Cruising for a Bruising!


Some people are just made to find laughter no matter where they go. I suppose I am one of those folks as I boarded the Norwegian Epic a little over a week ago, that is after standing in line almost 2 hours till I was finally on the ship. Luckily in line my husband and I met this younger adorable couple who just made things light and humorous so we could pass the time as if this was the best part of the vacation, barely moving forward for two hours.

Things progressed well, once we boarded, wandering around aimlessly as very little personnel were visible to anyone so we all were at a loss as to where to go, how to get there and what there was to see. Everyone was asking each other as if someone actually knew on a newer revamped ship.  Seemed like everyone we ran into spoke a different language, many no English which made it interesting, and counter-productive!  So we settled where most folks do, the hottest place on a cruise ship, no, not the pool, the sundeck but the bar!

During the course of our trip, we met the most diverse group of people, one of the neatest things of cruising. Personal highlight of mine was meeting a woman traveling single at a
So thrilled to even see recognition
to breast cancer in Nassau!
show the first night. It turns out she was a breast cancer survivor who has finished treatment one month prior, having had the same type of pathology report as me. She was celebrating her end of treatment by herself as none of her friends could go. As a hospice nurse, she truly understood how lucky she was and was a beacon of light and hope.  We shared stories, hugs and blessings.

As the days past, my husband was quick to point out several women on the ship that had obviously been in a hurry to buy swimsuits and neglected to buy the correct size or had borrowed their teen-age daughters. He did this more as the cruise winded down as my eating was causing my waist line to feel as if it was doubling in size. This was to remind me some ladies certainly were having trouble keeping their bottoms up. Or as one passenger said to me on an upper deck, I have seen more butt cracks on this ship than in my entire live!  I never knew there were so many female plumbers these days.

On one of our stops, I found myself admiring one of the vendor’s wood working. He was
This merchant on Tortola hand-makes all her items.
After having had a baby 2 wks prior, back to work. 
quite persistent in feeling I needed one of his talented pieces and that they would fit perfectly in my home decor. I assured they would most certainly not. He was quite the
charmer and I was extremely polite and courteous looking at the pieces he was placing in my hands. When I told him about 10 times, no thank you, he then began to berate me, loudly in front of several people. At first I found it mildly annoying. My husband had casually wandered away a booth or two. He then proceeded to get even louder attracting more attention. Now my husband was listening and looking over as were several others. He then was saying “Geez lady, I was even very nice to you, spent time with you, paid you compliments and you can’t even give me one dollar.”  My husband walks over to me and says “Wow, he is really angry at you.” I look at him and say “Oh you think so” by this point, quite angry myself. Needless to say, I booked out of that area to the sound of him practically yelling at me at this point. What an odd way to get someone to purchase items!

We loved that this ship has free time dining meaning you can eat anytime you want. For about two hours there were wonderful two food lines on the top deck. The food options were scrumptious and everything tasted great. However, several of the passengers made these lines feel similar to Black Friday!  It began to feel as if I was back on the basketball court playing defense, elbows up, swing them to the side and cut right and left not letting anyone in to the basket, in this case, the food trays in front of me. This may sound funny but it was fishy, e.g. one night an obnoxious lady slipped in and grabbed all the luscious shrimp on the platter right in front of me. I wanted to take the tongs and pinch her but my husband said that would be an automatic foul!

Why so many cruise ships have trivia games is beyond me. I think it is filler time that is cheap. They use their cruise directors to run these games. On this ship, there was one from China. The hardest part of the game was seriously understanding what he said. One we sat through, a preacher, of all people, felt God sent him a message to stand up and be the mouthpiece to read the answers as no one had the foggiest of what the young man was saying. The second go round, we happened to meander by when answers were given and got a bad case of the giggles watching several strain to make sense of answers that made no sense.

This was the only cruise we have been on where the free entertainment on the ship you had to run to your room and pre-book or you could not see the shows. If it filled up early, oh well,
Cirque Dreams & Dinner which you
pay extra for & have to book early!
no show for you! Many missed shows due to them reaching capacity. We tried on the second day of a 7 day cruise and were apparently much too late for several!  I have no idea how all the others got booked so quickly. I suppose maybe they knew the routine better than first times on the epic experience of being on the Epic.

What is the deal with Germany? When we went on our last cruise, we booked a private excursion not associated with the ship.  Off we go to snorkel for an entire afternoon, so excited.  Not too long on the boat, we discovered that we were the only tourists on the boat that spoke one word of English. All others on the boat spoke solely German. The crew spoke English and we, and the passengers were lousy at charades so it made for an interesting 3 hours!

Fast forward to this trip, most of our excursions were ones that we booked with the cruise-line with the exception of one. This one event was an afternoon tour with several stops with a talkative tour guide who asked many questions requiring avid listeners. There was only one problem, we were once again, as we quickly discovered, the only ones who spoke English. And what are the odds everyone spoke German in this entire group. Not good but yes, it happened again!  The only thing that seemed to be understood was the word, boat, stick shift and good bye!  I suppose, before we cruise again our friend Detlef must teach us a few German words because the next day, we landed up on the forward part of a glass bottom boat with another couple who only spoke German! She wanted desperately to communicate with me using her hands as in charades like I did the day before but I quickly grew weary of the game. 

I must say one of the highlights of my cruise experience will forever be etched on my brain
or rather my knees. Many times my husband has mentioned the beauty and majesty of the Baths at Virgin Gordas on British Virgin Islands. This is a beach area that has huge house-
B4 my fall
from 'grace'
sized granite 
boulders with water housed between them you can wade through and climb among the rocks. You walk through a hike to get to this area and then proceed on a 15 minute hike through forest like area and many rock formations where there are crevices and cave like formations to literally climb through, on top of and water to wade though. It can be rather treacherous in spots.

 I did fine until the very end. I bumped my head in a closed area and then my sandal, which had no tread on it slid out from underneath me. As luck would have it, the area I was sliding was a rock that dropped practically straight down that was quite rocky. As my face went down first I had no way to grip and pull myself back up. I felt my chin scratch  slightly  on the rock, my right hand smarting and my legs sliding forward and I  knew I was done for. Screaming I yelled grab my leg, hoping my husband was close behind. He grabbed it but yelled back I can’t hold you. I wasn’t sure if that meant my hero was going down with me or if I was in for a Dateline special!

 Then another hand on the other leg. Relief! Nope, that person said, I can’t pull her up
Actual image of part of the hike,
down on your knees tall folks!
without her hand. As my hands are sliding forward, this man yells give me your hand. Now, the real dilemma, as I look face down, with only my hands in front of me, I am supposed to put my hand behind me with no way of seeing if someone can actually reach far enough over this rock I am sliding down and grab it. Not even enough time to pray, he screams put your hand back now and I do. He got it and pulls and I am up to safety! Immediately someone from the front side runs up and asks if I am okay. At this point, I am looking at the guy like are you freaking kidding me? Hell no, my legs are killing me, my shoulders feel out of the socket, and I just about died and you want an answer now? Can you give me a few minutes to recover dude? 

The rest is history. It was beautiful there, the man was my angel along with my always hero, my husband. And once back in town, my sandals were pitched for a pair with tread!  Do visit this place, it is so worth it!  But don’t cruise down the rocks; it ain’t a fun way to see your life flash before your eyes!