Not Sure About Cruising??

Trip Start Aug 06, 2011
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139
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Maasdam Cruise Ship

Flag of Brazil  , Ceará,
Thursday, February 21, 2013

We found last minute accommodation in Rio for Carnival which is almost unheard of. We also found relatively slow transportation back to North America which would help us avoid at least four weeks of a frozen Canadian winter. And in a nice twist, our hotel and transport was the same thing- the Maasdam cruise ship. As our 'hotel' pulled out of the Rio harbour, we were almost accidentally trying out travel-by-cruise-ship which was a big change from our recent travel-by-the-seat-of-our-pants methodology!!

As we quickly found out travel by cruise ship is, and has been, a very popular way to see the world. And given the advanced years of some of our fellow passengers, I suspect that some started their cruising on the Santa Maria with Chris Columbus in what was arguably the first Caribbean party boat (note to Deb P- Christopher Columbus was a famous explorer who discovered the Americas in 1492 aboard the Santa Maria sailing ship so this is a very funny way of suggesting that some folks on the ship were the dictionary definition of experienced!). Unbeknownst to us, Holland America has a bit of a reputation for attracting a much older crowd so our shipboard introduction involved dodging scooters and walkers, and responding every time someone yelled "hey, kids- no peeing in the pool". Do we like cruising? I don't know- like most things there are pluses and minuses but I'm not sure I see it as a key part of our travel logistics any time soon.

We made a couple of Brazilian coastal stops (Buzios and Salvador) before arriving in Fortaleza. Since we would have to stop eating in order to disembark we minimized our shore time and really struggled to find anything interesting on the list of shore excursions (to be fair, we had already spent a few days in Salvador). DH did find herself in the middle of a heated game of Bingo and even managed to win a few dollars which almost immediately, and magically, morphed into a spa appointment. Both of us were also regulars in the fitness centre in the somewhat delusional belief that a couple of hours on the StairMaster might compensate for the many hours spent at the various food troughs. There was also a movie theatre on board and, although we had seen most of the movies, we made popcorn theft a nightly ritual. All-in-all it was a nice change of pace for us and although we didn't pack our day timers, we did do our best to try out all of the cushy chairs spread out all over the boat.

While at sea we were technically floating on the Atlantic Ocean and the swells could be a little challenging- that seemed to show up in an alarming number of walking casts, arm slings, and eye patches although it was difficult to separate the pre-existing conditions from the newly acquired injuries. We did meet a number of really nice people (usually over dinner- big surprise) who were relatively uninjured- Don and Jill T even hosted us on the deck belonging to cruising royalty although we did have to pretend to be cleaning staff in order to gain access.

We are looking forward to seeing things off of the ship as we turn the corner soon and head up the Amazon.
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