• SeaBronies return from Expedition 2, plan for Expedition 3!

    SeaBronies have returned from their second expedition and plans are now underway for their third! Interested at all at what you can experience with SeaBronies?

    Check on after the break to find a small report as well as information on their planning meeting tonight.

    (SeaBronies are pleased to announce that plans for our 2018 cruise are well underway. You can find out more about our group and help us choose our next trip by joining our Meetup group at meetup.com/seabronies and RSVP'ing for tonight's planning meeting.)

    Adventure was in the air this January when the SeaBronies group got together for their second major voyage, Expedition 2: Daring Do and the Marvelous Mayans. Not a convention per se, SeaBronies is a group of cruisers who get together on a shared cruise voyage to a destination chosen by popular vote.

    This time around, our crew elected to take a five-day cruise down to Mexico in order to explore some authentic Mayan ruins. But first, we rang in the New Year in New Orleans. Even the rain and cooler temperatures couldn't keep the city from welcoming 2017 in classic Big Easy style (the Sugar Bowl going on at the same time certainly didn't hurt matters). Our group ate at the famous Café du Monde, visited the huge Audubon aquarium, explored the French Market, had a bar trot down Bourbon street, and even took a riverboat cruise to visit the site of the Battle of New Orleans. Probably the highlight of our time there was when our staff and sponsor ponies had a slap-up dinner at Restaurant R'evolution to welcome this year's VIP guests, Peter "Big Mcintosh" New and the awesome MLP comics artist Jenn Blake (along with their significant others).

    Tuesday morning came, and it was All Aboard for staff, guests, and all — a full two dozen cruisers this time. In a trice, the Community Cabin was set up for socializing, gaming, shared WiFi — in fact, everything needed to keep the adventure going as smoothly as possible. The weather was warm and pleasant, and for those who had come from colder climes (including Mane – er, Maine – and the Netherlands), it provided a welcome respite from the usual blustery winter misery.

    Dinner was held in the ship's formal restaurant, with breakfast and lunch being more-or-less "at liberty". One of the advantages of a smaller, less formal arrangement like this was that all of our cruisers got to eat with the VIPs at least once. Peter New quickly established himself as a crowd favorite, relating a number of amusing stories from his career and slipping into voices at the drop of a hat. Onboard activities included ongoing Smash Bros brawls, a miniature golf tourney, and various shipboard entertainments.

    Our first port of call was Costa Maya, a cruise ship port off the village of Mahahual. There, we met up with a tour group specially located by our resident cruise expert, Cloudchaser Pony. A narrated van ride took us to the ruins of Chacchoben, one of the most recently-unearthed of the Mayan ruins (only excavated in the 1990s and open to the public since the 2000s). Our guide, herself a Mayan descendant, took us through the site, explaining a lot about the history, architecture, and beliefs of the people who had lived there so long ago.

    After the tour, we were taken to an outdoor restaurant where we were served an excellent lunch, complete with fresh pineapple juice (the area is known for its pineapple plantations). Then we departed for a special spot: a beach area on an inland lake, a private paradise to swim, kayak, or just sunbathe and enjoy the mixed drinks and amazing chips & salsa. We had the place to ourselves, and it made for a wonderful cap to the day before we bundled onto the vans for the trip back to port.

    The next day found us in Cozumel. Our cruise director Cloudchaser Pony led two different shopping expeditions through the port zone: one in the morning, one in the afternoon. Sadly, we weren't able to venture into Cozumel proper due to our docking location, but there were interesting sights to be seen near the docks, and many bargains to be had. Meanwhile, a sizeable group (including Peter New himself) traveled to the nearby Discover Mexico park. There, they perused a museum of Mexican historical artifacts, took in a seminar on tequila, and participated in a chocolate-making workshop. In addition to more fantastic margaritas and another incredible Mexican lunch, this group got to enjoy a showing of the Papantla Flyers, performing an ancient and death-defying aerial dance atop a 59-foot pole.

    Our trip back on Saturday was marred somewhat by rough waves and heavy winds, meaning most activities were strictly indoors, but it didn't stop the fun. Our adventurous SeaBronies disembarked in New Orleans Sunday morning tired but happy, having enjoyed a very exciting and activity-filled week. One by one we traveled back to our respective corners of the world and settled back into our routines, already dreaming about the next cruise.

    Not surprisingly, plans for our 2018 cruise are well underway. (All group members are invited to tonight's planning meeting, so RSVP today!) Your SeaBronies staff hopes to announce a ballot of 4-6 potential voyages before Monday, January 16 at which point our members will get to vote on our final 2018 cruise itinerary. You can find out more about our group and make your voice heard by joining our Meetup group at meetup.com/seabronies (or, in a pinch, SeaBronies.com will redirect you). Sea you there!

    Twitter: Calpain