Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Different Style of Cruising

We made an easy night passage from Mayaguana in the Bahamas to Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos, leaving about 4:00 pm and arriving early the next morning, with a beautiful sail most of the way.  In the middle of the night we were passed by a cruise ship.  It was HUGE.  Chris spotted its lights 13 miles away—it gave off more light than most of the islands we’ve visited—and he called them on the VHF radio to make sure they saw us.  The very pleasant radio guy on the ship answered, said that they were Explorer of the Seas, and that they’d deviate course a bit to stay clear of us.  The lights grew and grew until this enormous, brightly lit ship passed by about 1.5 miles away at 2:15 am.  I tried to take a picture of the ship (Chris woke me to see it), but taking a picture of a moving target in the dark from a rocking boat didn’t work well.  Instead here’s a picture of our radar display as it passed.  Normally, a contact will show up as a discreet little black bar.  Note here the huge return of the ship, which is the long, thick bar going around nearly half of the circle (our boat is the center dot).  That’s one big contact.  A ship like that is a whole different way to cruise: snug cabins, someone else cooks, unlimited bar, casinos and shows, ice-skating rink (yes, this ship has an ice rink).  But you know, I bet the guests on that ship couldn’t see the beautiful stars for all the deck lights, nor the ctenophores popping their little phosphorescent lights alongside the boat like we could.  So we’ll take our low-key and close-to-the-water style of cruising.  If you want more information and pictures of Explorer of the Seas, which is part of the Royal Caribbean cruise line, go to or


  1. Sounds like a great passage...We saw one of those cruise ships when we were coming back to the States...the lights on that ship must have more power than the ENTIRE Bahamas....We are looking forward to your comments about the Turks and Caicos...Enjoy!!!

  2. Sounds like a great night at sea! Just a little scary, it's always nice to know that the big guys actually do see us out here.

  3. Heard about the dingy this morning. Crap!!! And thanks for the warning...We'll take heed.