In two days I am leaving on a cruise from London and visiting ports in Scandinavia, Russia and Estonia. I am very excited, as you can imagine, but also stressed at the amount that I have to accomplish before I leave. I am going to be gone for two full weeks! (any volunteers to pick up my mail?) The best part is that I am going in the name of "work" (i.e. for free) where my sole responsibilities are:
1) Make sure the tour goes well (observe)Here is a map of the itinerary:
2) Interact with the clients (schmooze)
3) Report back to our sales team what the highlights and selling
points are for this tour (eat, drink, and be merry).
The ship, The Jewel of the Seas, is so enormous I can't even believe she floats. The passenger capacity is just over 2500 people, which is slightly larger (ummm 1900 more people larger) than the ship I sailed on with Semester at Sea. The ship includes:
- Fitness Center
- Day Spa
- Rock Climbing Wall
- Solarium with indoor pool
- Pool deck with outdoor pool
- Miniature Golf Course (are you shitting me??!)
- "Adventure Beach" with real waterslides
- Billiard Room
- Champagne Bar (hello!)
- Some Huge Theatre
The only sad thing is that I can't take any friends/family with me (since it is in the name of work and all), so surely I will be hanging out a lot with the tour director leading this group, David W.-- a fine british chap who I met while in London in March. But hell, with 2500 people aboard, I am sure I can find a friend or two who will sit next to me at the slot machines. I know I have been lucky to have traveled to so many amazing places... but I feel like I am always wishing there was someone next to me to nudge and say, "Hey! Look at THAT!". Maybe I should just start nudging random strangers.
I am most looking forward to our 2 days in St. Petersburg, Russia (not Florida). ST.P. has always been high on my list of places to go. I could spend both full days walking around the Hermitage, but time will be short so I will have to make the most of it.
The VERY GOOD news is that plans are now underway for my trip to see U2 in Amsterdam in July. I was lucky enough to win roundtrip tickets to Europe on Air France at a company function a little while ago, so I have cashed them in and am bringing Ashlee with me. We leave on July 13th, I just got the etickets 10 minutes ago. Only 64 days to go!
Speaking of Amsterdam, I have really been missing it lately, so knowing a visit in the near future is really lifting my mood. Maybe it is because I am reading a book called My 'Dam Life: Three Years in Holland by Sean Condon right now. It's not the best book I've read, but his expat stint in Amsterdam took place around the same time that I lived there, so reading the book has made me a bit nostalgic.
I am looking forward to two weeks away from my desk, and I will hopefully have some time to recharge my batteries and shake off my winter blues. By the time I get back June is here, and that means summer! While away, I plan to read a lot, relax a lot, get a few massages, see some amazing new places, eat some food, work it off, get gussied up during the three formal dinners, and flirt with random strangers. Life is good.