made it so funny was the two girls that participated had on very small bikinis! We really laughed to see them with whole pineapples and cantaloupes stuck in their tiny suits!!! One girl of coarse lost the one she had stuck in the back side of her suit which she lost as she climbed out of the water…and mooned that whole side of the ship!!! The other game was a relay race…put on a wet t-shirt, blow up a balloon, stuff it in your t-shirt and jump in the pool swim to the end come back. So much fun to watch as we lay on our deck chairs and sipped tropical drinks! Ahhhh cruising!!

People were invited to perform in the talent show. We were so delighted because one of the reunion spouses, Alan Stout, would perform on the piano!!! We all sat together and watched a great performance by Alan on the keyboard and a few other people singing. We were so proud of Alan he was our star!!!!!!!!! One performer was a young man that spoke in a very typical teenage voice and then belted out opera…we heard O Solo Mio again…it was really fantastic to hear this young man sing.

Dinner was again wonderful! The classmates had their photo taken afterwards. The show was very special that evening it was an extravaganza of costumes light shows and singing and dancing.

We had all said our first goodbyes and hoped to cruise again in 2009 at the 40th Reunion…start planning now!!!