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When we left for our cruise of Tampa, the cold weather from Erie finally caught up with us. While the high temperature here that Sunday was around 15 degrees, it was 66 degrees, cloudy and windy in Tampa. Better than here but not exactly what we were hoping for.

This wind created some very choppy seas as we left. Swells averaged 7 to 12 feet with lots of white caps. Our ship, the Veendam from the Holland America Line, was really a pretty small ship compared to some of the newer ships, especially in other lines, which was good for this weather, because these cruise ships with the wind blowing it are like giant sails. The bigger the ship, the more it gets tossed around. And it swayed and rocked. Back and forth. Whooosh! Whooosh!

My father, who is a travel agent, has been on tons of cruises with over 50 days on board. He said this was the worst that he had ever been on. Some of the crew remarked the same thing. When you walked, you went to the left and then to the right. Fortunately, the hallways are pretty narrow so that you had walls for support.

When you had to cross large open spaces, you sort of had to pick your mark and when the ship dipped, you ran to your mark. We called it the walk-run method. One might have thought that someone had spiked the coffee... and the tea, and the pop, and... Everybody looked like they were falling-down drunk. So people wouldn't get the wrong idea, for the first day I told people that I was a consultant because I didn't want somebody calling back here and telling you all that they had seen your pastor stumbling through the halls. Not really. I just told them we didn't want the communion wine to be wasted.

Of course, a few people fared worse than others, and they "tossed their cookies." I felt bad for them, but since I wasn't feeling real well myself, I didn't want to get too close. Sometimes the smell can causes some of us to have a "gag reflex." But I did feel bad for them. One woman was so apologetic. She felt really bad.

I thought about all the passengers who felt ill-suited for that first night. We all felt foolish walking into walls and slamming into doors. I'm sure we all looked pretty stupid walking around like we did. But we didn't let it stop us. I'm sure some people were probably too sick to leave their cabins, but for the most part, people went about the ship to check everything out.

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