01 December 2012

Sail on

Sorry, guys, once again my internet's been flaky for the past few days.  It's just Comcastic!  

Abby/Rock - I hear your concerns.  Before we did our 1st cruise back in 2008, I had the exact same concerns.  Norovirus, fires, accidents.  I recall one ship off of Florida caught fire and lost power for a day.  There was one ship off the cost of San Diego that was without power for three days.  And no power means no hot food, no a/c, no hot water, and the potties don’t work.  And I won’t even begin to mention the Costa Concordia.  Despite our fears, the trip went very well.  The ship was the Conquest - one of the the Carnival line (the Wal-Mart of Cruise Ships).  It was a big ship, well-run with all the bells ans whistles but loud and crowded.  Lots of kids, people.  A seven day cruise of the Caribbean.  As first timers, we didn't know the system so we were trying to keep up with the activities/schedules.  Lots of things to do and it is easy to get lost trying to keep up with everything.  One thing these ships have nowadays is a real paranoia for any viruses or illnesses.  Everywhere you go, they have hand sanitizer.  Each of the restaurants has a sanitizer station when you enter.  Every bathroom has sanitizer stations installed as well and they have this paper towel dispenser at the door so you do not have to touch any bathroom surfaces.  Was kinda weird the first time we did it.  

The Zuiderdam is one of the Holland America line and supposedly a bit more upscale (aka classier).  For the technophiles - it is one of Holland America's Vista class cruisers - 10 years old, 936 feet long, 106 feet wide, can carry up to 1916 passengers, gross tonnage is 82,305 grt, max speed is 24 knots.  It has 1 grill, 3-4 restaurants, 8-9 bars/lounges (we tried them all), a full sized theater, casino, 1st class work out room, two pools, 4 hot tubs, basketball court, observation lounge/library/internet cafe, spa, sauna, gift shops, medical center, and "the loft" (designed exclusively for teens (13 - 17) to have fun, socialize and hang out with people their own age) - that just sounds lame.  For our cruise, we only had about 1800 people on board and almost no kids.  Made for a nice, quieter trip.  I was hesitant about traveling for 10 days, but since we had done this before, I was better prepared physically and mentally.  There is a certain system you need to adopt, a schedule, and plan your days.  10 days on a boat with your loved ones can really test a relationship.  I brought several books to read (still not ready for a Kindle), the wife’s iPad, two cameras with back up batteries and memory cards, plenty of clothes, and a few spare bottles of hooch.  

Our stateroom
The Queen's Lounge
The Vista Dining Room
The Ocean Pool

Life aboard one of these behemoths can be interesting.  It can be as easy and relaxed as you care to have it or it can be as wild and crazy as you can handle.  Everyday there is a schedule for everything.  From early morning Tai Chi with Lifestylist Nick poolside on the Lido (not Libido) to breakfast in the Lido restaurant to aqua arobics with Nick (he gets around) to techy classes (how to manage your photos/hard drive), there is always something to do.  You get an explorer flyer each morning that helps you map out your day.  Since we going on a 10 day tour, some days would be in port (5 ports of call), some days would be at sea.    

Of course you will not be lacking for food.  Food is available 24/7.  Aside of the main serving hours for breakfast, lunch, dinner, there are mid-morning treats, afternoon ice cream, late night snacks.    

Lots to see and do.  But sometimes it is just nice to sit back and put your feet up and enjoy the ride.


terri said...

I have to admit, it does look fantastic!

Alas, just when I'd really stockpiled some vacation time and was heading into a year when a "real" vacation might be possible... my company was bought out. We had to cash out all of our vacation time and start accruing all over again.

Your pictures are beautiful. There will be more, right? :-)

Abby said...

Great pics! It's like cruising from the cheap seats. This one does sound nicer than your "Wal-mart" cruise!

I honestly have a problem with being catered to so much (Freud would probably blame my father). Magnum and I have considered one of those cruises where you're actually part of the crew.

ShadowRun300 said...

How awesome! Your pics are incredible, but I especially like the "sit back and relax" pics! :)
When we went on our honeymoon cruise it was Norwegian Cruise Lines - more adults than the Carnival cruises - although we didn't ACT like adults. (Did you hit Carlos 'n Charleys in Cozumel?)
A few kids later, Hubby and I took a Windstar cruise to the French and Italian Rivieras. THAT was incredible. Very intimate - 80 passengers, 80 crew members.
I sure hope you're not done with your stories. Like Abby says, you're allowing us all to take a cruise from the cheap seats! :)

meleah rebeccah said...

I've never been on a cruise, but this looks and sounds truly awesome!