So as I mentioned last week, we had an amazing vacation. Of course I brought my fun camera and took a lot of pictures. It was a long trip (12 days) so I’m splitting up the vacation into two parts to share. Today you get to hear about the cruise portion and Friday I’ll post about the islands.
So the cruise departed from Ensenada but we picked up the buses in San Diego-something about each cruise ship needing to make an international stop, I think probably for tax reasons. We were very lucky in our bus ride down and because my parents have high cruise ranking, we got on a much earlier bus. Some passengers apparently had bad bus experiences. The worst part for us was the sitting on the dock at the pier for an hour.
Generally speaking when we get on a cruise, it’s relatively early in the morning, around eleven. This time, it was close to four. We had three rooms: my parents had a room with a balcony, my sister and I shared an inner cabin and my brother had an inner cabin as well. The room was fun and it was great because there was a couch to sit on.
The boat was something like 16 stories high. Seriously, these boats are cities on water. This one was fancy enough that it actually had a real grass lawn on the 15th deck. They held concerts out there and there was a glass blowing studio up there as well.
There is so much to do on these cruises! First of all, you go from meal to meal. On most cruises you have a set table and time for dinner. We didn’t have this officially on this boat but we ended up eating dinner at around 6:15 every night and always sat at the same table. We developed a real camaraderie with the waiter and assistant waiter. Our waiter was a guy named Franky and our assistant waiter was an awesome girl from Belarus named Yulia. She was 23 and this was her first experience. We also became friendly with Faruk, the waiter for the table next to us, from Turkey. He explained to us a lot about the culture of staff on cruise ships which I found fascinating.
A big thing my dad and I love doing on the boats is going to the art auctions. This time I won a piece of art and bought two Snoopy images. My dad bought a bit more than that. This is actually where I’ve really discovered my taste for art and developed a passion for certain artists such as Tarkay and Peter Max.
We also attended an Iron Chef competition between two head chefs and learned about the inner workings of the crew and ship from the captain and some of his lead staff. Our captain was Greek and made a morning announcement every morning at ten. Very funny.
One day my father and I participated in a walk-a-thon for Breast Cancer research, walking a mile with both crew and other passengers. We spent a lot of time sitting in the sun poolside, just enjoying. There was a fabulous bar called the Mixology Bar that used really fun and fresh ingredients like rose petals and dried ice for their drinks. I fell in love with a blackberry tasting drink that smoked. My brother tried an avocado margarita and I also liked a drink called Coming Up Roses which was created for an Oprah show.
We were celebrating my sister’s graduation on the ship but it was also my dad’s birthday so we made sure to let the staff know and they made cakes for each of them. There were two formal nights on the ship that are always fun, you get to dress up and see all the other passengers in their best. Another difference between this ship and others I’ve been on is that overall, people were more dressed up for dinner. I think I wore a skirt most nights and then fancier dresses for the formal nights.
Another cool feature of the ship was a huge Australian Ficus tree (I think) was growing in the middle of the ship. It was suspended in that big red planter and probably was about eight stories high including the planter. I also fell in love with double hammocks they had and spent many hours overlooking the water and reading.
This was by far the longest amount of sea days-it took five days to cross the ocean from Mexico to Hawaii but it was a great way to get in the relaxation mode! There was never a time I was bored-so many activities happening throughout the day and I brought about fifteen books with me (I read ten or so on the ship).