Thursday, January 22, 2009


Our pre-cruise night in Florida was warm and sunny. In anticipation of bright sunshine and hot weather, I had told Dean he was crazy to be bringing the fleece jacket he was packing. As it turned out, that sunshine in Florida was the best chance we had to be warm and get tan (or sunburned if you're me). Turns out Dean wore that jacket at some point almost every day and I was thankful I had accidentally brought my own jacket because our cruise weather was predominantly cool, cloudy and at times rainy with moments of sun.

We dressed for the wedding before departing for the ship. Little did we know this was the warmest we would be for seven days.

Emily and Jaret were married on the ship at 1:00 p.m., a reception was held in one of the nightclubs where Dean and I pretended we knew how to dance and at 4:00 p.m. the ship sailed.

This photo was taken in the lobby of the ship.

One of the first things I learned is that the seasickness patch and I do not agree. My mouth tasted like I had gargled, swished and spit with a concoction of liquid metal and goat urine and then stuck cotton balls to the sticky leftover liquid inside my mouth. Imagine how that would affect your stomach and you'll have an idea of how I felt. After trying to relieve the dryness of my mouth by drinking five hundred and twenty-two gallons of water and setting a personal best record of peeing five times in one night I'd finally had enough, and on the third morning I ripped the patch off. Of course later that day the seas got choppy, I got nervous and put another patch on. A day later I decided I'd rather puke my guts out with seasickness than continue feeling the way I was so off it came again only to discover I don't get seasick anyway.

We signed up for a cheap room which was in the interior of the ship on the second deck near the front. I was surprised to discover that the gentle sway of the ship resulted in the best sleep I can remember having, even when the swaying came with an intermittent BANG! as the front of the ship came down and hit the water during the choppy seas we experienced.

One night during my dry mouth period, on one of my many trips to the bathroom I wanted to drink a glass of water before returning to bed, however when I turned on the tap nothing came out. Being new to cruising I was surprised but I just figured each room was only allotted so much water. I knew I hadn't taken a long shower the night before so I shrugged, figured Dean must have been the water hog and took my dry mouth back to bed. The next morning we walked out the door to wet carpet and several crew members hard at work repairing a broken water pipe and drying the carpet. The nice part of the story is everybody affected by the lack of water was credited one day's room cost.

We ate dinner every night with 688 (of 3,500) of our new best friends and two of those nights were elegant evenings when we all put on our finest duds. The servers were awesome. After the first night they knew your name, remembered if you had coffee with dessert, and what roll you preferred. Several nights as we were eating dessert (which of course we never turned down) they would all quickly gather around this huge stairway in the dining room and sing, some of them even dancing on tables, and then immediately return to their duties.

Monday was Cozumel. Within minutes Dean had crawled over the short wall to collect coral from the beach.

This is before Dean got in trouble from the friendly security people for crawling over the short wall to collect coral from the beach.

Cruise ships are gigantic and are like small cities. Ours was eleven decks tall with several elevators, a huge casino, a large auditorium, multiple stores to shop in, a gym, a full spa, bars and nightclubs everywhere, and multiple pools and hot tubs.

Tuesday we were in Belize City and took a city bus tour with Dean's mom and sister. We were told Belize City was not a safe place to explore on your own. Dean's reaction was, "oh, they're just saying that." However when we took the tour we discovered it was a very poor city that had been hit by the hurricane recently and the only thing we would have been exploring on our own would have been extreme poverty. We were allowed off the bus once to visit a church. All of the schools are church-affiliated and as I was walking around I could hear school children in the school next door chanting their lessons.

Wednesday was Costa Maya, on the Yucatan peninsula, where we took a bus two hours inland and got to not only view, but crawl all over some Mayan ruins. Our tour guide was really knowledgeable. We learned that the Mayan calendar is more precise than the one we use. It has a 52 year cycle and at the end of each cycle the Mayans believed they needed to replace everything they owned--not only their clothes and possessions but also their buildings and temples. They would build over and around the existing buildings and temples. We were able to see at least three different 52-year periods exposed in the ruins we toured. It was our favorite excursion off the ship.

One time during the week there was a chocolate buffet. We, of course, felt an obligation to sample the dozens of different types of cakes, candies, puddings and anything else that can possibly be made with chocolate. We were told the average weight gain on a cruise can be anywhere between 7 to 14 pounds. Imagine that. Thankfully, between being relatively careful and walking or hitting the elliptical, I managed to get by with only a couple of added pounds. Dean hasn't fessed up to his weight gain yet but the guy ran just about every day and put me to shame in the workout department. I walked the track with Dean's sisters once on a day when the winds rivaled even those in Wyoming.

Friday we docked in Nassau and just to tease us the sun actually peaked its head out for a short time. Our excursion for Nassau was "beach day", however the beach we were supposed to go to was closed because the water was too rough so we were led to one of the fancy resort beaches. By the time we got to the beach, later spent time finding our designated food coupon area for lunch and found our way back through the resort to the ship, our "day on the beach" was really an hour on the beach.

This is one of the few times we needed to wear sunglasses. We're trying to pretend like the water's warm.

We walked through a pretty cool aquarium on the way through the resort and saw our only fish of the trip.

In between excursions and eating we spent alot of time sitting out on the Lido deck just hanging out and visiting with Dean's family and friends. It was great to catch up with everybody and see people we don't get the chance to visit with very often and it was our favorite part of the trip.

Saturday morning we left the ship at 8:30 a.m. and were shuttled to the Orlando airport with the other 48 wedding guests. Instead of spending an exciting day at the airport waiting for our 5:30 p.m. flight we were able to get standby flights and departed at noon. We arrived in Denver to warmer weather than we'd left in Orlando and after a four hour drive we arrived home by 10:00 p.m. We spent the next day swaying back and forth as we walked around the house which was weird but I missed the sway of the ship while I slept.

So we have returned from our first cruise a bit heavier and just as pale as when we left but we got new snow last night so we'll be out on the trails this afternoon burning off all that wonderful cruise food.

Oh, and as an aside. If you borrow a camera from your daughter before a big trip, get a small lesson, or explore the camera a bit before you leave. Maybe then you'll realize before the last day of your trip that there was a zoom feature you could have been using.◦


abby rose said...

Doesn't look like you needed to worry about wearing that strappy seem to have pulled it off just fine!

Cathy said...

And I didn't even wobble much wearing the strappy shoes!