Monday, December 5, 2011

The Last Few Weeks @ Sea

Ok, I know I haven’t updated the blog in weeks and I’m very sorry! We’ve been really busy on the ship and feel like we haven’t had a chance to email or call anyone in a long time. So here’s what’s been happening.

A few cruises back marked the dreaded “cast changeover” for Ron. That means that the production show (“Vegas-style” *ahem* entertainment shows that permanently live onboard the ship) cast that was here ended their contract and the new cast came on the ship. This change involved 11 days and 11 nights of rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal. I barely saw my husband and he barely saw sleep. It has meant a ton of time in the theater for him, but Ron is a hard worker and is energized by being a part of this process. He is really loving his job. It is so nice to see my husband feeling confident and enjoying work again! The new cast consists of some of the nicest people we have met on ships so far. Both of us really like them a lot. 

While Ron was busy working in the theater, I helped out the Shore Excursions team by going on two tours and writing up a little report. The first one was visiting the Embara Indian Village in Panama. This was not just a bunch of people hired to pretend to be Indians in a makeshift village one day. This was the real deal. We took a two hour bus ride to the far side of Gatun Lake, then a short hike to the shore where some of the Embara Tribe helped us into long canoes that had been made from hollowed out trees. We traveled about 15 minutes to their village where they welcomed us with their native music. They told us about their culture and how it has changed over the years. Then they served us lunch which consisted of red snapper from the lake and plantains followed by pineapple and guava. We had some free time to wander around the village and see their houses and school. Then the Indians performed some tribal dances for us. Then saw us back into our canoes and wished us farewell. It was a really cool experience!





The next day I finally got to understand why so many people rave about Costa Rica! I was able to go on a white water rafting trip and I can now say that I am a subscriber to the Pura Vida motto. WOW. Once you get off the roads in Costa Rica, everything changes. I need to get a waterproof camera so I can show you all how breathtaking this place is. I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful and how much fun this trip was. The rapids were only class 2 and 3 so nothing too crazy, but just bumpy and challenging enough to be more fun than relaxing.

We haven’t been doing much of anything exciting on the ABC islands – otherwise known as Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. Mostly we just hop off the ship and stroll around town. Last week in Bonaire we came across a gelato shop called Gio’s that was unbelievably delicious. Gelato Paradiso of Newport Beach, CA should hang its head in shame. Just wow. We can’t wait to go back there. And the next day we got to hold a tiny monkey in Panama. SO cute! But seriously, that has been the highlight of our adventures the past couple weeks. You’d think we’d lead more exciting lives wouldn’t you?

Curcao
Bonaire
Bonaire

Panama
Ok,  well I guess we do some fun things. This past week in Costa Rica we were able to join a crew tour to go zip lining! We have been wanting to do this for months! We jumped from perch to perch, sailing through the rain forest canopy, over lush vegetation, rivers and trails. It was a thrill! Our group of crew members cheered each other on as one by one we got the hang of the zip lines and we ended the day with plantain chips and Coke out of glass bottles. Such a fun day!


Thanksgiving was pretty uneventful aboard the Zuiderdam. It was a day like any other except that they served turkey and mashed potatoes and stuffing for dinner. Ron and I talked a little about being thankful for the opportunity to work and travel with HAL, for our families and friends, and most of all for each other.

This second to last cruise has been uneventful so far. We had two sea days, then Puerto Limon where we battled some serious rain to just wander the cruise terminal for an hour and then came back on the ship and played in the pool all day. Then Panama Canal which we now find stunningly boring after seeing it so many times. Yeah, yeah, yeah, the gates open, we go in, we go up, the next gates open, we go in, we go up… ok. ok, we got it. Don’t roll your eyes at me. How many times a week do you pass a beautiful beach, the Hollywood sign, or Disneyland on your way to work and you don’t even notice? It’s all relative. And we’re back at sea today. The next few days we hope will be more exciting so we have something to blog about before we come home!

Panama
Half Moon Cay
And in the category of great news, we have another contract already! We will only have 7 weeks off before we head back to Fort Lauderdale to join the crew of the Noordam. We will revisit some of our favorite destinations from the Eurodam such as Grand Turk and Puerto Rico and we will add new ones to our growing list of Caribbean locales such as Martinique and St. Lucia. Then we will sail across the Atlantic, stopping at the Azores and ending at our new home port in Barcelona, Spain. From there we will spend a few months sailing around Europe! We couldn’t be more thrilled or feel more blessed.

We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and we will be praying for you as we enter the Christmas season. We look forward to seeing you all very soon! Less than two more cruises left until we get off the ship and head to California! From there, we still haven’t confirmed plans for our 7 week vacation but we will certainly keep you posted.

1 comment:

Erin Ranallo said...

Oh how I live vicariously through you. If I only had my "dancing girl talents" from high school, I could live on a cruise ship too!

You guys make me want to quit my job and live on a boat.