Through the Porthole…Brightly
I’m a veteran now. I’m hardly alone. On our ship, Adventure of the Seas, attendance was 3,600, not counting a crew of approximately 1,800.
There are cruises to the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, European rivers, even from Moscow to St Petersburg. You unpack once, return to your own dining room and your own stateroom each night, and live in luxury while seeing the world.
Adventure boasts 14 decks, three swimming pools, a rock climbing wall, a miniature golf course, a skateboarding track, and an ice rink. There was a full service spa and gym, complete with a beautiful young acupuncturist with an exotic name, and two personal trainers. There was a promenade, quite similar to a small city street, with shopping and restaurants on both sides. There was a computer room, and even a library. There were multiple bars.
Nearly every day we stopped at a tropical paradise to shop or swim. Imagine that! New stores every day. White coral sand beaches, and a turquoise ocean. What’s not to like?
There were frequent shows, including everything from Beatlemania Live to a very fine ice show. There were two parades that I know of, featuring elaborately costumed crew members. There was an art auction. There was even a juggler, and a very funny one, at that.
It was hard to make up your mind what to do first, or next. Recline by the pool and wait for the waiter to bring you a piña colada, go shopping at the watch sale, check out the casino, or learn to ice skate?
Dining was accomplished primarily in a huge dining room with a buffet that included three to five main courses, sandwiches, fruit, salads, pizza, etc, etc. The ship served 9,000 meals per day, 9,000 very good meals, at that.
There were three more formal dining rooms, where breakfast and dinner were served on white tablecloths, and where I encountered what might have been the best salad bar I’ve ever seen. Food was free. You could eat as much as you liked. It was not infrequent to see passengers ordering three appetizers, and sometimes two dinners. Waiters just kept bringing it on, charming and attentive always.
Somewhere in Never Never Land, completely invisible, the crew washed our towels twice a day, baked bread throughout the night, cleaned and painted, put on talent shows for each other, worked out in their gym, visited their own buffet, and made new friends from around the world.
Our primary waiter, who stayed with us all week, was a Filipino gentleman who had been working on cruise ships for 22 years. He was away from home for six months at a time and home for two. He supported his wife and six children, all of whom have just about completed their educations. He said he might do one more, as he had never been to Europe, but retirement was calling.
A fascinating week. Yes, thanks, I would like another drink. And could you bring me a pillow?