Posted by: Jerry Garrett | April 29, 2012

Day 14: Adventure of the Seas Trans Atlantic Cruise

Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas leaves Malaga last night, headed for Valencia. (Jerry Garrett Photos)

MALAGA, Spain

Here we are on Day 14 of our 13-day Trans Atlantic Cruise on Adventure of the Seas.

What is going on?

Well, our cruise is over. The ship continues on, and we are staying behind in Malaga. I suppose we should calculate this as Day 1 of our adventure in Spain. (There’s a bullfight “sin picadores” in Marbella tonight!)

For passengers, like us, a cruise is a cruise – however many days it is. And then it is over. We are deposited on dry land. And the ship goes on.

It is on something of a never-ending journey, if you think of it.

Adventure of the Seas has been in pretty much continuous service since it left the shipyard when it was launched in August 2001.

The ship’s life reminds me of a story a friend once told of a prosperous jet ski business he once had in a western Pacific port. He said the jet skis were so popular with the tourists – and the weather there so favorable, “We kept them going 24 hours a day. One guy would come in at the end of his rental, and get off, and another guy would get on it and take off. We would never even turn them off.”

I guess he finally sold the jet ski business, so I don’t know if the jet skis are still rockin’ around the clock. But Adventure of the Seas is (and it will keep going until sometime in 2014, when it is scheduled for a regular tuneup and drydock).

The ship arrived before dawn Saturday at Malaga’s fancy new port facility. About 2,500 of the 2,800 guests dis-embarked by 9 a.m. (The remainder had either booked more stops, or had booked the next cruise the ship was going on; so they stayed onboard.) The crew cleaned and prepped the ship for the next batch of cruisers, booked on a seven-day circle tour of the Mediterranean (Valencia, Livorno, Rome, Sardinia and eventually back to Malaga). New supplies were loaded, last week’s trash hauled off. And by 11 a.m., the guests were already being loaded (they immediately all headed for the Windjammer buffet, no doubt).

A little after 6 p.m., from the beach at Cala del Moral, we caught sight of the ship leaving the port of Malaga, on its way to Valencia.

It would be docked there by Sunday morning.

That sort of drove home the fact, that although our Trans Atlantic journey was an epic tale in our lives, we were merely a footnote in one brief chapter in the saga of a ship.

Jerry Garrett

April 29, 2012

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Responses

  1. It was wonderful to follow along with you. I was all over the board with trying to decide if I was envious of you or not. You are so right that a cruise is what you make it. I’ve heard it said that the cruise itself IS the destination. Once you realize that, the better for you and your shipmates.

    I really appreciated you pointing out the differences between the crosser and cruiser. The differences may seem slight to the Captain but those little nuances can make a world of difference on a long journey.

    I kept trying to imagine those brave souls, from decades ago, who managed to make these crossings in STEERAGE!! My great grand-father, for instance, who came over at 16 – ALONE!! – and built our now-prosperous little family. Wow. I’m certain that he didn’t look back from port in wonder of the emptying and refilling of the place he called “home” for that week at sea. Home was yet to be made for him. We really are so very fortunate to live in this modern life with it’s carpeted days of the week — and to be able to analyze it all, as we are doing, just for fun.

    I really loved your reports. Your writing, with just the right mix of humor and factual tidbits served us up some very pleasant daily reading. Thanks also for bringing the Canary Islands to light. I’m most anxious to examine that destination for a future visit. Was that your favorite stop?

    And…… are there any more cruises in your future?

    • Thanks for your thoughts. Well said. Modern-day ocean crossings, of course, have no comparison to those in the days our ancestors. But they make us realize the enormity of what they did to get to America. The sea can be plenty scary, even for ship as large as ours. We went through two very significant storms. The one the night before we arrived in the Canary Islands was the most dramatic from my viewpoint, with the spray of the waves completely drenching decks 14 stories high, the bow porpoising through breaking waves. It was like the special effects created for a Hollywood movie. But the captain said the storm we encountered the night we left the Madeira Islands was stronger. It hit the ship from the port side, and sent rolling swells against us sideways for hours. We were never in any real danger, but the power of the seas was majestic, wild and wonderful to behold.
      Of all the places we visited, Funchal in the Madeira Islands seemed to be everyone’s favorite, including mine. You know it must be good when the crew is trying to get off the ship too, to go see it! The trees, the flowers, the architecture, the food, the setting, the climate, the people – all amazing.
      We are already planning on flying back to Funchal to spend a week there.
      We will probably go back to St. Maarten sometime as well. The color of the water there was breathtaking. The people were wonderful. The town was charming in an old Jamaican kind of style. The food was delicious. And the prices were ridiculously, truly low. As an example, a liter of our favorite beverage was $10 in St. Maarten. In Tenerife, it was $16. At the “duty free” store at the Madrid airport it was $36! (Don’t get me started on the whole duty free ripoff).
      We would also love a trip back to delightful Tenerife, but the world is so big, and there are so many places we haven’t visited yet, that Tenerife might have to wait. I don’t think it will change much before we can manage a return visit; it hasn’t changed a whole lot in the past few centuries! (Just kidding.)
      We don’t know when or where our next cruise might be. We would like it to be this fall. But we may have to wait a couple more months before any bargains pop up (in our frugal traveler budget). We previously considered a 28-day cruise from Florida to Venice, Italy, and a 27-day Sydney, Australia, to San Francisco run. The Adventure of the Seas itinerary won out over those choices this time. But next fall, when those ships turn around and go back the other way to be re-positioned again on those routes, opportunities may present themselves again. I’m looking for Asia-Middle East transits, Pacific transits and west coast-to-east coast routes in the Western Hemisphere.
      I’ve flown around the world once, and now I’m interested in completing a circumnavigation of the globe at sea. But I think we have to break it up in manageable chunks of time and distance. Right now, a couple of weeks straight at the same buffet is enough for me.
      Thanks again for writing. And thanks for reading.


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