how convenient it is for a turtle to carry his house on his back,
so wherever he goes, he's home! Well, of course, carting our big
houses with us wouldn't be practical, but sailing along in a
five-star hotel is not only practical, but downright luxurious!
What better way to visit several countries without packing and
unpacking, without grabbing unreliable, uncomfortable
transportation from town to town, and without risking food
poisoning with questionable local eateries. But now in this stage
of life, why not pamper ourselves?
So, chose cruising along in the luxury of your five-star hotel,
sleeping in the same room every night, eating gourmet,
well-prepared meals, choosing from a variety of entertainment and
activities, selecting professionally guided shore excursions, and
in between stops, just lazing around with a good book by the pool
— now that's the way to go! All of this while being pampered by
personal cabin boys and professional waiters.
Upon entering our staterooms, we found a welcoming bottle of
Champagne on ice. Not cheap méthode champagnoise sparkling
wine, but real French Champagne!
Greeted by a
Fine Bottle of French Champagne!
Our room had a king size bed, which was really two singles pushed
together, which worked fine for partnered guys. The unpartnered
guys who booked double-occupancy had their cabin boys separate the
beds with no problem. Each room also had a sitting area and a nice
flat screen TV. Although we found so much to do that we rarely
watched TV except in the morning while getting dressed for
breakfast or late at night before bedtime.
In the Rotterdam dining room, we happened to spot a floor
manager who looked familiar. It turned out he was the floor
manager on the Mature Friends' repositioning cruise two years
earlier. When we told him about that trip, he remembered, and so
from then on we got the royal treatment, which included a
permanently reserved table for two for dinner. This setup was
flexible enough so that we could cancel and when the group decided
on other arrangements, such as the big birthday party in the
Pinnacle Grill on January 26 and also for our last meal aboard
ship when we all sat at a big round table in the dining room.
Once at sea, the leader of our group, Bob McQ, organized a
cocktail party in the Crow's Nest bar on top of the ship. We sat
for an hour in our own cordoned off area, where we could chat,
enjoy complimentary appetizers, and drinks courtesy of Linda Lane
of Cruiseworld, who organized this trip for us. We had a wonderful
time as the hour flew by. Then it was time to get ready for
Along with the cocktail party, we each got a free pass for dinner
in the exclusive Pinnacle Grill dining room. Bob suggested we all
use those passes to celebrate Dean's and my birthdays on January
26 (Dean's was two days earlier).
Party, January 26, 2012
Going down the left side of the table and coming back up the right
side we have: Dean, Jeff, John B., Joe, Bob, Ralph, John L., Ted,
and Harry. And where was I? Well, somebody had to take the
picture! In addition to the free pass for dinner, we each got two
free passes for lunch in the Pinnacle Grill. Talk about being
Not satiated with parties by a long shot, later in the voyage, we
had another party. This time, Dean and I threw the party in our
Knowing one of the dining-room managers made it very easy for us
to organize a cocktail party in our stateroom. This party took
place after our tour of Sihanoukville,
. Like clockwork, the drinks and complimentary
hors-d'oeuvres showed up on time, along with enough glasses,
plates, napkins, and utensils. As you can see, we enjoyed a fine
evening of partying out on the verandah as we sailed along on the
azure South China Sea.
Bob, and Curt (me)
Aboard ship, we had a choice of several options for eating our
- Lido deck buffet for a variety of dishes
- Mexican buffet and hamburgers cooked to order at poolside
- Pinnacle Grill for fine dining
- Canaletto Restaurant for Italian food
- Rotterdam dining room for the main dining room
Dean and I took most of our dinners in the Rotterdam dining-room,
where we had a table for two on permanent reservation, with the
same waiters every night. Having the same staff worked out great,
because they could anticipate what we liked the most. For example,
the wine steward, John, always brought the same Washington State
Cabernet to our table, once he figured out what wine we preferred.
Our head waiter also knew we liked coffee after the meal with no
cream or sugar.
John (Wine Steward), Nyoman (Head Waiter), Me, and Pasek
(Assistant Waiter and Busboy)
What did we do after dinner? The ship offered lots of choices for
after dinner entertainment:
- Mondrian Lounge presented shows and song fests by the ship's
actors and singers.
- Explorers Lounge featured the Adagio Strings string quartet
- Ocean Bar featured a jazz trio and dancing.
- Piano Bar featured singing pianists.
- Crow's Nest offered a variety of musical entertainment and
To keep fit, the ship had a fantastic spa and gym and on one of
the upper decks outside, you could play tennis, completely
enclosed in netting, so no need to worry about smacking the ball
For those who preferred quiet reflection, they could go sit in a
spacious library filled with books that could be checked out, or
guests could bring their own reading material.
Anybody wanting to learn more about gourmet cooking could attend
demonstrations and lessons in the Culinary Arts Center.
As you can see, there was no end of activities that guests could
take advantage of. So, cruising along in a five star hotel had its
advantages, advantages beyond just the luxury of not having to
pack and unpack at every stop.
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