I took about 25 shots of the pigeons. I had to remove the polarizer as it was rendering the images darker. Once removed, the white of the bird shows off better
I took about 25 shots of the pigeons. I had to remove the polarizer as it was rendering the images darker. Once removed, the white of the bird shows off better30-Dec-2011 16:10, Canon Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, 10.0, 300.0mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 200
The Sensation had a breakfast for late-risers, very appropriate for us. We had to be at the Plaza lounge at 11:45 PM and had no plans whatsoever before then. After breakfast, we again strolled to the top of the ship for some air and waded through the huge photo galleria. At the lounge, we were the only two of the 200 or so there to have taken to para sailing. After a round of applause for the brave souls, we dis-embarked the ship. The guide was curt and giving out orders how to fill the form and watch the video. He was hard to follow. Two others had joined us. Soon we were onto a transport boat. Rama couldn’t join us despite being told she could for a fee; the Sargent wasn’t very accommodating. Anyway, the boat took us to more clear waters and another small speed boat stopped by. Once on this boat, we put on the life jackets and the boat captain helped me and Vikas get onto the harness. The harness is at the bottom of the para-sail – it is literally a belt on which you sit and strap yourself to safety. Two could go up at a time. Soon the captain released the umbilical cord that tied us to the boat and we were getting away from it higher and higher into the air. Within a minute we were about 150 feet in the air. I could see the dark blue waters all around below. The air was cool and we got onto a draft once or twice. Initially I was gripping the suspending ropes and thought I couldn’t hold it any longer as my arms were getting strained. Then I realized I could just lean back and let it easy on my arms. That made the rest of the time enjoyable. Para-sailing is no where close to an extreme roller coaster ride – there are no sudden twists and turns. Soon it was all over with the captain pulling the cord back. He briefly splashed our feet into the waters and we were soon back on the boat. The 7 minute promise seemed much shorter, but I would do para-sailing again. Para-gliding is something I want to try next. I had given the camera to Rama as she was to be the observer on the boat – bummer she couldn’t come along. I have no photos of us on this thrill ride.

30-Dec-2011 16:14, Canon Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, 10.0, 75.0mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 200
We were back to the ship for lunch. The buffet was running out of time and the salad bar was showing it. Today would be the last day of the cruise; we were to get off early morning tomorrow. We headed up for some mini-golf. The New Year’s celebrations were gearing up already – it was all over on the TV. Also instructions how to disembark – documents to have, customs procedures, etc were being relayed constantly. I switched off the TV for another siesta on the seas.

Awesome murals and paintings everywhere
Awesome murals and paintings everywhere30-Dec-2011 18:40, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.05 sec, ISO 1000

We decided to go back on shore. The ride to Atlantis was $4 per head. The Aquarium was free after 6 PM – a way to get in visitors to the casinos. Atlantis is probably the best themed resort I have seen. Yes, there is Paris, New York-New York, Ceasars, etc at Las Vegas, but the opulence is hard to miss at Atlantis. The Aquarium itself is phenomenal to say the least. The Royal Towers hall is truly spectacular with its dome, pillars and the paintings. One hour was too short but enough to get a whiff of the place.

Some of my best shots of the trip - of some 450 - were these closeups of Vikas and pigeons
Some of my best shots of the trip - of some 450 - were these closeups of Vikas and pigeons30-Dec-2011 16:23, Canon Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, 10.0, 140.0mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 200
The 7:30 Showtime was a surprise. It was performed by a group Fantasia – colorful choreography to tunes from the 70s and 80s. The one hour was truly entertaining. Since this show overlapped with the family friendly comedy show, we had to skip the latter. After Showtime and dinner, Vikas went out with his new friend from the dinner table. We checked out the Adults only comedy show. To say this show was the worst 1/2 hour ever I spent watching anything is an understatement. It appears that the more expletives that one uses, the more laughs the host got. Truly IQ-challenged comedy. Enough said. I was more expecting a Jeff Dunham kind of entertainment.
01-Jan-2012 07:02, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.5, 30.5mm, 0.05 sec, ISO 800
The New Years celebration was on the deck of the ship. The place was crowded as you can expect and music blaring. 15 minutes into it, the countdown started and we were welcoming 2012. The next morning, I caught some snaps of the early sunrise but the photos didn’t turn out good – I really need a fast lens and a tripod for this time of the day. Despite repeated warnings not to crowd the elevator area for disembarkment, the place was hogged. The ship management can handle this better – we all thought. The drive back to Orlando was smooth and we caught a much earlier flight to Philly reaching home 5 hours early – a real bonus for a holiday weekend travel.

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