We had a leisurely breakfast, said our good-bye’s to the Piedmont region and drove the 4ish hours to Venice. The drive was pretty basic being it was on the freeway. Since we were only staying one night and leaving for our cruise tomorrow we opted to stay close to the airport…this way we could drop our car off in the morning and get onboard the NCL cruise.
After our good night sleep, we left our hotel, dropped off our rental car and took a taxi straight to our Mediterranean cruise this morning. The line wasn’t too bad…we got onboard fairly quickly and put our things in our cabin. We have been on this exact ship before and have sailed with NCL three times prior to this one so were all too familiar with the ship itself.
Since it was lunch time, we started our cruise in the formal dining room. There are two dining rooms onboard which are sit down restaurants and all the food is free (or included in the cruise price). They serve the same food but one is a bit more formal than the other. The food is typical and applies to the masses…like caesar salad, salmon, prime rib, chicken etc. You can order as much as you want…if you can’t decide on which of two entrée’s to order…then pick both! And who only wants one dessert? Giff and I have a few tips for dining room eating…we always order the dressing on the side since they drench the salads but we also will order the salmon from the entrée list and have it put on our salads. We usually order three appetizers so we can taste lots of different things. If you go during the rush hour, and have to wait for a table, they will give you a buzzer and free drink ticket…bonus!
After our first cruise ship lunch, we walked around the various levels taking pictures. There were 12 floors on the ship, a gym, a spa, a big pool with a water slide (which was very tempting), 7 restaurants (you could pay from $10-$25 and have superior food), a buffet (free), a cafe-Blue Lagoon for quick sandwiches (free but gross), a running track, rock climbing wall, various bars and theater with live entertainment onboard. Oh and of course there was a casino…we spent a good chunk of time in that area.
We had fun eating, drinking, relaxing and sitting in the spa which for the record has the best views with all glass windows in the very front of the ship. They have all kinds of normal spa packages (massages, acupuncture, nails, hair cuts, facials, seaweed wraps etc.) but they also allow about 40 people to purchase weekly passes. It is $120 for the week and allows all access to the spa facilities…steam room, sauna, hot tubs, heated lounge chairs. Instead of upgrading from an ocean view cabin to a balcony room we opted to spend less money on the room and indulge with the day spa pass.
Tomorrow we arrive in Dubrovnik, Turkey!
Published by Giff Kabat
I grew up in Ohio as a kid, so of course I went to college at “THE” Ohio State University. I graduated in 2001 with a major in business finance. A month after graduation, I moved out to California with my college girlfriend (whom I married in 2005)…and started my career in sales (industrial sales for 5 years…then moved into medical laser sales for 4 years).
In 2009 I was 31 years old. I had a great job, a new house, and a beautiful wife. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby. Everything was going according to plan…and I couldn’t have scripted a better life for myself.
Then in the same year…everything changed. My wife, Brandey, called me when I was on my way to work and told me over the phone, something I never thought could be possible in a million years. My beautiful 30-year old pregnant wife was just told that she had breast cancer. At that moment, everything stopped all at once. I immediately went to her…and learned of our new plan…which began with her needing surgery immediately…and the rest we would find out later.
The day we returned from the hospital after Brandey’s surgery…my father died. He had been battling an aggressive cancer of his own…and although he was the one person I wanted to speak with about Brandey having cancer…I never told him. My sister, Brooke, had just gotten married a few months ago, and although he was weak, he was able to walk his little girl down the aisle of her wedding. On the night before my sister’s wedding, Brandey and I told him that we were pregnant and about to make him a grandfather. It made no sense to tell him that everything had changed for us…so he died in peace knowing everything was “the way it should be” for his only 2 children.
2010 was the worst year of my life. We had lost our baby…and for 12 months I watched my wife fight cancer with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and drug therapy. It was a difficult year for us…but we made it. When you go through something like this in life, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. I was amazed at the strength and courage of my wife…and how many good people there are in this world. I will be forever grateful for the ones who never ceased to amaze me with their kindness during this hard time. Family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers…helped us make it through this. I am, and will always be especially grateful to my mother, who was with my dad at the very end, when I couldn’t be there, and when things were at their worst. She has been so supportive throughout all of this, and without her everything would have been so much harder for me.
It’s 2011 now…and the plan we have for our life this year…is to make it the best year of our lives. Brandey is officially in remission from breast cancer and she has a 95% chance the cancer will never come back. Besides the love that I have for my wife and family, the loves of my life are food, wine, and adventure travel. My wife and I love traveling to new places, seeing natural wonders, and meeting new people from different parts of the world. So for the next 400 days…we’ve decided to travel the world…and celebrate our lives. There are so many things I took for granted in life that I will never take for granted again. My father worked for over 30 years at the same job with the same company…rarely took time off…and died at 64 years old right after his retirement. For me, this trip is a combination of a tribute to him, along with wanting to spend the time of my life with the “love of my life.”
* The only thing I will miss while we are gone is our family and friends (who we hope will meet us somewhere throughout our trip) and especially our 3 little kitties we left with my mom in Ohio to catsit for the next 400 days. I will also miss watching “American Football” over the weekend…but I’ll do my best to check the scores in the middle of the night.
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