Tropical islands with palm trees have long been promoted as “hot” destinations, the ideal romantic getaways for honeymooners , and heaven’s stereotypes for other holidaymakers..
However, as I’m sitting now on my lounge chair at the cruise ship’s 16 years + Solarium a single sentence keep resonating in my head : ”Paradise on Earth “ .
Yes, I’m enjoying this Alaskan cruise in the inside passage more than last year’s in the Caribbean Sea for the below reasons:
-I live by the sea in a “ hot” country with palm trees : no drastic changes be it weather or scenery
– Every morning , whenever I open the curtains of our stateroom’s balcony, I’m greatly surprised by a totally new panorama, an absolutely different landscape…the crescendo of spectacular sceneries and magnificent fjords culminated today with the much anticipated glaciers.
-We are kept entertained with the multiple impromptu sightings, always on the watch for the ever elusive whales the playful dolphins and the occasional seals…and when totally focused on my book thus oblivious to the enthusiastic shouts of excitement spurred by an interesting spotting, my attention was put back on track where it should’ve belonged by a sympathetic neighbour… thou shall not peel your eyes from the glass window !
Isn’t it “Paradise on Earth”?
Well, according to the Captain, it is such for a growing number of people:
⁃ there are many old timers …for some, it’s a yearly ritual. The question that we are constantly asked : is it your first time?
⁃ there are 40 honeymooners
⁃ there are 239 celebrations- 106 anniversaries and 133 birthdays
The whale watching cruise ? Ours could be aptly named “tail watching “ cruise. All the hype and the buildup proved to be mostly for a glimpse of the back and the tail of the gigantic mammal…and of course the water jet.. I assume the passengers’ excitement was ignited by the feeling that the enormous mammal is somewhere swimming around us. ..
It wasn’t like any previous animal watching excursion I’ve been on. The last one, 2 days ago, was a bear safari in Whistler, BC , and we were quite lucky to spot one. The ranger saw him, did a U-turn and the considerate Teddy hadn’t budged, graciously waiting for us.
We looked at him, through the glass of the Land Cruiser, and he returned the favor and then disappeared into the woods. We saw all his body parts and took a photo.
The same with the other safaris in South Africa and Sri Lanka…In the latter the leopard eluded us during the two excursions, however we didn’t have high expectations from the beginning , it is all a matter of luck…either all of the anatomy or nothing…it’s not like this “tail only” formula !
However we “hit “ it big during the Alaska cruise. It was unplanned, the view unobstructed, and was greatly enjoyed.
During our “US, Caribbean cruise & Mexico” trip, every time I checked my Facebook account, I was taken back to our last US trip due to the frequent “on that day” notifications. Here we are again, a year later, pulled to the other side of the world as if by a magnet.
However, nothing is the same… different destinations to discover and no Facebook posts: last year some of my friends requested to follow my trip on Facebook so I was keen to oblige and actually relished my established routine.. I usually wake up early, much earlier than the hubby, so I’d have my coffee, check my WhatsApp and Facebook messages and dutifully send the mandatory replies. It was a slow and peaceful way to start the day…My friends felt they were with us and were happy about it, the hubby felt my friends were with us and he wasn’t happy about it !! He jokingly complained “throughout the whole trip I’ve been feeling that it was me, you and your friends”.
Did I miss this whole routine? Not really…I thought I’d miss the excitement felt with each post and comments but strangely though I’m not.. however I’ll definitely miss having Facebook chronicled memories of our latest adventure!!!
Part of being grandparents is that you can’t pick the dates of your holidays anymore: you have to choose them according to your children’s holidays as there might be some babysitting involved. Once you receive the seal of approval you can go ahead and proceed with your bookings.
We followed the protocol and once we had the green light, we got the US flight tickets early on in order to secure our “dates” with the kids and to prevent any change of mind from their part. However, due to some circumstances WE had a change of mind and decided early in March to reschedule our trip and plan it for September instead of May.
However a laid back attitude from the hubby’s part led to the following situation: with only three days before we were due to start our journey as per our initial plan, he called me with the News :
”Either we stick to the original dates or we go for one week only in September!”
For me it’s a no-brainer…My inner Speedy Gonzales showed up and showed off her skills apologized for all the RSVPed invitations and managed a marathon suitcase packing while the male version, Speedy Sam, matched the rhythm and in the blink of an eye booked us the internal flights, the hotels and a cruise in the Caribbean.
So throughout this journey, we had a daily ritual: a recurrent topic of conversation..We were stuck in a state of disbelief and happy about the way everything worked out despite our initial reluctance : if Samih thought of changing the dates earlier, if he succeeded when he tried it later, if he didn’t secure our accommodation of choice on the cruise ship (the last one available),we wouldn’t have been there !!