These are the voyages of the SQL Cruise 2015 cruisers on the ocean liner Getaway. Its 7 day mission: To seek out new SQL knowledge and new islands; to boldly ask questions that no woman or man asked before.
– Cruiser Mickey Stuewe
Ship’s log, star date 2015.02.07
Dan and I embark on our first day. We plan to explore new islands and learn more about SQL. We meet several of our shipmates during the boarding process. At twelve hundred hours, we met up with our captain, Mr. Tim Ford and his first officer Ms. Amy Ford. While I begin the process of SQL knowledge transfer, Dan decides to get the lay of the ship.
Captain Ford wastes no time on our voyage. Our first class is given while our ship is still docked in port. We have a wonderful presentation by Jeff Lehmann on what is available to us with Amazon Web Services.
That evening we gathered again for an opening party where we were able to meet all the students, instructors, and families (like my husband Dan) that were joining us for the voyage. It was great to meet new people and also to catch up with fellow alumni cruisers like myself. Bill, Joe, and Matisse were all on my SQL Cruise 2 years ago. Matisse and one of the two Patricks were international students.
After the opening party, Captain Ford divided the students into groups for a scavenger hunt sponsored by Amazon Web Services. This is one of my favorite activities. We are not allowed to be in a group where we know anyone. (That meant Dan and I were on different teams.) This is a great way for the students to break the ice and start building friendships. I had so much fun running around taking pictures of the clues we found….and photo bombing the other teams. I am very proud to announce that my team won.
The last two days, I have seen some intense training, while Dan has seen some intense relaxation. In the last two days my classmates and I have been in six 1.5 hour sessions with David Klee, Kevin Kline, Jes Borland, and Grant Fritchey leading the way. These classes have been amazing. Why? Not only are they all amazing speakers whom I can listen to for hours, but the class sizes are small and the sessions are longer than what I normally see. Do you know what that means? It means technical dialog with a room full of experts. Can you give me a Boom Shaka Laka?
We also had “office hours” the last two days. We were able to ask our instructors and our fellow classmates’ questions in a relaxed environment. Our office hour topics varied from day to day. Some of the topics I participated in included sharing examples of PowerShell, understanding the consulting world better, and solving problems on VMs.
Today was our first day in an island port. We docked in St. Maarten for the day. We took a taxi with some friends to the airport beach where we rented beach chairs and watched the tide come in almost to our toes. It was very relaxing. I did go in the water, which was amazing. We ate lunch in town where our group split into two. My new friend Deidra and I went shopping, while everyone else walked leisurely back to the ship and hung out at a bar near the ship.
Ship’s log, star date 2015.02.11
Today was our second day in at island port. We docked in St. Thomas. This was the only day we set up a planned excursion and I’m so glad we did. Kevin Kline, Jes Borland, Justin Borland, Dan and myself took a sailboat out to St. John’s for some snorkeling and sun bathing. This was an amazing adventure with great memories. The ocean was wonderful, it wasn’t too hot, and we saw sea turtles while snorkeling. On the way back, they served drinks and snacks. I discovered that I like rum. I’ll leave it at that.
When we returned to the ship, we had some more office hours. Dan and I then had dinner with Kevin Kline, David Klee, and the lovely Molly Klee. Since Dan and Molly are not data professionals like the rest of us, I didn’t want us nerding out the whole night. Well, I couldn’t have been more pleased. Both Kevin and David enjoy woodworking, which my husband is very into. This gave Dan the opportunity to interact with my SQL Family, which I was thrilled with.
Today was another day at sea, which meant we spent another day in class. This day has been just as amazing with sessions from David Klee and Kevin Kline. Again the sessions were full of great knowledge and interaction of the whole class (especially Jared).
After our sessions, we had our second group dinner. This gave us yet another opportunity to ask questions and get to know more about our classmates and their families.
Today was our last day on an island. We docked in Nassau, in the Bahamas. And guess what? We had another amazing day. Thirteen of us walked up to an old fort. Along the way we picked up two non-SQL cruisers. (More the merrier.) Grant Fritchey, Tim Ford, and my husband Dan all REALLY enjoy history, so they loved visiting the fort. On our way back into town we stopped at a local eatery on the beach. They couldn’t have been nicer. They literally built us a seating area out of old upholstered benches, added umbrellas, and served us food and drinks. That was the best.
Afterwards, we broke up into two groups. One going back towards the ship and the other off to see a rum distillery. Guess which group I was in? Since we weren’t part of an organized tour, the grounds were relatively quiet. This allowed us to leisurely stroll around and ask questions. We also sat for a bit and tasted the various rums they produced.
This was my second SQL Cruise and it will not be my last. Tim and Amy Ford have really made an exceptional environment for learning. The environment is nurturing, fun, intimate, including, and friendly. You get to spend quality time with the instructors AND with your fellow SQL Family. I absolutely love PASS, but I feel very torn about who I will spend the few evenings I have with. On SQL Cruise, it’s a small group of people and you are all stuck on the boat together. Also, there is plenty of time to ask questions. There are many times at conferences where I don’t get to ask my questions because there is a 30 minute wait AFTER class to speak with the instructor. Not so on SQL Cruise. There’s office hours. There’s dinner. There’s the hot tub. There’s breakfast….
Thanks for all the fish
I want to thank Tim and Amy for spending their time putting the cruise together and handling all the logistics so that we have a place to meet on the ship for the classes, office hours, and group dinners. I also want to thank the sponsors who help keep the cost of the cruise down. Thanks go out to Amazon Web Services, SQL Sentry and Red Gate.