Leaving from Baltimore was a breeze and set the tone for everything else. We parked literally next to the terminal entrance and walked right into the building. Daddy's check-in was a breeze since he was booked in a suite and didn't have to stand in line. We met him and M. and then made the trek into the ship. Found a table at the buffet area and got some lunch while we waited for our rooms to be ready. It was noisy, crazy, and full of people but Daddy seemed to love it..
Our luggage was already at the room when we got down there. The suite was lovely and large and I think Daddy and Maureen really enjoyed it. We met back by the pool and found a table to sit and watch the party festivities. A theme through this cruise was "we found a table". It was like I had a table and chair fairy who would always have one available when I needed one, even when every seat was occupied.
Dinner in the dining room was nice and the food was good. I did have to get our dinner tables switched since we were not together. Didn't understand that since the reservations were made at the same time, under the same account name, but I ran down to the dining room when we arrived and made certain we were all set and they were able to make the switch for us. That was one of my key things is to check on anything that could go wrong BEFORE it went wrong.
While at sea we did cruise things, like walk around and around and around, and then find a chair for a bit of sun bathing. We did do breakfast and lunch in the buffet, which was the part of the cruise that I liked the least. No, I actually loathed the buffet but my husband didn't want to deal with the dining room for breakfast and lunch. I did see the child licking his sticky hand (the whole hand, including all five fingers) and then grab the serving utensil. When I reported this back to my husband I hoped he would see the need to eat in the restaurant but his response was "Well, his hands were sticky." So I took a deep breath and would grab the utensil with a paper napkin and take food from the very back of the serving pan so that the handle wouldn't have been in contact with that food. I survived.
The time in Bermuda was perfect. I had arranged a private tour before we left and we had a wonderful tour guide who had made every effort to assure that he included places and views of things that my father wanted to see from his time in Bermuda in the early 1940's. He talked with my dad, answered all his questions,and was very gracious. I couldn't have asked for anything better. Bermuda was beautiful, roads were scary, people were nice. There is a high standard of living and very low unemployment. Main industries are tourism and insurance and, I guess, taking care of lots of rich people who have homes there. I would return and since we saw the island from one end to the other on this tour, next time I would pick just a place or two for a longer visit.
Things I learned on this trip:
- I really don't like to have the wait staff encouraged to be overly friendly. I don't like the "Mrs. Jane" address which just reeks of plantation obsequiousness. The waiters are professionals, not my friend nor my servant. They did an excellent job and took care of our very small special requests - like seeing if there was any pistachio ice cream left from the previous day which my father had loved - and I tip for service, not friendliness.
- People just eat too much and I can't imagine what stories are told in the staff areas about some of the gorging of the guests. Plates were piled mountain high in the buffet area like these people were never going to get another meal. I overheard people bragging about how much food their table had consumed in the restaurant. OK, a teenage boy might want/need a second entree to be full, but most people do not need more than they are served. It is wasteful consumption which makes the American's look like total boors.
- Gin and tonic is my new summer signature drink. They made a great G&T on-board and the liquor prices were lower than any place in the Metro area so I have no idea why people spend all this effort trying to sneak on liquor in their luggage.
- Try sliced almonds on soup instead of croutons. I hate croutons on soup or on salad. The sliced almonds in the cream of asparagus soup were just the perfect touch and what and easy thing to do do to make it elegant.
- Maureen just ignores my father's childish behaviour and I should learn to do that too. She is lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed her on this trip, and she really understands how to deal with my father in a way my mother and I never did.
- Charlie needs to get away from work now and then and maybe a cruise is the way to do that. I so enjoyed him not having a cell phone or any email. While we were in port in Baltimore, still with cell service, his phone was constantly going off - two calls in the terminal when they don't allow cell phone use and I thought he would be arrested, more calls during our lunch on the ship. And then on our return before breakfast he had already made calls to check on his airplane and to work. I knew we were back to reality.