Sunday, February 25, 2018

Part II: Out to Sea - December 15th and Costa Maya, Mexico December 16th

Day at Sea December 15th

The best part of cruising is the sleep. I know, ya'll are thinking it is traveling and sight seeing, however as an insomniac, good sleep is worth its weight in gold. I actually slept in until 9:30 am!! The motion of the ship was gentle and the seas calm, so I felt absolutely no seasickness. Professor and I discussed whether we wanted a cabin with a balcony, stateroom, or just an inside cabin. I voted for an inside cabin because they are pitch black when the lights are out. I also felt for the $200 difference a day, the balcony was not really a worthwhile investment. With the quality of sleep I was getting, I was glad we chose the inside cabin. 

The cabin was cozy and comfortable. 

After getting up and moving, we headed up to get breakfast. One thing that is not lacking on a cruise is food. Oh my, the selection was incredible. I went with poached eggs and Canadian bacon on an English muffin, bacon, a small waffle, and black coffee. 

This first day in the Gulf of Mexico was "at sea" meaning we would not hit a port until the following day. Professor headed off to the Casino and I went to find the library as I am not a gambler. I brought along my laptop with the plan to spend a good deal of time writing, but when I got to the library I discovered I needed a 220 plug converter as all the plugs in the library all required one. Of course I did not bring one. In fact, I couldn't even buy one on the ship. I was disappointed, but used my laptop until it would run low, would take it to the cabin to charge, and go find something else to do. That was how I discovered I am a lousy shuffleboard player. 

The ship  offered plenty of entertainment. That evening we went to the Bliss Ultra Lounge which offered Karaoke. Professor is an accomplished classical singer, so he belted out his best tunes and ended with The Impossible Dream. It was a fun evening and there were some folks who really sang very well. This gal, however, is not one of them. Watching and listening was enough for me. 

We called it a night around midnight and headed back to our tiny cabin. My first night of great sleep was an anomaly. I couldn't sleep well, so I got up quietly, grabbed my laptop, and headed to O'Sheehan's Pub, which was open 24 hours. I parked myself in a booth with view of the ocean (which I really couldn't see because it was dark) and set to writing. Sometime during the night the winds had picked up and I could feel a gentle sway in the ship. 

As the sun rose in the east, which just happened to be on the side of the ship I was sitting on, I could see fat rain clouds in the sky. The affect of the suns rays passing through the clouds was just gorgeous. I headed back to the cabin to try to get some rest until it was time to head into port at Costa Maya. 

December 16th Costa Maya, Mexico

Costa Maya is a typical tourist port. The assorted shops offered all the typical goods such as sugar skulls, Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) figurines, knock off purses, and over-priced jewelry. I browsed through the shops while Professor tried to find an internet connection to check his email. I luckily had free international on my cell phone, so I was up to date at each port. I found him camped out at a Starbucks with 25 - 30 other folks doing the same. 

We chose not to participate in an excursion at Costa Maya. The only real excursion of interest to us were the Mayan ruins. The excursion would have taken the entire day. I really did not want to be limited to one activity as I would prefer to people watch and enjoy the beautiful climate. It was actually pretty warm this day and being out in the sun for hours at a shot was not on my list of fun activities. 

A tender on its way to port.
After browsing the shops we headed back to the ship and ate a nice leisurely lunch while enjoying the views. Because so many people were still in the port, we found the ship to be pleasantly under populated. We finally pulled out of port around 4pm towards our next destination, Grand Cayman. 

Costa Maya, Mexico as seen from the ship.

My Tiny Life on the High Seas - Part 1

December presented me with an unprecedented opportunity - a 9 day Western Caribbean Cruise!!

Let me fill you in since it has been a bit since I have updated the blog. I started dating a very nice man in the autumn of 2017. Of course the topic of Tiny House Homestead came up which inevitably led to the topic of my bucket list. Intrigued, my boyfriend who I shall call Professor to keep his identity private, asked what else was on my bucket list. Of course I rattled off a list a mile long, but on that list was travel to other countries which would require me to use a Passport, taking a cruise, and visiting New Orleans.

Professor enjoys travel and travels frequently. He has traveled to many of the places I wished to travel and has yet to travel to some of the other places I wish to visit. Jumping into action, Professor booked us a cruise to the Western Caribbean which left from the Port of New Orleans. I was speechless. What an opportunity!

December 12th we flew to New Orleans and stayed the night in a LaQuinta Hotel close to the airport in Kenner, LA. It was a nice enough hotel, but it could have been a dive and we wouldn't have cared because we were so tired from traveling.  Early the next morning we dodged the traffic and ran across the road to a small restaurant for breakfast. Fanny's was fantastic! The food was delicious and the waitress was delightful. If you get a chance, stop in for breakfast, you won't be disappointed.

With our bellies full, we trotted back across the street to catch a shuttle to the Port of New Orleans. We shared the shuttle with another couple who were taking the same cruise. They were from Canada and cruising was their retirement lifestyle. That is certainly something to aspire to!

We were scheduled for a 2 - 2:30 pm embarkation, so we got drinks and sat outside people watching and observing all the luggage being loaded into the ship. Our cruise was with Norwegian Cruise Lines and our ship was the Pearl. Being next to such a behemoth of a ship really is incredible. I know there are bigger ships out there, but the experience was something else. I had to use panorama settings on my camera just to try to get the ship in one picture!

Finally it was our time to go through customs and I pulled my passport out with pride. I was worried when I sent for my passport in November that I may not have had enough time for it to be processed before the cruise. I was elated when I found it in my mailbox just two weeks later. Now I was was finally able to cross off getting a passport AND using my passport off my bucket list.

We boarded the ship and found our cabin. After living so long in a tiny house, the small cabin did not seem small at all. The cabinetry and storage was clearly well thought out. After dropping off our carry on items, we headed down to our safety drill.

Breaking in my unlimited drink pass, I stopped at a bar and ordered a Bloody Mary to enjoy as we pulled out of port. Professor and I headed off to the deck which would allow us to watch the ship cast off, however cast off was delayed and we got bored. Heading inside we found a buffet and seating located on the back of the ship. We watched the sunset as we pulled out of the Port of New Orleans and traveled down the mighty Mississippi River.

Follow along on part 2

Monday, February 19, 2018

Tiny House Homestead Episode #37

Life continues to be A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!

Check out this episode!