My Life as a Traveler

Cruising Day!

Today is cruise day!

I’m so excited to get on the ship for a couple of reasons. First, after a rough night of stomach upset last night, I’m ready for a restful day. All we have to do is roll down the hill and board the ship. Easy! Second, this is Susie’s first cruise on a big ship and I really want it to be memorable. Her first cruise experience on a smaller ship was less than stellar and I’ve been trying to get her on a cruise with me (where we will have loads of fun) for the last few years. I know that she will love the great food, all the live entertainment, and even the rocking motion of the ship as we fall asleep each night in our cabin. I can’t wait!

Even though all the cruise literature says don’t come til 1pm, we are planning show up somewhere around 11:30am. In my experience, at least with the ships I’ve sailed (more than 20, for sure), I’ve noticed that, in practice, they start letting people on the ship around 11am. Everybody from the previous cruise is off by 10am (an amazing feat in itself), so, even though the rooms (cabins) might not be ready, we can still stow our stuff, explore the ship, and have lunch.

Meanwhile, while breakfasting at the Sheraton, we notice that there’s a farmer’s market going on in the park blocks across from our hotel. We go and find all kinds of organic fare interspersed with gardens. Strolling past the booths, sampling fresh-baked bread and jerky, it feels like we are part of the local population, without dogs.

A trip to the liquor store is in order as well. The cruise line has changed their alcohol policy from ‘can’t bring any’ to ‘it’s ok to bring wine’. Wooohooo! But in Canada, prices are high. Even for the box wine. In retrospect, we should have stocked up in Seattle. Oh well, $25 for a big box is still better than $7 for a glass on the ship.

Back to the room for the final pack up. I’m sooooo tired. Not sleepy tired, just really run down. It feels so good to just lie down, so I do for a bit. Weird.

When it’s time to go, we roll down the hill to Canada Place and get in line to board the ship. After filling out a few forms, we cross the gangway and find our room. To save money, we got an inside cabin. I haven’t cruised in an inside cabin for years, but sleeping here made the cruise such a good deal. Besides, the ship has so many great public areas and we’ll only just be sleeping here, right?

First thing on the agenda, even before unpacking, is to take a tour of the ship. We get 39-second massages in the spa and sign up for their drawing (must be present at 5pm). The buffet restaurant is serving lunch and everything is good. Continuing our exploration, we find the pool area. Even though it’s coolish, there are people swimming. We carry on, get a little lost, and end up in the dining room kitchens, but nobody sees us and we escape without harm.

Feeling like we’ve got our bearings, we go back to the room to unpack. For one of the smallest cabins on the ship, it is very roomy. Our cabin steward pops in and introduces himself. All is going according to plan, except my stomach is upset again. I’m so tired and need to lie down. I urge Susie to fill up a glass from the wine box and head out to explore some more.

Before I know it, it’s time for the emergency drill. Where’s Susie? I forgot to let her know that this is a thing we do together. Oh well. I grab my lifejacket and head down the hall and down the stairs. I’m a little dizzy, but following the crowd. Our muster station is in the theater, five flights of stairs down from our cabin. When I get there, I’m happy to be sitting down instead of standing on deck. We all stand up, put on our jackets, do not blow our whistles, and take the jackets off again.

Released to go out and enjoy the cruise, I join the masses heading up the stairs. After two flights I have to stop. My head is light and my legs are wobbly.  I lean against the wall, willing myself to keep standing. A few deep breaths later, I’m up another flight. I physically cannot make it up the next flight. Waiting… breathing… leaning… after a minute or so I force myself up another flight. Waiting… breathing… leaning… taking deep breaths with each step I power up the stairs, down the hall to our cabin, and flop on the bed. Wow, that was extremely hard. I must really need to rest.

Soon after that, there’s an announcement that the ship is leaving. Dang, I forgot to tell Susie that we do this together, too. One of the great moments of any cruise is standing on deck, leaning on the rail (at the bow of the ship, if possible, just like Jack and Rose in Titanic) and figuratively (and often literally) waving goodbye to our departure port. Well, maybe I’ll find her on deck. Hey, there’s only 2700 people on this ship!

I look all over but I can’t find her, so I wedge myself between two people at the front of the ship. The Vancouver harbor is amazing, and we’re just about to go under the Lion’s Gate Bridge (the ship barely fits!) when, all of a sudden, I need to leave. I need a bathroom NOW. I stumble back down the stairs, bypassing the public potties for the one in my cabin. Just in time I make it. It’s reddish brown. Red? Some of it is bright red and I know that’s better than dark red. I must really have some kind of bad bug. For over an hour I’m up and down from bed to bathroom. This is exhausting.

Here’s what I’m thinking. Two weeks ago I had a colonoscopy and they cut 6 polyps and did some other stuff. Maybe one started bleeding all of a sudden with this stomach diarrhea upset. Totally worn out, I lie in bed, feeling weak. I think Susie came in and then went out to dinner. I try to watch a movie. Susie comes back and we both watch another movie. I tell myself that now that everything’s out, I will feel better in the morning. I will myself to feel better in the morning. The bad stuff’s out and I just need rest. Rest. Rest…

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