28 August 2012


I recently went on a cruise vacation.  It was a five-day trip aboard the Carnival Glory to Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia then back to NYC.  Before the trip, I only looked forward to running on some track on a top deck.  It turned out better than I expected.

I was warned about overeating and gaining weight.  With buffet-style for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I can see why.  With any buffets, people tend to take more than they can handle.  At some breakfast food line, a kitchen staff would dole out two bacon strips per person.  When the staff was not there, I saw a few people piling many bacon strips onto their plates. Buffet food was available over many hours but the buffet kitchen did close for some hours at night. There was a 24-hour kitchen for the night owls though. I stayed with just the usual three meals a deal, perhaps more frozen yogurt than usual, but otherwise did not eat much more than while on land. I am happy to report that my weight did not go up during or after the trip.

I've always wanted to get a foot pod for my Garmin.  The cruise trip provided the perfect excuse.  I ran most days during the trip.  The one day I did not run I used the elliptical and also skipped desserts.  The jogging track is rather short, you have to run six loops to have 1 km. I am used to running 4 km or more away from home, seeing different things along the way, then back. Running around the short track was so boring I mostly ran only 5 km. One time I managed over 6 km. I could never got up early enough to run in the morning and mostly ran around 3 pm ship time. A few runners were out that time, too, which is good, otherwise the track would be crowded, like the volleyball court and the basketball court. I have no interest in basketball but would love a game or two of volleyball but the court was always crowded. It was even smaller that a beach volleyball's court and always have six or more people on each side. It was on Deck 11, the top deck, so it had a net ceiling, which was not that high so if you serve the ball too high you would hit the ceiling. For those who don't like to work-out in the natural outdoor environment, the gym on Deck 11 at forward would be the best option. Air-conditioned, with a nice, cold water fountain, plenty of towels, elliptical machines, stationery bikes, the dreaded treadmills, weight machines, yoga mats, it seemed to have everything for the gym rats. I prefer the outdoor and hoped to remove my tank-top tan so I ran outdoor most of the time and used the elliptical only once. For water sports fans, there was a water-slide and some small pools that made me wish I was back at Flushing Meadows Aquatic Center's Olympic-sized pools for lap swim.

If you are not into eating or exercising, there are many other activities to do. I played a few name-that-tune games. The first one was a comedy movie quotes. I need to either watch more movies or have better memory. I failed to recognize the lines from "Short Circuits" and "Spaceballs", two of my favorite movies. The second trivia game was about songs from the 80s. I thought I would easily ace it, but I could not even name Wang Chung's "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" and got only half right. Someone actually got 39 out of 40 points and won a nifty trophy. Every night the auditorium featured a different show, at 8:30 and 10:30. Then there was also the comedy club, with shows for the whole family and for adults only. One night, my son and I played a game of laser-tag. At $5 for 5 minutes, I thought that if you beat everyone and stay past your allocated 5 minutes over and over you would end up with a big bill. Luckily groups of five people were allowed into the inflated arena and the line was long. I was horrible at it and ranked five out of five so even if there was a win-lose situation I would lose quickly.

Of course if you rather do nothing then there was the option of reading, on a lounge chair or in your room. I knew the Kindle was popular but on the ship it was everywhere. I brought along the Steve Jobs bio by Walter Isaacson and had a good time churning through the pages, mostly while my son read his summer assignment, in our room.

The cruise is a perfect getaway for those who want to be disconnected from everyday life. I suspect at times, out in the ocean, there was no cell phone signals to get that urgent call from the office. Or if the service was available, it would be expensive so no one in my big group made any calls. The teenagers in the group probably had a great time since they could be roaming around without being nagged by the parents about "curfew" and other inconvenience. Internet access was a luxury all of a sudden. At over 70¢ per minutes, I paid about $20 for about 15 minutes, including a $5 activation fee, sheesh. Honest, it was not for me, mostly for my son to play some games, but that didn't work because of old versions of Flash or the game took too long to load over the slow satellite connection. With the high cost to pay for being connected to the rest of the world, voluntary isolation is the best option.

As an origami enthusiast, the most interesting part of the vacation was the towel animals that were placed in our room after the room staff finished making the beds etc. I even attended the demo and subsequently bought the book. At times I did have much down time, like when my son did not want to do anything else but watch TV. During such time I made sonobe pieces. Early one morning, I slipped two sonobe orbs into the library and they disappeared after breakfast. Ideally someone out there took them and got interested enough to learn how to make them.


  1. I don't think I could stand being on a cruse for more than a half an hour.

  2. Why is that, CU? Is it the short track? Or because it is too relaxing? Or you need to be connected but don't want to pay the exorbitant price?

  3. it is not just the running or the internet.

    I don't want service and luxury.

    I like to explore, go the other way, use the back door....