OK Seahunks, …. PCD or not….It’s time….. Give it up….. You promised!
Many moons ago you said you would tell us all about the experiences and the wonderment or horror of your better halve. If I recall correctly, you said, if she just looks at a ship she gets sick. All of us, Old Salty’s, love to hear about the Maiden voyages. You are such a good writer and we live vicariously wanting to relive that experience. Please, please, with sugar on top….
Come on mates…. Back me up on this one….Put the pressure on him….Give him a little nudge….But not to much, he’ll fall in the middle of the food again.
Jason If a grin is transmittable, and laughing is contagious, here’s hoping for an epidemic!
Jason, and others who read, I am writing a much, much too detailed account of the entire trip. As I write it, I'm reliving it in detail. I have to recall and write the whole thing, stem to stern, before I edit it down to something digestible. I may still have to post it here as a series of installments after editing. There is so much to tell from the viewpoint of a hooked before booked cruise junkie.
I have been working on it so hard that last evening I noticed that my fingertips are discolored--I have been typing so much that the lettering is wearing off the keys and sticking to my fingers. Of course, it could be that the keyboard is just dusty :-)
Now a pre-edited sample:
The Obsession: A First cruise story.
by The Seahunks
I have been a maritime geek my whole life but it took a long, long time to go on my first cruise. When the money was there, time was not. When time was there, money was not. By the time both time and money were in sufficient measure to consider cruising, I made a disturbing discovery. My wife of two years was not only afraid of the mode, it made her deathly ill. The discovery was made during a tentative, precruise offshore fishing trip. Had she not gotten seasick, I would have suggested a cruise vacation. So cruising was put on hold indefinitely, except for short excursions, lasting at most a few hours.
Imagine my surprise last April, 11 years after the distressing, but stunning, technicolor epiphany. Her High School class was planning a cruising reunion. In the course of discussing their cruising experience, they managed to sell her on the idea. I had avoided the suggestion for years. Shock of shocks, she booked!
I remember well the day. She called me from her office after making the downpayment.
"Get on the web and search Carnival Sensation. Let me know what you find out."
That was all the information she had at that point, besides the date--February 8.
A quick entry on dogpile got me pages of information.
I called her back.
"Carnival is the cruiseline. Sensation is the name of the ship. 855 feet long, 104 feet wide. Ten decks, complete with saunas, pools, innumerable bars and lounges, one deck is practically all casino. Starting in August, she'll sail out of Tampa."
"It's a sailboat?" she asked.
"No, sail is a generic term for going out to sea. She's powered like a train, diesel-electric."
"The diesel engines turn generators. The generators feed electricity to some huge motors. The motors..."
I was giving her more information than she wanted. She stopped me short.
"Does it have those things that prevent seasickness?"
"Someone at the class website said it had something that keeps it from rocking."
"Oh, roll stabilizers. Yeah, I think all modern ships have those."
"Okay. Maybe it won't be so bad then."
"I'm sure it won't. Most people who've been on cruises have told me that you don't even feel the waves unless they're really big."
"If we're going to have big waves, don't tell me!"
"I'll check what kind of weather to expect for that part of the sea in February."
She repeated, slowly for emphasis,"If...we're...going...to...have...big...w aves..."
"Allright, I won't tell you, then."
"Okay. I appreciate it."
So began my 10 months of anticipation. When I wasn't at work, I was online reading, nay, devouring, every morsel of information I coud find about the ship. It wasn't just photos and deckplans. There were maps and online brochures about our pending ports of call. They were interesting, even tantalizing.
But my obsession was the ship, itself. I just couldn't find out enough about her. It was love before first sight! Sensation became for me not just THE ship, she was MY ship.
I read innumerable reviews about her. I found that I couldn't tolerate negative reviews, attributing critiques of her to the intellectual limitations of the authors. I completely dismissed some reviews merely on the basis of misspellings. Other reviews I dismissed on the attitude of the writer. Over time, the only credible reviews I found were all positive. Such was my bias.
I even researched the shipping lanes of Tampa Bay. I went as far as buying a handheld GPS, software, and computer interfaces so I could see the details of our departure route. It was all in the software, down to the buoys that marked the channels. I even planned to take the GPS on the cruise with me so I could know the exact moment I made my first foray into the tropics.
The GPS and its software even came in handy for planning the route. Living as far as we do from the port, there was also the road trip to plan. Within a month of booking the cruise, we had all the hotel reservations we would need.
When travelling to Florida, I always take the eastern route down I-77 to I-26; I-26 to I-95; I-95 into the Sunshine State. Most of the trip is through scenic countryside and mountains, only sparsely interrupted by malls. I call it the male route. Point A to point B, fewer shops equals fewer stops.
Only once have I taken the female route (locally aka the Disney route) that actually passes through Tampa, I-75, and that was enough. I had taken that trip in June, when weather was decent, and the traffic completely counteracted any anticipated convenience of the routing. At every other exit, it seemed, there was a mall. And at every mall were 4 or 5 cars that had to immediately cross every lane of traffic because the wife (unproven but suspected) in each car had seen an ad for one store or another. No way would I drive that route in the dead of winter, when weather becomes an additional hazard.
In all my winter trips down I-77 I had never seen a storm along the route, while I-75 always seemed socked in by fog, ice, blizzards, or chain reaction pileups. Getting to the port via Jacksonville would mean a few additional miles, but they would only serve as precruise appetizers.
I programmed the GPS with the intended route, time flagging various points along the way. The flags would give us an idea of how accurate the mapping program was. We planned to spread the road trip over two days, arriving in Tampa the day before we sailed. At some point on arrival day, we would drive to the cruise terminal to avoid getting lost amid the excitement of embarkation. We also planned to have dinner that night at the home one of my wife's classmates who lived in Tampa.
Within a week of our departure date, we decided to change to our route. We would leave a day earlier, getting an early jump on our original departure date. In addition, we would follow a US route for the first leg, rather than Interstae all the way. I reprogrammed and reflagged the original route.
End of sample.
That's the level of detail and why I need to edit it. One of my college English profs said:
"There's no such thing as good writing; there's only good rewriting." I think I'm pretty much living proof of that.
Seahunks- keep writing. I usually don't read long detailed things, but you have a talent for making it interesting, and I found myself reading and enjoying all of it. This could be like being in school (say about 4th grade) when the teacher would read a chapter or 2 of a book each day. Looking forward with anticipation to what would happen next was great fun.
Thanks for sharing your cruise excitement and your talent for writing with us.
Just think of it this way, Steve - you're well on your way to writing a book ... and we are your eager readers who will recommend it to everyone else when it hits the book stores BUT now WE need to know. Do NOT leave us in suspense. Edit/smedit ... you can do that later.
I cruise the Emerald Princess, Eastern Caribbean on April 16, 2012
SeaHunks.....I've really enjoyed the first "installment" of your review....don't keep us waiting too long. I can really relate to how you feel about "your" ship.
Mary Lou Scanlon
NCL Pride of America April 24, 2010
NCL Epic February 12, 2011
RCCL Allure of the Seas - September 18, 2011
Celebrity Eclipse - February 11, 2012:
RCCL Navigator OTS - February 9, 2013
Wow, thanks Steve. I really enjoyed that installment and am waiting patiently for the next one!
Don't worry about being "unfaithful" to the Sensation. You always remember your first time! As you go on more cruises, you'll discover ships that suit your style even better and are more fun, believe it or not... but that first cruise will always have a special place in your heart.
Land Cruise, Britain and Belgium
Now posting as MichelleP.