February 27, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 53

Day 53 At sea. The weather continues to be very good. Temperatures are in the low 80's, the seas basically calm, the skies are cloudy. We are headed North towards Hong Kong in the South China Sea.

This morning we have the King Neptune Ceremony to celebrate crossing the equator. Actually it will be later today when we actually cross the equator, but as the captain said, 10 AM was a convenient time to have the ceremony. The Lido mid deck is packed. Many members of the crew and staff participated, whether by choice, by assignment, or by the fact this cruise was their first crossing of the equator I don't know.

All kissed the fish and were then covered with muck from the bottom of the sea. It was messy, as Gene said, sit in the front rows only if you are wearing clothes you are willing to throw away. The pool was drained and 4 hours later they are still cleaning it.

The weather forecast is for deteriorating conditions tonight and tomorrow with gale force winds and building seas. This is a part of the world where we have few alternatives, there is no easy way to avoid the weather. Our speed is about 18 knots, the fastest we have cruised on this voyage. I don't know if this speed is required because of the distance we need to travel, or to miss some of the worst weather in front of us. Currently the wind is directly on our bow at about 25 MPH, which makes standing on any of the open decks very breezy.

I was getting so accustomed to turning our clocks back and enjoying extra sleep, but tonight we have to turn them 1 hour forward. I'll get the hour back later, guaranteed.

I have told you many stories about our eccentric passengers and their unsavory behavior. Today, with her permission, I would like to tell you just a little about a different kind of passenger.

Fanci has MS. There is no cure for MS, and eventually her condition will worsen. Last year she was mostly bedridden and her wish was just to improve enough to be able to get around in a wheel chair again. Well she did improve, not only to get back into a wheel chair, but to be able to get around with a walker.

She had always dreamed about traveling to other parts of the world and realized that as time went on it would be less and less likely she could fulfill her dream. Ultimately she booked the full 115 day world cruise from Florida back to Florida. Unfortunately, and for reasons I don't know, her husband was unable to travel with her, so she courageously ventured out on her own.

Like most patients with MS she has good days and better days. She would never attempt to get into a bouncing tender, but she has gone ashore at some ports. On her good days she is totally dependent on her walker to get around the ship. On better days she may take her walker to the back of the theater, and then walk the last 50 steps to her seat.

Sometimes she walks to the dining room. The wait staff sometimes carries her plate in the Lido, other times she insists on doing everything herself. A characteristic of most people with limitations.

Occasionally early in the voyage she had great days and was able to dance a few steps on the dance floor, but she confided that she paid for it the next day with additional pain and now forgoes dancing.

She pushes herself to do everything she can, and to enjoy life as much as possible. Regardless of what she is doing, or how she is feeling at the moment I have never seen her without a smile.

I hope Fanci's story is an inspiration to anyone that sits home feeling sorry for themselves. To add my opinion, if travel is your dream, a cruise ship is the best way.

Fanci's husband will be joining her in Hong Kong for the rest of the voyage to Florida. I wish them both a Grand Voyage.