Norwegian Getaway, 11/29 - 12/6 - DAY TWO at sea


Good Morning!

I have to start this entry a little differently. In order to explain, I need to start by telling a Deep and Abiding Affection Story. It never rose to the level of Love Story, because Death intervened. And it plays into the story of the rest of my day, yesterday.

Short version: A little over 4 years ago I met Alyona Toulenkova, a.k.a. The Siberian Princess. We first met online and a few months later sailed together on the Norwegian EPIC. The first few days of that cruise were quite magical. And then, about midweek, I came back to the cabin late and tripped (once again) over some shoes. Alyona was a lot of things, including beautiful inside and out, but "neat" wasn't one of those things. So, she woke up as I was muttering about her stuff all over our cabin, and I blasted her, and she overreacted a bit, and the next few days were less than magical. The last day of the cruise she finally told me about her cancer, and the ordeal she had been through, which left her a bit emotional, and told me she had kind of flashed back to her ex husband who often woke her up coming in late and berated her. So, cool...I understand. But I also decide I don't need than kind of drama in my life, so we pretty much ignored each other for a year or so. During that time she told me she had decided to become a travel agent, as a result of our late night conversations on the EPIC, but, again, I pretty much blew her off as a dilettante. She surprised me by throwing herself in to it, and succeeding. That's when my feelings started to change. I love it when people surprise me. And I especially love it when I tell them they can't, and they do. And that's the kind of person she was. The fact the girl had no "quit" in her is why she lasted as long as she did. And also why we slowly rekindled our friendship. So, fast forward to CruiseWorld 2013 in Fort Lauderdale. We were talking in the month leading up to the show, and met there and spent pretty much every minute together, and it was kind of magical again. She had lost her hair a few months before in her 2nd round of chemo, but quit wearing wigs and was sporting a short hair look with incredible confidence. We had some of our late night arguments about the world wide web versus social media and the parasite loading of pelagic versus non-pelagic fish, etc. Neither of us ever lost an argument, because that's just the way we're built. And we made plans for her to come over to my agency. And to get on the Norwegian Getaway pre-inaugural. Which I did, and invited her. And those two days were beyond belief. In retrospect, I realize it was a case of the flame flaring up before it's extinguished. She was not just vibrant, but positively radiant.  Several people who met her those few days were shocked when she passed, as they had no clue she was even a little sick.

 A few months after our Getaway trip, she went back in to the hospital and never left. During her last few weeks, we spoke a few times and texted a lot. Some days she was sure she would be home in a day or two. Other days, deep in delirium, she would text absolute gibberish. Or worse, a couple times...Russian. Anyway, in late April, just weeks before her 42nd birthday, she finally beat the cancer and went home to where ever Siberian Princesses go when they leave here. And I missed her. Badly for a while, but you know...life goes on. And as I said, it never really rose to the level of Love Story. And in my mind, I know that it probably never would have. Just because of the kind of guy I am and the kind of woman she was. But I am a little pissed we didn't get the chance to find out.

And the reason I am telling y'all this is that yesterday, running around the ship, every where I went, I thought about her. Starting the first night at Illusionarium, I was distracted remembering her almost making me late. Walking up top and seeing the ropes course I remembered her conquering the cold and her fear of heights to walk the plank with us. Sitting in The Grammy experience recalling how much we enjoyed Nestor Torres. Etc. And finally, she was in my dreams last night, which is why I am up at 5am typing this.

So, yeah...it was a great day onboard the Norwegian Getaway, but a little melancholy and nostalgic for the good old days, 10 month ago.

It started with jumping out of bed at the crack of dawn and typing up yesterdays entry. Then Steve and I headed to breakfast at O'Sheehans. On a lark I stopped and threw $20 in a poker machine and hit a $200 hand while distracted by talking to a couple other travel agents that were also heading to breakfast. So that's cool. Then we took in the Morning Trivia and we got 16/20. It took a team of 6 to beat us with 18. And then a turn around the pool deck, which just wasn't happening. Gale force winds and high seas have the boat rockin' and rollin'. It's not BAD bad, but enough that outdoors isn't pleasant. So back inside for a little lunch at Savor (Steve's call, I want to try Flamingo), then back to O'Sheehans to watch some football before a little nappy poo for the big guy, in preparation for a big evening. Which commenced with a Cocktail Party for the Reunion Cruise attendees. That was fun. From there we went to the Captains Cocktail Party. Talked to Sean a bit, and then Capt Tommy, who seems like a nice guy. Also got a chance to thank the Concierge, Adrian, for his phone call Saturday morning and following up on the little boarding snafu. Then Lisa Shindler and her friend joined Steve and I for dinner at Moderno which was, as always, a fabulous way to induce a meat coma. We are setting the clocks forward tonite, and my big presentation is already too early at 9am, so I decided to forgo the night life and hit the rack at about 10:30, so I could toss and turn a few hours, dream about Alyona, and finally give up the fight and get up at 5 to type this and then try and get Steve up and going for my 9am thang. Which is just a reprise of what I did at CruiseWorld 3 weeks ago, but still...I never sleep well, and am always a bundle of nerves before a public speaking thing, so there you have it...My day, and a slice of my life, all before the sun comes up. Hopefully after that I can relax in preparation for a big day in St Maarten Tuesday.

Which of course, I shall tell you all about, here.
And in the meantime, the obligatory plug: If you are looking to book the Norwegian Getaway, or any Norwegian cruise, or any cruise, or even a land package, I now have agents literally from coast to coast, standing by to help you. CAll me at 760.265.3687 or email me at daveholmantravel@verizon.net, or find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/daveholmantravel, and I will connect you with an agent near you!

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