Coping: A Couple of Cruising Notes

image(Wherever, Off Mexico) – A shopping mall with cartoon characters for the kids?  Inside the middle of a ship more than a thousand feet long with its own Starbucks hustle in the middle?

Uh-huh…this is cruising on a mega cruise ship.

Our ride down from the ranch to Houston Saturday morning was uneventful.  We stayed in a modest hotel in The Woodlands, ate incredibly healthy, and got more sleep than the folks we were traveling with.

The Landry’s had a wedding to attended, so Elaine and I took the opportunity to roll 12-hours of ZZZ’s.

Boarding the ship Sunday in Galveston was a tad of the frustrating side.

The way the Port of Galveston is set up, they have two parking areas that are several blocks from the actual cruise ship and shuttle busses are used.

Here’s the problem:  Absolutely zero coordination between the lot attendants and the shuttle drivers.  “Go stand by the fence,” one told us.  But that was with a half-empty bus much closer and going to the same two ships.

The first shuttle by the fence drove right by, and while Elaine and the Landry’s were wandering around after being told “Wait by your vehicle,”  Ures truly finally found a bus with an intelligent driver and after a good bit of cross-parking lot bellowing, and did I mention $10 bucks? – we got my bus underway and picked up the three Musketeers.

You need to understand a few things about the Galveston dock:  It’s like a cattle chute system, unless you’re traveling with people who have been on a lot more “points”.  Since Robin is “Emerald” we managed all the “special lines” which cut waiting time a lot.

However, since boarding was delayed a better part of an hour, that meant things were getting hot, people grouchy, and a dozen people wanted to cut in line, since ours was moving faster.

The slow part, just as at airports, was the security check points.  The number of wheel chairs, stroke walkers, and artificial hips, knees, and so forth, was prodigious.  They don’t really need security guards so much as a trauma or triage doc for this thing.

Eventually we boarded and Robin scored a table for four on the shady side of the ship on the 11th floor because rooms were not quite ready yet. 

A good thing, as it turned out, since it gave us plenty of time to study the drink packages and we took care of that little detail.

The rest of the day was spent getting to know the place, which we did.  And in a few minutes the breakfast buffet will be opening and all hell will break loose as 3,500 people need to eat.

So far, the general impression is good, provided you can travel with a couple that has plenty of points in already.  We are “gold” but that doesn’t get you past the general herd at boarding.

Given a preference in the future, Elaine and I are leaning toward smaller ships (Norwegian Jewel size, or 2,500 passengers).

We did chat with one of the more odd coincidences.  We happened to sit for a few minutes with a nice young couple (half our age, if that) who were on the cruise for the first time.

He happened to be recently out of the Air Force and his first name was Brandon.  During three adventures in the sandbox, he was an Air Policeman.

The fun part:  One of Elaine’s boys was in the Air Force as an Air Policeman.  His name?  Brandon.

I love little reminders like that:  the Universe is all totally connected along with all the people in it.  We just miss the 6-degrees of separation many times because lots of people don’t look for it.

Today, I think we are in Cozumel, which doesn’t hold much fascination for me. Having done the cave diving over on the mainland, we will likely kick around the idea of a shore excursion.

But none of us really needs anything.  And when you buy stuff on a cruise, then you get into Customs declaration.

A message there perhaps:  We live in a country which can keep an un-taxed fifth of rum, tequila, or cognac out of America. 

Yet we can’t keep 10% of the population of Mexico out.

It’s those kind of realizations that are driving me through the buffet line and then I’ll be hiding under the covers for a while longer…

Happy Labor Day, and if you’re a first responder with fire hoses, taser’s, or units of blood, thanks for not taking the day off.

Write when you break-even ,

George  george@ure.net

Comments

Coping: A Couple of Cruising Notes — 7 Comments

  1. About cruises: Never had even the tiniest desire to do one. I’d go so far as to say, just the opposite. The idea of rubbing elbows, literally, with a few thousand other people for an extended period of time? Yuck! A cruise ship is a captive audience for a tourist trap. I don’t do alcohol or casinos, I’m not the least into sunbathing, swimming in public toilets (pools), shuffleboard or, whatever nonsensical games the “fun” directors can dream up. (Reminds me of nursing home entertainment.) I do love to travel and see new things though. Walking, driving, and flying is for me. Flying ain’t so fun any more either. At any rate thanks for reminding me. I thank you, but my wife hates you…Ha!

  2. Lets see.. executive order in chief….. amazing how people forget so soon..

    “George W. Bush Total 291 3 8.00 13198 – 13488
    I 173 43 4.00 13198 – 13370
    II 118 30 4.00 13371 – 13488

    Barack Obama Total 216 33 6.58 13489 – 13704
    I 147 37 4.00 13489 – 13635
    II 69 27 2.58 13636 – 13704 ”
    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/orders.php

    that is almost as funny at the president as golfer in chief..

    “Q: Is it true that George W. Bush took more vacation days than Barack Obama?
    A: Yes. Before his two-week trip to Martha’s Vineyard in August, Obama’s count was 125 full or partial days and Bush’s total at the same point in his presidency was 407.”

    http://www.factcheck.org/2014/08/presidential-vacations/

    I actually think he gets a raw deal when it comes down to historical facts.. Has he made mistakes oh most assuredly but then any human will especially when he is trying to do a job without an active congress..
    his whole battle is with a do nothing congress that by all rights should be totally voted out and the people really know that with an approval rating of 14% (” http://www.gallup.com/poll/1600/congress-public.aspx “) But unfortunately I think the vast majority will be voted back in.

  3. Thanks for the intellectual insight on how to board cruise ships and all the difficulties that we all should look forward to and try to figure out how to avoid and right now I’m trying to figure out how because , I was going to put an extended greenhouse from the porch, I figured the heat from the greenhouse and porch will warm the inside of my front of the house in the winter thereby reducing my fuel bill and would store the heat and also I figured by putting a variety of fish tanks under the porch and out front of the porch that would store the solar energy but then I found out the porch needs a lot of work and then water tank outside the porch is on the outside and inside and over top would be plexiglass but preferably lexan over top of sections of the porch which would have fish in it also, I can’t make up my mind I think I’m going to do is just wait and see what happens that’s been my thing pretty much, wait and watch and when the time is right invest

  4. But George, one of the ‘perks’ for working odd hours is being able to ‘do things’ during your ‘off time’ that normally would require taking time off to do. Since government is generally stuck in the 9 to 5 (or 8:30 to 4:30, but you get my drift) mode – this is very handy . . . not to mention that when I did work regular, day-time hours the people I was forced to work with seemed awfully ‘dense’ and worried about convention.

    I guess I lost the ability to conform after decades of not working the day shift . . . Enjoy your vacation!

  5. The Mrs and I were considering a cruise in the next couple years after retirement, barring total crashes and the like, but after reading your adventures here I think I’ll opt for a longer stay at El Rancho De Chaos with maybe a little quick run to Dallas to see my brother at his motorcycle shop.