April 13, 17:15
I'm at sea.
Wow, it feels weird to write that. If I look astern I can still see Florida, of course, but we're at sea. We left Port Canaveral about an hour ago during the lifeboat drill. I'm on board Carnival Sensation. willowisp and I decided to take a cruise for our tenth anniversary. Our cabin is spacious and slightly silly, Disney's idea of a modern-ish luxury hotel room squeezed down to half size. My body isn't yet used to the acceleration and so I feel faintly dizzy. I suspect that sitting perpendicular to the ship's motion isn't helping very much.
There. I'm facing aft now and I feel much better. My middle ear is still reporting strange things but not /as/ strange. I'm sure I'll be well accustomed to it by morning.
We're on a four-day cruise to the Bahamas. Tomorrow we stop in Nassau. Tuesday we're in Freeport. Wednesday we're at sea and then Thursday morning we arrive back in Florida. We're spending that day at Kennedy Space Center getting another stamp on our nerd badges, then back to Orlando that evening for a Friday morning flight home.
My day today has been a fairly standard travel experience. Drive to the port (just like driving to the airport), check my luggage, go through security (I even got to keep my shoes on), have my tickets checked and re-checked, and finally be admitted to the ship and a zoo of people all coming on board at once.
I've never been on a cruise before unless you count the dinner reception for a conference in Seattle five years ago. I'm allowing myself to be surprised by every little thing. The idea of free 24-hour room service, for example -- my brain refuses to register that. At the same time the analytic part of my brain is looking at the whole environment as a mediated experience. I see where Carnival have built in ways to make a lot more money from the passengers. I see how there are subtle and not-so-subtle forms of pressure to get people to make impulse buys or to take advantage of a "fantastic deal". I don't especially blame them. They're not being deceptive about it, just targeting an audience that I'm not really part of. A lot of the things on board -- the casino, for example, nor late-night dancing at the bars -- don't appeal to me but that's all right. I have four days and more than enough relaxing planned.
Dinner is in twenty minutes. I'll write some more later this evening.
Dinner was fairly good. The food was on a level I would expect from a medium-good restaurant, although the key lime pie I had for dessert was disappointing. I'm beginning to see how people could go absolutely nuts and gain 4-8 pounds on a trip like this. I could order late-night pizza. I could go for ice cream. I could go for a full meal and it wouldn't cost me a dime beyond what we've already paid for the cruise. I owe myself ice cream but I don't really want it tonight.
I got back to my cabin just in time for sunset. It was very beautiful -- the paltry few pictures I got of it don't even remotely do it justice.
Tomorrow morning I'm supposed to be on the gangway at 8 ready to go swimming. We've got an appointment with some dolphins. I hope it's as much fun as it sounds like. I hope I sleep better tonight.