From Lima, we were really making distance to make it to Los Angeles in 11 days. Actually, not even 11 full days as we arrive in LA in the early morning. Fresh off a long cycling journey, it is mindblowing the distance that we cover on the ship, covering months of travels in a matter of days (at least it’s a longer transition period than a plane where it would be covering months of travels in hours!). The ship doesn’t travel super fast with an average of about 18knots (about 36km) per hour and sea birds often fly by easily out pacing the boat but the motor is non-stop and steady. The climate outside changes daily as we move north first into the hot and humid tropics and then to the breezy Baja California and Southern California. From Lima, it was three sea days until the hot, humid and sleepy town of Puntarenas, Costa Rica, followed by a visit to the pretty beach town of San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua the next day. We could tell that there was a lot of Canadian expats who live in San Juan del Sur because for the first time, there was hockey advertised in the beachfront bars. We walked all along the beach, bodysurfed in the waves and got ourselves a fair bit of sun.
Then, it was another three sea days until the touristy Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip of Baja California. The cruising around the Sea of Cortez was fantastic because we saw pods of dolphins and turtles daily and even some humpback whales breaching by the ship. Cabo San Lucas doesn’t seem like Mexico with Cosco, Home Depot and Walmart on the hill and “Senor Frogs” as your Mexican fare but we found ways to have fun. We got the chance to play with the majestic macaws at the Dolphin Center (You can swim with dolphins here for $150 USD…which was far above our budget but little known fact, we discovered that you can visit the macaws here for free!) and frolic in the beautiful sandy beach with crystal clear turquoise water and picturesque white foamy waves. From Cabo, it was only one more sea day before arriving in Los Angeles on March 31, 2015.
Cruising is a very special experience where I have learned that we all pretend that we’re the upper-class on the Titanic (without the sinking part of course). All our needs are taken care of and everyone calls us sir and madam. We tried to get our cabin steward to call us by our names and he said, “Oh that wouldn’t be proper, sir!” and even refereed to Bryan as ‘sir’ in third person. When I went to the gym in the morning, he would say, “Oh good morning, madam! Where is sir this morning? Is sir still in bed?” There are delicious meals available anytime and you can keep ordering them to your heart’s content. Endless cooked on demand lobster buffet was pretty wonderful for us! Still, with everything, people get tired of what they get used to. As we were going up on the elevator to the breakfast buffet, another man in the elevator said to us, “Oh this again….” The meal was just a chore to him now. People would ask us if we were still enjoying the cruise and Bryan and I would look at each other bewildered – how could we not be? Everything is taken care of and we’re travelling. Psychological studies have show that people tend to have a level of happiness that they’re accustomed to. They looked at life satisfaction levels of lottery winners and found that they were not significantly happier than the normal population. In fact, they found that lottery winners derived significantly less pleasure from everyday events. I think it’s easy (and perhaps arguably evolutionary adaptive….oh dear…have we naturally selected for complainers?) to look at the negatives in our lives while the positives fade into the taken-for-granted background. I guess life on the cruise ship, and really on the whole trip, is that it is each our own responsibility to look deeply at our lives in the bigger picture around us and to make our own happiness. A cruise ship is designed to be a fantastical floating city where each person is a prince or princess. If you find yourself stressed on the cruise ship, in most cases, you brought that with you. We really enjoyed the cruise and while cruising won’t be replacing our more radically adventuring ways anytime soon, we are already looking forward to our next time on the magical floating palace!