Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Road Trip - Prairie Schooner

The great grasslands of the American midwest were often referred to in nautical terms, the grass extending from horizon to horizon resembling a vast, undulating ocean. The covered wagons themselves were called prairie schooners. For the past several days I've certainly felt like a seasick sailor on dry land. I thank you for all the assurances that in a few days time things will settle down and my world will cease to rock to and fro.

When our children were small money was tight. The Farmer and I both loved to travel but we were limited to spending our vacations visiting family in Tennessee. We saved for quite awhile to afford one trip to Disney World. But when I stood in the international section of Epcot I knew that someday I wanted to experience the real thing and not Disney's version.

The Farmer and I are perfectly suited as traveling companions. We seldom, if ever, have disagreements while traveling. He exhibits lots of nervous energy at the beginning of any day that includes planned activities. If we're doing something onshore during a cruise, he's chomping at the bit to get ashore which sometimes means we've got to fill time before the tour begins. But other than that we agree about what constitutes a successful trip.

What I like about cruises is the fact that in a week you can be exposed to many different locations, sometimes wildly diverse. It also gives you an idea of where you'd like to spend more time. There were several places in the Caribbean that were just not our cup of tea. I'd have been very upset if we'd booked a solid week in a spot that held no interest for us.

This time we cruised with the Norwegians on the Norwegian Star.

As you can see the ships are painted in large graphics. Very effective.


Here's the Farmer literally chomping at the bit to get going for the day.


These ships are floating cities with both permanent and temporary residents. The staff was young and friendly. I loved them. The majority were from the Philippines.


The ship was very clean and well maintained. It's apparent that they take pride in the vessel. When we docked in Mazatlan they lowered this small raft from a high deck near the bow. The maintenance crew proceeded to scrub the hull with a cleaning liquid and this long handled brush. As we watched the faint discolored areas were bright once again.


We'd booked a regular cabin with a porthole but shortly before the cruise date Norwegian contacted us and offered an upgrade for a small fee. We snapped at the chance and the Farmer was so in love with the balcony he's declared we'll never go back to to steerage!

We slept with the sliding door open in order to fall asleep with the sound of waves pushing outward and away from the ship. It was heaven.

Here's our balcony. Let's sit out there for awhile. Tomorrow we'll arrive at an interesting port.


Let's go to Cabo!!


Heidi said...

What a fun time you must have had!!! I like to go on boats that stay within swimming distance from the shore, so about 50 feet... LOL How far did you get from the coast of any country? farther than 50 ft I would supose!! I cant wait for more pictures!!! Glad you are home safe and sound my friend!

Lucy said...

I've never thought I would like a cruise but that balcony could change that thinking.

cityfarmer said...

Oh my...you soak up every minute, ya hear!!!!

give us a heads up when ya roll into town

Heather said...

I've never been on a cruise and I want to go!! I love that you and The Farmer are such good traveling companions. It makes travelling so much fun.

belladella said...

The site of the ocean from the balcony just makes my heart leap.

PatQ said...

I'm so glad you're back safe and sound. I've missed you.

Suzanne said...

Heidi - 50 feet??? Honey, I was out in the ocean so far you couldn't see land. And get this - - Captain Lars got on the P.A. system to alert us to the fact that we were over 5,000 feet of water. YIKES!!!! That made me very nervous because I like to see the botom.

Lucy - The balcony is terrific. We were on the side of the boat (sorry, I don't konw port from starboard) that face the sun most of the day. That meant we could sunbathe and relax on our balcony and not worry about fighting for the lounge chair on the pool deck. The ship also had an area above and forward of the pool deck that was designated a "Quiet Zone" - no kids or crazy drunken passengers. I thought it would be the perfect place to read and catch some rays. Unfortunately, it was so windy most of the cruise you couldn't sit up there.

City Farmer - I'm already back. I don't have a laptop that would allow me to liveblog, but someday......

Heather - You need to go. You can even take the kids. This cruise had over 600 kids on board and they were having a good time. There's an entire staff that keeps the kids entertained while the parents get some private time together. At one point the littlest kids were all dressed up as pirates, touring the ship. It was so cute.

Bella Della - You would love it. You and Bella Fella would have so much fun. In this economy some of the cruises are ridiculously cheap. You do need to watch out for hidden expenses and add-ons. They charged for soda and also added the tips into your final bill. I was not happy with that because it wasn't stated up front when we booked the cruise. The balcony was terrific.

Pat Q - I was thinking about all you guys and how much fun it would be to have a Blogger Cruise. They do have theme cruises, including a Geek Cruise with all kinds of brainiacs on board. I wonder.....hmmmm, do scientists party hard? It has yet to be proven.

Thanks everyone, for returning and being patient in my absence. You are truly loyal readers and I appreciate it.

Louise said...

I love cruises, too, largely for the reason you mentioned of getting sampling. I learned on a cruise that I would like to spend a few days in Jamaica, but not in Grand Cayman (unless I were diving).

On the last (second) cruise I went on, nearly a year ago,opposite us at the dock in New York was the Norwegian Gem. It had gems painted all over it like your stars were painted.

Can't wait to hear more!

Vee said...

Wonderful...a balcony...yes, heaven I'm sure. It's so good that you the Farmer's Wife and the Farmer are so well suited for each other. Looking forward to tomorrow's post.

Dejoni said...

Can't wait to see pictures! I love Cabo. One of my favorite places in the world.

Cindy L said...

Welcome back! Sounds like you had a great time, and what a good time to get away. Winter's been especially wicked here in the Midwest! My husband and I have taken several cruises and loved them all. It's so nice to be in a floating hotel and not have to pack and unpack for each new port. We like to think of a cruise as a sample platter, giving you a taste of new places you might like to revisit on your own someday. Looking forward to hearing more of your adventures.

grandma said...

Sounds like you had a lot of fun! My sisters and I are going on a similar cruise in the fall. We would love to know if there were any shore excursions that you loved!! (Or if there were any to avoid!)We are so excited to go!

Nancy M. said...

I love cruises! And you're right balconies are the best. I've never been to anywhere but the Caribbean, though. Great pictures.

MeadowLark said...

Lucky you.
Not the cruise, the fact that you travel well together. (We just got back from a week in Florida.)

We fight like cats and dogs, except this time when he actually gave me room to freak out about everything, and lo and behold, I no longer felt the need to.

Well, that and he bought me a GPS for Christmas that I thought was stupid. THEN. I think it's the most brilliant gift I've ever been given NOW.