October 02, 2018

October 1, Returning Home

Disembarkation is scheduled to begin shortly after 8:00. I am in the first group after those that carry all their own luggage. My group, #2, is called about 8:30. After snaking back and forth through the dining room, I exit the ship, find my luggage and proceed to the customs agent. Once outside I call the parking lot for my pickup shuttle, only to discover it is parked right in front of me, but is almost indistinguishable from all the other white vans waiting for passengers. No congestion like in Miami after the last trip. By 9:15, with my car retrieved, I am headed to I-4 for my drive home.

Again the skies are clear and sunny. Initially the traffic is heavy, but once past the I-75 interchange the speeds pick up and I am able to drive at the speed limit.  I never finished an audio book I started so I listen to it on the way home. Maybe before the loan expires.

I am in my house by 10:30, turn on the water and the AC then proceed to immediately unpack the suitcases. Every thing, whether clean or worn heads to the pile to be washed. Things like Q-Tips and razors are replenished, ready for the next trip. Errands are next on the list. Pick up a new supply of 2$ bills at the bank, food at the grocery store, prescriptions at the drug store, signed and approved forms to allow repair to some landscaping. My mail won't be delivered until late in the afternoon, sorting of that will be a Tuesday task.

Home for three weeks and then off to Barcelona. Three weeks to spoil my new grand daughter just a little.

September 30, A Sea Day

Our passage through the night was calm and quiet, except for the party people trying to find their cabins at 4:00 AM. Morning finds the skies partly cloudy. The seas would still be classified as calm but there are a few scattered whitecaps.  The wind on our starboard bow has increased, making the wind across the deck howling at about 45mph. Hold onto your hats and towels. Unlike my cruise of four weeks ago, the water surface is clean.

My shower this morning is with less than hot water. In fact, the temperature of both the cold and the hot water is the same, luke warm. I noticed the lack of hot water yesterday, but attributed it to everyone getting ready to leave the ship, true but not the cause.

Mechanically this ship is in the poorest condition of any ship I have been on. Granted they are all minor items, but there are lots of them.  Elevator call buttons, elevator overload safety controls, shower heads, long term leaks, the list goes on. Every one of these problems existed when I boarded the ship, and repairs are not being made. It makes one wonder about the condition of those systems we don't see.

I have met some interesting people over the past few weeks. We have all heard of people that live on cruise ships. A couple from Australia doesn't live exclusively on cruise ships, but for the past twenty years, yes twenty years, have been traveling the world by train, plane, foot, automobile, and cruise ship. They have no permanent home. To recently travel in the US, they bought a well used 99 Lincoln with 244,000 miles, that they will just junk when they are finished with it.  When on land, housing is a Bed & Breakfast, AirBnb, or friends. Other than the car, everything they own travels with them in a few suitcases. Safari's in Africa to mountain climbing in the Alps they are living an adventure few of us can even imagine.

There are several passengers that work for InterCruise.  InterCruise is the company that provides boarding services at many ports around the world. A relatively young company being around for about 10 years, and based in Barcelona. They provide the people in the terminal that guide you through the process of checking in for your cruise, or finding the right shuttle bus to the airport. 

As expected, the process is different for every ship. The computer equipment and software they use is unique to each vessel, and in fact the equipment goes with the ship, not the port.

I don't know these people, but there is a story many of us can easily relate to. As I was taking the elevator down to the cinema yesterday morning, it stopped on deck 10 for other passengers. The husband, gets on the elevator after trying to give instructions to his wife on how to get off the ship. She reminds him that she has been on over 35 cruises and knows how to get to the pier. He says he is going ahead, and will meet her there. He pushes the button for deck 2, and the elevator descends.  The gangway is in fact on deck 2, but not accessible from the forward elevators. I just bet she knew he was headed down the wrong path. 

Despite the brisk wind, the pool is busy. I think there are actually fewer kids this week, but definitely many more heavy drinkers. Perfect pool of contestants for the belly flop contest.

Shirt sales for the WWF are minimal. They are priced at $12.00 each, I add 2 to my collection. No I'm not going to rip the arms off and wear them to the dining room, I wear them to the pool at home.

The lounge is nearly empty tonight. For about a minute after dinner I was the only guest, a situation quickly rectified by the return of a few other regulars. Bernadette is moving to the pool bar next week. Assignments for the bar staff rotate every month. I am pleased she was our bartender while I was here, she did a great job.

By early evening, the winds have died, and the seas are nearly perfectly flat. I pack my suitcase and place it in the hallway. Tomorrow I disembark in Tampa and head home.