February 5, 2006

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Posted in travel at 11:17 am by jimazing

This was the theme Jeanie and I chose for our first cruise. We just returned yesterday and I can sum up my feelings by saying, “If you have never been on a cruise… try it.” This is Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas. It was great to just be able to wander around the ship and find out what was what. Eat when we wanted to without worrying about paying for it. Live music throughout the ship. Few rules and few decisions to make. We could just let go and not worry about what will happen next. The crew addressed all of our questions in plenty of time to get where we needed to be with what we needed to have.On Tuesday, for our first excursion, we took a trip in a glass bottom boat out to a live coral reef to see the fishies. Here we are out on the front of the boat. That bridge like thingy sticking out of the boat probably has a name, but I don’t know what it is. Standing out there, the wind was blowing in our face, the boat was bouncing in the waves and we were going pretty fast.

On Wednesday, we toured the ancient Mayan City called Tulum. This site is right on the Caribbean Sea and the water was gorgeous. We were a bit disappointed that we couldn’t walk in or climb the stairs of the buildings. They roped everything off to preserve it.

The view of the Caribbean from the cliff at Tulum took our breath away. The water was so clear and so green. Other places it was deep blue.

We walked down some stairs to the beach and waded in the water. I built a drip sandcastle. The sand was very different than what I’m used to. It was less gritty and kinda mushy. The predominant mineral in the area is limestone and I could feel the limestone in the sand.

On the way back to the ship, we shopped in Cozumel. The merchants there were really pushy. They would call out to us to come “spend our last money” in their shops. One of the funniest lines that we heard over and over was “almost free”. At least it would have been funny if they hadn’t meant it. Neither of us care if we ever return there.

Thursday’s adventure was a zipline through the jungle followed by tubing through a cave in Belize. Belize was formerly a British colony and won its independence in 1981, so the native language, surprisingly to us, is English. We rode in a tour bus about 35 miles from the city to the location of the Arial Trek. This trip was along their major East/West highway, which was not much wider than the street our house was on. I was fine with the bus passing cars… even the dump truck. When it started to pass another tour bus, I got scared. Fortunately, he gave up trying. The aerial trek was an absolute blast! They had towers in the trees as high as 40 feet above the ground with cables stretched between them. After we were strapped into harnesses, we walked up the trail to the first tower, which was on the side of a hill. The first run was pretty tame to get us used to the equipment. After that, we were flying high! This photo is Jeanie finishing the longest run. She was terrified and couldn’t wait for it to end. I was terrified and thrilled too, but I can hardly wait for the next opportunity to do it again.

The workers all wore shirts that said on the back, “When was the last time, you did something for the first time?” We both loved the motto so much we each bought a shirt and adopted this as the theme for our cruise. We did so many firsts on this trip. Even the cruise itself was a first.

After the aerial trek, we had a good lunch and hiked to the other side of a hill where we got setup for cave tubing. We took a short hike around to the other side of a hill and jumped into the cold river into our tubes. The water carried us into the cave, which was completely dark except for the lights we had strapped on our heads. At first, Jeanie and I got swept off the wrong way and went through a bit of a drama getting back on course. Our guide, Leroy, was a champ at saving us and straightening us out. I really enjoyed him. He has a great outlook on life. As we floated through the cave, he was singing “Don’t worry, Be Happy”

Back on the ship that night after dinner, the dining staff all danced through the dining room. This is me doing the Macarena with our waiter, Kirat and our dining companion, Rich. Rich and his wife, Theresa were assigned to our table each night and we enjoyed getting to know them. As veteran cruisers, they gave us lots of tips. Rich taught me to order everything you want when the waiter comes. He said, “They only take your order once, so order everything you want at that time. Two or three appetizers and even two meals. Try it all.” I took his advice and had some excellent food. The ship also had a buffet, but I didn’t like the atmosphere as much.It was too much like being at the feeding trough.

Yet another first for Jim was climbing the wall. At the stern of the ship (that’s the back to those of you who have never been on a ship ) was the rock climbing wall. I had never done anything like that and wasn’t sure I could do it. The guy that went before me gave up about half way, so I was even less sure when I started. About half way, I saw why he gave up. The handholds got smaller and further apart. I stopped, tried a few different positions and finally got past it. At the top, I rang the bell and looked back for this final photo by Jeanie.

It is great to be home, but I wish the house would stop moving. I still feel the swaying just like I did on the ship. Mostly the ship felt still, but one night in particular, it was moving a lot and the wooden hangers in the closet were clacking together. It sounded like bones from a skeleton. I just lay in the bed and thought about getting rocked like a baby in the cradle, while the skeletons danced in the closet.

Would I do it again? I can hardly wait!


  1. So you will do it again, huh? Maybe Mark and I can come along then! I’m so happy you two had this time together. And that nothing “fell apart” during your abscence. Now, on to skydiving!!..are you still there?

    Lots of love,

  2. mjh said,

    Skydiving?! Let me know, Jim, when you sign up.

  3. JD said,

    Glad you had fun. It looks like you had a really good time!

  4. John said,


  5. Heather said,

    Looks very exciting and romantic!

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