Half the fun of going on a cruise with the Red Hat Society girls is the months of searching for and planning outrageous purple and red outfits to wear. I’ve been an active member for 8 years and the Society is primarily an outlet for women over 50 to act silly and have fun, without worrying about embarrassing their kids.

Each one of my vacations seems to take on a personality of its own. This one certainly did. On February 10th I left home at 7:30 a.m. to drive to Houston, Hobby Airport to pick up Mom and Becky at noon. It was only 170 miles so I thought I had plenty of time, but I drank a lot of coffee while driving so I had to stop and pee often. I have a reputation for getting lost easily but this time I had my new GPS system to help with that. The plane and I arrived at the airport at the same time, a little after 12:00. It was difficult getting to the pick-up spot, so they had their luggage and were waiting on the curb when I got there.

As we were driving to Galveston from Houston, Mom said something about how glad she was that I had asked about her passport when I called on Wednesday. For some reason that made Becky curious about her own passport, so she pulled it out of her purse. She opened it and was shocked to see that she had grabbed her daughter Kelli’s passport and not her own! She quickly called her husband John and he went home to get it.  However, he had a terrible time finding it because it wasn’t where Becky said it would be. There were numerous calls between them while Becky tried to figure out where she could have left it. She became tearful as she browbeat herself for not actually checking to make sure it was her passport and she even started plotting how she could get away with using Kelli’s to get on the ship. Luckily John finally found it and had Kelli drive from Hereford to Amarillo so she could FedEx it to our hotel in Galveston.

We stopped to eat lunch and let Becky calm down on the way to Galveston; we got to the Holiday Inn Resort, Galveston on the Beach at around 3:00. Our room was on the third floor and had a window where we could see the beach and ocean. The hotel wasn’t actually on the beach; as the beach was across the highway from us. But it was too windy and cold to enjoy the beach anyway.

After we got checked in we did a little driving around in Galveston and saw some neat old houses, then we had a nice dinner of seafood before we went back to the hotel. We had a bit of trouble sleeping that night because there was a big Marti Gras party going on at the swimming pool just below our window and they were very loud.

Sheri Moose, from my Red Hat group in Pflugerville, called to tell me that her husband had become ill, so they were heading back to Pflugerville and not going on the cruise. She also told me that they had rented a motorized scooter for Tom to use on the ship and we were welcomed to use it if we wanted.


Beth & Gayle on balcony

Beth & Gayle on balcony


Becky & Mom at hotel, before sickness

Becky & Mom at hotel, before sickness

On Saturday, the 11th, we were able to change rooms to get away from partying noise. We then went on a tour of the city in an opened cart. Becky and I got pretty cold but Mom was in the front and protected by the windshield, so she stayed warm enough. We saw some regal houses and some wonderful statues that were carved out of trees damaged in the 2008 hurricane, the artists were fantastic. We also heard a lot about the 1900 hurricane that practically leveled and destroyed Galveston.


Galveston, neat house

Galveston, neat house


Statues from damaged trees

Statues from damaged trees

After our tour, we did a bit of shopping, one of our favorite pass times. As we were heading back to the car, I was in front of Mom and Becky. The car was parked on a bit of an incline and as I was walking, Mom said something to me. Without thinking I turned to see what she had said, without stopping first, and lost my balance. I crashed to the street and my walker went rolling on across the street. Becky went running after my walker, which had my purse hanging on the handle. My 87 year old Mom (as she told us numerous times on the trip, 86 for 2 more weeks!) stood there looking down at me, as I was bleeding on the ground. She wasn’t strong enough to help me up. Finally a man in a white SUV stopped and asked if he could help and we agreed. I wasn’t hurt that badly, but it certainly scared all of us. It was starting to look like this trip was nothing but trouble!

We boarded the Royal Caribbean ship Mariner of the Seas without any trouble on the 12th. The handicapped didn’t have to stand in line as long as others. But when we got to our stateroom we found that they had put the three of us in a room for two. We headed out to find Linda Scott, the travel agent for this Red Hat cruise. When we found her, I told her about getting a call from Sheri Moose on Saturday, and that she had said that we could use the scooter that she had rented for Thomas so we asked Linda if they couldn’t put one of us in the room that the Mooses weren’t going to use also. She said she’d check that out with the Royal Caribbean people.


Mom on scooter with Becky

Mom on scooter with Becky

Linda got back to us pretty quickly and said we could have their room, so Becky moved her stuff up there and Mom and I stayed together. We also took the scooter to our room for Mom. After walking to the dining room the first time, Mom realized the scooter would be a great help.

Monday the 13th was a sea day, so we didn’t dock anywhere. The Red Hat Society ladies had a PJ party in the dining room at 9:00 a.m. Mom thought it was great fun to ride the scooter in her PJs. We had a lot of silliness and lots of good food for breakfast. Of course Mom and I are early risers so we had already had some coffee delivered to our room. Later in the afternoon, dressed in jeans and t-shirts, we went to the ice show, it was great. We had our picture taken with the Red Hat ladies after dinner. It was really neat to take Mom to all these things and have her not get worn out.


Becky, Mom and I at the Pajama Party

Becky, Mom and I at the Pajama Party

Tuesday was kind of a boring day because it was another sea day. We had breakfast delivered to our room and watched TV, really exciting huh? For lunch we met the RH group in the Hot Dog café, the best thing about it was the entertainment by the waiters. I did a little gambling in the casino and won $30, wahoo. We spent some time in Becky’s room on the balcony watching the sea and talking. It was nice but a little cold. We had a nice dinner that evening. However when Mom was eating her dessert she told us she was feeling queasy. Mom’s queasiness progressed and she was up and down all night as a result.


Waiters dancing in the Hot Dog cafe

Waiters dancing in the Hot Dog cafe

We docked in Roatan Honduras on Wednesday. Becky left early for an excursion and Mom decided to stay on the ship to see if she would start feeling better. I went on a tour of the island. It’s really small, 36 miles long and 4 miles across. Parts of the island were beautiful with all kinds of blooming flowers and trees and stiff cliffs, unfortunately the cities looked like shanty towns. If the residents want to get to the mainland they have to take a 1 ½ hour ferry ride. I bought a cute little mahogany pirate while I was there.


Roatan Shore line

Roatan Shore line


Neat shop in Roatan

Neat shop in Roatan

That evening Mom didn’t want to go to the dining room for diner, so Becky & I went and enjoyed ourselves. We took Mom a sandwich when we went back to the room at 7:30, but when we saw her we knew something was wrong. She was flushed, had a fever and was having trouble breathing. We immediately got her in the scooter and took her to the infirmary. Mom has an arrhythmia of the heart and I think Becky thought she was going into heart failure. The doctor gave her a shot to get her heart beating normally and after about an hour she started feeling better. The doctor also gave her some pills to take for her queasiness and sent us back to our rooms.

The next day we docked in Belize City, Belize. It was definitely a third world country; it looked a lot like a slum. Mom felt a little better, but decided to stay on the ship. Becky went on an airboat ride in a freshwater bayou and really enjoyed it. I went on a tour around the city; there were a few pretty areas. I got a foot and shoulder massage on the dock after the tour; that was great. When I got back to the room Mom said the Dr had been there and given her another shot. She didn’t feel good enough to go to the dining room, so we ordered her some 7up, broth & crackers. Then she broke out in hives.


Shopping area on the dock in Belize.

Shopping area on the dock in Belize.

Our final port of call was Cozumel Mexico. By now Mom had missed all of the opportunities to participate in activities in the different ports. But, we had all been there about five years earlier, so Mom didn’t mind too much staying on the ship.


Some pretty reefs

Some pretty reefs


Scuba divers and fish

Scuba divers and fish

I enjoyed Cozumel, Becky and I went on a semi-sub excursion and it was a lot of fun. The guide was very funny and kept us entertained. We got to see some neat reefs and colorful fish, I also got a few pictures of some divers swimming in the reefs, and they were entertaining also because they would wave at us and act silly

Becky and I did a little shopping in Cozumel before we went back to the ship. We both bought an alexandrite ring. It’s a really interesting stone; in sunshine it looks green, with some blue in the depths, in florescent light it looks light blue with some silver in the depths it’s kind of like water that changes color according to the sunlight.


Here’s a picture of one.

Here’s a picture of one.

Our final day was a sea day, so we just lazed around. Mom finally felt good enough to get dressed and go with us to the dining room for diner. Our tablemates were glad to see her back.


Our table mates.

Our table mates.


Flower sculpture on ship

Flower sculpture on ship


Me, Mom & Becky in front of flowers

Me, Mom & Becky in front of flowers

We got back to Galveston on the 19th and we were all glad to see Mom healthy enough to get back home, she hadn’t been able to do much on this trip.

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