dharma monkey

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I see Cuba!


Looking out the portal in my stateroom, I can see mountains on the eastern shore of Cuba, framed by blue skies and even bluer but white-capped seas. Today is beautiful, though unusually windy. Figuring in the ship’s forward speed, the winds on deck are about 50 mph, but that’s not a problem under the bright Caribbean sun.

The Brilliance of the Seas will be at sea today and tomorrow, reaching Aruba early Friday morning. From the moment we stepped on the ship Tuesday afternoon, everything has been superb. The wind and chop is causing some serious boat rockage, but I’ve never had a problem getting my sea legs.

This is our fourth cruise, and both Shawn and I have noticed a dramatic difference. At least half the ship is filled with senior citizens, and not just the “active-senior” type that cruise lines and home builders crave. I mean inactive, sometimes crabby and in more than a few cases, quite large senior citizens. I’ve never, for example, seen one of those seated-scooter things on a cruise, though this morning, I saw three within an hour!

I’m guessing it’s the date of the cruise that has skewed the demographic. On the heels of the Christmas holiday, which is often two weeks or more for American school children, my guess is that the seniors pounce on the week after New Years for cruising because the number of young children, teens and families is greatly reduced.

Today is so much less stressful than yesterday, when we had to check-out of our hotel in Miami, fight with the manager of the dirty hostel over a refund, and then coordinate arrival at the cruise ship terminal between eight people (actually, it was the two former items that induced stress; the latter was totally stress-free). We got up this morning and went to yoga class, had some breakfast and then laid out on Deck 12. Sun, gale-force breezes and only the occasional flashing from an old guy who didn’t think to wear underwear beneath his ten-sizes-too-big bathing suit.

Tonight is formal night, so we’ll get all spiffed up for dinner, and I expect tomorrow will see more sun and fun at sea.

I should note that the people-watching aboard this particular cruise rivals anything found on South Beach’s Ocean Drive.

I’ve seen a family verbally accost the head waiter in the dining room because of Royal Caribbean’s recently instated “no shorts in the dining room policy” (This IS Royal Caribbean, you know, the woman said snidely, as if she sails on the QEII three times a year).

I’ve seen a man who is a dead ringer for George Costanza’s father from Seinfeld ask a Ukrainian female bartender, (insert harsh New York/Jewish/Old Guy accent): “Where are your nibbles? You got any nibbles? I wanna see some nibbles!” He was asking for something to munch on at the bar, but the bartender thought he meant a part of the female anatomy.

And I watched a young (late 20s) couple strike up a conversation with a total stranger about how to get as many free things as possible on board the ship. Among other things, they shared with one another the location where every free non-water beverage would be served, all while lamenting the fact that it costs a whole $4 a day for unlimited soda. (I stumbled upon some of that free lemonade earlier, and I have to say, it’s worth stalking. Good stuff.)

I was enough to make me actually wear my earphones while sitting on the sun deck this afternoon. This people-watcher needed a break!

Author: Sean

I am Sean, a writer/PR guy originally from the Rural South who grew up and settled down in Washington, D.C. My interests include local politics, Eastern philosophy, languages and reality television.

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