Saturday, March 24, 2018

Wet Wandering

We weren't so terribly bright when we booked this cruise a couple months ago. Turns out there's this thing call Spring Break that fills Florida hotels. BJ managed to find a 'boutique' hotel that offered airport and cruise port transfers and still had a room to reserve.

We managed to carefully pack two weeks worth of clothes into our luggage, assuming the ship would have a self service laundry facility. The Veendam did last year...

It was after lunch before we went to check in at the cruise terminal. The initial rush was over and we cruised right through.

The Holland America Rotterdam would be our home for the next couple weeks. It spent some time in dry dock in November so it was just a few months since they'd freshened it up.

One of the changes was that the self service laundry facility was removed. Not sure if it was to encourage use of the "you can afford a cruise so you can afford our laundry services" full service facility or if the rumor of reducing fire hazards was the real reason.

We enjoy traveling on HAL's 'small' ships. The Rotterdam handles about 1400 passengers. We find there are many advantages when compared to ships that are double, triple, or quadruple in size. Turns out there are a few disadvantages as well but we'll save that for another time.

We departed Tampa on schedule and passed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge south of Saint Petersburg before sunset.

The next morning we were greeted by some of the Coast Guard's finest as we approached Key West. Not sure what they thought we were hauling other than seniors drag racing scooters in the passageways.

We'd been in Key West five years go, right after I retired. I didn't remember this statue, but it seemed like he had a good idea.

We wandered around town visiting a few key locations including the end of the OTHER Highway 1. Everyone knows the real one is on the west coast!

I had to take a picture of the lighthouse just in case Suzanne hasn't had a chance to visit this one yet, something I seriously doubt!

One of my key points of interest was the monument marking the southernmost point in the continental US. (There were two earth caches and a virtual cache near it.) It was a short walk, just about 1.2 miles from the ship, but we were only about half way back to town when the skies opened.

The windbreaker didn't do much for the downpour. My shirt, pants, shoes, and socks were soaked through as were BJ's. Turns out clothes have to hang for a couple days to dry out when there isn't a self-service laundry on board! That's OK, we had a couple sea days next on the agenda.

Plan B lunch was on the Lido deck where we had a view of part of town as the weather marched through.

It actually dried up and we got one more chance to get out and visit a different part of town for a bit before we left, headed next for points south and east.

(I don't know who the dude is, but he was in a park near a statue that we needed to find to fulfill the requirements of a virtual cache.)


  1. I have a lot of gaps in my lighthouse resume still, but Key West is not one of them. It was just pre-blog. Nice to be thought of in the shadow of such a stately beacon of light!

    Put a pair of glasses and a hat on that statue, and he could be your doppleganger. ;-)

  2. Love cruising. Two weeks has been our longest trip. Laundry rates are crazy. Woud like to do longer ones and will have to pay the price for the laundry or smell bad:)

    1. I'm a fan of the two week trips - makes it more worthwhile to fly to the port.