Dog guides, humans enjoyed their time at sea

Our cabin was an inner ship cabin without windows. The room was a comfortable size for all of us: Nancy my wife, Telly my dog guide and me. We had a nice sleep, wakening on this second day of our journey with 3,700 others.

First thing, Telly went from one side of the bed to the other; he wanted to eat. He followed me around the cabin as I got his food ready for him. The room was carpeted, so his bowl wouldn’t slide around as he buried his nose in the bowl to get the last tiny morsel of food. He licked it clean.

Our cabin was an inner ship cabin without windows. The room was a comfortable size for all of us: Nancy my wife, Telly my dog guide and me. We had a nice sleep, wakening on this second day of our journey with 3,700 others.

First thing, Telly went from one side of the bed to the other; he wanted to eat. He followed me around the cabin as I got his food ready for him. The room was carpeted, so his bowl wouldn’t slide around as he buried his nose in the bowl to get the last tiny morsel of food. He licked it clean.

We took Telly out to relieve himself. All of the dog guideson board were relieved in three sand/wood chip boxes in anenclosed area. Telly wasn’t too sure about how to use the boxes. He planted his front feet in the box but repeatedly missed the box. It seemed like the box was too small for him. The boxes were initially placed under a stairway on the seventh deck, on a cement floor. One of our group cracked his head open on the stairway. After that, the boxes were moved to an unobstructed area. We would often stand in line as each person gave the dogs the time they needed to do their jobs. It seemed to me the dogs took this opportunity as a social time since they’d wait in line with other dog guide travelers. Overall, all the dogs got along and had a fine vacation with one another.

As Nancy and I traveled around the huge ship, we often got turned around. Our cabinsteward, Sadre, would likewise be a huge help while we were on board the Star Princess. People we met along the way were likewise confused. We spent part of the first day touring around the ship. The narrow hall ways were often partially blocked with cleaning carts. Since the halls on either the port or starboard were what seemed to me as less than three feet across, it was interesting for me to navigate my dog among these obstacles.

We used the elevators a lot. The conversation of elevator passengers often focused on our dogs. We were often stopped in hallways or on our way to the theater by people who had what seemed like a million questions. Since we were among approximately 10 people who had a dog guide on board, we were sort of celebrities. It was all fun. Most of the people who talked with us said how badly they missed their dogs.

I wondered how we would handle the rolling of the ship at sea. Should we take a Dramamine? Should Telly take one? How does a dog handle sea sickness anyway? Neither of us humans got sick the first full day at sea, thanks to medications. If Telly didn’t feel good, he surely didn’t show it.

After breakfast, we went at the Wheel House Bar and Grill where we were photographed and met others in our group and got to know each other. Nancy, Telly and I, were the only travelers from Minnesota. Lynn and Alice, and Alice’s dog guide Kato; Kristina and Andy, and Andy’s dog guide Loren; Carol and Joe, and Joe’s dog guide Mogan, and Joyce and her dog guide Vivian were all from California. Jim and Paco were also from California. Jim’s dog guide Bonko was put down last year. Chris and Richard, and Richard’s dog guide Smithers, were from Canada. Tim flew directly to San Francisco from Ireland, with his dog guide Granger. Californians Irene and Andi were our Dimensions in Travel tour guides. Greg, from Tennessee, volunteered his services as a veterinarian. A larger group met later to plan the shore tours, with four tours in four days. Our first port-of-call was Acapulco, with a private van tour.

Our next trip was a bus tour of the area around Xiwantanayo. This would be our first ride on a tender, a boat that ferried passengers to and from shore to ship. It would be a long boat ride, about a half hour from ship to shore. A café stop with light lunch was included. We would have a chance to buy jewelry, bracelets and trinkets at a Mexican flea market. On that tour we met fellow passengers from outside of our little group. The next tour was of Puerto Vallarta. We caught a motor coach to the marine park where guests would swim with the dolphins including Nancy and me. Other members of our group went off shopping.

Our last shore excursion was to Cabo San Lucas, with a couple of places of interest for us. We had about four hours to swim in the ocean, dine at an outdoor café and shopped in more flea markets. We signed up for an hour tour on a boat around the sea of Cortez.

Our dining options onboard were the Capri and the Porto Fina, both with excellent food and service. The waiters and waitresses treated all of us like royalty. They would hold our chairs as we sat down, push our chairs in to move each person closer to the table, And unfold the cloth napkins and place each on the lap of the person at the table. On a dressup day all guests had to wear formal attire. Nancy wore one of her finest outfits. A photographer took pictures of passengers as he went from table to table.

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