Monday, November 10, 2008

I didn't have land sickness yesterday, so why today? Cruise Part I

7 Days and 5 Pounds Lighter Ago We left the day after our Halloween Party with only 3 hrs sleep.

Alessandra and I took the bus from Orlando Airport to Port Canaveral, home of the Royal Caribbean ship Mariner of the Sea henceforth referred to as BFS (Big Fucking Ship). There are lots of specs on line for BFS, but just know that it's 1000+ feet long and over 14 stories tall, contains an ice rink (and attendant Zamboini), water purifiers/desalinators, and all sorts of stuff (including a Scrabble game with an extra X and a few more B's than the standard set) for your amusement, and was the largest ship in port.

Driving up to it was like the camera doing a "glory" shot of the Enterprise in any of the Star Trek movies. You look at it, and it's huge! How can this thing even float? Oh yeah, Buoyancy. Still though...

Of course your basic entry level cabin is tiny, but in this instance it's cozy and comfortable. A Queen Size bed, a little standing room and a bathroom. It was fine for your needs. The best thing is, since it was an inside cabin, it had no windows, therefore near total darkness!

I won't really describe the interior because that too can be found here.

The ride was very bumpy because we were ahead of Hurricane Paloma, then we circled around. We had 3 or so days of 10' waves. After swallowing the free sea sickness pills. I enjoyed the up and down, side to side because it felt like a thrill ride. Ale and I tried to do a Boot Camp in the fitness center, so it was very weird to do pushups where you are lighter than your weight because you are falling off the wave, then heavier because you are being pushed up. We were not able to get another work out in because the only time we could get it in was between Mid-Afternoon Snack and Nap Time.

Hogs on the High Seas

We shared the cruise with 1600+ members of the Harley Owners Group (HOGs) and their bi-annual Hogs on the High Seas Rally. At first Ale and I were like, "Oh shit." but that's what happens when you have broad generalization. Life usually sticks it in your face...so there you go. While their bodies occupied most of the ship, their presence was a generally light footprint. All their wild parties were held off-shore at our destinations. We stopped by one at Margaritaville in Jamaica, and it was a full-on rowdy bacchanalia. For a very brief moment, very brief, I wished I still drank so I could get wild. Then it went away. I saw a woman we met a breakfast one morning, on the ground with her legs back behind her shoulders showing a street contortionist how it's done. Coming back to the ship, it was the first time I'd every seen a group of people fall uphill before. It was quite amusing. If there were any drunken orgies going on in the cabins, I sure didn't hear anything. The walls are well soundproofed.

Harley people sure do love their Harleywear. At every port, they rushed to the local Harley outlet to pick up more gear. Like Deadheads, it's a symbol that you are a member of the tribe. Brother Outlaws. I wondered how easy it would be (not for me, but for someone more smooth) to infiltrate the Hogs without ever owning a motorcycle. I saw a guy who appeared to be a total Hipster Nerd (with a Hot Rod Toaster Tattoo which represents his Scion XP) there with a wrist band. So I could physically fit in...How would I look in a leather Slash Top Hat?

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On "Formal Night" all the Hogs were wearing their finest leather finery. Most of them did bring additional costumes and 70's night and Pirate Night found the Promenade crawling with elaborately costumed characters.

I was hoping for some amusing Hog anecdotes, but I didn't go to their parties, so I only have a few. Most of the Hogs thought I was one due to my baldness and beard. Like an anthropologist I noticed that the Hog men tend NOT to have the mullets I first believed, but were mostly a bald mustached/beard culture. Most of the men we met had facial hair of some sort.

The Hogs had raised enough money prior to the trip to provide onboardKidney Dialysis for 12 patients. During the cruise, through auctions and raffles they raised over $100,000!. I snuck (aka walked) into one of the nightly raffle drawings and saw a woman donate $1000 of casino winnings on the spot. How cool is that?

More to come...

Bikers are the most generous people I have ever come across. I was waiting tables when a group of 45 bikers pulled in. They were in the middle of a Poker Run, benefiting our local hospital. They were all loud and boisterous but well mannered and left a 40% tip!

So how did you get assaulted by coral?
Snorkeling upside down to take a photo of Alessandra. Details are in part II which is nearly complete.
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