On the Cruise to Spain! It Ain’t no Pain!

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We awoke to rain.  We have had lovely weather the entire time, until today.  I took it as an omen that Lisbon didn’t want to see us leave.  I was ready to chuck the cruise, but George pointed out we had spent a fair amount of money to go on the sucker, and I really do love cruising.

Something made me double check the port dock location for our ship.  Always go with your instincts.  There are three cruise ports in Lisbon, and we didn’t want to go to the wrong one.  Our tickets said one port, but when I checked the Port of Lisboa’s site, it gave the ship location at another one.  Yikes!  We had planned on taking the Metro to the port, as there was a stop right across the street.  This new location was not close to a stop.

We broke my ban on taking taxis, and grabbed one outside our hotel.  We had to get the one taxi driver in Lisbon who did not know a word of English.  And my Portuguese is so fluent….  The guy was old enough to be my father (remember, I just got Medicare!) and could barely pick up our luggage to put it in the trunk.  I kept offering to help, but he waved me away and slammed the bags into the fender repeatedly while trying to get it high enough to go into the trunk.  It would make a good Samsonite commercial.  These bags can play Whack a Mole with a taxi and still not fall apart!

Our destination was complicated.   We did not know the exact location of our ship.  How to discuss this with our driver was a major problem.  Was it the original dock or the one listed by the Port of Lisboa?  Fortunately, we had to pass the new port on our way to the original port, so I pointed to the farthest port on the map and hoped we could see the ship if it had moved.  As George pointed out, a ship that holds 2,500 people is pretty easy to spot.

And he was right.  It was at the new location.  We saw it in the distance, tapped the driver and pointed.  It was still a long ways away (the ship is huge), but he slammed on the brakes in the middle of the road and tried to make us get out.  With lots of pantomime, we told him to drive on further.  He nodded, but every time we would nod back and smile, he would slam on the brakes again.  This was a busy four lane road and cars were screeching and honking their horns.  We never did make it close to the ship, but even “I Don’t Walk if I Don’t Have to George” was happy to get out and hike.  In the pouring rain, dragging our luggage through water on the way.  It was the safest option.  And we made it!

Celebrity has a new check-in system.  The old one involved standing in lines forever, getting checked in, pictures taken, bank accounts for the ship set up.  It took about two hours from start to finish.  With the new system, I did it all from home.  Pictures, copies of the passports, set up accounts.  We were to simply breeze in, confirm identity, pick up our ship identification cards and jump on the ship.  Presto Bango!  Here’s a picture of the new system:

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The person closest in the photo is the top of George’s head, wrinkled in consternation and wondering if he would ever see a chair again.

We didn’t have to take photos or any of the old stuff.  Instead, as they checked us in and hit the print button for our identity card, they had to physically run to another building and back to pick it up.  For each person.  And they didn’t have runners to help them.  Each agent had to jog to get our cards.  Can you imagine how many miles they ran that day?  Now that is efficiency!

I got a great deal on the cruise (if you don’t add up all the costs), which included all of the bonus perks offered, plus we are in Snootville with the Aqua Class.  Champagne and canapés awaited us in our room, which is conveniently located next to the private Aqua Class lounge with a 180 degree view from the bow of the ship (only shared with 500 other financially indebted travelers).  The spa facilities are next to our room, with saunas, massages, resting beds with a sea view called the Persian Garden. We also have our own private dining room and biggest perk of all?  We have footstools for our lounge chairs on the room veranda.  Our tootsies are in comfort while the peons have to keep their feet on the ground at all times.

Okay, enough bragging.  Let me put my canapé down and continue…

Although I love Lisbon, the luxury before my eyes quickly dried my tears.  We rested for a bit and then headed to the life boat drill at our muster station.  Oh, did I mention that due to our newly elevated status in life, our muster station is in the cushioned chairs of the theatre, and we are the first to be boarded on the life boats (in the event of a real not-so-funny emergency).  I feel like John Jacob Astor on the Titanic.  Oh wait.  Not a good example.

Our restaurant, Blu, is supposed to be healthier – you know we are the people who go to the spa.  I actually did have an amazing dinner of roasted vegetables with fresh strawberry sorbet for dessert.  It felt really good to have something healthy for dinner.   I just might get myself back on track!  For me, I love cruise food because of the many different healthy choices.  Nobody is forcing me to lie atop a buffet table and stuff six pizzas, two prime ribs and four pieces of cake down my gullet.  It’s an opportunity to eat grand food and consistently make healthy choices.  I’m stoked!

Our first day cruising was at sea.  It was lovely to have a day to kick back and relax.  We headed to the top deck and parked our hineys at a cabana to read.  George was in heaven.  A reason not to move!

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George is enjoying reading his book.
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It doesn’t matter what size you are, this ship has a chair to fit you! I got out by sliding under the arm of the chair. Notice the REAL grass on the lawn. The sky is blue, the breeze gentle. This is living my friends!

George was exhausted from his time in the cabana, so he stayed in the cabin and I went to the show.  I love the nightly shows in the live theatre.  This production of Elysium was one of the best I have ever seen.  The talent of these young singers and dancers is astounding.  They received a standing ovation, and certainly deserved it.  Honestly, it was not the pre-paid liquor passes talking!

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The first stop is the Rock of Gibraltor.  We have been there before, and I’m anxious to see some of the sights we missed last time.  During the night, we sailed very close to Morocco on the African coast.  This is so tantilizing!  So close, yet we don’t stop there.  Morocco is on my bucket list, so one of these days…..

I woke up in the night and realized we were right off the coast of Morocco.  My phone dinged and said Welcome to T-Mobile in Morocco!  I did a screen shot of it as a remembrance.  My phone doesn’t take the best night photos, but we were close enough that I could make out the cranes that lift containers off of ships.  There was a large lighted sign on a hillside – but it was in Arabic and I don’t have a clue what it said!

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Author: Traveling Grandma

As an aging mother of six and grandma to seven, travel was always a dream. Diapers, work and an eccentric high-maintenance husband just seemed to keep those trips a distant desire. Eventually, however, the kids potty trained, lived through the teenage angst years and left the nest to start their own families. Work still gets in the way for my husband, but it does help pay for the trips! Can't do much about the eccentric, high-maintenance husband; after 36 years I have reconciled that he will never pick up his underwear. He's my partner for life, travel companion and can always be counted on to do something totally odd. It makes for a good story, and besides - without his major financial contribution, we would sitting at home year after year, watching yet another rerun of NCIS. Due to a major health scare, I recently retired - and love retirement! I have always LOVED to cook. My love of food, and birthing those babies, led to an 85 pound weight gain. After joining a weight loss program, I shed the weight, went to work for them and found a new career. For me, it was a dream job. How many people can say they loved their job? I got to work together with people and help them live a healthy lifestyle, and lose weight. And it changed the way I cook! Instead of coating foods with fat and/or sugar, I've learned to bring out the real flavor in foods and keep them healthy. It's a joy to travel the world and explore new foods. I'm always on the lookout for different foods and willing to try almost anything. George, my husband, is always aghast at my choices. He's looking for a McDonald's while I'm trying to find the best local eatery. Checking out grocery stores and food forums in different countries is endless fun. Bringing back cooking ingredients keeps the memories alive every time they are used in a recipe back home. Paprika from Budapest, Sumac from Turkey, dried squid from Japan....what a lucky person I am to experience it all. Life is interesting everywhere, and there is always something humorous to be found, even in my own backyard of Mt Hood, Oregon. I love to journal and people have been telling me for years to become a writer. As Medicare is now a prominent part of my life, I figured this was as good a time as any. If I don't do it now, I'll be writing stories about my neighbors in the nursing home. A big trip will probably be whacking along in my walker to the day room to watch the Travel Channel. I take heart that Colonel Sanders started his finger lickin' fortune late in life because he wasn't afraid to try something new. So here I go!

2 thoughts on “On the Cruise to Spain! It Ain’t no Pain!”

  1. Hi Kathy, You probably get tired of people saying how wonderful your blogs are, but they are wonderful! I look forward to reading them. Take good care and keep having fun for me. You are my excellent vicarious travel guide.

    Teresa☺

    Like

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