Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Cruising, part 8

So here we are on the last full day of the cruise. We’ll disembark tomorrow morning and that will be that. We came back from lunch to find a US Custom declaration form and the questionnaire on how was the cruise.

I think that’s been a topic of discussion amongst a lot of the passengers. We’re cruise ship virgins, and I don’t think we’ve hit any others in that category. I’m sure they’re here, we just haven’t met them. Most have done several cruises at this point. We met one couple who said this was their 18th cruise. I overheard a guy who said this was his fifth...this year.

None of them seemed especially wowed. They didn’t hate the cruise. They thought it was perfectly fine. But they had all been on better ones with other cruise lines (Royal Caribbean and Princess were cited as being better). And while this was our first and we enjoyed ourselves, it certainly could have been better.

I think one of the disappointments was that since we were travelling at Christmas and New Years, we were expecting more festivities. This was a cruise that happened to take place over the holidays, rather than a holiday cruise. There’s a difference there, obviously. It’s almost like the cruise line was a bit afraid of offending people who weren’t Christians. I’m not Christian, but I’m not going to be offended if someone wishes me a Merry Christmas or a Happy Hanukah. It’s the holiday season. Enjoy it, whatever it’s called. And the cruise line should have done more to celebrate the occasion.

It’s a nice ship, I like the decor. The staff has been very friendly, especially our marvelous waitress, who is originally from Poland, and speaks English in a marvelous singing accent. And our room stewart, who keeps making animals our of towels and leaving them on our bed. Mercifully, we haven’t encountered to many cases of the passengers being asses to the staff.

I think the disappointments have been the food, especially in the main meal in the evening, and the ship board activities, which have been kind of lame. Also, the constant attempts to milk money from you in any number of ways. I appreciate all cruise ships probably do this, but really, it’s exhausting dealing with it going on all the time.

Will we do another cruise? Maybe, but it’s not on the immediate priority travel list and nothing we’ve experienced on this trip made us want to bump off other planned vacations for another cruise. We’ll get around to the Panama Canal eventually, but I think Italy, Australia, Costa Rica and a couple of other trips will come first.

As for the islands, I think we would come back and visit both St. Lucia and Tortola. St. Maarten was nice and all, but it was mostly for the shopping. St, Kitt’s just seemed kind of bland. I know there is much more than than what we saw, but there wasn’t enough to make us want to go back and discover it.

St. Lucia is a lovely tropical paradise. It’s beautiful, with nice people and amazing beaches. I could easily go back and spend another week there. As for Tortola, well, I think I need to either learn to swim or sail first, but it’s a lovely island. And as part of the British Virgin Islands, there are plenty of other islands nearby and easily accessible to explore. I don’t think it would be hard to kill a couple of weeks there. For that matter, if someone made Cathy a decent enough job offer, I suspect we’d be moving there in short order.

I don’t mean this to sound like a downer post. We’ve had a really good time the past couple of weeks and it tends to be easier to focus on the negative than the positive. It was a much need break of warmth and sunlight. Aside from wanting to see Boo and having to go back to work so that we can pay for this vacation, we’re quite happy to stay here. Iqaluit is certainly going to be a shock to the system.

But hey, it’s been fun while it lasted.

1 comment:

Mireille Sampson said...

Why is everyone in the West now afraid to have holiday festivities?

Xmas, Hanuka and Eid all at the same time and yet nada?

Here I am, in an Islamic state - and I still couldn't get away from the fucking Xmas music at the mall. They even had an enormous great Xmas tree...surreal.