Before you can cruise you gotta get there

My dear wife Karen and I booked this vacation 15 months ago. That’s when our fearless vacation-on-the-seas leaders Brenda-and-JoAnn told the group that they’d like us all to go on the big ship out of Port Canaveral to Coco Kay, St. Thomas and St. Martin, and my dear wife Karen surprised me very pleasantly by signing us up.

For a balcony room.

Back then, I was still freelancing and looking for a full-time job. Soon after I was hired by Lowe’s, working my tail off first as a cashier and then in the paint department. Then I landed the job in communications in May. I told them I had this vacation booked in September. It was the week of the annual book sale, but they understood and bent the rules to let me have the time off. Reluctantly. They could have used my do-anything attitude, I’d guess. So off we flew, my carrying a bit of work guilt.

Check out that shadow.

Check out that shadow.

Karen caught the cool shadow of our plane on the early morning Saturday flight from Hancock International to Orlando. I’m glad she had the window seat. I never would have seen that our jet was casting its own image down there on the ground.

How'd they know?

How’d they know?

Somehow the Jet Blue folks knew that we’d gone to see Jersey Boys at the Landmark Theatre the night before. Hey, I liked the prescient TV service.

Hover over a gallery photo for a description. Click on an image for an enlarged slide show.

I ordered my snacks and a bottle of water in English. I could have said uno agua, por favor, but didn’t want to show off. So I flipped my napkin over.

Jo and Brenda had done their usual great job setting up ground transportation for the two dozen or so of us to be whisked from the airport to our hotel.

One night stay.

One night stay.

We pulled up a table at poolside with a handful of friends for drinks and lunch. Ah, vacation. Then we walked around the boulevard, a mile or so from the big ship, ate dinner at Burger King, bought T-shirts at a really big souvenir joint, conked out for our one night there …

Ground control to Major Tom.

Ground control to Major Tom.

… And met a spaceman in the lobby before grabbing the shuttle to the ship.

No, but the NASA mannequin gave me a startle the first time I saw it.

Ready for a big time.

Ready for a big time.

No, we met many more people ready to set sail. Would we meet these folks on the big boat?

You’ll see in the weeks to come. Yes, weeks. I will take you through this trip in words and pictures in digestible parts.

Tomorrow, you’ll get to see Freedom of the Seas.

What shadows have you seen from your jet window? Have you ever met an astronaut? Which photo is your favorite, and why?

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8 thoughts on “Before you can cruise you gotta get there

  1. The shadow of the plane photo is amazing but so are the oh ship, it’s cruise day shirts! coolest shadow or scariest I’ve ever seen but not photographed was created by 100s or 1000s of bees that flew over head. They blocked the sun and created quite the sound with their combined buzzing! I thought it was the last days haha! ❤
    Diana xo

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  2. i love that shadow picture – good eye, karen! you are so lucky to have karen as your cruise/vacation director and nice of the library to give you the time off. I think you’ll be an even better worker because of a bit of time away. you are right, half of the vacation is just getting there. enjoy and ahoy!

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  3. Wow, such a great trip, Mark and Karen! Enjoy and relax. This was meant to be! 🙂
    I think any break from routine is fun but a trip away, as far as you are going, is an amazing opportunity!

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  4. Cool pix. We live almost close enough to toss rocks at NASA Mission Control…but they’d get upset about that. Has been home to astronauts and their families since the beginning (so we really should have gotten one of the shuttles as our guys flew them….)
    St Thomas -St Martin are so pretty! Glad you managedt o get off ( now to read on to see how the seas are)

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