Archive for August, 2004

San Juan

Millennium was already docked by the time we woke up. San Juan spread out before us through the windows, partially blocked by HAL’s Maasdam, which was tied to a nearby pier.

Paul brought a pot of coffee, and we lounged in the living room watching the sights. Kris wore one of the Celebrity bathrobes, a garment that would serve nicely as winter outerwear in New Hampshire. I wore a pair of shorts. The sun was shining so brightly through the window that I thought it might be wise to put on some sunscreen. A bead of sweat trickled from my…

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Casa de Campo

Our line, the one for the shuttle to Altos de Chavon, began moving forward. A dispatcher was counting heads as we filed toward the bus. She stopped the flow just when Kris and I reached the head of the line.

Before I could comment on our bad luck, we were signaled to proceed. Inside the bus, Kris plopped into a single empty seat. I thought I might have to stand for the trip, but then spotted a vacant seat in the rear corner. It was a tight squeeze to get in and I stepped on at least one foot in…

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Celebrity Suite

The plan for Tuesday was simple — sleep late, have a leisurely breakfast, attend the CruiseCritic party at 11:00, go to the beach at Casa de Campo and return to the ship for the evening. I had planned to just take a cab to the beach in the Dominican Republic, but after breakfast I decided to be safe and book the beach excursion through the ship. Information about this stop was pretty sketchy, and we could live without unpleasant surprises.

The television booking system was unresponsive, so I went down to the excursion desk and stood in a long, slow-moving…

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Formal Charges

After a couple of ring tones, a voice with an unidentifiable accent came on the line.

“Mr. X, we have been watching your habits.”

What the heck…

“I think we have a way to save you some money,” the message continued.

Now you’re talkin’.

“Please come to the Beta Computer Center on deck 3.”

Kris was hovering nearby as I hung up the phone.

“What is it? What did they do? Are they in the brig?”

I tried not to smile, but I couldn’t play it straight. “It’s nothing. The computer people want to sell me a package deal, that’s…

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Into the Night

We held our collective breath as the unsuspecting cruisers joined us. We had already met Albert, our waiter for the duration, and Geri, his able assistant. Albert rushed to meet and seat the latest arrivals.

The four appeared to know each other well, and I correctly surmised that they were traveling together. One of the men looked us over with striking, piercing eyes. Oh, oh. He turned to Dan and asked, “Where’s the wine. Are you buying the wine?”

This was Kent, and he led the introductions — wife Nickie, and their friends Betsy & David. In a sudden rush…

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Settling In

I opened my eyes and turned to see Kris marching down the hall lined with images of Japanese ladies to open the door.

PICT0130Standing outside was Paul, the butler. Behind him were Wells and Dan, and the three appeared to be acquainted already. They all marched in to the room, chatting away.

Paul formally introduced himself, and I admitted ownership of the boys.

“You’ll probably be seeing a lot of these two,” I told him.

“Certainly sir. They are most welcome.”

Paul gave us a quick tour of the room and its features. He was pointing out the cupboard full…

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Wells arrived home from a successful ‘gig’ with his band a little after midnight.

“Where is your birth certificate?”

“Look at my blisters,” he responded while proudly showing me his fingertips. “We really played hard.”

“Very nice – we need the birth certificate.”

“The YMCA took in more than $600 because of us. They paid us $200!”

“Certificate. NOW!”

Wells beat a hasty retreat to his room. I could hear him rummaging for a while before he popped back into my office.

“My fingers really hurt.”

“So do mine. Where is it?”

“Don’t worry. I’ll find it.”

“Well if you…

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Ready, Set…

I thought about the possibility of getting an additional room. From previous readings, I knew that at least one occupant of every room had to be over the age of 25, but it seemed to me that there was some kind of exception to the rule. I dug out the Celebrity Brochure to study the fine print.

I found the relevant section:


No guest under the age of 21 will be booked in a stateroom unless accompanied by an adult 25 years or older. This age limit will be waived for minor children sailing with

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I have used a real live travel agent exactly once. It was many years ago, as we prepared to take our second trip to Disney. I had planned the first trip myself, and appreciated the amount of work that went into it. The process involved a lot of time spent on the telephone, an activity that ranks pretty low on my list of favored pastimes. Hoping to save time and agony, I went to the local travel agency.

The experience cannot be reflective of the industry as a whole, or it would have ceased to exist long ago. Everything, and…

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Cruising with Teens – Preface

I should have made the investment two years ago. How could I have known that purchasing a tux would provide a substantial return in so little time? As with plastics, IBM and Cisco stock, and the condos at Mahogany Run on St. Thomas, I blew it again. Opportunity lost.

The Surgeon General should step in and require that cruise lines put a warning on their advertising:

Warning: Cruising is addictive. While the attendant relaxation may be beneficial to your health, the habit may have significant impact on your everyday life and finances.

Even potato chip companies have the sense of…

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