Sad to say, I have just realised I have so little to show for such a long cruise...I will still write about the postcard-less ports though, mostly for my own benefit (write stuff down while I am in the process of reminding myself) as I won't presume people who come here for postcards will be interested in peeking into ship-life episodes.
Southeast USA was next. I believe we should have had an overnight in one of the Florida ports but instead we got an extra port, so yay for that, I guess. In the meantime I have found something out that wasn't even at the back of my mind until then: I am obliged to be a tour escort on ship's shore excursions. I first waved it off as I didn't think it was an obligation, I mean c'mon, massive organised tours are a nightmare...When I was told that I HAVE TO do it, I've thrown a bit of a tantrum heh. I really wasn't into it...in the end escorting was the best way to see some of the stuff, esp during the first contract when I had a choice of tours. So yeah that was even lucky :)
During the first management we (a team of five) would go through the tours schedule, write our initials next to the tour we wanted, and hope we'd get it. If you don't get it, you have time off in port. That said, we shot gangway in every port, which required a set schedule; if your name is down for the gangway shoot, you cannot apply for a tour. Still, things mostly worked out :)
16th Port Canaveral, gate to the Kennedy Space Center. Considering that the ticket to the center costs no less than 50 bucks, and you need some kind of transport to get there, it was way out of my means. I wasn't too sad about it though. I stayed on board and did chores.
17th Fort Lauderdale, my 1st tour! We went to the (serious google search implemented) Everglades Holiday Park, where we saw something called 'Gator Boys Alligator Presentation', in which a guy talked about saving alligators, but at the same time pulled one by the tail and stretched its jaws by force :/ Seriously, is that how you care for them? A 'show' would be a much better word here than 'presentation', and then of course this 'courageous' guy asked for tips because they are all loving volunteers. Dunno, this just didn't feel right to me, but its not the first time I have a different view of these things to most tourists. The ride on the airboat was noisy (again, I've 'spoilt' my own fun thinking how does this noise affect the wildlife) but there must be some value in seeing this natural wonder.
In comparison, the Flamingo Gardens that we visited later on were much more relaxing; you could walk around ponds, among many different trees and shrubs, seeing not only flamingos but other kinds of birds too. In the end there was even a friendly cat at the exit :) All in all a good experience, some friendly passengers...only have to work on having their photos taken. Something I'll never truly accomplish, as I prefer letting people be. Not so good for business :)
18th Key West, loved this place! Colourful little houses, eclectic shops, cool bars, chicken roaming the streets..:) Walked to the Southernmost Point of the USA. Didn't have enough dollars to treat myself to key lime pie or buy postcards.
20-21st overnight in New Orleans. Walked around a lot, had a Voodoo Burger someplace in Bourbon Street. Still haven't found anyone to hang out with, despite some people acting like they might. As a loner that will continue to be my story, because I never wanted to be a part of a group and having others determining my route. It was a lot to ask for, one or two people with similar interests.
On the second day the Women's March took place, as in other US cities simultaneously.
23rd Progreso, Mexico. I went on a tour to Dzibilchaltún Maya archaeological site (my senior colleagues getting the Chichen Itza and Uxmal sites). This one is quite small, but I'll remember this day for talking to a really cool elderly couple who planned to caravan around Norway, and seeing a huge fist-size spider by the path (alas we used wide lens for work so I couldn't take a proper photo). The port was 7km away from the town of Progreso so not worth it to go there afterwards; just a quick snoop around the port area, with numerous souvenir shops, and plenty of postcards but no stamps (!)
Oh my, this has turned into the longest post I have ever written. At least I will have some kind of an overview of all the ports I have visited whilst on the ship, if not the things that happened on board. I did keep a diary but very loosely...I wish I have documented my first days on the ship because the first few weeks would have been most hilarious, I mean nothing can prepare you for this 'special' place, no matter how many stories you hear or how much internet research you do. You STILL manage to be overwhelmed. Similarly, no matter how much experience you have in dealing with all sorts of people, their actions STILL manage to stupefy you. Like my dear roommate, who annoyed the fudge outta me with her morning alarms - here you have a person who sets one alarm to ring 40-50 minutes before she actually gets up, and another one 30 minutes before; and then you have snoozes every 5 minutes from one clock and every 10 minutes from another. Talking to her changed nothing, until I mentioned it in front of other people (I had to, this lasted for weeks). I may mention her lack of hygiene at some other point...Well there it is! On the way to Jamaica, ya man.