Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Day Eleven -- The End It is Over for now

Today is our last day at sea on the beautiful Norwegian Dawn, scheduled to dock in NYC at 8AM tomorrow morning. I woke at 0445, quite wide awake and thinking it was daylight, and vaguely remembered needing to go sign up to see J*** again about some details of the S America cruise on which I shall try to go, but perhaps skipping the Machu Pichu add on for another time. I was able to ride the elevator to the 12th deck, go to the swimming pool, swim quite a few laps, soak in the Jacuzzi, come inside and get coffee and return to my room without seeing a single other guest.

As I have said, the rhythm of the ship. Yesterday, there were mobs of people around the watch table set up in the lobby, to the point where it took awhile to make it to the table. The bollywod show was mobbed as well, and lines often form for some of the restaurants 15 minutes before they open, reminding me of the cattle call on Southwest airlines.

Below this entry I have a list of internet things to do when I get home, but I think I am going to forsake paying shipboard prices today, and probably stay out of the casino as well, since I AM money up for the trip, not much, but I AM ahead, and other than seeing J*** and taking my pictures to R*** to look at, I don’t have much of an agenda today. I have already started to pack, on the assumption that I am going to carry my own suitcase off the ship, so the cashmere turtlenecks can go therein. Wet bathing suit drying, or at least sitting, in the wind on the balcony. It is coming up on six AM and the gym is next.

//short. Knee hurt and rap music on the speakers, loud, others there. Discontinued almost immediately. Door still showing no enter to garden cafĂ©, so I called for room service. My two waiters last night in the steakhouse restaurant (cover charge about what I won on the casino) were both Romanian, and one of them ‘neighbor’ of C**** on board…said there are eighty of them on the ship, including A** of course. The steak was so tender I ate it with no probs whatever.

It is now quarter to seven, and I have gone thru the slew of papers that accumulate on a trip and tried to throw away some, but have saved the good morning Mr F*** welcome to whatever descriptions of the islands, and the freestyle daily bulletins. I don’t know why…someday someone will throw them in an industrial sized dumpster in the front yard, or ?? Maybe I’ll sell them on ebay for hundreds of dollars…ha.

Still feeling a bit raw, unloved and unwanted, and definitely bummed out about the cruise ending. I filled out the comments card and was effusive and honest at the same time. For the second time, when the cabin door was opened and the sliding door to the balcony was partially opened, a whirlwind took all the loose papers in the room and put some of them in the hall, including the trip to Antarctica. But with 25 hours to docking, I am well and truly on top of the situation. Ordered juice and coffee from room service

//Well, quarter past seven AM and I have already turned in my effusive comment card and completed my customs declaration. Packing is half completed and I am feeling somewhat organized for a change. I am going to the lobby around 0915, in two hours, to wait for the sign up sheet for seeing J*** again, and hopefully R*** can look at the pix at about the same time. An added bonus would be if A** were there and chatty simultaneous.

//Well, not only was A** there, but the beautiful and charming C*** was sitting beside her, and I told them I had written to CV about them, said nice things about them on the comment card, that they had made my trip super and I hoped I had not intruded too much into their private space, and they politely and sweetly said I had not. They did not press to see the pictures of the flight to Tortola which I said I had with me, and I didn’t push the issue.

R*** found me and we sat on a cushion and looked out at an ocean which is certainly no longer tropical, but grey and whitecapped with swells to 15 feet. Officially categorized as rough. However, we had not a drop of rain on the cruise, and were told by the captain that it had rained on both the two preceding ones. We are currently off Cape Hattaras. R*** looked at many of my pictures and gave me her card with her internet address on it.

Announcement just now ‘important message for the gentleman who lost his gold rolex watch – the time is quarter past eleven. Got a smile out of me. But I am smiling anyway, because I have already booked another cruise, around the horn of south America, almost below decks in cabin 4112 of the Crown.


I had a very pleasant exchange with J*** who is also single, and says she does not like to shop. She declared me ‘fascinating’ and asked if I were a professor or something. She certainly would have been good company if I had known earlier….Anyhow, by cutting out the Machu Pichu trip and downgrading to a deck 4 cabin, we were able to make an affordable Antarctic Excursion for next February. I told C** and A*** first of anybody in the world, and wish they were going to be aboard her.

J*** said she worked till midnight last night, and was BADLY backed up again today, but she is booking a lot of cruises, and said to have at it as far as cruisecom getting me a lower rate. She was al;so visibly staggered to hear that I paid **** bucks for a room that costs 3600, let alone with private concierge service. For that alone, I owe NCL the next cruise, which should knock off any further desire to go to Antarctica.

Went to the cruise debarkation meeting, and on my way out of my room I saw some bright red VIP luggage tags for me, so I will NOT carry my suitcase off as planned, but will use the last of the good will that CV and R*** have created to lessen one small chore. I told R*** I was going on the Crown and she seemed more interested and pleased than the reservationists, who, I hope, are merely tired…and they have to turn around and do it all over again tomorrow night.

On the plus side, barring the unexpected, I have a safe, warm and comfortable house to go home to, whether there is anyone there to be glad I am home or not. Still feeling somewhat ragged and sad, but another quick visit to the Casino improved my mood with three straight wins including one double. In an uncharacteristic burst of generosity, I tipped the room steward and the beaming M*** from Philippines *** bucks apiece. Re reading the VIP disembarkation procedures, I am to meet in a lounge at 9:30 and be ESCORTED off the ship personally. Hot damn!

After the casino, I saw A*** again to ask if she expects Impressions (prime ribs) to be crowded tonight and she said she does. She looks pained…hope it is overwork and not over me. I will have to ask whether hostesses get tipped.

Given the new (and improved) set of circumstances, I guess I shall change plans back to NOT wearing dungarees home. Don’t want to be a VIP looking like a slob amongst the others, some of whom sport huge diamonds and are very very fussy about which stateroom they and their party want on their next cruise (poor J***).

Sun has come out again, but the sea remains rough. Going up top for a few hotdogs…first solid food today at 1215. Having done my second Jacuzzi in as many days, I then did my second walk on the treadmill in two days as well.

Dr H** Ph.D. O.M.D. LaA.) called and he and his wife came up and sat in the sun on the balcony (yes, it is out again) very briefly before going off to watch Spiderman II. I hope we can have supper together at Impressions. I want to see A** one last time and see if I can coax one more gorgeous smile out of her…have gotten a few this trip.

When Dr was coming, I hurriedly hid All the VIP luggage tags, and as a result could not find paper to write his name on, nor the description of the upcoming cruise the end of February, but they turned out to be in the well traveled satchel I got at Ed W**’s garage sale. // Took another stroll around the deck, noting with embarrassment that all the people who had positioned their deckchairs so that they were directly in the line of travel…were men. Enjoying the sun to the last, they are up there slathering on the lotion and enjoying the last rays of the trip. Forecast for tomorrow in NYC is supposed to be in the fifties, so we lucked out again, as we have the entire trip.

Sat in the over 70 degree sun till after 1530 and looked at affordable houses on St Croix, tho one supposes they are all in black neighborhoods. They still have some five digit condos as well. I wrote a blog entry about the story about the man in the Uniondale Museum who was shot down and captured by the Germans --- all ready for posting, and I edited P ’s name out of the account of my visit to Poland, so it can go up immediately I get home. I intend giving A** ten bucks for use of the internet and hope she takes it graciously….tell her I won it in the casino, which is true.

Made a trip downstairs and left R** a *** buck tip as I have never dealt with a concierge before and they said it was not a breach of etiquette. The asst concierge said I was ‘famous’ and that is how she knew my name without asking, but she wouldn’t say WHY I am famous. The sun is setting over the water right outside my balcony now, and I have taken a LONG hot shower and feel spectacular. It is still seventy degrees and 57%humidity and it is gorgeous, and yes, we are lucky lucky lucky!

Walked forward to learn that they would ‘let it go’ for five hundred bucks – it being the painting of five bears. About ten times my top offer, and that was being ridiculous. The sunset is absolutely gorgeous, and the camera picked right then to be finished with the batteries, but since I had got replacement ones on Virgin Gorda, I kept right on shooting. I like to think it is a good omen, and that Dr H and his wife will be on time and that A will be happy with ten bucks to look at the internet. While she is melting the hearts of a new bunch of men tomorrow by the elevators, I’ll post the bit about my Poland visit, as I went thru the scratch pad and eliminated all names from it. May have already mentioned I wrote up a quick bit about the downed airman in Germany and his reunion in Belgium years later. Dist from NY 250.2NM at 1830.

Went to Impressions after a quick visit to the casino where I did not play this time – quite smoky. I got there and worried like a school kid over what kind of reaction I was gonna get when I gave A** her ten bucks, and needn’t have worried, cuz it was another light up the room smile for me. I hope she reads the account of the visit to Poland and responds sometime, somehow.

The elderly Chinese couple (hell, they’re two years younger than I am) didn’t show, so I didn’t wait a minute past 1730, but went to table 16 by the window and again skipped soup, salad, appetizer, bread and went for the prime ribs and baked potato, which were ‘ok’ but not great. Will supplement it with ice cream and cookies later on.

Went next to internet and used their special of thirty minutes for twelve bucks, and went thru it just on pprune and putting a one liner on my blog and reading s’s account. Yahoo news, comics and drudge report glanced at, but no email and no asf for days and days now. Hope I mentioned how very spectacular the sunset was. I have said my goodbyes to C** whom I will write and A** whom I cannot but will try to keep in touch via C***.

When I returned to my stateroom, R** had called thanking me for the gratuity and I was glad I had done it. Total tips is ** bucks and well worth it…** each for the cabin stewards and ** to A** and ** to R**. My pants feel tight, but I did go to the gym and use the treadmill and exercise bike fairly vigorously. Was up over 4mph on the walking there are two huge chess sets on the game deck but I only saw them in use one time. Seas still rough, 12 feet. Some suitcases have already hit the hallway and mine won’t be far behind. Going to wander down to the guest talent show and sit where I can leave in a hurry.

On this trip I did not once look at my 1954 diary, let alone transcribe any of it. I spent very little time at all in the casino, went to two or three shows, ate in two specialty restaurants, had chateaubriand, filet mignon, prime ribs and sirloin steak as well as my hotdogs. Experiences the Jacuzzi, treadmill and latte for the first time, and altogether thoroughly enjoyed the karma that flowed from the call from R*** : Are you the Mr **** who wrote to C? I said “not necessarily…is there a problem with that?” And she had replied, no quite the opposite, and she weren’t kidding.

So – this ship has popcorn and the Ecstasy didn’t. No ice cream dispenser, but it is available most of the afternoon and evening, not two hours a day. I set my new ten buck watch, and probably harvested a total of thirty five to forty bucks from the casino. I didn’t mess up too bad anywhere any time, being prepared for the tours etc, and even my Robinson Caruso foray onto the beach at Virgin Gorda had an OK ending at the marina. Nobody fell in love with me, but overall I would be hard pressed to rate this experience any less than a 9 on a ten scale. And, of course, I have treated myself to a really magnificent Xmas and birthday present all rolled into one, with a shot at Antarctica. Way down in steerage…unless CV should choose to intervene another time…..[ed-he did]

I was warmed by yet another dazzling smile from C*** as I waved at her for I suppose the last time and returned to my room to pack my suitcase and put it in the hall with a massive red V I P sticker on it, which they said would not even require me to put my name on it. We are going to be escorted off the ship first, and perhaps I shall prevail on Mr V to do that one little thing for me in Buenos Aires.
Sad that the cruise is over…last towel of a swan on my bed and photographed.

Finished a bowl of blueberry sherbert, and already had strawberry and vanilla ice cream and a cookie. No wonder my pants are tight. Put my suitcase out in the hall and brought it back three times as I found clean underwear and stuff in drawers, but I am five hours ahead of their 2AM deadline if not the first to get it in the hall. Still comparing this to the ecstasy – and it is a close call. The VIP treatment has definitely skewed the emotional balance in favor of this trip. 3703.9NM + 203.0NM equals this trip distance.=3907NM [4,499 miles, in real money]


Fijufic said...

Nice post. I have to come back and read it a few more times. Hope all is well with you and those you love.


Fin said...

Thanks Bobz. Likewise in spades.

Despite trying to shorten it, which I did, I recognize it is unconscionably long, and again I apologize.

Next up will be the cruise that really ignited the flame for me and put to rest the many doubts which I had harbored as to whether I could be comfortable, let alone have fun, on a cruise.

BenB said...

Tantalizing. Makes me want to go on a cruise ship. I must do it at least once in my lifetime. Great writing, very entertaining : )

Fin said...

Thanks Ben. Good to hear, because I have already begun editing entries for my cruise from Long Beach, California to Miami, Florida.

The first entry is--------long.

So I'm glad for a few readers and glad you are one.