Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cruise Part 1

Day 2 of Cruise-Mon Nov 29
We all got on board the Adventure of the Seas ship around 1pm yesterday, well ahead of the 5:30pm departure. The 12 of us are in 4 rooms, 3 of them adjacent to one another. The rooms are small interior rooms, cozy, but actually bigger than I expected, which was a nice surprise. So far the food is rated well-and plentiful, as most cruise-goers will attest.

Last night we went thru a strong wind storm and felt a lot more motion than any of us expected. There was a bit of Dramamine purchased on land today. Speaking of which, we all took the transport into Toulon France, our port of call today. No one can accuse Royal Caribbean of overselling the town-it lived up to expectations-which were pretty low. Highlight was the small Christmas craft festival, complete with piped in Christmas carols and d├ęcor in an open square in town. We did make our way to a Super Target-like store to pick up a couple items. (Note to self-do NOT purchase items until someone translates…small bottle of hair removal lotion easily mistaken for eye makeup removal). First time to be immersed in Christmas shoppers in 2 years. Suffice it to say, we were all back on board ship in the early afternoon, having seen all we wanted of Toulon.

I’m sorting out how to get the internet service I’ve signed up for (500 minutes for $150-yikes!) via wireless vs at their stations on the 8th floor (there are 14 floors to this ship). 

Today I checked out the workout facility. It’s been a LONG time since this old body has seen an elliptical machine and I think it’s high time we got reacquainted. I feel better already-even hope my muscles are sore in the morning.

With 3000 people aboard the ship, there’s no shortage of things to do. There are activities from morning to late at night. Fortunately this group of the 12 gets along well together-enjoying one another’s company as well as comfortable going off on one’s own. With 14 days’ cruise, this is important.

Weird-laying on my bed typing this up, watching CNN news on the TV-yes, a TV. All English channels-choices. That will be another adjustment. But it is nice to know what’s going on in the world-really have been in a bubble for a while here.

I’m starting to get things scheduled for my return. First on the list is to buy a car. I’ve been negotiating over the internet and am hoping that I can get a deal put together for a car to be ready for me when I get in town. Next will be a Smartphone (it used to be a simple cell phone)-which will require a whole new set of skills-they’ve jumped several generations since I last had one in the US. Also on the list will be a bit of necessary clothes shopping. I’ve left most of my PC clothes behind in Morocco and will likely leave some aboard the ship. Most of the rest of my current wardrobe was just fine as a PCV. What I looked like wasn’t so important in Ribat El Kheir and I took advantage of that “freedom” for 2 years. However, even these clothes have become ratty and tired.

Dec 1st-Day 4 of Cruise:
Yesterday we were in Corsica. Sounds exotic, doesn’t it? Well, we decided to “do it ourselves” and rented out 3 taxis to take us to the Gorges on the other side of the island. Turns out that we’ve all seen far more impressive gorges in Morocco, but the countryside was beautiful and it beat just walking around town. We did a bit of that when we returned, including a local market where we sampled Corsa cheese. Back on the boat (had to be back at 3:30), everyone was working out and gussying up, as dinner was formal. I sat on the promenade deck for a bit to cool down from my workout and watched the parade of older folk heading to the early dinner all ´done up´. Sweet. After dinner I finally made it to the theater for a Las Vegas-like show. Not much drinking again last night as the motion of the boat was enough to keep you swaying-high winds on the sea.

It was a longer ‘sail’ to Mallorca, as we didn’t arrive until 11am this morning-that meant sleeping in for *ahem* some of us. Since today is Anjie’s birthday, we all booked a shore excursion to go to the Cuevas del Drach (Cavern of the Dragon)-her choice. It was really beautiful-huge cavernous spaces with stalactites and stalagmites. We were treated to a 15 minute live concert in the bottom, with the musicians floating on what is purported to be the largest interior lake in the world. It was a nice ´natural cathedral´ alternative to the wonderful man-made structures we´ve been seeing. We got off the bus in town and walked around a bit-charming town, saw the Contemporary Art Museum and made it back on one of the last buses before we sail again.

While the cruise is going fast, I’m already feeling antsy to be home and get on with things. At the same time, I want to take advantage of the places we’re going, as I’m unlikely to return to them. Also, we have 7 days crossing the Atlantic with no ports of call. Need to save anything I can do on board for when I’ve no alternatives.

We´re in Cartagena for the day (Day 5). Have seen the beautiful architecture, Roman ruins, castles and now catching up in the only cyber in town and I think half the ship is here doing the same. The satellite connection is remarkably slow. Finally getting caught up and posting this. May be the last posting for a bit.

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