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  1. Never were truer words spoken than what I typed in the title ...... My wife, Tyna, and I did the exact same cruise last week, that we did last year --- A 5-nighter to Bermuda, in September, on Grandeur OTS out of Baltimore. Expecting the same experience as last year was our first mistake -- even though the ship, cabin, itinerary were identical, the cruise experience was completely different, yet, so much fun..... First off, I must give a "Shout Out" to the Cruise Maryland staff ...... We pulled in the parking lot at about 9:45 and were on the ship by 10:45 ..... had our first Bloody Mary in hand by 11:00 ---- The perfect way to start and enjoy our "Breakfast of Champions" Now mind you, we, along with others that we had made contact with, were watching The Weather Channel like a hawk..... we knew it wasn't going to be easy thanks to Jose, and we were right (I scoped the water splashing out of the swimming pool - who needs a Flowrider? Right?) ---- I must give a lot of credit to the Captain ..... normally, as you come out of the Chesapeake, you go south towards Cape Hatteras, then a track SE to Bermuda ---This time, we came out of the bay, we went due east to stay ABOVE the storm, then arrive at Bermuda from the north ---- Then, on the way back, we stayed to the south of the storm all the way west, then went north to the Bay...... as we were in Bermuda, Jose passed to our west ..... we did a sort of loop around it...... Perfect. NEVER DID WE EVER THINK OUR SAFETY, OR THE SHIPS STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY WAS IN ANY JEOPARDY!!! Fortunately, through all this planning, my wife bought every conceivable seasickness remedy she could find "Just in Case" --- People got sick on this cruise because of the motion (luckily, we weren't two of them) ---- I'd file that under the category "Proper Planning" .... Now, to get to the fun ---- the vision my wife had was to enjoy relaxing around the pool, enjoying some frosty beverages and listening to the calypso music ....... yeah, outside of Sail-Away in Baltimore and again as we left Bermuda --- that just didn't happen (in fact, they drained all pools and shut down the top outdoor deck AND the Promenade Deck that wraps around the ship under the life boats because of the wind and the rocking....Plus, in Bermuda, many excursions were canceled due to rough seas ..... Fortunately, again, knowing what the weather was going to be like - we rescheduled our snorkeling excursion to instead, visit the Crystal Caves (I highly recommend) For us, we took what many considered to be lemons, and turned them into lemonade..... We just let each day "happen" and see where it takes us ..... Tyna caught me on video ATTEMPTING to dance to Thriller on the Centrum Stage night one ..... It was as ugly as you can imagine (Thanks Bud Lite) --- even as I type this, I'm chuckling ...... so much fun. On another day, we did the Sushi Making Class in Izumi (I tolerate Sushi at best -- she loves it) --- it was so much fun, hers looked it was done by a professional, not to be gross, mine looked like a turd --- We laughed so hard for hours over that. One evening, we watched Beauty and the Beast (the new version) on the big screen ..... Yes, my "man card" got taken away on that one, but so did a lot of others ....incredibly peaceful. We met some amazing people, saw some people that were on with us last time, that not only joined us this time, but also will be sailing with is in April of 2019. Once again, I'm shown how, when you're on a cruise, you're amongst family. Here are a few pictures --- including Tyna during the Sushi making class .... and .... us doing a little smoochie, smoochie in one of Bermuda's famous Moongates (with Grandeur in the background) --- a stunning shot if you ask me. Anyhow, lessons learned .... be prepared for the weather, don't expect your next cruise to be anything like your prior cruises, and go with the flow and let yourself be stupid and have fun --- even if that includes attempting to dance to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" (I'm laughing again as I type this) Oh, and next time we go to Bermuda -- and yes, we are, it'll be October of 2018 --- still in Hurricane season , just not at its prime. Mark
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