Thursday, January 14, 2010

Winter Paradise

By Skeeter It is so cold in my Georgia Garden that I would like to go back to my Winter Paradise. Come along on a cruise with me today! The Saint and I along with two other couples took a cruise in December. We were celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and we all just wanted to go on a cruise together! Here you see my Saint basking in the sun on the back deck of the Carnival Fascination cruise liner. We chose Carnival for its fun laid back atmosphere and also the price was right!
I had never before seen such beautiful blue waters!
As I said we like a laid back atmosphere so I just had to be a bit silly and break the ice in the Formal Dining room by putting the crown shaped napkin on my head. Can we say, the Hillbilly's go on a cruise? ha ha...On elegant night, I had to dig the dirt out from under my gardener fingernails and play dress up.It just so happened that Elegant night was also the Saints birthday! The Saint rarely smiles when he knows the camera is on him but on this night, he was all smiles with the dining crew serenading him with that special song we all love to hear in the middle of a restaurant. The staff on the cruise were most accommodating and really friendly. Each name tag tells what country is their homeland. Our Head waitress, (you see on the far left here) was Empee. She is from South Africa. She was so funny and fit right in with our crazy antics... Empee, made dinner fun for us each night. Here our entire gang was saying goodbye to her on our last night at dinner. The Cruise ship was awesome and we do plan another cruise as soon as we save the money! Here you see the pool glowing at night on the Lido Deck.
Each evening as we returned to our room for the night, we would find the most cute critters made from towel and wash clothes. The covers would be turned back inviting us into a nice cool bed with a chocolate awaiting our tummy. Here is the scorpion.
This little piggy never went to market.
A Crab was trying to give the Monkey my chocolate!
The bunny was the cutest of all the critters as it was so welcoming and gave us such a chuckle.
The lobster was big as you can see with the Saint posing beside him...
There are tons of activities to do on the boat. They claimed there were about 500 on the boat under the age of 18 but we rarely saw any children as the cruise ship kept them busy with fun filled adventures. They even included some of the kids in the Christmas program on stage with the cast of singers and dancers! This show was my favorite being the Vegas Style program.
The food was all gourmet type meals that just plain melted in your mouth. This chocolate delight was one of many fun sweets on the boat as well. Everything is included in the price of your cruise ticket but the only free drinks were juice, coffee, water and tea. They had a pizza place open 24/7 for my every need of pizza! Free Pizza 24/7, I was so in paradise...
Our first stop was in Key West as the sun was rising. What an awesome view that morning.
The water in Key West looked as though they had put chemicals it it, the kind you find in swimming pools. It was so aqua in color.
We were greeted by some of the famous residents known as the roosters. There were not nearly as many as I thought there would be after hearing of these critters for so many years. I assumed you had to walk around them there were so many but no so.
The 6-toed cats at Hemingway's house were interesting.
This little fella here named Charlie Chaplin gave us a show. He would paw at the tour guide for some loving. He was hamming it up for all the tourists. He has his own post card so he is quite a character.
I was captivated by this boat shaped planter full of greenery and poinsettias.
Ah, yes it was warm in Key West. We had gone from cold to hot in no time at all.
I could hardly keep my eyes off the water and white sand. The colors were just unbelievable.
I do not remember the name of this tree but a very interesting one for sure. It reproduces itself by growing roots downward. Each root you see here is becoming another tree.
The lush green and humidity reminded me we were on a Tropical island.
A scary monster made from Sponges sits outside the Trolley Station. The Trolley ride is so worth it as you learn many things about Key West and the people.
Another Sea Creature made from all natural materials.
Nope, we are not inside a Human Control building, we are in the open air of the tropics!
The lighthouse was awesome but I was not in the mood to climb the stairs with my headache at the time. If, I ever get back to Key West again, I may take on those stairs.
Ah, we finally made it to the Southern most Point in the Continental USA...

Ah, there is nothing like a WINTER PARADISE, In the Garden...

**I will show you part two of my Winter Paradise next week...


  1. What a lovely cruise! I want to jump in the sparkling water right now. Your ship was like HUGE. I couldn't imagine the towel animals when you told me so I'm glad you showed them. They are just too cute! Happy belated Birthday to the Saint! A big 34 right? teehee At first I thought the scary monster was made of coral. Very neat. As are the six toed cats. I think your tree is maybe a banyan? Does that sound right? It looks so lush and relaxing for you guys. What fun!

  2. All I can say is WOWSER -looked amazingly fun and warm -thanks for sharing:) Ciao

  3. Ah, That's what we need right now. The towel creature are adorable! How creative!

  4. Looks like a nice trip, thanks for sharing.

  5. Cruises are definitely a lot of fun. The food is awesome, every meal! I had a sea bass almost 10 years ago that I still remember with fondness. Which ship did you ride on?

  6. I liked that sponge monster and the boat planter! Looks like such a blast!
    You are gorgeous, btw!

  7. I've never been on a cruise. It looks like paradise. You and the Saint look really nice all dressed up.

    It has to be good for us gardeners to scrape off the mud and get all dolled up once in a while.

  8. What a warm and wonderful trip you had! Those blue waters are so, so pretty.

    (Who just returned from sunny Southern California!)

  9. You look so nice scrubbed up! But, honestly, I like you better in the napkin crown--that's very much something I would do! :)

  10. A winter paradise for sure. Glad you had such a good time. I have seen things made out of towels before and they are really cool and I also liked the bunny.

    Now I have to brag about my great State of Maine....Blue waters....the way water is in Maine and we have the longest mileage of ocean in the USA and then we also have 100's of lakes. All clear blue natually. The color does vary with different weather but the biggest part of the time it is the pretty blue.

  11. How fun! What beautiful scenery. I've never been on a cruise, they always sound like a lot of fun. And to have free pizza 24/7 would probably be one of the highlights for me!

  12. Les, You are so welcome. I was warmed a bit when posting the pics...

    Tina, you are correct, a Banyan Tree it is!

    Anonymous, the kiddos would love it!

    Dawn, I dissected them to try and see how they were made. We missed the towel folding demo as we were too busy to be there…

    Janet, you are so welcome!

    Dave, The food is something I will always remember! This ship was the Carnival Fascination….

    Rosey, You make me blush this morning :-) I do clean up when I need too. Hee hee…

    Marnie, this was our maiden voyage so it was a new experience to all of us! So worth the price paid as we could not have done all we did and paid for a hotel cheaper!

    Cameron, Ah, returning from CA, you know just how that warm sun feels! I have to look back to these pics to remind myself in this GA cold we are having. But warmer now…

    Monica, LOL, I could not resist, just being my silly self! What fun is life without a little laughter….

    Jean, While talking to Tina about the cruise, I was saying how humid it was and that I did not think I could live by the ocean. She informed me it is not humid in Maine. But then the winter cold would keep me from calling Maine home. I so need to get to Maine for a visit some time!

    Catherine, The pizza was just the icing on the cake for me! lol, this was our first cruise and I must admit I was a bit timid about becoming Sea sick but I took those little pills every morning and never once did I feel woozy! I would recommend a cruise and to go with friends if possible or if you have the personality, you will make some great ones while on the boat!

  13. What a great cruise to go on! I traveled to Alaska on a cruise in the summer time and it was beautiful. I have never been to Florida, but have thought of visiting Key West if I ever get down there. I cannot believe how blue the ocean is...I am from California, where it is usually blue-gray. I look forward to the next installment!

  14. Hey Skeeter,

    Wonderful winter paradise which reminds me of my visit 2 years ago.

    That unusual tree is the Banyan, originally from India. The first Banyan tree in the U.S. was planted by Thomas Edison in Fort Meyers, Florida and is one of the largest in the world. Florida is such a fascinating place for all its flora and fauna .

  15. What a wonderful way to escape the gray December skies, rest, and rejuvenate the soul! I am so glad you had a good time, and I look forward to seeing more photos. :)

  16. Thanks for the tour, Skeeter! I tried to talk my husband into going on a cruise this year, but this may be as close as I get to one:) The WARM blue water looks so inviting right now. And Key West looks like such a different world altogether. The hard part of a cruise for me would be staying away from all the free food:)

  17. You should get a discount on your next cruise for this endorsement! I have never cared much for the cruise thing but, you might make me rethink it. Everything looks so wonderful...

  18. Noelle, The Saints parents went on an Alaskan cruise and we would like to take that one as well some day. They were lucky and had wonderful weather the entire trip. Their pictures were spectacular to say the least. I am not much on the cold but I think I could endure the cold for Alaska just one time in my life…

    Carolyn Gail, Tina also identified the Banyan tree for us! They are really cool looking trees in Key West. I enjoyed my time there but needed so much more time. The only draw back on a cruise, you never get enough time in ports. I would like for us to drive there some time and really get to enjoy more of the surroundings….

    Liisa, Thanks, and stay tuned for more ;-) …

    Rose, Do talk hubby into taking a cruise! We have talked about it for years and now we finally went for it and we both loved the fun time. So much to do and see and so many wonderful people to meet along the way! The food is such an indulgence and like Thanksgiving every day with food galore!

    Darla, I was kind of hesitant to take a cruise as well, but once researching all the fun things to do on a cruise liner, well, we went for it and had a blast! There was more then we could fit in on this boat!

  19. A wonderful trip! The warmth and sun shine sound fantastic~~gail

  20. Finally a wonderful warmer day in Georgia today! The Saint is off work tomorrow so we plan to be outside and enjoy the nice weather. Maybe a walk in the nature park...

    Gail, Oh, the warmth was nice but a bit too humid while in the ports. The ship deck was wonderful...

  21. Great post Skeeter. Thanks for sharing. I've heard cruises are fantastic. Yours looked like a blast.

  22. Wow, what a place, Skeeter! It looks like a wonderful place to celebrate the Saint's birthday too. Happy belated to him! :-)

  23. Thanks for taking us along, it looked like a fantastic trip!

  24. Looks like a wonderful trip Skeeter! How nice to be pampered so luxuriously. Oh my gosh, I LOVE the towel and washcloth animals!

  25. What fun that looks like! You wouldn't get me on that water slide, though! I love the towel animals, and it's a good thing that chocolate dessert is not in the room with me.

  26. This is a wonderful sojourn for me, as if i was there also in that cruise. Fascinating narration and photos of an awsome experience, thank you.

    I am new here and i will be an inhabitant for the next blogs you will post.

  27. Welcome Andrea! I am pleased to 'meet' a blogger in the Phillipines. You have a lovely blog with so much beauty! Especially on cold days here in the U.S.

    You all want to see some gorgeous butterflies check out Andrea's garden blog.