Tiger Cruise has come and gone and I guess I have returned to earth and will start some blogs about the entire experience. To sum it up…AWESOME. We’ve all seen much on TV and the movies about carrier ops and many of us have poured over the PBS DVD set “CARRIER”, but until you have experienced a cruise on one you have no real concept. I’ll try to start and the beginning and try to give an idea of what my 2 & ½ day cruise was like.
Packing is an experience…you are advised that there is limited space on a carrier so pack light. True! I had a rough idea of the space limitation from the tour Kat gave me the day before she deployed with the USS Abraham Lincoln. I did find a great duffel bag on the internet (from REI.com--- the “weekender”). I started early…you are not going on a Princess cruise so you need to think about things like a bath towel, washcloth, your own soap, shower sandals, etc.. What ever you’re going to need on the cruise you better bring with you! So after packing and re-packing finally got on the plane to Atlanta. There met up with Richard- he flew from Hawaii and was getting a little more tired of planes than I was for sure! We hit it right off….lots of Navy talk and lots of NavyDads.com talk as well. It was a great hour on the ground!
We were separated on the plane by several rows. After takeoff I could hear talk several rows in back of me…a gentleman (Chuck) was telling someone about the Tiger Cruise and what it was all about so I knew Richard and I were not the only ones feeling like a kid on Christmas eve. We were all pretty excited! The three of us met up at the Jacksonville airport waiting for rides to our respective hotels and agreed to meet for some beverage at my hotel (the Travelodge) a little later. I knew that Fred and his father-in-law Tom had flown in earlier and were also staying at the Travelodge.
Richard, Chuck and I met at the bar and had a nice cold beer to help us get acquainted. Called Fred and he came down and we’re proceeded to have a good time talking about our kids, the navy and naturally describing NavyDads to Chuck….he wasn’t aware of the site and promised to check it out when he got back home to Atlanta.
Fred’s father-in-law Tom was not feeling well, but he came a little later and we took the shuttle to the Longhorn grill…naturally more Navy talk and a lot of car talk as well. Richard and I had worn NavyDads tee-shirts that I had printed up and several people made note of the organization…great PR! We all agreed we wanted to be at the very front of the line, so all agree to meet up EARLY and get to the USO at Jacksonville Airport to get to the front of the line. All knew it was going to be a restless night in anticipation!