Alaina is doing a MUCH better job of travel-(b)logging our European Cruise of Dreams. Things have been pretty wild for me, so I'll get to posting some more photos in the next few days; especially now that I'm in Portland and everyone is pretty much iced in for the next three days. Today on the plane I put a few totally random stories or memories from the trip to type.
• Every day we had an off-boat excursion (which let’s face it was every.day), Alaina and I would plot where on the bus we’d like to sit. After our first bus day in France, we quickly learned there are seats with better visibility, better door position, and all-around betterness. Each morning we’d spend several minutes discussing the pros and cons of seats x, y, and z and our first, second, and third choice for seats on the bus if rows with higher desirability were already occupied. Sounds incredibly geeky, but ask me who never got sick on the bus and who had the best views and photos of the Amalfi Coast. Luck comes to those who plan for it.
• Our first big discovery once we got onto the boat was the pizza bar. The best piece of combo was eaten while we were still docked in Barcelona. No big shock here, but room #9306 quickly became regular customers—fueled by the younger set, but readily accepted by the elder. It didn’t matter how many courses we ate at dinner, if someone (anyone) suggested stopping in “just to see what they had” (as the café also doubled as a mini-sandwhich, rotating desserts, and hot chocolate stop), someone was always willing to accompany the seeker. If pieces were brought back to the room they were eaten; it didn’t matter what time of day. My favorite Deck 5 memory was Thanksgiving night where literally on the way back to our room from dinner we stopped and sat for more than an hour; eating, drinking, and generally making merry.
• Cruises are all-you-can-eat pretty much from the minute you arrive until the minute you depart (or for me, in Paris, where I was still eating rolls I swiped from the boat the last breakfast morning), including the full-coursed dinners. My Grandpa set the tone early on at our evening dinners. He ordered with abandon and made us all (or at least me) feel comfortable in ordering whatever I wanted—even if it was two appetizers, two entrees, or two desserts. (One night I may have had three appetizers. Ceaser Salad, a shrimp cocktail [not on the menu but special ordered by our waiter who knew I loved shrimp], and some kind of veal/beef something-or-other.) My Gramp ordered three of something more than once, and when later in the week he was only ordering two, our waiter took to asking him every night if he’d like soup with his starters as well. He always agreed, we always laughed, and then I taught him how to rank order his choices. I think some kind of soup took the ultimate prize but my memory might be a little hazy.
• Then, and now, even in hindsight, I can’t believe how tired we were on the cruise. We’d get up between 5:55 and 6:30 most mornings, get ready, stumble to breakfast, do our off-boat activities and get back to the boat to barely make our 6:30 dinnertime. (It’s no wonder we slept on every bus we got onto!) We’d usually get done with dinner after 8, and then meander up to our room. We’d puruse the collateral for the next day’s activities and then one by one start to die off. Someone was usually in bed sleeping before 9:30 even rolled around. Everyone once in awhile someone might venture off on their own to a hot tub or to play a few nickel slots ::cough-cough::, but I’m 100% serious when I say there was no nightlife in our room. I think the TV was powered on a handful of times (a feat considering the tenets of our room!) and even G&G were wishing we could sleep in later in the AM (wild if you know my grandparents and their general AM cheeriness.)
These were the first four I remembered--chances are others will up-level in the next few days, but it should be enough to chew on for a bit.