November 09, 2015

I Have To Start Somewhere

I spent all my life near or on the water. I grew up on the shores of the Hudson River where there was a State of New York sign on the corner of our property indicating that was the spot where Henry Hudson landed centuries earlier. Maybe this is where my love of the sea is rooted.

In my early twenties I moved to the Midwest near the shores of Lake Michigan. It was there that I began to think about long sea voyages, specifically on one of the tramp steamers that stopped at Burns Harbor about every 6 months. Unfortunately the need to work for a living prevented my from ever acting on such thoughts.

After retirement and moving to Florida, by 2012 I began taking frequent cruises in the Caribbean. With 5 ports within driving distance of my home cruising was easy and soon became one of my favorite pastimes. I'll start this blog with a cruise on the Freedom of the Seas in early September 2015, about my 45th.

By now I have fallen into a pretty predictable ship life pattern. I usually don't get off the ship, preferring instead to enjoy the peace and quiet of the ship while most of the passengers have gone ashore to shop or go to one of many sandy beaches. I usually request "My Time Dining" which gives me flexible dining times, and different table mates most nights, and I always book an inside cabin for the lower cost. Besides, I only shower and sleep there.

Having attained a higher loyalty status with Royal Caribbean, I often frequent the Diamond Lounge or Concierge Lounge before dinner, and then again after dinner if timing permits for free drinks and social conversation with fellow frequent cruisers.
This cruise however was just a little different. I was seated with Pat and her husband Fred nearly every evening, but in different areas of the dining room. I soon learned that in 2012 they had taken a World cruise with Princess. Having a long time interest in such an adventure I asked many questions. What a wealth of information. I don't recall ever having met travelers that had taken a world cruise before.

About the second of third night into the cruise I went to the Diamond lounge for a drink after dinner. There was only a single chair available. I asked the gentleman if I may join him and of course Chuck said yes. We chatted as we consumed more drinks. I quickly learned that he too had taken an around the world cruise the previous year. What a coincidence. I met several world cruisers in just a few days. Somebody is sending me a message.

The more I think about the experiences Pat, Fred and Chuck shared with me, the more intrigued I become with the idea. I'm not getting any younger, and if I were ever to take such a trip maybe now is the time. I mull it over in my mind as the week goes on. By Thursday afternoon while most passengers are on shore I decide to get on the Internet and see what world cruises are being offered in the next couple of years.

I get my laptop and go to the Internet Cafe on the ship. I go there not because of wireless reception, but because the adjustable office chairs and computer desks provide a comfortable place to sit and type. Much more comfortable than using the desk in my cabin. I log onto the wireless network, and enter "Princess Cruise Line" into my search bar. I wait, and wait and wait some more. Nothing happens. I soon learn that some gremlin took down all the satellite communications and no one was able to use the Internet for the rest of the cruise. I can only assume that Royal was preventing their customers from contacting the competition.

I continued to think about the possibility of a world cruise, but anything further would have to wait until I returned home.

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