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Cruising Through An Election

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Cruising during the lead up, and through the U.S. election season is somewhat different and “interesting”. It’s certainly an important time for the entire world when the United States is in the process of electing a new President. Being a Canadian, and not eligible to vote, even knowing the ultimate importance a new U.S. President will have the world, I view the politics of it all as more entertainment value than most U.S. citizens. And even at sea there’s plenty of debate amongst the passengers about the election.

Television availability on cruise ships can be pretty spotty. On the Jewel we’re getting CNN (though intermittently), and Fox News, so there are enough diverse views for in cabin viewing to stimulate some fairly intense debate. Interest on the ship is high. And many passengers I spoke to were even disappointed we wouldn’t be able to see Saturday Night Live the other night. I’m betting many passengers are spending more time watching their cabin televisions for updates on election happenings than they would for any other form of television. I think even in the removed world of a cruise, interest in the elections this year is incredibly high. And ultimately, that much interest, and likely participation, is a great thing for democracy. It’s a positive sign that the apathy of previous elections is being replaced with enthusiasm for the process of electing your representative officials. Though, I haven’t yet seen Obama/Biden or McCain/Palin signs decorating cabin doors, and no campaign rallies on deck.

I’ve witnessed some fairly heated political discussions onboard, but so far none that have come to blows. Perhaps it’s hard to get into fighting mode when sharing umbrella drinks in the sunshine poolside, while your body covered in sun screen, and your hands having been sanitized 1347 times. I just tell the Americans that you’ve got two Presidential candidates, and two political parties, with very different views of the policies they want to put in place. Perhaps as an outsider I think ultimately the choice is between those two very different policies… and all the other politics surrounding those policies isn’t relevant to your votes, while sometimes supplying some very good entertainment.

Maybe by the next election in 4 years time, they’ll have voting on cruise ships, available perhaps by electronic filing. I know that even on a cruise, on the evening of Tues. Nov. 4 most people’s attention is going to be directed to watching the election results come in. I also know I’m excited that I’m going to be here to report on the reactions on the ship.

Speaking of the ship.. today was the 7th day of the cruise. That’s the very best day of any cruise that is longer than seven days, because it means you could easily be disembarking the ship tomorrow… and we’re not! It’s not always feasible for people to take the time for a cruise lasting longer than 7 days. However, when the opportunity arises and you finally make the jump from a 7 day, to a 10 day, 12 day, or even longer cruise, I know you’re going to see and feel the very significant difference it makes towards improving your vacation.

 Prior to leaving on this cruise I had gone through a particularly stressful few months; due to the ill health of my elderly parents. It took me several days to begin to relax and de-stress, and come to feeling myself. I’m betting that it’s even been obvious to those of you reading these daily blogs. Truly, a cruise is one of the best de-stressors available to man. A cruise can’t erase your problems, but it can certainly help create enough joy in the present to mask the problem that was bothering you before you board. Like many medicines, it can’t necessarily cure the disease, yet it can certainly help treat the symptoms. The possible side effects include wrinkles in your face from too much smiling and laughter.

Today we were docked in Curacao (and so was the ship). On previous cruises we’ve taken that visited Curacao the ship used to dock along the canal that splits the town of Willemstad. The dock being used now is a bit further away from the center of town, and there’s been quite a bit of development between the new dock and the Queen Emma Bridge (the floating bridge which connects to the downtown area). The development, a Renaissance Hotel Resort, is still under construction, but some of the stores and restaurants are already open, and when finished there will be quite a number very close to the ship.

As we’ve visited several times before, today we opted to just stroll through town, shop a bit (very little, because it is not a great shopping port), and stop for a drink at one of the many outdoor cafes along the waterway, before wandering back to the ship.

We wanted to get back at a reasonable time because we’d invited the people in the CruiseMates group to a sail-a-way cocktail party on our aft balcony. Several couldn’t make it because they had booked reservations for tonight’s Murder Mystery Dinner… which I may well have done myself if I’d noticed it, when it was listed earlier in the ship’s Daily. At any rate, it was a beautiful afternoon/evening for the balcony party, and Alex, the Concierge, Michael, the newly arrived Group Events Coordinator, and Harry, our butler did an excellent job putting the party together for us. We had tons of food, and a full bar, which sat in the hallway because it wouldn’t fit through the door… which was actually funny. Though I’m not much of a drinker, I did have a couple of delicious Pina Coladas. It was really nice to get the chance to socialize with those in the group again, in the relaxed setting on our balcony.

77578 Cruising Through An Election

77576 Cruising Through An Election


77577 Cruising Through An Election

I just have to say, whether it’s a small group, or a big group, you really do meet the nicest people on our CruiseMates Group Cruises, and this group proves it once again; just a really nice group of people. Most of them are first time NCL cruisers, a couple who haven’t sailed NCL for years. They are basically used to more traditional cruise lines, but talking to them, “to a man” they have all been very impressed with the cruise to date, and Freestyle Cruising. They raved about the friendliness of the crew, and told me how pleased they’ve been with the food. 

I like to hear the opinions of others. It’s not that I don’t trust my own opinion. I do when Mrs. Kuki allows me to have one. But I have come to learn that I’m not always right… or at least my opinions may not always be right for others. For example, I wrote some less than complimentary things in the blog the other day about the Second City Comedy Troupe’s show. During today’s conversations I learned everyone but me, thought they were hilarious, and that included Mrs. Kuki. So, though I know it’s hard to imagine, I may have been one of the few to just “not get it” that night. This makes for a good example; when researching information on ships and reading cruise reviews, don’t believe everything you read, even if it is me writing it. Look for, and read, broad cross sections of reviews and opinions, and then travel informed, but ready to live your own experiences, and form your own opinions.

Now back to my opinions!

After stuffing ourselves on the excellent spring rolls and chicken wings at the cocktail party we certainly weren’t ready to go to dinner, so Mrs. Kuki and I relaxed for awhile in the cabin, and then went to the Stardust Theater to see tonight’s headliner. To be honest, I was quite leery because of the way the act was described in the Daily; “renowned entertainer David Merry”. I’ve seen that descriptor used previously on other acts, and still have no idea what it means. Is it a contortionist, an animal act, a sword swallower? As it turns out David Merry is very entertaining entertainer. Ok, I’ll tell… he’s a comedian with a bit of magic thrown in. I’m not really sure why the Daily wouldn’t say what he does. There’s no need to be ashamed, as he was very entertaining.

Another oddity popped up tonight. After the show Mrs. Kuki and I got some hanger pangs… after all we hadn’t eaten anything in 4 hours. We decided to return to the suite and order something from room service. The room service menu states… “To call Room Service, please touch the Room Service speed dial button”. I freely admit that sometimes I’m 3 bottles short of a six pack, but no matter how long I stared at that telephone, I wasn’t going to find a speed dial button for room service, because there wasn’t one. So I gave up and went to sleep.

No I didn’t really. I called Guest Relations (using the speed dial button) and asked if they could send up someone from maintenance to install a speed dial button for room service on our telephone.

At this time of night they couldn’t do that, but they did transfer me to Room Service. Because we’re in a suite, we could order from the full menu of any of the restaurants, but we really just wanted a snack. And since we didn’t have a speed dial button directly to Room Service, our suite number wouldn’t likely have shown up on their caller ID. Then I’d have had so spend a half hour trying to convince them that I really am in a Suite…. So I settled for a BLT sandwich, which, by the way, was pretty good. I may try it again if I can get a speed dial button installed.

BTW… I’ve noticed some of the photos are getting “cropped” when I post them to the blog. If you’d like to see the full pictures, and others they are available in the CruiseMates photo galleries.

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Comment from JoAnne
Time November 3, 2008 at 9:21 pm

Hi Kuki,,,sounds and looks like your having a great time.
Dan and I am glad you finding the jewel to your liking along with the other mates on board ,,,we have sailed on several NCL ships and love the “freestyle” option.

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