Friday, January 8, 2010

La Difference

I’m being boring, or misguided, or dedicated tonight, your choice, because instead of going the hear Doc Severinson play for tonight’s show, I’m working on my current novel. I also cut fabric into strips earlier today, for a quilt I’m making for Melissa’s future grandmother-in-law. I’m pleased to be so productive.

Doc Severinson, and I didn't know this before, was Johnny Carson's band leader.

The Sneak Peek for my writing program went well. It’s funny, I had a dream that hardly any people showed up, and they got bored while I was speaking and so loudly chatted amongst themselves before leaving en masse. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.

The students appear keen and well motivated, and the actually are hoping for classes more often than the regular schedule includes. Scheduling is difficult on the ship, as there are a lot of different programs and a limited number of spaces, and so there’s no way to add regularly scheduled classes. As it is, the drama teacher and I are supposed to alternate days, which is why the writing students feel they won’t get enough writing time. I’ve decided that I will hold a regular session on the aft part of the Lido deck. This deck has two small swimming pools and the cafeteria-style restaurant. On the back deck there’s a shaded area with many tables, and so that should work well. I haven’t had a chance to propose this to the students yet, but will see if this idea will work for them.

I’ve only been on board two days, but already I’m seeing a lot of differences between this cruise and the regular one or two week ones I’ve been on before. This one is the crown jewel of what are called Grand Voyages, which tend to be longer, usually a couple of months. Everything is at a higher level. In part I suppose this is because the passengers are paying much more than the usual one-week cruisers do. Here are some of this things I’ve observed.

There is a legally mandated lifeboat drill on every cruise. On shorter cruises it’s always about an hour after the ship sails. Everyone has to put on their life jacket and assemble at their assigned life boat. On this cruise, the captain delayed the drill by a day, because he felt everyone was probably too tired after travelling to get to the ship. Also, while everyone did have to go the their lifeboat, we didn’t have to put on our bulky and uncomfortable life jackets.

The captain refers to himself by his first name, thus seeming much more approachable than the more formal captains on the shorter cruises.

The passengers, guests, I have to remember to call them guests, are much friendlier right from the start. Many of them do the world tour every year, and so know each other and are happy to see their friends again. The sense is that this ship is a small town for the next four months, that this isn’t a holiday away from real life, but is real life for that length of time.

The guests in general are fitter and more active on this cruise. I think this is because this is a more adventurous itinerary, and so the people who choose to do this trip are the sorts of people who want adventure and challenges.

The crew, entertainers, and other staff are top notch. Cruises in general are known for pampering their guests, but this one goes beyond the others. And the stewards, waiters, and other people directly involved with the guests seem to genuinely enjoy both their jobs and the guests. And I can hear the string quartet from where I'm sitting in the library, and they are amazingly good. Previous string quartets and not bad, but not of this quality.

Tomorrow we stop in Costa Rica. Melissa and I are going to visit sloths and other animals, and paddle a jungle canoe.


  1. Your observations about the "guests" are really interesting. Hopefully you'll get to know some of them and learn about their lives--should be pretty different from the way the rest of us live.

  2. Hi Judy!!!! found your blog and have read it all so far. Very glad that melissa is there already. It sounds so great! I wish I were there too. michelle