Serendipity for March 2015

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In 1966 when I was 18, I traveled on a cruise ship to visit my sister and her family living in the Philippines. It was a marvelous adventure after the seasickness subsided. An infirmary visit and medicine helped tremendously. The ship I was on was divided into first class and economy class with no fraternizing between the two. I was in the latter and found it perfectly enjoyable with no concern about what I might be missing.

My next cruise was in 2003, and only after good friends convinced my husband and me we’d have a wonderful time visiting the Caribbean by ship. I required little convincing. Our trip was delightfully memorable.

Cruise ships changed dramatically during my 37-year hiatus. Seasickness is nearly non-existent as larger vessels provide much smoother sailing. Class distinction doesn’t exist, but staterooms vary depending on cost. Since most time is spent out and about, we opt for economical accommodations. Our most recent cruise was this past January, and it’s amazing how many attractions are added each year. We’ve cruised with our adult children, other family members and friends. Each cruise is unique and enjoyable.

Sipping wine and eating pizza on a deck of a huge, $800 million- plus ship is pure pleasure combined with ambiance and adventure. Fun is key and found throughout. Whether observing or participating, the rock climbing wall, ice skating rink, surfing experience, or for those like me who prefer various decks for sitting, visiting or napping, enjoyment overflows.

Food and beverages are offered around the clock. If one dining area is closed, another is open offering tasty culinary treats. Food options are distinctly different today versus the ‘60s. Meals were served at set times then with few snacking options in between.

One of my favorite times onboard is very early morning when the upper deck enhances the panoramic view of darkness subsiding and giving way to gentle light peeking through. Eventually the sun’s brilliance shines brightly welcoming the new day. Such grandeur is spiritual to me, as is the sunset each evening. Perfect backgrounds for contemplation about life and the universe’s origin and design.

Sailing in the company of thousands on vibrant blue waves of water is amazing. Perhaps such beauty is a mood elevator as nearly everyone seems happy. Hospitality abounds throughout the ship.

It’s inspiring to observe passengers traveling with loved ones in need of special help, and see the kindness shown to those in wheelchairs. Navigating through groups of people and furniture is difficult, but accomplished gracefully. Appreciation is reflected on faces of those receiving assistance. Folks with electric carts and oxygen tanks, who might find travel challenging, are as enthusiastic as energetic sightseers hiking stairs and walking the promenade in sparkly heels.

Cruising is more than a way to get from one place to another. It feels like a floating hotel with no packing or unpacking.

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