Archive for August, 2004


Life returned to normal very quickly after our return from the Millennium cruise – quickly, as in the next day. Kris and I went back to work, while Wells and Dan returned to high school to serve out the remainder of their sentences. Next thing we knew, it was June.

The boys’ graduation may have spelled the official end to their childhood, but I think it really ended on the cruise. It was a coming-of-age experience for them. Wells and Dan had a great time on the trip, but details are hard to drag out of teen-aged boys. Perhaps we’re…

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Homeward Bound

At 7:15 a.m., I called the boys’ room. “Inspection in 15 minutes. Get up.” I couldn’t even tell who was on the other end of the line. Grogginess disguised the voice.

At the appointed time, I knocked on the door and Wells answered. He stepped back to let me in, and I was unpleasantly surprised by what I saw.

“You were supposed to leave your suitcases out for the cabin attendant last night,” I said.

“We did,” answered Wells.

“Yeah, but you were supposed to pack your stuff into them first,” I said. To my eye, it looked like everything…

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Nassau Revisited

Our memorable first visit to Nassau is chronicled in my book, What Time Is the Midnight Buffet?

I was reclining on a white sand beach under a strong tropical sun, clutching an ice cold G&T. Wells and Dan were in the perfect blue water, surrounded by an admiring gaggle of bikini-clad young women. Kris was absorbed in a book, playing warm sand between her toes. What a perfect way to spend the last day of the cruise.

As I drifted off to sleep, I could still feel the motion of the ship. Some indeterminate time later, as consciousness slowly spread…

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The Making of Young Men in Black

In this chapter, I have summoned the boys to make a little video – partly because I just do that sort of thing, and partly as retribution for some unauthorized ship-to-shore phone calls made against explicit prohibition – I just wanted to see them squirm a little. I consider their debt repaid…

I didn’t really have much of a plan for the video. I had two boys dressed in tuxedos, 2 pair of sunglasses, and a destination – the dining room. Beyond that, nothing much.

I decided to just ‘wing it’.

“O.K. Here’s the deal… I’m going to have both…

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Stainless Oasis

Kris and I finished packing up and headed topside for some reckless UV exposure.

“Want to try the pool?” Kris asked.

“We can try, but I think it’ll be mobbed,” I answered.

Sure enough, a human or a pile of human belongings occupied every lounge, so we scratched the pool idea and headed up to our spot on the forward sunning deck.

The day looked a little foreboding. Both the sea and the sky were predominantly gray, the wind was howling, and the sea was as rough as we’d seen on any cruise – 9-12 feet according to the captain….

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Galley Duty

We took our sweet time getting out of bed. The previous day had really tested our endurance, and the evening had tested our patience. A sea day was heartily welcomed.

“I’m so glad we don’t have to do anything today. I’m totally exhausted,” said Kris.

“That’s the sign of a good vacation,” I observed.

“I’m serious,” she said. “It was great to see Frank and St. Thomas again, but I’d be happy with a cruise that just went around in circles and never stopped anywhere.”

I nodded in agreement. “So what would you like to not do today?”

“I’d like…

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Dining in the Olympic Restaurant

Apparently it is going to be a while before we eat, so perhaps an overview of the Olympic dining facility and its operating philosophy will help pass the time…

The restaurant is finished with the interior paneling from the a la carte dining room originally installed on R.M.S. Olympic, sister ship to the Titanic. The paneling sat disassembled in a private English residence for many decades, and was purchased by Celebrity Cruises when it was sold by Sotheby’s.

Outside the Olympic’s entrance is a lobby containing historic artifacts, pictures, and a continuous-play video. There are actually three rooms inside the…

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St. Thomas (3)

I took a seat on a stool at the counter near Kris.

“Look at this. Isn’t it beautiful?”

I disguised my grimace as a smile and nodded subtly. From the other end of the counter, a well-dressed man who I took to be the storeowner studied me. We locked eyes as he strode over to my resting place.

I have to admit that what he said to me was sheer marketing genius. I was caught completely off guard.

“Would you like a beer, sir?” he asked.

We were doomed…

I smelled the trap, but was too weak to resist….

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St. Thomas (2)

Coki Beach may be a surprise to some. It is relatively small — intimate almost — wedged between Coral World and some densely packed residential areas. The vista looking seaward is gorgeous. Turn around, and the view takes in a line of brightly painted tumbledown shacks housing vendors of all sorts. This is not a quiet stretch of sand.

Wells and Dan took off through the trees toward the beach as the adults took their sweet time retrieving towels and the like from the back of the truck. The sky was steadily darkening.

“I hope we get some snorkeling in…

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St. Thomas (1)

Sleep was fitful for me. I was excited at the prospect of returning to St. Thomas, where we lived from 1977-80. As a cruise destination, St. Thomas has taken some heat lately on the boards. For us, it will always be fondly remembered as ‘home’. I hadn’t been home in 24 years, and today was the day.

The wakeup call came at 6:30, and it was just in time. St. Thomas was already sliding by the window, and the sun was just starting to rise. Our view was to the aft, and I did not recognize anything in particular. The…

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