Posts Tagged ‘Celebrity’



Dining with the Captain

“Do you want to sit at the Captain’s table tonight?”

“Ah, gee. Not really. Do we have to? Would it be rude if we didn’t?”

That settled it. “Yea. It would be rude. We have to do it”. I had violated my own rule about dealing with children, or anyone else for that matter. Never offer a choice when there is really only one answer.

Guided by that little piece of hard-earned wisdom, I said “We’re going to the Cruise Critic party at 11:30.”

With no options given, Ryan simply nodded.

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To the Ship

“Welcome. May I have your tickets please?”

I handed over the booklet. The desk person examined it, and punched the reservation number into her computer. After looking at the screen a little too long for my comfort, she said “Welcome Mr. X. Would you mind stepping into that room over there please?”

Oh boy. Was it the suitcase again? Ryan and I walked the few steps into the adjoining room, which was furnished with a couple of tables, some chairs and a couch or two.

“What’s going on?” Ryan asked.

“I don’t know. No idea.”

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Prologue

This posting serves as a prologue to the second cruise story. The first cruise story, recounting our first-ever voyage, was posted serially on CruiseCritic.com over a 3-week period. More than 10,000 people awaited the posting of the final chapter, and the whole experience was wholly unexpected and quite a thrill. The unprecedented response to the that story (now in book form – What Time Is the Midnight Buffet?) motivated Celebrity Cruises to contact me and offer a free cruise in appreciation. We’ll begin with the events leading up to that event.

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Cruise Stories

There are four stories in this series, and all were originally posted on CruiseCritic.com. One of the stories is now a book, and the other three are here for your enjoyment.

The first story chronicled our inaugural cruise, a ten-day Caribbean jaunt aboard Celebrity’s Galaxy in celebration of our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.  The response to this story was so overwhelming that Celebrity Cruises invited us to take a second trip, gratis.  Eventually the story was released as a book, What Time Is the Midnight Buffet?

Kris was unable to accompany me on the free trip, so

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Epilogue

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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