Different cruise lines are known for different things: Princess is affordable, drawing families and couples, Royal Caribbean has mammoth ships with ice rinks and
When Andrew and I arrived at Pier 6 in
1. Bingo is very popular. Andrew and I caught the end of the final bingo game while waiting for the next show to start. An eerie diaglogue ensued between the announcer and his subjects, he’d pull a number and after announcing it, the group would intone the proper answer in unison--if it had been in Latin and a bit less energetic I would have thought it'd stumbled into mass. For example:
“I-66! I-66! Get your kicks . . .”
Here he would pause and the audience would reply: “On Route 66!”
Or perhaps he’d say, “B-7! I said B-7! Where do all the good bees go when they die?”
And the group would say with a slight buzzing quality, “Bees-heaven!”
It was like walking into some secret society, one with its own set of bylaws and behavior that would warrant exploration during a National Geographic special. Only problem was, when they finally had a winner—Gladys Merfred from
3. So, conversely, if you have a later dinner seating the world is your oyster—when 99% of the ship is in bed by nine you’ve got it to yourself.
4. But be prepared because it also means that come 6 am all those who can walk without assistance are doing their morning deck-walk on Deck Six’s quarter-mile teak loop. Kind of a mall walkers gone wild. I stepped outside my door one morning to catch the sunrise and was nearly trampled by a fleet of old men in Bermuda shorts, sneakers and navy blue dress socks all vigorously marching counter-clockwise.
5. The swimming pool is usually available without interruption day or night—ditto the weight room. I had the treadmills and salt water pool all to myself whenever I wanted them. On Deck Twelve the M.S. Veendam has a “teens only” area that’s called The Loft. Equipped with a waterfall, hammocks and a tropical theme it was one of the coolest places on the ship. I never saw one teen use it. Andrew wanted to sneak in but I put my foot down, afraid they’d cart him away.
6. But not so with the hot tub which was so popular it was “sagging” room only. The white wrinkled bodies tended to resemble chickens stewing in a pot. But who wants a hot tub in 90 degrees anyway, right? I’m fine with sticking to the pool.
7. You won’t have to dodge people on the stairs, they’re all in the elevators.
8. You’re not going to run out of pizza at the snack bar with the passengers all taking Nexium and worrying about heartburn. The spicy stuff is all mine.
10. However, be careful as this can work to your disadvantage. We were booked on a shore excursion to go to
We were crushed, but not as disappointed as the shore excursion guy at the front desk. He said that as long as he’d been at the job not once had they had enough people to make the excursion, evidently there’s no interest in snorkeling with sharks when you're taking high blood pressure medication. Oh how he’s longed to make that trip. So it’s a dicey situation, can go either way.
11. With that many elderly people on a ship, Andrew wondered if they’d ever had anyone make the Ultimate Disembarkation. I noticed they had ambulances on hand at the pier. Odds are it’s had to have happened. We wondered how
12. Even though you’re 36 with four kids and crows’ feet you can be mistaken for a honeymooning newlywed. Don’t be surprised if you’re referred to as “kids” with kindly affection. Enjoy it or not. I chose to be flattered.
Here are a couple tiny clips of that last day at sea if you have nothing better to do.
More about the Thursday Thirteen meme