Sunday, January 27, 2013

Wow! My 100th cruise awaits!


Today while perusing journals, I began a tally of cruises I’ve taken. The result surprised me!
View from the promenade deck on your ship where
art is part of the enticement.
The grand total:  99!  So my next cruise will be my centenary.  I am excited.  What and where will it be?  Crystal, Oceania, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Cunard, Holland America, Carnival, Disney? Although born in land-locked Montana, I am a water baby.  I’m happiest on a cruise ship.  My one hundredth cruise will be within the next few months, to an unknown destination, probably Hawaii and the South Pacific, taking advantage of our San Diego winter location.  Cruising has produced many of my most happy moments – with my two husbands, with my siblings, with my parents.  I cruised the Caribbean with my daddy and Europe multiple times with my mother.  I cruised the West Indies with my brother Rick only two weeks after the death of my husband, Bruce, watching “Brideshead Revisited” on the Sea Goddess and playing piano at the ship’s request when the Bulgarian musician came down with the flu.  It was a healing balm of a trip and Rick jet skied off the back of this wonderful ship. We sipped carrot juice each morning, took long walks and let the water work its magic.
Your cruise ship's lights glitter in the staterooms and restaurants.
My mother’s final trips to Europe were on Celebrity and Princess – grand tours and evocative memories of her pleasure in each detail, each port.  My late husband Bill and I traveled to Europe on Royal Caribbean out of Galveston, enjoying the wake in a stern penthouse. We cruised out of Stockholm through northern Europe and into the Baltic with Crystal from a gorgeous suite with our own Turkish butler. Then my last voyage on the Queen Elizabeth 2 before she was retired:  the Norwegian fjords, where we met distant cousins.  I’ve cruised Oceania and Crystal with my friend Corby, who prowled Greek ruins with me after we took in the string quartet at afternoon tea.  Before our QE2 Norway swansong, I crossed the Atlantic seven times on Cunard’s venerable and stately grand dame, now docked in Dubai. I long to cross again on perhaps the larger Queen Mary!  
A cruise nightcap: your program for
the next day and a pair of swans.
I've cruised into exotic ports in Vietnam and China.  I've cruised into New Zealand's south island and fished for trout the size of salmon. Cruise ships have taken me to the wonders of India and Turkey, the splendors of St. Petersburg. Barge cruising has taken me to the chateaux of the Loire valley, to sipping and supping in Champagne and Burgundy, to tulip time in Holland and a marathon of plays in England. My sisters and I have cruised Holland America to the breathtaking Alaskan fjords, and deep into the Dutch Antilles on Princess, Royal Caribbean and the lovely Odyssey.  I twice cruised on the splendid Norway, formerly the SS France, one of the great liners of her day. Ah, cruising.  Such memories, such advantages: you pack and unpack once, wake up in a new port each morning, meet new lively friends, dine on delicious, custom-prepared
Cookie and Keller and  a shipboard sunset in November
photos by Bruce Keller
fare, hear port lectures, check out videos and books, gamble and imbibe without lugging a purse or wallet around.  The entertainment is top notch, the jazz band plays for your dancing pleasure. Each day, the fairies slip a program under your door so you can highlight lectures, wine tastings, land tours, fun stuff for the next day! Once you have signed on and have your boarding card, you are in a cashless world. You can even charge your tips. And someone else does the cooking, ironing, and making of your bed. You may even find a dolphin, swan or monkey crafted of towels when you return from the night show, content after another fabulous day at sea!  

Where will my 100th cruise be? Stay tuned.
Remember to explore, learn and live.
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