Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thanksgiving Vacation

We all have to get away from it all from time to time right? Well, this past week was it for the ol Gwinn family. It is likely the last time that me and the Mrs. will be able to plan, pay for, and implement a vacation involving us and all the kids.

WE took a cruise. Yep. Picture The Love Boat and you have it exactly. Seven days from Houston, Texas down to Mexico and Central America. If I could give it one word only to describe it, that word would be "AbsobloodylutelyAmazing".

Cruising isn't cheap. We did it like most anyone else though by going (mandatory bad pun alert ) deep into debit. But it was overwhelmingly worth it.

The ship was Norwegian Cruise Lines "Norwegian Dream". A small intimate ship whose crew doted on our every whim. Want to know how a big name politician or celebrity feels? Take a cruise.

First of all is the food. Twenty-three hours a day you eat all you wish. Now I have to convince my boss to lay out a breakfast buffet promptly at ten a.m. Not happening in this lifetime I would bet.

We stopped at Progresso, Cozumel, and Belize City. In the first two we shopped till we dropped and in the last we took a tour. Belize has a large rainforest like climate and we went up into the Forrest and zip lined through it. Then, on inner tubes we floated thru subterranean caves. It was awesome. The zipline at times was a nearly a hundred feet off the ground and moving at a stately pace of 25 MPH or so. Then the tubes leisurely took us thru the caves where we saw natural waterfalls and lots of sparkling rocks.

The service on the ship is impeccable. Twice a day maid service (my wife loves that) and entertainment that will make you think you are on Broadway. Add our modest donations to the ships charity (AKA the casino) and you are set for a night. I borrowed a book (Velocity) from the ships library and spent two sea days just vegetating on deck with all the other beautiful people. Every ten minutes like clockwork someone would ask if I needed anything. Towels, bar service, coffee service, etc were just there for the asking. I wonder if the boss will install deck chairs and hire a waiter? Nah, I doubt it.

Being a military man, I measured the crew and found them professional and deferential without being toady like. The waiters would have been at home in Delmonico's and the ships officers had a friendly demeanor while maintaining impeccable bearing and dignity.

It was a great time. I cannot describe the amount of fun we had as a family (playing cards in the sports bar and snacking all night) or as individuals. I am simply thankful that all of us were able to go. My two oldest are moving inexorably in their own direction and the youngest is eyeballing the horizon. So this was great. Once I get the camera downloaded and processed I will link to pics.

It's over now and reality has intruded. But this is one thing I will remember even when I am old and ridden with memory issues.

I would like to wish everyone a belated Happy Thanksgiving and hope all is well with you.

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