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March 18, 2012
Last days at sea


Gail watches the ocean go by from our usual perch on the starboard side of the Sun Deck (deck 15, the highest passenger point)

Halfway through our 30-day cruise, we wrote a letter about “Life on the Star Princess.” As our adventure comes to an end, here is an update on what we’ve been up to when we’re not in port.

We have grown to love our little cabin: Plaza 202, farthest forward on the port side of the lowest passenger deck (deck 5). The laundry is across the hall. The piazza and the International Café are a short walk away, through the art gallery. Gail loves to watch the ocean through the window and listen to the waves beat against the bulkhead at night.

    
Our tiny window on P202, forward on the port side

Russell has only had two “work obligations” aboard ship. The first has been to update our travel website. Each web letter takes about two hours to put together, and Russell usually does this early in the morning while Gail is still asleep. (Uploading the letters and photos is a completely different challenge, which we’ve chronicled several times.)

Russell’s second obligation – keeping a New Year’s resolution – has been to work on his art. He brought 24 sheets of Bristol drawing paper to last through the cruise, but went through those in the first week. He ended up drawing on the backs of the Bristol, until he ran out of those as well.

    
For Russell, a good day is finding a rare large table in the middle of the piazza where he can work on his drawing

With extra time on his hands, Russell has been working for the last week on a Lego building project: a 1,700 piece Volkswagen van. At the last minute of packing he decided he didn’t have room in his suitcase for it. Gail, though, had written about it on Cruise Critic and generated a considerable amount of interest. She made room in her suitcase and we ended up bringing the thing. Russell has been putting it together at various locations throughout the ship, drawing the attention of passengers and staff. He finally finished it yesterday, just in time for the end of the cruise.


Russell works on his Lego Volkswagen van

Gail also has two “work obligations.” The first is doing laundry, which she has done about every 10 days. Gail’s second obligation has been to get rid of every bit of light in the cabin every night when we go to sleep. She dutifully covers up all of Russell’s electronic chargers. She also developed an ingenious way of hiding the light leaks around the door, by squeezing towels into the cracks using her room card key.


The passenger laundry is right across the hall from our cabin. It costs $6 per load for the detergent, washer and dryer.


Gail’s nightly handiwork on our cabin door


For Gail, a good day is finding a lounge chair halfway in the sun, where she can tan her legs without burning the rest of her

Our work obligations are notably minimal, and our activities beyond those have consisted of relaxing and socializing. We finally found another couple who is familiar with European board games, and we have had numerous sessions playing “The Settlers of Catan” and other games that Russell brought.


A highly competitive game of “The Settlers of Catan” with Bonnie and John from Southern California

We have also had a lot of fun with Gail’s new stuffed guinea pig, originally named “Callao” and now renamed “Cui.” Gail carries Cui around the ship, subtly wiggling it in her arms like a live animal. She has literally drawn crowds of people around her, wanting to know how she got a live animal aboard ship.

    
Gail draws a crowd with Cui, her stuffed guindea pig.
Gail shares Cui with seven-year-old Gabi, who has been cruising with her parents since she was six months old.

Between Cui, Russell’s ninja shirts and Lego, our gallery photographs taken with stuffed animals and swapped formal attire, we have become something of celebrities aboard ship. Russell’s goal was for us to be fondly remembered by everyone, and we seem to have accomplished this.


Captain Edward Perrin, decked out in Mexican attire, poses with Happy the Hedgehog and Cui the guinea pig. Fellow cruisers say he is the friendliest captain they have ever seen on a cruise ship.

Our last and most favorite activity has been to stand out on deck and watch the ocean go by. We have seen birds, dolphins, whales, sharks, turtles and rays. While we are looking forward to a real ocean storm, we are sad that it has now become too cold and windy to stand out on deck anymore.

    
Dolphins


Brown boobies


A Tortuga turtle

    
Manta rays

We have clearly left the warm and tropical weather of Latin America, and we are getting nearer to the colder and more normal climate of California and the Bay Area.

Gail says she is ready to return home – she misses her house, her family, and being able to cook. At the same time, there is so much that she will miss from the past month, including the gentle rocking of the ship every day at sea.

Russell, on the other hand, could keep right on cruising. He feels like he has just started getting to know all of the people. While we could certainly take another cruise again someday – and while we hope to stay in touch with as many of our new friends as possible – we can never recreate the magic of all of these particular people and places who came together at this time for this one adventure.

It has been a very memorable experience. We are glad that we spent the time and resources to make it happen, and we will cherish it forever.



A fond farewell from cabin P202, the Star Princess, Latin America, March 2012

 

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