The “A-B-C’s” of Cruising…

Johnny-on-the-Spot … by John Foster …

My wife and I just experienced our first cruise.

We sailed on the Princess Cruiseline, the actual “Love Boat” of TV series fame.

Everyday at noon aboard ship, prior to the captain’s announcements, they played the opening few bars of the “Love Boat” theme on the ship’s horns.

Didn’t see Gopher or Julie, though.

We visited the “ABC” islands in the southern Caribbean.

Aruba, Bonair and Curacao/.

But we visited them in reverse alphabetical order.

Curacao is a Dutch-Caribbean island with the capital of Willemstad.

Bonar is also an island municipality of the Netherlands and its’ capital is Kralendijk.

Aruba, officially known as the Country of Aruba, is also a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and its’ capital city is Oranjestad.

We were also quite close to South America.

Some thoughts and observations of our excursion.

This cruise ship was immense.

We hade 4,000 people o-board and the only time it seemed that crowded was at dinner and on New Year’s Eve when everyone seemed to be on the top (17th) deck.

My physically-large grandson said he felt like a gorilla in a phone booth when using the bathroom or shower.

The weather was quite nice for late December/early January with high’s in the low to mid 80’s. The partly cloudy days on shore were nice to keep the equatorial sun from being too strong on out pale, Midwestern bodies.

Rather than skin diving, snorkeling or beach time, we chose to take “cultural” tours to better sample what island life would be like.

It was clearly evident how rough COVID was on those islands.

Without tourism, it would have been a tough time to be an islander.

The winter storms that impacted us prior to Christmas kept about 125 ship staffers from leaving with us.

We even had a comedian who missed connected and had to join the cruise later.

It is really a “potpourri of people”.

They fussed over you and made you feel very comfortable and filled your every need.

One of my favorites was a young man from Thailand with a name than had a zillion consonants and one vowel.

Every time he brought me an adult beverage and flipped the napkin to the table where it landed more precisely than I could every place it.

He was even a mind-reader and always had a fresh liquid libation for me when its’ predecessor was finished.

Our room valet was Alvin.

He always had a smile, called us by name and, in our room, whenever my wife left her sweater over the back of the chair, we would return to find it neatly folded and laying on the bed.

Service in the formal dining areas was amazing.

It started with placing your napkin in your laps and numerous silverware changes during meal courses.

Water glasses were never empty.

Our breakfast buffets were expansive and I was most-delighted to find Jif peanut butter to apply to me wheat toast with my morning coffee.

We didn’t use the upper deck pools and hot tubs.

That’s where we did our “people-watching”.

Suffice it to say, lots of people don’t care what they wear or who sees them in it at the pool.

Our suite was on then 10th deck (Carribe) and we had a patio that allowed us to sit outside and watch the water roll by or to see Cuba, Haiti and others from afar.

On our final night at sea, my son-in-law and I sat on the patio, sipped adult beverages and watched the constellation Orion rise and eventually pass above us.

Between the 5th and 7th deck is a huge common area that is surrounded by spiral staircases and a huge chandelier which made me forget I was even on a boat.

Entertainment was top-notch and we played lots of games like Trivia and Bingo.

Even though there are elevators, we usually chose to walk the carpeted stairs which turned out to be a good workout.

Due to travel limitations of some of our party members, we drove to Fort Lauderdale and arrived in 23 degree weather.

That made the iguanas more than a bit sluggish.

But when we headed north in January3rd, we needed the air conditioning on.

By the way, Florida is a LONG state.

And, we had to stop at a Buc-ees in Georgia.

To me it’s just a Speedway on steroids.

But, it was a wonderful time away and my bride and I will definately take another cruise on of these days.

However, the bext part was being happy top be back home.

Again.

In Indiana.

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