Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | July 14, 2011

Baby, Let’s Cruise Away From Here: Journal Entry # 1

Note:  The Cruisin’ Journals are from my trip in late March, on a cruise out of Tampa. This was also my first ever tropical adventure.  Turns out, people aren’t exaggerating about how great traveling to warmer climes is.

It’s nearly ten o’clock on my first day in Florida, and I’ve decided to sit down and journal before calling it a night.  I’m journaling from my room, in a plain document, because the internet access here is expensive.  And, from what I hear from DW*, slow, slow, slow.  I’m going to try to limit my time on the internet as much as possible by journaling separately, then cutting and pasting into Facebook** once or twice. I’d wait until we were in Orlando to do it, but I think a little internet activity to let my parents know I’m well is warranted.  So look for one or two updates while I’m at sea, and no comments on your comments until after I’m ashore in Tampa again, at least!

A beautiful way to start the morning

Now that the “housekeeping” is out of the way, the real rundown can begin.  The flights yesterday were long, long, long.  After getting up at 6 o’clock so I could be at the airport by 7ish, then getting in at midnight Florida time (10 o’clock back home), spending all that time in plane seats or airport seats, or food court seats, I was pretty bagged. DW and her parents met me at the airport, and drove us to their apartment condo in St. Petersburgh, about 20 minutes away.  I didn’t get to see much of it before I crashed on the couch, but was I in for a lovely surprise in the morning!

I woke up, brewed a pot of coffee, then made my way out to the back porch, which overlooks a bay.  I watched the waves lap the pier and a couple of pelicans fly in and out.  The weather was beautiful in the morning, and didn’t get too hot or humid as far as I noticed (though the hottest hours I was checking into the ship). This is a bit of relief:  I was honestly worried I’d step foot off the plane and pass out from the heat.  It’s hot and I’m sure it will get hotter, but I think I’m going to find it bearable.

After some coffee and reading of the Kindle –  I’m going to segue into a quick review – I still don’t love it.  It’s not bad or anything, but I don’t get that same sense of urgency like I do with a book (must turn page, must find out what happens, read read READ). Also, it’s an electronic device, so the plane people made me put it away during take off and landing.  Well, not First Air.  Anyway, that meant I lost a lot of reading time on the plane.  Oh well. Better than leaving behind my pretty, pretty shoes.

Anchors away!

Okay, back to the point at hand.  After my leisurely lingering over coffee, I had a swim in the condo complex’s pool, a soak in the hot tub, then more swimming because the water temperature was lovely.  I also did some treading water for exercise.  You will all, I hope, be happy to note that, even after swimming around and treading water in random increments, I can do at least 15 minutes without a rest/having to get out of the pool to use the bathroom.  If I fall off the boat, rescuers theoretically have a quarter of an hour to haul me back out.  Unless, of course, a shark eats me.

I meandered back to the condo unit, causing tiny geckos to skitter out of my path.  I couldn’t get too close when taking a picture, but I did take a few, so I will see how those turn out before putting at least one in the album I’m sure to upload.  A late breakfast later while my swimsuit dried at a warp speed pace, then reading, then packing up the car for the drive back to Tampa and to the port.

We boarded the boat in early afternoon, found our stateroom (I’ll have to remember to take a picture before I go – it’s small, but not too small), and made our way to the lunch buffet.  We ate out in the sun, then took a tour of the ship.  Of course, this hasn’t stopped me from turning the wrong way several times.  If I can’t see the fore end of the boat I’m a hopeless case.

Our cruise ship!

Just before 5 o’clock, the MS Ryndam left the port.  I was dropping something off in the stateroom and didn’t notice until I was back on the deck.  I’m taking this as a good sign with regards to seasickness.  I do feel a little ill now that I’m in the room and it is night and I can’t see anything, but it really isn’t too bad at all.  We watched the shore for a while before going back to the gym, where we’d entered a draw for a spa treatment.  We didn’t win, but were relieved because they made winners do a dance and we did not want to do a dance.  We did, however, get a deal package for a spa treatment, so we signed up, and after a quick dinner, we had the “head to toe treatment”.  I’ve had a deep tissue massage, a foot massage, a scalp massage, and a mini facial.  Of course, I ended up spending far, FAR too much on an aromatherapy treatment (they are a little pushy on the sales here) but too be honest, if it does help with my shoulders, it will be worth it.  Some of the knots were really, really brutal, and my massage therapist had her work cut out for her.  Her name was Baby, believe it or not.  She had very nice shoes.

By the time my massage and overspending was over, it was time, I felt, to get back to the stateroom.  I finished unpacking before sitting down to the computer, and now am more than ready to crash (the things I do for you guys!).  We don’t get to our next port until afternoon, so I am hoping to be able to sleep in.  I had to take a Gravol since I was feeling a bit queasy (and I think it is working) so chances are better than usual.  Tomorrow’s adventure: kayaking in  Key West.  Notable Key West resident, according to my daily program:  Ernest Hemmingway.  And Drink of the Day:  Hand shaken Margarita.  Not to be drunk pre-kayaking, I assume.

*My fabulous travel buddy: see previous post.

**As previously noted, this all begin as notes on my FB page, and now I’m recycling. It’s good for the environment.

Until the next entry!

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