A couple of nights ago as I prepared to go to sleep in my own bed for the first time in ten days, I noted with some minor degree of distress that the mint on my pillow that I had become accustomed to over the past week or so seems to have gone missing. It took a minute or two for me to remember that things like that tend to be rather rare in the real world. Oh, and all that stuff I wrote about how tough it is to get away from it all anymore? Forget I wrote any of that. Aside from a couple of hours in St. Thomas where I had service on my phone and threw together the quick Blog post you see below, I spent virtually the entire cruise completely offline and only vaguely aware of the existence of the outside world, much less what might have been going on there at the time. Yes, there was Internet on the ship, but having to pay 75 cents a minute in order to use it tends to provide more than adequate incentive to just not bother with it at all. And if that’s not enough incentive to keep you offline, I’m sure on a ship like the one I was on most people will have no problem finding some other perfectly valid reason to forget about just about everything.
After returning home from the trip on Monday night, today was the inevitable crash back to cold hard reality that always seems to ensue following a vacation, especially a vacation as long as this one. In total I was only out-of-town for about nine days (plus a travel day at the end) but I can’t recall the last time I had a vacation that felt as long as this one did. Then again, with my work situation over the past few years I’ve been hard pressed to get away for much more than a long weekend here and there, so being able to take a whole week off for vacation and not feel guilty about doing so is a relatively new experience for me. And what a vacation it was. The weather was almost perfect the whole time, with only the slightest hint of rain on the morning of the final day at sea en route to disembarkation at Fort Lauderdale, and most of the week marked by copious amounts of sunshine and temperatures in the eighties.
I suppose it is ridiculously unrealistic of me to expect weather like that in Seattle during early Spring, but after a week of Caribbean sunshine returning home to the usual Seattle mix of overcast and rain with temperatures in the mid Forties and just enough wind to make it nice and cold outside isn’t much fun. There have even been reports of scattered snow in the area this morning, just to make it really clear that the weather still sucks around here. Sure, it’s pretty much the same stuff we’ve been slogging through for the past four or five months, and most people will eventually realize that if they can just make it to July 5th or so there might even be some weather that it’s safe to go outside in, but spending a week in the Caribbean certainly doesn’t much to make it any better. About all you can do is get away from it for a while. Weather is patient; It’ll wait for you to get back. Much to my chagrin, I found this out firsthand on my Disney World trip in 2008 where the drive to the airport was made on an inch of solid ice on the roads, and the return trip home was on three inches.
I intend to write more about the trip itself in detail once I get settled back into the usual routine a little bit more and have some time to sort through my photos, but overall it was a very nice trip. Aside from the minor glitch with my checked bag on the flight down that I mentioned earlier and accidentally triggering fraud protection on my debit card by using it to buy gas for the rental car in Fort Lauderdale, pretty much everything went without a hitch. Oh, and there was that little sunburn I managed to pick up on Princess Cays even with about half a gallon of sunscreen on, but that’s pretty much a standard occupational hazard for wandering around that part of the world. And the $40 I blew on Bingo, of all things. Which is particularly annoying, since I’m pretty sure that I’m about 30 years too young to be playing Bingo. And yet, for as nice as it is to be able to get away from everything for a while, I do have to say that four-course dinners every night gets to be a bit much after a while. That’s not to say that the food was bad (some nights were distinctly better than others for dinner though) but there’s only so much food you can take at once. And that was before everyone started meeting up in the Horizon Court at 10:30 for what was deemed “Second Dinner”. Still busy trying to sort out the first dinner at that point, thank you very much. In fact, I’d say that cruising with a group of 14 family members probably had a more significant impact on the overall experience of the cruise than I would have expected it to. I seriously doubt I would have gone to half the scheduled activities I went to if I was on my own, and I also don’t think I would have done some of the shore excursions I went on either.
I don’t think I’m going to do a comprehensive blow-by-blow trip report on this one like I’ve done on some of my previous trips, but I do intend to cover some of the highlights of the trip, with a focus on a few particular days and activities. Unfortunately, there were a couple of days on the trip (the first day in Fort Lauderdale prior to boarding the ship, and the second-to-last day of the cruise on Grand Turk) in which I got caught without a camera by various circumstances, so I don’t have much in the way of photos for those. I do have plenty of photos from the rest of the trip though, and as soon as I sort these out (and find some of the photos other people I was with took along the way) I’ll be posting some of these here, along with some general notes.
All in all, it was quite a nice vacation. In fact, I think I’ll take another cruise (well, a short one anyway) next month.