86. Cruising

86.  Cruising

Our first experience cruising was a Sunrider leadership cruise of the western Caribbean out of Ft Lauderdale.  We invited my sister Jan to go with us.  There were eight days on board the Crown Princess, the “Love Boat” to Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Cozumel Mexico, and back. They piped the theme music from the Love Boat TV show as we left port.

This was the first of five cruises we had with Sunrider.  One high point was a snorkeling outIng at Grand Cayman, which turned out to be a test for us because we did okay in cold, rough water near a reef.  The other high point was at Cozumel, where we and Jan rented a cab for a tour along the coast.  The driver took us into a small town for shopping, and I bought a beautiful onyx chess set.

Perhaps our biggest discovery was that we enjoyed being on the ship more than the shore excursions.  There was non-stop activity which seems to be the common element for cruises.  There were Broadway-class shows in the large forward theater, games, contests, dancing, travel lectures, swimming, and hot tubs, and eating, eating, eating fabulous food!

There were times to relax and dream while sipping juice and enjoying our favorite songs played by the lounge piano maestro.  I even made it twice to the well equipped gym to exercise!

Remember, this was a business cruise!  We had to work by going to Sunrider meetings! Tough business! Sunder paid for most of the cost of the cruise, and, it was tax deductible too!

Shipboard food is legendary!  One could eat the typical breakfast, lunch and dinner in the main dining room.  But we found the large buffet on the Lido deck had more variety for brunch and lunch.  And we went a few times for midnight snacks at the bar on the aft deck.

Dinner on the Princess was an experience in elegant international dining and cuisine.  Each night was a different nationality menu or vegetarian, English, French, Italian, and American.  For example, English Night was Royal Pheasant, caviar, and Cherries Jubilee.  The last night was formal attire, helium balloons all over, and a climax of a waiter’s parade with Flaming Baked Alaska!

The last night crossing the Gulf of Mexico in a rain storm was a “treat”.  I was pushing a wheelchair to balance better as the deck moved, and when a 803 ft.ship lurches, you know you’ve been over a wave!  When Betty & I went across stage that night to receive our trophy for business performance, I had an usher holding on to me so I wouldn’t be dancing and “rocking” with the others!

We knew the ship was rolling, because when we showered that night, the water washed back and forth across the floor.  We were rocked to sleep that night by the gentle rolling of the ship.  Fun experience — and a neat climax for our cruise!  We fell in love with cruising!