Cruising United States

Cruisin’: The good news-it wasn’t bed bugs!

Our first day at sea had its ups and downs (although the ship itself was very stable ;), and on Sunday we were ready for our first port of call. We’d all been to Florida, so this port seemed a little ho-hum. But we’d be able to use our cell phones and purchase a case of water. Yay for the little things!

I try out an art discussion

Since the ship didn’t arrive in port until about noon, we had the morning for more ship activities. We made it to the Windjammer around 7:30 for a buffet breakfast. I’m not sure where my husband and girls went, but at 10:30 I attended the Peter Max discussion in the art gallery.

First, I should say that I really love art. I took a few art history classes in college and they practically made me an expert (kidding). But I do love to go to art museums, visit national galleries and get very excited about seeing art I’ve learned about. Since high school I’ve also collected small paintings and prints of my travels.

I was excited about the art gallery, but it didn’t match my expectations. I thought it would focus more on the local art and artists of the places we’d sail to. Wouldn’t that make sense? Instead, the gallery offered mostly reproductions of well-known works. There were some original Peter Max pieces, but many of those were also reproduction series.

So while I wasn’t going to add to my collection of tiny paintings, I took the time to learn about Peter Max and his work. It was interesting. My uncle (who is an actual artist and has met Peter Max) and cousin also showed up. I’m glad I went, but I do wish the art gallery much different.

Our Excursions

As a family, the seventeen of us had gone back and forth a lot about the different excursions for this port. In the end, we all went our own ways. My brother and his family decided to meet up with my sister-in-law’s family, who live close by. One uncle and his family met up with friends. My other uncle, cousin, grandmother and great-aunt went to visit Kennedy Space Center. My family and parents went to the beach.

Why did we decide on the beach? I know, it seems boring. We’d gone back and forth about the air boat tours, the space center and the shuttle to the beach. Our main difficulty in picking an excursion was our arrival time.

-A noon arrival meant the earliest we’d reach the space center was 1-1:30. We we were worried that it would already be very crowded. It closed at 6, which limited our time. Plus, it was very expensive to get a shuttle or taxi, on top of expensive tickets. I’d like to devote more time and get to the space center early. Maybe another trip.

Likewise, the reviews of the boat tours suggested avoiding afternoon tours. It would be hot and animals would be scarce. Disney and Universal were also out. I didn’t want to sit on a shuttle for over an hour both ways and get at best 5 hours in the park during the busiest time of day.

So, the night before we bought Ron Jon shuttle tickets. The ride would be short and we could relax under an umbrella if it was too hot.

The Ron Jon Experience

We were at the Lyric Theater around 12:40 to disembark. The shuttle was about 10 minutes and would continuously take people back. It was very hot when we got off at the Ron Jon store. My husband is a surfer, but is not into Ron Jon. He feels the brand is too commercialized. Still, we took a little time to browse the store. He found the Kelly Slater sculpture.

Umbrellas were a reasonable $10/day to rent, so we rented two. We also grabbed some food at a nearby store. After a short but hot walk, we found the beach breezy and comfortable. The shade of the umbrellas made it perfect. My mom rented a chair but everyone else passed.

They’re not bed bugs! They’re sea lice!

The water was very warm. It would have been very enjoyable had it not been for the dangerous sea life. What? Dangerous sea life? Yes, the sign at the lifeguard stand warned us to watch for jellyfish. I thought it meant larger, visible jellyfish. What it ended up meaning were jellyfish larvae or sea lice.

What’s the problem with sea lice? It turns out they get caught under bathing suits and become rightfully distressed. They bite. BUT you don’t develop a reaction for a few hours to days. Two nights later Bean woke up itchy and with red bumps all over. I immediately thought it was bed bugs. I searched the beds and found nothing. Then I noticed the bites were all on her torso and bottom. I’d expect bed bugs to bite arms and exposed skin.

Could it have been flies at the beach? An allergic reaction? After a while I remembered the dangerous sea life flag and started searching. I realized her reaction fit all the check for sea lice. Nothing for a day or so, bumps under the bathing suit area, intense itching. She was much better after come anti-itch cream.

Making our way back

Besides the sea lice our day was entirely uneventful. We left the beach around 5 and popped into some stores. I had a lot of fun browsing RK Studio with its selection of local and recycled art. We bought some unique items. Love not having to worry about flying home with glass!

We also grabbed a case of water to have for the week. My husband had a good time lugging it back to the ship. It was still fairly quiet when we got back around 6, so my family took advantage of short Flowrider lines. They got some pre-dinner ice cream from the self-serve machine, then we had the buffet at the Windjammer.

Nighttime entertainment was a movie in the Lyric Theater for me and the girls. We found my cousin there and watched I Can Only Imagine with her. I was very glad the movie was appropriate for all ages. Nice move.

My husband enjoyed watching the ship arrive and leave port, so he took some departure pictures (around 9 pm). Not a bad day!

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