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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Come Sail Away

by Catherine Gayle

Last week, I went on my very first cruise with fellow Lady Scribes Jerrica Knight-Catania and Ava Stone, along with Jerrica's husband and lovely daughter. We joined the FRW Fun in the Sun Conference on the Liberty of the Seas and headed for Cozumel. Ava and I left behind 18 degree temperatures in North Carolina to head to Cozumel, Mexico. (We won't talk about the 81 degree weather in Palm Beach that the Catanias have been experiencing.)

But I'm not going to talk about the conference in this blog. I want to talk about the cruise. You know, the important stuff.

Milkshakes, right?
I am certain these were kid friendly.


How did this get in here?

We might have had a few drinks while we were on board the ship. Not too many. We aren't lushes or anything...well, some of us. The thing about being on a cruise ship is that there are people carrying around delightful concoctions on trays all day long, and it is really easy to just say, "Sure, I'll have a dozen!"

But there was more than just alcohol to be found! Like the cupcakery.
We were all proud of the little princess's frog and lion cupcakes.
Ben and Jerry's made sure we never lost a pound.
But we did a lot of shopping, I mean walking, around the Royal Promenade to help with all the desserts.
We even found a little time for some swimming.
On our day off in Cozumel, Ava taught all the men how to drive a dune buggy before we went snorkeling.


Don't ask me why she took us to see the cocodrillos.

Back on the ship, we had some fun.

Then we worked.

Then we had some fun WHILE we worked.
These kid-friendly drinks (see the maraschino cherries???) were great inspiration.
Don't ask me what these two were up to. I might snort in laughter while trying to tell you.
Serious Writers At Work.
Don't we look all professional and relaxed?

Alas, the good times had to come to an end at some point. After four nights on the ship, we returned home with fresh ideas for our writing, a bunch of words written, and a renewed vigor to get back to it. We'll choose to forget about the cold/flu/sinus infection, Montezuma's revenge, and vertigo, not to mention the fact that we had to live without Twitter for FOUR WHOLE DAYS.


What's the weather been like lately where you live? Do you have any good ideas on how I can get someone to carry those entirely-kid-friendly drinks around on trays at my house? Who wants to come with us on the next cruise?

31 comments:

  1. I will definitely be with you on the next writer's retreat, but after witnessing the after effects last night, I might never cruise again!

    I've even been on a cruise twice, and now I'm scared!

    Still, it looks like an amazing time!

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    1. Deb ~ I have been on a dozen cruises. (Cat failed to mention that I am *now* a Diamond member at Royal Caribbean.) I've never been affected like this before. I stupidly ate and drank something in Mexico. I was so careful not to drink water or have anything with ice, but I apparently wasn't careful enough. You can rest assured, I'll never do so again. But I'll still cruise in the future, just not maybe to Mexico. ;)

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    2. Deb, whether I cruise again is still up in the air! I never imagined I'd be feeling like this...but I still loved the actual cruise. There was something infinitely soothing about writing to the sound of the waves.

      Ava, I was certain that you would not fail to mention your Diamond status, LOL. I still can't imagine what you ate or drank that affected you like that. Pretty much anything you had, I had too!

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    3. You drank out of a bottle. I drank out of a glass, that was most likely cleaned with Mexico water. I think that is what it was. The glass may have even been damp, I just can't remember. Trust me, I've gone over and over that meal in my mind countless times the last 24 hours. :)

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    4. But the plates and silverware would have been washed in the same water. I don't know. I just hope you get over it quickly!

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  2. Catherine ~ You failed to mention Bob - the guy I scared the living daylights out of with my dune buggy driving. LOL. My driving was perfectly fine. Bob was just a wimp. ;)

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    1. Ha! Bob was such a trip...and yes, he was a wimp. But that's okay, because you taught him how a dune buggy should be driven. :)

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  3. Seeing as it's MINUS 25 degrees here today...well, enough said about no one inviting me on a cruise.

    I'm one of those Mariner people with Holland America, have been sick on a few cruises for various reasons, but I'd never choose not to go again. They're wonderful. And a great place to work. And those lovely people carrying trays of drinks around are just adorable.

    So glad y'all had a great time.

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    1. Ack! Now that's a wee bit cold there, L.j. LOL. I was amazed by how much easier it was to work while on the ship, when internet was too costly for me to want to pay for it. I could have gotten online...but I chose not to. And I wrote instead. It was great.

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  4. Oh my goodness! It looks like you lovely ladies had a blast! I want to come on the next cruise! I've never been on a cruise ship and my husband won't go! He's been twice and didn't care for it! I'm not sure how you can get someone to carry drinks around on trays for you, but when you figure it out, please do share your secret! It's great to have you guys back, if only via the internet!

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    1. Julie, we started planning our next one while we were on this one. :) We'll let you know when we have it more settled. This was my first, and I'm hopeful it won't be the last. If I ever get someone to carry those kid-friendly drinks around my house, I'll be sure to let you know how I did it.

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  5. We really did have a good time...and those kid-friendly drinks really helped! Ha! Sorry you guys are having a rough recovery -- maybe you guys just didn't use enough Purell. LMAO!

    I will say I was SO tired when we got home that I locked myself in the bathroom and took a hot shower, forcing Eric to deal with the wound-up toddler. Ha! Next time, we'll carry our own bags off at 7am and take her *straight* to school! LOL!

    I love you both and miss you already!

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    1. I swear, I used Purell every time we passed a Purell station. LOL. Poor Eric. I hope the toddler is back on her regular schedule soon, but I know she had a great time too. Miss you!

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  6. WOW. Looks like you guys had sooo much fun! Totally jealous of course.

    Thanks for sharing all the great jealousy-inducing pictures. *snort*

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    1. LOL, Marquita. Yes, it was fun. I'll try not to make you any more jealous. :)

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  7. Now there's a vacation I'd love to be a fly on the wall! I can imagine some of the conversations. Lol. Glad you had a great time, ladies! Love the pictures!

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    1. Even just on the flight, some of the conversations between me and Ava were fly-on-the-wall worthy. :)

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  8. I was grinning like a fool as I read your blog today! Cruising is my most favorite thing EVER to do. My husband and I have cruised around 10 times and we have another one coming up the end of March to the Caribbean. This time, we have one of our sons, beautiful daughter-in-law and two of our grandchildren going too. They're also from North Carolina. It will be such fun to cruise with family this time! I'm so excited and I'm counting the days.

    What a fabulous way for you lovely authors to get away not only from the cold but your everyday offices and do some writing in a truly relaxed atmosphere. Come with you? Boy would I ever! You are the authors and I'm the reader so I would be more than happy to be the gofer and make the drinks run too.

    I cannot really whine about cold weather because we live in sunny southwest Florida, a.k.a. Fort Myers. We're near beautiful beaches and about 10 minutes from gorgeous Sanibel Island. Getting over to Fort Lauderdale to get on a cruise ship is a hop, skip and a jump for us. Best part is we have a son who lives there and we usually leave our car with him and he takes us to the ship and picks us up. That's service.

    I think taking a cruise and writing is fabulous! Three cheers for you all for doing it and and I'm so happy to hear you had a ball. All the best!

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    1. Connie, it was the best combination of relaxing and working ever. It was a blast! I'm hoping we get to do it again. Sounds like you and Ava would get along with your love of cruising. :)

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  9. The writers "at work" is the best pic! Sooooo ... how much work exactly did you guys get done?

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    1. We actually got a fair amount done, Hanna. And brainstorming in person is always better. :)

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    2. Hanna, I wrote more in just a few hours on the shop than I've written in the last 4 weeks! It was awesome!!

      -Jerrica

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    3. I think we all got more work done on the ship than we had been getting done in the real world. There's something about the lack of internet, the presence of others to inspire you, and the sounds of the ocean that really got our creativity flowing.

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  10. Oh God...I am so, so, so jealous. What an amazing trip. Did it start out as a writer's retreat? Or was it pleasure blended with 'work'?! The weather in Connecticut has been...dreary, overcast, and cold. (understatement). Let's put it this way; I haven't seen the sun in so long that when I was teaching today I looked out the window confused. I stopped mid-sentence and just stared at the blue sky--the first we've seen in, umm, well I'm not even sure how long. "Sigh" A cruise sounds wonderful!!!

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    1. We went on this particular cruise because of the FRW conference that took place on the ship, Christi. :) I hope it warms up for you soon, or at least that you can get some more clear skies.

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  11. I don't know if I'll ever take another cruise. Maybe with friends it would be better, but I was so bored on the cruise we took last year. At the very least, I would want my laptop so I could write in all that downtime we seemed to have. I don't sound like I'm very good at relaxing, do I? LOL

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    1. LOL. I don't think you're crusing right, Samantha. You'll have to go with me sometime. ;)

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    2. Well, anyplace with you is a guaranteed good time. :)

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    3. There was no time to be bored on this cruise! LOL.

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  12. Love the pics! Soo jealous but I'm dying to know just how much work did you all get in??? The last time we all got together, I'm not sure how much work we got done. We were too busy giggling! Great photos! Glad you all had a wonderful trip!

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    1. There was still plenty of giggling, LOL, but we really did work quite a bit. :) Hope you can join us again sometime soon!

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