Saturday, November 10th -- Departing Barcelona on Voyager of the Seas
Warning! There's nothing in this blog post but "what we did on vacation"... no computer stuff.
So, back in February when I decided to return to Microsoft, I told my bride, Lisa, she would love it. Before contacting Microsoft, I looked online to see when TechEd EMEA was happening and determined it was November 4th-9th. We looked online and found a cruise visiting Nice and four Italian cities leaving Barcelona on November 10th! Score!!! We put down a deposit before I finished talking to people at Microsoft about me returning to work there... I am not embarrassed about being confident at regaining employment at Microsoft but a little chagrined at my lack of judgement about a cruise in November on the Mediterranean... especially with a wife that gets motion sickness!!!
So, we have looked forward to this trip for over 8 months! Lisa had not been to Europe before and we spent many hours talking excitedly about seeing Nice, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Naples, and Palermo (not to mention Barcelona). About 4 months ago, I realized that the Nov 10th-17th cruise ended the Saturday before Thanksgiving and a simple three more days off work could result in six more days in Europe! After much discussion (and concern about the November weather), we settled on visiting Rome from the 17th through the 23rd and flying home the middle of the Thanksgiving weekend. I am typing this on our flight home from Rome on Friday, Nov 23rd.
We were SO excited as we taxied from the hotel in Barcelona to the Voyager of the Seas (a 3000 passenger, 140K ton ship) in the Port of Barcelona. We arrived on board early and bypassed the crowds and explored the ship. We ran to the place where you sign up for excursions and we went for all we could... 9 hours of excursions in Nice/Monaco, 10 hours in Florence/Pisa, 5 hours in Rome (more on this below), 10 hours in Pompei and the Amalfi Coast, and 8 hours in Sicily wine tasting and seeing the village Corleone! We were planning to get the most out of this trip we could.
The two of us were very excited. Soon, we were in our stateroom and unpacking what turned out to be a LOT too much in the way of clothes. For me, we had business casual (for TechEd), a newly purchased tuxedo (for the formal nights), casual, spiffy-casual, etc... Just too much! At shortly after 7PM, the Voyager of the Seas (a 140,000 ton -- 3000 passenger ship) departed Barcelona for Nice and we hit our first rough weather. Lisa and I made through our 9:30 late seating for dinner (barely) before she was in need of laying down from the weather.
A worrisome start to a week on a boat!!