Daily Archives: 2009-09-21

Becoming More Social – Sea Day

I woke up way too early today just before 6am and decided to go back to sleep. When I finally did rise, it was just past 9am. I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of what is slowly becoming my usual. I layer oatmeal, ship museli (a concoction of soaked oats, milk, yogurt, raisins, almonds and random chopped fruits), cottage cheese, and sliced apples sprinkled with cinnamon. Its really tasty and seems to give me boundless energy which lasts all the way until lunch.

Next I had a superb cardio session then sweated it out during my upper body work. There was a health lecture on detoxification going on in the aerobics room while I was doing my crunches. It was pretty much word for word what I had learned from Shaun on the Royal Caribbean cruise I went on in May. I guess they are all trained by the same company. Something about the verbatim spiel turned me off. Even though some of the content made sense, I watched as the generally overweight audience sucked it up. Desperate to look like the trainer who was selling the “miracle pills”, I bet they would have bought maneure if he said it’d work.

I had no real rapport with the head fitness instructor at all. When I asked him a question to suss him out, his negativity and lack of sincerity really turned me off. Personally, I have to question anyone who discourages exercise and a healthy diet in favor of magical capsules filled with seaweed.

I felt great with an extra spring in my step knowing I had just gifted my body with a genuine effort in the gym. I ran into Doug and Darren (hereby referred to as DnD), in the stairwell who informed me with glum faces that they had lost the poker tournament. I was surprised to hear it as Doug is a professional who is a well known regular in Vegas. I wondered who had whooped him and I heard it was a woman. Go Ladies!

I had just finished my shower and was about ready to head out for lunch when Marshan came back to the room. We set out together for the International dining room on the 6th floor. It’s a bit of a maze to find this elusive area as the only way to get there is by going to 7 first. Lucky for Marshan, I had gotten lost enough for both of us in the first week so by now, I knew the lay of the land.

Although there was only two of us, we were seated at a table for eight. I guess we were so close to the end of lunch that they were not seating any more people after us so we had the entire table to ourselves. That’s one neat thing about cruiseships. You can be as social or private as you please and they will honor your request matching you with tablemates or respecting your solitude by seating you alone.

I love that I am getting to replay the same menus again because this time, I know what is good. I had the steamed veggies, veggie burger and pan-fried sole with mushroom au gratin. It was tasty and although I finished it all, I didn’t feel overstuffed. I even had room for honeydew frozen yogurt and fresh fruit.

Speaking of fruit, that our stateroom seems to be morphing into a produce market of sorts. Last week, I was delighted by the fact the we could order a bowl of apples, oranges, bananas, pears and kiwis. I checked the boxes and being cheeky, I wrote mango and nectarines as well. I didn’t think they would comply with the more exotic ones but lo and behold, the next day, there they were. I guess they were pleased with my reaction because now there are four bowls heaped full of fruit waiting to be eaten. I have begun filling up the fridge now so it doesn’t spoil. Note to self: tell Chris (our room steward) to lay off the fruit for a while.

Now I also want to find out if Chris is his real name. This is the first cruise I have been on that has had so many anglosaxon names matched to staff who were clearly from Asian descent. Perhaps now they are making up aliases that typical English folk can not only pronounce but remember.

I just asked my tea server if his name “Mark” was common in the Philippines where he was supposedly from. He admitted after some gentle prodding that infact, it was a variation of his real name. After asking my name, he went on to tell me “Carmella” was a common name in his country. I have heard that one before in Italy, Isreal, South Africa, Spain…

After lunch, Marshan went off to study for her CPA exam while I moseyed down the promenade deck. I happened upon some fellow passengers singing karaoke in the Explorer lounge. I ordered a coffee and settled in to take a listen. There were a lot of older Asian men with decent impersonations of American accents. They performed renditions of Memory, Unchained Melody, and one Italian gent belted out a spectacular “That’s Amore”.

I was nervous but sucked it up and signed up to sing Over the Rainbow. I had support from one of the older Asian gentlemen but we both slaughtered it. I thought a duet would be easier but I think, in actuality, it made it more difficult. Oh well. It couldn’t have gotten any worse so next time I attempt to sing, they will be impressed with whatever I croak out. And I will be sure to go solo.

Next I played a round of Princess Pyramids which is a modified version of charades. It was loads of fun but we got stuck on a couple of phrases like Pacific Ocean, Girl Friend, and Celine Dion. Honestly, how does one act out the famous Canadian songstress without belting out a tune?

Now I have made myself at home in the coffee bar down near the atrium. Soothing classical music being played by the Magical Strings of the Seven Seas is wafting over while I sip my tea. I am absolutely thrilled to have discovered this ritual which I plan to practice every day. To be honest, I have been a little concerned about my coffee consumption of late. I have begun drinking it black in hopes that I would drink less if it didn’t taste as good.

Today I decided to try some tea and was presented with a selection of charming little boxes to choose from. Revolution T-Box is single service box with one gourmet infuser bag tucked inside. They boast that each is a unique tea gift and it truly is just like opening a little present. With flavors such as Lavender Earl Grey and Sweet Ginger Peach, I resolved to find my favorite by the end of the cruise. I may accomplish my goal by the end of the day as I am already on pot number three. Fortunately my coffee card also works for unlimited specialty tea.

Outside the large window beside me, the 15 foot waves tumble over in a white frothy spray. The ship stablizers are doing a great job as I am sure that with this kind of swell we should be rocking and rolling more than we are. Our captain Dino has adjusted our course due to the typhoon near Japan. We will still hit some rocky seas but hopefully we should be able to avoid the worst of it.

Grateful for tea time.

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Breathing Easier – Whittier

This morning I finally slept in. I barely saw Darren over the past couple days and to be honest, things between us were a tad uncomfortable. I suppose I should have seen this coming when our friendship had begun dissolving last month due to a breakdown in communication. This trip merely accelerated the process and I am grateful to have learned that clearly, we are not travel compatible. We didn’t even say a proper goodbye but I guess that is indicative of how bad things had gotten.

I felt my spirit lighten quite noticeably after he left as I bounced up to my breakfast and to the gym. I had a lot of energy and I plowed through a good 2 hours before letting up at all. After some relaxing floor work, I found my way out of the gym not completely satisfied with my output but promising myself that I would come back for more later.

I made my way down across to the back of the ship to the formal dining room. I was looking forward to a quick lunch so I could get off the ship and find some cheap (if not free) wi-fi in our current port, Whittier. As the maître’d kept seating people at my table, I realized a quiet lunch was not what he had planned for me. I decided to make the best of it and chatted with my lively tablemates.

After my meal, I padded down the hallways and stairs to the waiting gangway. It was surprisingly warm and sunny out making me overdressed in my several layers and cap. I wandered around with my laptop open looking for a signal but wasn’t having any luck. I decided to go further into the tiny little town to see if there was something there.

Next to where we were docked, there was a quaint hotel which lo and behold offered free wi-fi. I thanked the kind ladies behind the desk and perched myself in the big chair by the fireplace. The place felt new but I could tell they were trying for cozy.

After getting a bunch of emails answered and banking stuff done, I was able to relax a bit. I am at sea for the next week and wanted to make sure that I had tied up any major loose ends.

I found my way back to the ship and discovered my new roommate, Marshan, had arrived. We hugged and gave each other the coles notes version of our past week. Somehow, I don’t know how we did it, we inadvertently missed the muster drill. Opps!

After we were all caught up, I went back to the gym for round two. I had a great run and caught up on some CNN news. Nothing really interesting going on in the world so I changed the channel to watch the ship cam as we pulled out. It was quite picturesque with all the mountains around us and the sun glimmering off the water.

After my shower, Marshan and I met up with Doug and his friend Darren (different than last weeks Darren) for dinner. We exchanged niceties and then shared stories while we ate. After the yummy flourless chocolate cake that I had recommended from past experience, we all headed for a walk. Doug wanted to see the casino as it is one of his favorite pastimes, but we didn’t stay there for long. It was rather smoky for my taste and even though he had guided us to the non-smoking section, the stench still hung in the air.

We explored a little further and discovered the Theatre where an almost packed audience were listening to the band in anticipation of the Welcome Aboard Show. We glided into the nearby set of seats and took in the performance as well.

After a brief intro of the entertainment staff, a comedian came out. It was quite funny to me and I actually had to tone down my chuckles because I was clearly enjoying it more than the others. I wondered if everyone was asleep or I just had a very odd sense of humor. In the end, I didn’t really care. I got my belly exercise for the day and this was just icing on the cake. I felt a little bad for the guy on the stage though. Tough crowd!

Now I am just about to hit the hay and wonder what time I will wake tomorrow. The seas are a little more rough than they have been and I can definitely feel the motion of the ocean. All in all, today was markedly better than all of the rest on this trip so far.

Grateful for release.

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Cruising College Fjord

I was up rather early but took my time getting to the gym. At breakfast, I met quite an interesting character who captivated me with his storytelling. I realized that there are different levels of connection and that I should never judge a book by its cover. I could meet someone for just a few minutes and receive the gift of sharing a true moment. On the other hand, someone I had known for a decade has turned out to be a major flake and I spent some of the day sad about that. But I guess sometimes people outgrown each other. It is what it is.

I discovered a new machine in the gym today called an Arctrainer. It’s like an elliptical and replicates the smooth motion of cross country skiing. I spent a good few hours in the gym working off some steam. Then I met up with Greg and Janet from Australia to share some photos from the fishing trip. I took a gander at their view off their balcony and thought how nice it would be to have had the view of Alaskan mountains upon waking. Extravagant, at least.

We went for lunch and met a bunch of other people who were also good conversationalists. I was lucky today with meeting people to fill the void. I guess that is how a vacuum works. With our tummies full, we headed to the Princess theatre to watch a show on the big screen. It was called “Sunshine Cleaning” and was a nice change from the typical Hollywood blockbuster.

We were nearing College Fjord so I made my way down to my cabin to suit up for the cold. I thought I could multi-task a bit and walk around the promenade deck while viewing the nature. Every 2.5 laps = 1 mile and so I did just under 3 miles before my camera battery went dead. I decided to grab my charger and continue my work out in the gym so I could plug in. I was able to listen to the commentary on the TV while watching as the ship approached Harvard Glacier.

I took it all in while I finished my workout then made my way outside into the cold for some photo ops. I went a little snaphappy like the rest of the passengers who were gazing at the collection of glaciers in the Fjord named after famous schools. We were lucky enough to have sunshine which took the bite out of the air for a little while until the wind kicked up.

Dinner was fantastic as they were serving my favorite, Turkey dinner. I gobbled it up and thanked the staff for the special care. I was dining alone tonight so they were extra attentive to ensure I was comfortable and happy. I gazed out at the mammoth hunks of ice burg floating just outside my window. As I let my eyes drift up I watched the last bits of sun lighting up the very tips of the snow capped mountain tops. Then seconds later the shadow enveloped even that.

I completed a bit of the communal jigsaw puzzle in the library before heading back to the room. After tidying up the room a bit to make sure it was ready for my new cabin mate who arrives tomorrow, I am now comfy snuggled up in my duvet. The TV is on in the background and I noticed they have a fitness channel which demonstrates exercises one can do in their stateroom. That was something new I haven’t seen onboard a cruise before. With each passing day, I am feeling happier and more content, discovering new things to be grateful for.

Grateful for raising my standards.

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