February 20, 2015

Day Three and Day Four

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 8:46 pm by msweet42

This is being written on Day Four of our Caribbean Cruise on the Royal Caribbean ship Legend of the Seas, What happened to Day Three you ask. Funny thing about that.

Day Three was our second outbound Sea Day. Overall, a pretty good day. Seriously, it wasn’t snowing and it didn’t take fifteen minutes to get ready to go outside. It was, however, really windy and the sea a bit more choppy all of which contributed to a ride that was a bit more bumpy with more swaying that I would have asked for.

We did our time in the sun. The good thing about lying in the sun is you present less of a target for the wind. From mid-afternoon on I felt what, about two degrees off. Queazy might be a good word except it was more of a vertigo thing.

As the afternoon passed into early evening I was hoping this would subside so I could make dinner. That didn’t work out so well. Just before dinner I found myself umm… meditating on the throne. Educating my fanny, as Brother Tim used to say. and this didn’t feel like it was a one time thing.

But I really wanted to make dinner. More specifically, I did not want to miss dinner because of this particular set of symptoms. More about that in a bit.

So I gathered up my courage and worked my way into the dining room to table 42. Said hello to my table-mates. The missing couple finally arrived. Mim and Bob are their names. So we have Carol, Don from North Carolina, Deb and Dave from Michigan, Mim and Bob from Pennsylvania, I think, and Diane and I. For some reason, we ended up male, female alternating. Huh…

Anyway, I was sitting there sipping cold water hoping things would get better. The menu arrived. As I read each item, my stomach flipped. There were two appetizers I was found interesting when I read the menu earlier in the day. Now, I couldn’t even read them without feeling sick. Forget the entrees. If I can’t even read about them, how am I supposed to eat them?

I made my apologies and excused myself, all the time assuring everyone I most assuredly did not have that thing everyone fears the most on cruise ships. Though I did not say the word I think everyone knew I was talking about norovirus. The main symptoms of norovirus are dizziness, nausea, and diarrhea. But I was pretty sure that wasn’t what was going on. At least I really hoped not. I was looking forward to our excursion in Aruba and I didn’t want to be too sick for that.

A word or two about norovirus. In case you missed hearing about it, noro is a nasty thing. As I understand it, if you get it, it won’t kill you. But you wish it would. It’s an intestinal bug easily transmitted. Usually when there is one case of noro, there will soon be hundreds. You can pick it up from railings, elevator buttons, the tongs you use to pick up your food, even the food itself under the right (wrong) circumstances

Cruise ships with noro usually make the news. The infection rate usually runs between ten and twenty percent of the passengers. If there are two thousand, four thousand, six thousand guests, you can see that’s a lot of sick people.

The Centers For Disease Control tracks noro outbreaks on cruise ships. You can go online and look up your favourite ship and see when their last outbreak occurred. And believe me, every cruise ship has had it at one time or the other. When it happens, they turn the ship around and bring her home, then spend the next three days wiping and disinfecting every single surface on the ship.

Because the news outlets love a good barf story (500 people explosively ejecting material from both ends simultaneously! Film at 11!) people think this is a cruise ship thing. It isn’t. Anywhere you get a group of people, some of whom see fit not to wash their hands, you will eventually see noro. Schools and nursing homes are other hot spots. But since you don’t have the element of poor innocents TRAPPED ON BOARD at these sites, the news folks don’t cover those outbreaks.

That being said, the very last thing you want to even hint is that you might have is noro. Especially to any crew member. You’ll be locked in your cabin before you can even remember how to spell quarantine.

I didn’t have noro.

After a brief rest in my stateroom I ventured out to Park Cafe for pizza, brownies and cookies. I had to eat something and that was what they had.
Back to bed for a good night’s sleep.

Day Four found me good as new. Whatever it was passed in the night. We went to the Windjammer for breakfast and then went to get ready for Aruba.

We signed up for the Aruba Cruise and Beach excursion. When we got off the ship, a brightly painted old school bus took us across the port to a large catamaran. I think there were twelve or sixteen of us. However many there were of us, the cat carried us comfortably.

There was a bit of a speech from the captain to the effect that if anything fell off the boat or blew off, it was gone. No going back for stuff. When we got to the beach don’t touch anything living. Oh, and the cat had an open bar. Whoot!

I was introduced to an Aruba Ariba. Rum, vodka, and punch. Adult kool-aid. Yum.

Diane and I went forward to sit on the port side hull beside the netting between the hulls. The netting was just too attractive. After verifying it was okay, I flopped out on my back in the middle.

So I’m lying on my back looking at this achingly blue sky. I’m running across this insanely blue water. I’m in Aruba.

Over a year in the planning. Slogging through the snow to catch a flight to Florida. A relatively cold weekend in Florida. Two and a half days at sea. And here we are. This was the point of it all.

After a wonderful forty-five minute cruise, we arrived at Palm Beach. Diane and I set off in search of a couple of beach chairs. We finally found a couple but I looked around and worked out they belonged to a resort. Sorry Playa Linda. Didn’t mean to move your chairs.

We worked our way back to where all the chairs had blue Royal Caribbean towels on them and located two unoccupied ones.

Note to self. The sun is really, really hot in Aruba. It did my cold bones good to just lie there and soak it in. Actually, we soaked a bit more of it that we should. Diane’s back was very red this evening as was my nose. Small price to pay.

All good things must end and at the appointed time, we were back on the catamaran for the return voyage back to the dock. We boarded the ship to take a bit of a break and then headed back to the town to see if we could find some wifi.

Smart me, I asked one of the ship’s crew as we were heading into port and he told me about a Starbuck’s. We window-shopped as we went down the main street. We saw a sign for Hard Rock Cafe and thought maybe we could eat there. Nope. All they sold was clothing with the Hard Rock Aruba logo on it. The restaurant was some ten minutes away by foot.

Spotting a Pizza Hut, we decided to eat there. The menu prices were in Aruba Florins with $1 USD = 1.75 AWF. I received a couple of Aruba coins in my change. Interesting.

We finally made it to Starbuck’s. I’m pretty sure North Korea is the only country that doesn’t have Starbuck’s. I connected my trusty mini iPad and checked in on Facebook so folks would know we were still alive. Just for the heck of it I tried to place a FaceTime call to Sam. Surprisingly, she was home and answered. I think she was as surprised as we were. We had a great chat. She sent me a screen grab of the current weather in Ottawa and we played confuse-a-puppy with Alfie. Cool.

Waling back to the ship, we ran into Deb and Dave from dinner. Diane fell into talking with Deb and Dave and I compared notes about life, the universe, and nothing in particular. Dave had discovered rum while they were in port. Lots of it. He had achieved that really mellow state that rum can impart. Among other things, Dave told me his son had developed kidney cancer when he was seven. Surgery, chemo and radiation eventually cured him. Sadly, the son died when he was 35 of an unrelated medical issue that had also taken his mother, Dave’s first wife.

Back on board, Diane and I took a break for a while. I took a shower and then went up to Deck 9 to take pictures.

I made it to dinner with no issues. Everyone was happy to see me healthy. I had a crab cake appetizer and a Manhattan strip. Dessert was creme brûlée and cherries jubilee.

When we got back to the cabin, Rudy, our attendant, had set up the towel creature he’d previously made in a sitting position on the couch. The towel guy was wearing my backpack. Terminally cute.

Then it was time to retire to the pool deck to put this together.

Tomorrow is Bonaire. We don’t have anything scheduled there. We ran through the list of excursions again to see if anything looked attractive and still nothing. This is probably a good thing for our skin. We’ll probably get off the ship and bum around the port a bit. Rumour has it there isn’t much.

We shall see what we shall see.

By the way… Aruba is 14 miles from Venezuela. Who knew (besides everyone in Aruba or with a working knowledge of geography).


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