The Aluminum Asylum

The Aluminum Asylum
Our home on wheels

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Cruise Day One…Monday January 9, 2006
Boarding the MV Zenith

We arrived at the port right on time. We left the furkids at a wonderful vet’s boarding kennel. It is a state of the art facility. They even had a scale in the floor so all you had to do was put the dog or cat on it and it weighed them. Then each of the furkids had their picture taken. Quite a set up…and reasonable also. I must remember to write and thank the SKP couple who gave us Dr. McCoy’s name and phone number.

We had absolutely no problems checking in, the staff working the entry station was wonderful. We were taken to our cabin and we started to settle in. However, our luggage had not yet been delivered so we decided to wander around the ship and get our bearings. The Zenith, one of the Celebrity ships was commissioned I believe in 1992. It is much smaller than the Diamond Princess we sailed on last summer to Alaska. I was a bit surprised to see that this ship had a well worn look to it. Not that it was dirty or anything, just well used and showing its age. We went up to the 11th deck and checked out the buffet. I was impressed that the wait staff worked the buffet stations and put the selection on the diner’s plate. I think this is a much much better way to control food…I remember thinking how much food people wasted on the Diamond Princess where folks were allowed to fill their own plate. I am not saying that the Zenith passengers were not as thoughtless, but at least the portions were somewhat normal compared to the heaps of stuff people wasted on the Diamond Princess.

After exploring for a while, we sat around the pool. I had a drink; Paul and Gene were good and passed on one…at least at this point. We went back to the room and unpacked. We then dressed for dinner. Unlike the Princess where we could eat at the numerous restaurants, we were in the main dining room for the first seating at 6 pm. The dining room was lovely, but Paul and I noticed the carpet was really dirty. It was as if Oscar had been there and dug his claws into the rug and pulled…only it was all over. Our dining companions never showed for dinner so it was just the three of us…our Waiter Lobo, and his assistant Putu (ok, I am NOT making this up!!!) took wonderful care of us. We had so many eating utensils we just laughed. We had a wonderful dinner of shrimp cocktail, the best roasted tomato bisque I have ever had, prime rib, and French pastries. Of course, we had the drink of the day…which for the life of me I can’t remember, LOL!

After dinner we sat in the Rendezvous Lounge and listened to a husband and wife piano/singer duet until it was time to go to the show lounge. I had my favorite cocktail, the Chocolate Cream Martini; Paul had a Pina Colada and Gene his customary Manhattan, sweet. The show was very good; it was a 60’s review. The dancers were very good, the singers were also good. The costumes were hilarious and the wigs were just too funny. The show lounge was very comfortable…all the seating was upholstered loveseats and comfortable chairs. After having another cocktail during the show, we were ready to crash. We would be arriving in Key West about 7 am. The stores open around 9, so we would have plenty of time to sleep in and have a leisurely breakfast.

Our double bed was fairly comfortable, and Grandpa insisted on using the upper berth that folded down from the opposite wall. I really wanted it so I could toss and turn to my hearts content and not wake up Paulie. The bathroom was a fairly decent size. The shower had good water pressure but it had only three settings…hot, really hot, and burn your buns off scalding. I just love ship toilets. They are vacuum types that sound like they are gonna suck you down into the bowels of the ships honeypot! Always shut the lid, you never know what it’ll suck down!!!

I will continue with day two of our cruise a bit later.



Day Two…January 10, 2006
Key West

After a hearty breakfast which we ate in the main dining room, we proceeded to disembark and do some sightseeing. After visiting a few shops, we decided to take a trolley tour. It was a great tour; the guide was very knowledgeable about the history of the town of Key West and told many entertaining stories about the colorful characters that inhabited the town both past and present. Tommy explained that there are no new building permits being issued by the city board, only permits to rehab existing buildings. On any given street there is a run down ramshackle house right next to a beautifully maintained picture perfect Victorian home. I cannot imagine just how much one of these homes would cost…not the rehabbed ones, the old shacks, LOL! The other remarkable thing we witnessed was that there were chickens and roosters roaming all over the place. We didn’t see any gas stations. There were lots of amazing little but very pricy cars all over the place…Porches, and Jags and a few Benz’s thrown in. The most common mode of transportation appeared to be either by bicycle or scooter. There were a few big dollar Harleys around also. We really enjoyed the day and saw more on this tour than we would ever had been able to see on our own. We wandered back to the ship to have a late lunch. Grandpa and I don’t do walking very well so we were a bit tuckered out. My hip is still killing me; the shot did squat as far a I am concerned. Since we were in port, the ships boutiques were closed but it didn’t stop me from wandering around. I found the library, the internet connection spots, and the martini bar. We rested up a bit, showered and then since it was formal night, we decked ourselves up to the nines. I will say that we do clean up good! In the dining room, we were introduced to our dining companions. David and Carol Mitchell from Chattanooga TN, on the Zenith for their honeymoon. They have both been married before and seem to be positively crazy about one another. Carol is in insurance and David is a former teacher, now the principle for a vocational type school. We had a great dinner. After stuffing ourselves, our waiter and several others brought out a cake for Carol and David. It is so funny to hear all these folks singing all over the dining room. Since many are from India, Pakistan, Bali and a host of other countries, their singing is really a treat…strains of “happy ‘verary to you” and “happy irthyay” reverberate around the diners. The staff really enjoys this and they sing their hearts out. I am so amazed at the work ethic of these people. They work 16 hours a day, 7 days a week for 7 months straight. They do get a few hours off every few days. Amazing. We just don’t have a clue of the lives they have lived in their native land and just have to admire them. Carol graciously asked the waiters to cut the cake for everyone at the table. Paul was very put out that he missed the dessert of the day…Cherries Jubilee. Awww...Poor guy. After dinner we had some photos taken by the ship photographers. We wound up again at the Rendezvous Lounge watching the wonderfully precise and equally stiff Japanese couples doing the salsa, the fox trot and the ever enjoyable waltz. We just laughed at how rigid the couples were. The steps were obviously well practiced and perfect, however they were lacking any type of rhythm or a feel for the music or sex appeal of each of the dances.

It was then Karaoke Night and the very appreciative crowd was treated by a beautiful rendition of “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic (how stupid is this… singing this very sad song of love lost due to a ship sinking….? Ppfft!) There were several more forgettable songs from a few Star Search wannabes…Paul played the role of nasty Simon and I had to keep shushing him up…at least they got up there and did a song. Then our new friend Carol decided to sing to her new husband. She chose the appropriate song “My Guy” a take on “My Girl”. She freely admitted she couldn’t sing and that was an understatement. She had several Appltinis’ to bolster her courage. About halfway through the song, David joined her on the floor and the honeymooners treated the crowd to a sweet duet and lovely and shall I say, sexy dance. We all had a great time and then we all went to the evening’s entertainment in the show lounge. This time the troupe paid tribute to Broadway tunes. The best song was from Wicked. It was so-so as compared to the night before.

We had a few drinks in the lounge and then headed to the stateroom to get a good night’s sleep. We would be arriving in Cozumel about 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

I just love going to the stateroom to turn in for the night…the bed is all turned down; there is fresh ice and water waiting. The little chocolates on the pillows were divine, I must say. I was awakened several times that night due to rough seas. I was doing my best spinning in a long time. I took some extra valium and tried to go back to sleep. 5 potty breaks in one night is a bit much. I hafta do something about this.

I will continue our Cozumel adventure a bit later.



Cruise Day Three, January 11, 2006
Cozumel. Mexico

Paul and I had decided to do the Playa Beach Outing on the beach in Cozumel. This off shore excursion was $62 each and included bus transportation, park admission, buffet and open bar. I had visions of me and Paulie lounging on beach chairs under a tiki hut sipping Pina Coladas and munching on real Mexican salsa and chips and maybe even some homemade tortillas with a yummy bevy of native cheeses. The beach looked beautiful in the little video clip we viewed, and it had lots of water toys, like kayaks, a water trampoline, and cute little areas to sun. BTW, I do not do well in the sun. I am a blonde…blondes don’t sun well and tan…blondes burn. Blondes get sun poisoning. This particular blonde has a personality change when she gets too much sun. Not only that but this blonde’s lips become inflamed with fever blisters…courtesy of ‘ole sol. We thought this was a good deal so we signed up. I had asked Grandpa several times if he wanted to go along. He steadfastly refused saying he was not interested. Just two minutes after I had made the reservations on the in-room interactive TV thingamajig, Grandpa decided he would indeed enjoy accompanying us to the beach. I tried to buy another ticket on the interactive TV thingy. It wouldn’t let me.
Paul went down to Client Relations/Excursions desk. Of course, it was about 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, so I guess they weren’t interested in booking more excursions at that particular time of day. Ppffft. So, we all tumble into bed, arising early. We have been told due to the damage from Hurricane Wilma, that the dock has been washed away and we would be traveling in “transfers” or in other words, we would exit the ship on level three right into the waiting arms of a Mexican flotilla. Make that a transport boat. Geez, since I get seasick looking a waves, I took an extra dose of my valium. I was down at the Excursion desk bright and early at 8 a.m. the scheduled opening time. No one was there. I waited and waited. Finally I flagged down some poor cleaning person who looked like the Dali lama and asked him in sign language where the hell were the excursion people. He politely in excellent English told me they open at 8 a.m. Pointing to my watch I say, “Well, its 8:20!”. “Madame.” He replied. You failed to set you watch to the correct Cozumel time. It is only 7:20. *Sigh*. Again, by my stupidity, I give all American tourists the “L” on their foreheads. I slink off to find some strong coffee and something to eat. Paul and I finally meet up at the waffle station in the buffet line. After breakfast, we both go down and purchase Grandpa’s ticket. We meet him back at the room. Paul told Grandpa to meet us at the Show Lounge on deck 7 at 11 am. He explained that we would meet in the same seats we had sat in both nights for the entertainment. At 10:30, Paul and I arrive at the appointed meeting place. 10:45…no Grandpa. 11 am, still no Grandpa. We ask a helpful steward when the Beach group was meeting. We were told to go to the Rainbow Room on Deck 8 for tickets and bus passes. Paul goes to deck 8 while I wait for Grandpa at the appointed meeting place. 11:15, no Grandpa. 11:30 no Grandpa. Thinking he has misunderstood the agreed upon meeting place, I go up to the balcony of the show lounge on deck 8. No Grandpa. Now, I am really honked off. Cussing under my breath I head for the Rainbow room on Deck 8 aft. Find Paul. The group has already left. We flag down a steward and they radio down to the transfer boat. It has not yet left. They hold the boat for us and we figure, Grandpa is on his own. Throwing $62 bucks away on his ticket is one thing…throwing away another $124 is quite another. I am just seething. I am trying not to be mad, but being who I am, I have little success. One of the stewards at the transfer station said a little old guy was looking for his son and daughter-in-law. Must have been him. We get on the boat. We then arrive in Cozumel under threatening skies. We get on this bus and have a nail biting ride with Julio our driver the ten miles to the beach. As we step off the bus, it starts to pour. We get to the buffet and my goodness it looked like it had been there for weeks. The drinks were watered down and in thimble sized plastic cups. We sit under the leaking dining canopy and sit forlornly looking out over the soaking beach area. Finally after about two hours of downpour, the sky brightens and the sun comes out. We sit out in the sun for about an hour before it is time to get back on the bus to the ship transports. Totally bummed, we head back to the stateroom and get ready for dinner., Grandpa finally shows up at the room. He is all upset as he said he was at the place we told him since 9 am. WE never showed. I said that I had waited and waited in the Show lounge and he tells me he was there. I know he’s kinda short, but heck he’s not invisible for heaven’s sake! I said he couldn’t possibly be there because I sat there all that time. He said he was sitting in the chairs we were in last night. He was in the Rendezvous lounge, not the Show Lounge. He insisted Paul told him the place we were last night. Trouble was we were in more than one place…he thought he was to meet us in the lounge on 7 not the show lounge on 7. There is no arguing with him. Next time I put a leash on him.
Paul comes back to the room after searching the ship for him. Again, he insists that we told him the Rendezvous lounge, not the Show lounge. Next time he is on his own. He then tells me he had hoped and hoped it rained because we left him behind. Aaarrrrgggggh. There is just no arguing with a male Ziaja. He said he went into town, bought some expensive cigars and had several Pina Coladas that were the size of watermelons. Of course he just thought he was sooooo funny wishing we had a bad time. What a stinker he is!

We finally got showered and dressed for dinner. We did have another lovely dinner, and our honeymooning dining partners were no shows again. Hmmm. Maybe they were taking too many “naps”. After dinner the show lounge entertainment was an illusionist. I hate magicians, jugglers, and I especially dislike ventriloquists. These people creep me out. So, they went to see the magician and I went to bed.

Later, I will tell you all about Costa Maya.


1 comment:

Nancy said...

Hi All,

Again, I am thoroughly enjoying reading about your adventures. And when I get to the last "Chapter" I am sad that I have to wait for the next installment. Keep up the good work and enjoy every day while the rest of us are working away!! Love, Nancy