First five days aboard the NCL Epic

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Saturday, April 20

We left the house around 7:30 am. The drive to Florida in our rented Dodge Grand Caravan was uneventful, luxurious compared to our 1998 Plymouth Grand Voyager. While driving on Alligator Alley, I was thinking about how unexcited I am about the trip. My mind was reeling with ideas about blogs, books, and tweets, a sign, for me that this adventure is not really a vacation, but a research journey. on which I still need to blog and interact with my followers. I hoped that somehow I will be able to meld work with pleasure. Perhaps I felt this way because the past weeks preparations have been tiring, and that I will feel better once underway. We took a taxi from the airport to the cruise ship. The Haitian driver stuffed our seven bags into the trunk and Dennis and I squeezed into the back seat with two backpacks. and a carry-on. Our stateroom is smaller than others on other cruise lines, but we have a round king-size bed and lots of storage capacity. At dinner, we sat with Tom (a retired financier) his wife Connie (a professor of art history),and Becky and Nancy (sisters-in-law and ex Navy officers). Conversation was lively and the food was delicious. I enjoy free-style dinning and look to forward to meeting others during the cruise.

Sunday, April 21

Cloudy and rainy. The ship is traveling at 21 knots (26 miles mph), so there is a steady breeze on deck. I checked out the rock wall which is aft (read of ship). The wind there will make climbing the wall difficult, but I am thinking of doing it at least once. Not sure if Dennis will. We saw the Blue Man Group. Laughed and interacted with the performance. Dennis even photographed some of the toilet paper and the marshmallow I was hit with. After the show, we had supper, but did not share seating.

Monday, April 22

Even though at 2 A.M. we set the clocks back an hour, I was at the gym at 6:00 A.M. For two days now, I spent more than an hour on the bicycle, trying to prepare myself for hours on the bike once we leave Barcelona. Also, Elizabeth and I are doing a squat challenge. Today was day three: 60 squats. So between the bike ride, the squats, and running up and down ten flights of stairs several times and day, my thighs are getting a workout. I just hope it is enough for the hills in Spain. Today the ship diverted to Bermuda for a medical emergency. Around 3 P. M. and about a mile offshore from Bermuda, the caption killed our ship’s engines. The pilot rescue boat, St. David, sped towards us from the island, and then tried it to connect with the port side of our ship, almost directly below my balcony. For some reason, the St. David aborted the attempt. The black boat with red cabin and Bermuda flag then circled the Epic and stopped at a different gangplank where the crew successfully transferred the patient to the rescue boat. With three toots of the fog horn, the St. David left the calm waters near the Epic and sped back to the island. In all, the exchange took about an hour. It then took about a half hour for the Epic to turn around and get back up to speed. This evening is the Captain’s champagne toast and introduction of the officers. Later there is Howl at the Moon, a Rock N’ Roll dueling piano event. Not sure if we will attend that. This ship reminds me of Sarasota—after 10 P.M. the halls and casinos are practically deserted. I am starting to relax and to feel more positive about the journey. I am confident that once we buy and set up the bikes and finally leave Barcelona, I will settle into a routine.

Tuesday, April 23

Today I am without ambition. My head, arms, body—even my mind—want to stop and do nothing. I did not crawl out of bed until after noon. Dennis went for breakfast and returned with a cup of tea for me. All I wanted to do was stay prone and read a book. I did not even have ambition to go and set on the stationary bike for an hour or more as I have been doing each day. I know that without preparing my bottom for sitting on the bicycle seat, I will have problems when we start riding for hours each day. I just could not psych myself into anything. I don’t know if I am needing the rest after the hours of preparation, am feeling the effects of changing two time zones, or suffering from a touch of seasickness. After lunch, I put on Dennis’ jacket, wrapped up in two beach towels, and sat on the balcony. I only lasted about twenty minutes. My fingers were getting too hold to hold the Kindle. I brought all the wrong clothes for this voyage. Instead of the short skirts, sleeveless tops, and formal ware, I should have taken long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, and pants. The clouds, the wind speed, and cold Atlantic air is not conducive to sunbathing. There are very few people on deck. The few brave souls who want to use the hot tub, run from the interior to the deck and back. I just hung around most of the day, finished the book, and then went to see the review, Legends in Concert that paid homage to Jimmy Buffet, Donna Summer, Whoppi Goldberg, and Michael Jackson. Prior to the show Dennis ordered a Piña Colada and I took a martini, shaken, not stirred. It has been about 40 years since I had this classic drink and now I remember why–it’s lethal. Relaxed, I sang, shouted, and applauded. After the show, we shared a dinner table with two other couples. Conversation was lively and we ended up being one of the lasts to leave the restaurant.

Wednesday, April 24

I awoke during the night to the listing of the boat, the banging of doors, and the sliding of unused hangers in the closet. The swells are about 10 to 12 feet high, white-capped, and frequent. I banged off the walls on my way to the gym this morning. I pedaled the bike for an hour and a half. I had keep shutting my eyes because I was getting sick to my stomach. The transatlantic cruises are not as exciting as the Caribbean ones are where there a different port-a-calls each day. The library on the Epic is a joke. There are a few outdated travel books, books on archeology, a few classics, and some written in Japanese. I was disappointed that they don’t have Scrabble, my favorite board game. The air temperature today is 63° F and we are about half way to Funchal, Portugal, where we will take a shore excursion. Looking forward to being on land again, even if for only a few hours. Tonight we will see the Cirque de Soleil. According to other passengers, this is a better performance than the Blue Man Group, so I am looking forward to it. Once again, we will change time zone this evening.

About The Author

Jane V. Blanchard

I am an award-winning author of the “Woman On Her Way” book series, writing about my travel adventures. For more information on the books, please visit janevblanchard.com.

I started the “Woman On Her Way” travel blog in 2013 to share my experiences as I explored 13 countries with my husband, traveling by ship, foot, bike, bus, train, and plane. Dennis and I continue to make memories and hope you will enjoy following along.

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