the Royal treatment on the Caribbean (final cruise post)


Here’s my fifth and final “family Cruise” post. It’s been fun sharing the photos, and I pray that this serves as an inspiration to gather your “people” together for some kind of a reunion, and to be more deliberate about making family work.

DSC_0331THE BIG BOAT: Today’s post will focus on the big boat. I know, I know, I’m supposed to call it a ship! But really, aren’t cruise ships more floating hotels, or theme parks, or shopping malls? Or, as I like to say, the giant floating buffet?

This one, the Brilliance of the Seas (pictured above, and – right – docked with the even larger Independence of the Seas), is a Royal Caribbean vessel (contact me, Royal Caribbean, if you want to buy any of my photos!). And I have to say, parked just off the beach in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s a stunning and beautiful sight. Brilliance was launched in 2001, cost a reported $350 million, is 968 ft long, and carries its 2,500 passengers and 850 crew at a speed of 25 knots.

Brilliance and Independence

Walking between the Brilliance and the Independence, parked side by side on the quay in Cozumel, Mexico, the sheer mass is overwhelming, like walking down a city block in New York. Essentially the ship is like a skyscraper, laid on its side, yet still thirteen stories tall. The Brilliance – if you stood it on end – would actually be taller than the Chrysler Building in New York (925 ft).

The cruise was an unqualified success. The idea was to bring the family together, yet with individual space, provide the opportunity to do things with other family members à la carte, to eat all together for one grand main dining room meal every day, and to simply relax in one-another’s presence.

The Brilliance of the Seas

The theater show we attended was probably the best cruise ship musical production we’ve ever seen, and there’s enough going on at any given time to occupy anyone’s taste for entertainment. Additionally, Rebekah and I went to a couple of the art auctions; they’re loads of fun, extremely educational, and provide ordinary people with the opportunity to hang out with some serious, museum quality, paintings.

But we weren’t there to be distracted, we were there to relax, to read, to take naps, to hang around the grandchildren, and to visit with the family – and there really is no better venue than a big boat.

with David (Naomi photo)

TODAY’S GALLERY: So today’s photo gallery is all about the cruise ship. If you want more family pics, read “My Family, My Treasure.” If you’re interested in Mexico, click on, “Mexico – Mayan Ruins and People.” If you want photos of Tampa, try, “Tampa – Shifting my Point of View.

I’ll leave you today with a dining room story. It’s the fourth evening, and we’ve got a great rapport going with our serving staff. I ask our waiter if he recommends the prime rib, or the lobster? “I recommend I bring you both!” he says. So out comes the prime rib, followed by a plate featuring not one, but three huge, succulent, tender lobster tails.

Like I said, it’s all about family… so I’m thinking about maybe adopting our waiter!





Family photogrpahy Travel travel photography

derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

4 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Great stuff. I’m happy to have come across your site. I will be on The Jewel Of The Seas in just a few weeks. While most people prepare for a vacation by diet and exercise, I eat.


  2. I am so happy to see everyone enjoying themselves! I would have to say all pictures are incredible but me favorite one is the one with David (the Naomi photo). I think the picture says it all! It was an honor to be able to be a small part of your family vacation!
    Avoya Travel


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