Saturday, July 31, 2010

Alaskan Cruise Day 1 and 2

Allie, her parents and myself boarded the Norwegian Pearl in Seattle on Sunday in early May 2010. This was Allie's and my first time on a cruise ship. Walking to the cabins was a bit of a surprize. The Pearl has long and narrow corridors (to access the cabins on each deck) that extend nearly the full length of the ship. Even with the ship still docked, this was a little unnerving. We got used to it by the end of the day.

The cabins where about as I expected. A bit smaller than I'm used to. There was enough room for two of us in each cabin without tripping over each other too often. The restroom was the most cramped. I'm not a big person (not even close), and I even had a little trouble getting comfortable on the toilet. The bed was comfortable and spacious. The curtains were very thick. When closed, they would literally make the cabin fill like night, even in the middle of the day.

Although I felt the ship was very large, it didn't seem to have some of the amenities that one comes to expect from an offering of this sort. The shops were in one small section of the ship. There was a couple of gift shops and a jewelry shop and that's about it. The lounge area at the center of the ship seemed spacious at first. However, after seeing how quickly it got cluttered with various events, it also seemed a bit undersized.

Once the ship left Seattle, we spent the rest of that day and all of the following Monday at sea (called a "Sea Day"). The four of us spent most of this Sea Day getting acquainted with the ship. Our cabin had a nice balcony. I found it to be very relaxing to just lounge on the balcony, watching the ocean fly past me. I was able to spot dolphins once or twice. During lunch at the buffet restaurant, we spotted some whales too.

The food was so-so. There was a good selection at the buffet, but the quality did not live up to expectations. Monday evening, we dined at a restaurant at the rear of the ship. Our table was right at the stern. Before the sun set, I was fascinated by the water being churned up in the wake as the ship moved forward. The restaurant was decorated in a Russian-style. The food was good. Unfortunately, this would be best food we would encounter on the ship over the next week.

Navigation: See all Alaskan Cruise articles here

Sunday, July 25, 2010

California Nature (final version/republished)

Your journey roads herald adventure,
Impelling me to climb your cloven heights,
And romp carelessly,
as aureate poppy fields beckon.

Sun-kissed waters bounce along your shoreline.
They entice me to surf the crashing calm waves.

Canopy-enveloped valleys thrive with floral scents
That draw my ingression, but I forestall.

Instead I caper like Racetrack Playa’s sailing stones,
Which tickle your basin by some unseen will.

I endeavor to hike your proud hills,
And find places to gaze lostly into lakes full with sky.

Vineyard nectar overflows like sweet sweat,
To spur my soul’s arousal as I partake.
Your boundless attributes gratify my wanderlust,
And allure me to appease your nature.

Sunday, July 18, 2010