Cruisin’

I have to pace myself here. I’ve been gone over half of the month of May and I am not nearly ambitious enough to write about all my adventures at one sitting. So tonight, you’ll just get the highlights of the cruise I took a couple of weeks ago.

First off, I must tell you how this cruise fell in my lap thanks to the generosity of a Christian sister. CJ goes to my church, and on a trip to Nashville for a worship conference last fall, we got to talking about her job as a travel agent. She’s also a single lady and I was curious who she traveled with. When I asked, she said that she often earns free cruises and asked if I would like to go. I’m sure at that point my jaw hit the floor. When we got back from Nashville she emailed me and got it all set up. I was excited that we were going to Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, as it held more appeal for me than even the Caribbean. In the midst of planning this trip, 2 of my girlfriends from the singles’ group decided to come along too, so there were 4 of us happy cruisers. Here’s a picture of us all….Kristen, CJ, Tekia, and myself.

This was my first experience with cruising and let me tell you, it was a treat. And cruising with a travel agent friend who has platinum benefits is even better. While hoards of people waited in line to board, we just glided on up to the front of the platinum members line and were on board in no time. The ship itself was huge. I don’t think you have a concept of how big those ships really are until the airport shuttle drives you up to it and it feels like you are approaching a gigantic stadium of some sort. Here’s a pic of our boat, “Sapphire Princess” taken in Vancouver.

Now writing this in narrative form could get very long and tedious, so I’ve decided instead to resort to a list (gasp!). But you know me…..there will be pictures.

Top 10 Reasons to Take a Cruise

10. The luxurious accommodations. OK…..maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. The cabins weren’t exactly grandiose in size, but they were nice and suited our purposes quite well. And I don’t care how many stars they have, no hotel I know of offers both the splendid view and the gentle rocking motion that lulls you to sleep.

9. The entertainment. It really is true that the ship is like a floating city. There are things to do all throughout the day. Even if you had no ports of call, you could still have a great vacation on the ship. We saw a movie each day we were at sea. And we watched grown men play with their food. I know, sounds weird, but check out the awesome works of art they produced. (Secretly I can’t wait to have a get together so I have an excuse to play with my food).

In the evenings after dinner, there was always a show. The first night, the longest reigning champ of “Star Search” sang. We knew we were in trouble when he came out in coral lame pants and coordinating sequin shirt. He had a good voice, but we all thought he was too much of a lounge lizard. The old people on the ship loved him, incidentally. When he sang “Butterfly Kisses” and started doing cheesy hand motions, I struggled to keep my composure as the tears formed. I must clarify, those were tears of hilarity not of sentimentality. Finally we got up and left. Yes, we missed out on some of the show, but he provided us with some lasting entertainment of our own as we mimicked his act on more than one occasion.

The second night, we watched a juggler/comedian who was pretty entertaining. He wrapped up his show with some juggling in the dark. He had invented some sort of laser gloves and had glow in the dark balls to juggle so the effect was quite stunning.

The third night featured a variety show by the ships’ singers and dancers. While it was a chance to actually see people our own age on board the ship, the talent was mediocre. The crew is international, which afforded us the very unique opportunity to hear Billie Joel sung with a Slavic accent (a first for me). Sven (as I nicknamed him) sang “In Ze Mittle uhf Ze Night” in a most unforgettable way. If nothing else, it gave me the confidence that if my Art Therapy job ever falls through, I can always go to sea as a cruise ship singer! (And now I know what Simon means when he tells the American Idol rejects that they sound like cruise ship singers!)

8. The wildlife. I’m a true fan of wildlife. Here’s a seal begging for fish at the harbor in Victoria. And Darth Vader eeking out a living. Guess they ran out of Star Wars movies and he’s resorted to fiddling.

7. The Food. While there was so much food it could actually be classified as entertainment, I’ve given it its own category. The food was delectable and plentiful. You really could eat 24 hours a day….and it’s all payed for. When else can you open your menu, order 2 appetizers, as many entrees as you want, salad, dessert, and fruit and not even worry about the cost? It’s all included! Not real conducive to dieting, but if that’s your concern, better go to a spa instead. When else do you have the opportunity to try things like roasted rabbit with pasta? Or a delicious white and dark chocolate mousse?

6. The service. From our cute little Romanian steward, Sebastian Lucian who entered our room and said, “I’m here to grant your every wish” to the waiters who did everything but wipe your mouth for you, I have to admit it was really nice to be waited on hand and foot. It’s rare that I go to restaurants where there is a maitre de and waiters who put the napkin on your lap for you. Four single women, delicious food and men with interesting accents waiting on us hand and foot….can’t get much better than that. (Technically it could…..if the men waiting on us weren’t getting paid to do so).

5. Beautiful vistas…..I love the ocean and I don’t think I could get tired of looking at it.

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4. Charming Victoria. I loved Victoria and have already decided I need to go back. One day was not nearly enough to explore this quaint city by the sea. I could live there. We took the hop on and off bus tour around town, stopping at Craigdorroch Castle and the Fisherman’s Wharf for some fish and chips. The city was bursting with flowers. The houses were cute and homey with wonderful views of the ocean.

3. Cosmopolitan Vancouver. I didn’t really know what to expect of this city, but it seemed like a great place to explore. Our time was even more limited here, so we had time to visit old gas town and eat at a restaurant recommended by the locals. The girls did some shopping and I went up in the observatory, which offered great views of the city from about 50 stories up. Here’s a pic of our ship in the harbor and an example of the beautiful backdrop the city provides.

2. Meeting people from all over the world. Yes I’ve already mentioned Sven and his buddies. These four ladies are from CA. They sat near us at dinner one night and commented that they are 4 close friends from college and they have taken a trip together every year for 40 years. They encouraged us to do the same. Interestingly enough, we ran into them at dinner the next night too. And incredibly, after we disembarked and began exploring Vancouver, we ran into them again at the restaurant someone had recommended. There they were and we ended up getting seated right behind them.

1. Good friends. It was great to spend time with some girlfriends. No worries about work or bills, just good conversation and lots of laughs. Here we are dressed up for formal night and having fun on deck.

So the cruise was a blast. I highly recommend it. It was truly relaxing and never boring.

~ by tawnyamarie on June 5, 2007.

2 Responses to “Cruisin’”

  1. I have friends that we go camping with… about once every 6 years… but we want to do it annually. Most of my really good college friends are close by, and we are all too tight with our budgets to travel much. But I am happy that you got to go, and that you met people who gave you great advice! I went to St. Louis, for a friend, and then DearHubby and I went to Dallas for a vacation. This was our first real vacation in something like 5 years. I hope to go again sometime.

    I love the pictures! You are a great photographer. I guess that comes with the artist in you. Thanks for sharing!

  2. […] In May, I went on my first cruise to […]

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