Archive for the 'Cruise Stories' Category


With a whole day between parties, I’ve finally gotten back to work. In this chapter, the medical mystery takes additional form. I was initially inclined to leave it out altogether, but it was such a major part of my experience (and of life since), I decided I couldn’t tell the story without it.

Kris muttered a mild expletive, and I felt myself flush.

“Six-Six-Zero! Are you here?” said the crewmember.

Just barely audible above the din, two voices meekly replied. “Here.”

Kris and I laughed simultaneously. “They don’t sound too sure about it,” I said.

“Well, that’s a

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Roll Call

I love the sound of children laughing. Our two boys are downstairs watching cartoons, and the sounds of delight reach all the way upstairs to my office. Of course, the children are aged 20 and 26, and they’re watching The Simpsons. No matter how much things change…

I was almost disappointed when I felt the moment of weightlessness indicating that we were going down. As I studied the elevator’s button panel, the meaning of the “UP” display finally dawned on me.

“Do you know what “UP” means,” I asked Kris.

“Is that a metaphysical or a rhetorical

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Going “UP”

For our anniversary, the boys sent us to dinner and a movie. We saw King Kong, and I’m still dizzy from the Empire State Building scene. Wow…

On the couch was a shopping bag full of goodies from the APHC people – including CDs, a songbook, a thick book of poetry and some stainless steel mugs. The mugs were decorated with nautical flag symbols:

Twenty-six nautical flags correspond to the letters of the alphabet, although each has a special meaning when flown alone. Taken as individual letters, these flags say APHC.

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Entry Denied

Today, Kris and I celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary. Seems like yesterday…

“Are you checked in?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Pat, waiving her ticket book and welcome-aboard folder. “I didn’t have any problem.”

“Good. Kris is right over there,” I said. “Why don’t you keep her company while we get this straightened out?”

“OK, good luck,” said Pat, and she wandered off.

I opened my portfolio to the mother’s section, and extracted the entire transaction record for their booking. My mother finally noticed that I was there. “Sheesh, Chester. Nobody had trouble but me?” she asked.

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Picture This

I took advantage of my “football widower” time today to write part 10 of the story (part 60 in a series of 4 stories). The Patriots must have done well, because I didn’t hear Kris yelling – much…

“Never mind mom,” said Kris. “Where’s the ship?”

Pat came to my rescue. “Your mother is here – she just went to the little girl’s room.”

“Wait ‘til you hear her story,” said Kris.

“Isn’t it just unbelievable?” added Pat.

I was certain I’d hear all about it in due time (or is that “do time”?), so I didn’t press

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To the Ship

It has been a long time since we’ve seen a foot of snow here in New Hampshire, but not quite long enough. It isn’t even winter yet…

Somehow, her answer did not make me feel the least bit better. I did some quick calculations in my head. “Well, if it turns out that there is no bus, I’ll need to know about it no later that 9:00 a.m. on Saturday. That is the latest I could leave here, get down to pick you up and still make it to the dock before they leave without us.”
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Making Do

After we hung up, I returned to the keyboard. My mood must have been transmitted through the keys, as HAL became docile and cooperative. The kayak tour in Halifax that Kris wanted was sold out, so I waitlisted her and booked the two of us on the Titanic museum tour. By bedtime, the mothers were confirmed for Peggy’s cove, and three of us were destined for the Bell museum in Sydney. Too tired to continue, I saved Bar Harbor for day three.

I spent the following morning searching for an independent operator who could replicate the limo & lunch tour…

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I Meet HAL

HAL – Holland America Lines…

It all started innocently enough. The computer wanted to know our names and booking number, and I willingly complied.

HAL: Welcome, Kristine. Would you like to experience the convenience of booking excursions for another party at the same time as you book your own?
Me: It’s Richard (my real name) here, but yes, I think it would be very handy to book everyone at the same time. Thanks for offering…
HAL: Very good, madam. Please enter the name and booking number of the first additional

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A Grand Plan

“They just announced that the shore excursions are available for booking,” I said. “I think we should act fast.”

“Well what are the options?” Kris asked.

“The standard HAL excursions,” I said.

“What are they?”

“You never looked at the list?”

“No. Was I supposed to?”

“I suggested it a long time ago.”

“Well, I didn’t look. Tell me what they have.”

Oh, boy… I got my telephone headset and plugged it in. “Still there?” I asked.

“Yeah. Go ahead.”

Over the next hour, I read and re-read the available excursions. For Kris, only one excursion stood out – a

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Nothing. Nada. Zilch. It was a little disheartening. Although more and more people were finally posting to the forum with questions, I couldn’t get more than a couple to sign up on the roll call. I’d post comprehensive answers to various questions posed elsewhere, drop hints about the roll call, and watch as no one signed up. This got a little boring after a while.

I decided to spend the month of June on something slightly less futile, and cut back on time spent on the cruise forums. For almost three years, I’d held on to the idea of turning

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