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Old May 3rd, 2011, 01:08 AM
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May 2 - Lahaina, Maui - from Crystal Symphony

My day began with pre-ordered in-suite breakfast of an omelet, bacon, hash browns, a toasted bagel, and my gallon of coffee. Everything came hot, and right on the requested time.

The golf package continued today, and right off the bat I have to say it was a complete turnaround from yesterday’s excursion. The dozen golfers met this morning in the Crystal Cove at 8:30 A.M. to proceed to tender ashore. But this time our golf clubs had already gone ashore ahead of us. There was a comfortable mini-bus waiting to take us on the short ride to the Kaanapali Golf Resort.

Upon arrival we had some time to kill before our scheduled tee times. There was a self-serve continental breakfast, with coffee, tea, pastries and fresh fruit waiting for us. Our golf clubs were waiting on golf carts, and after warming up and stretching, the first group teed off.

The golf course is a resort style course, with player friendly fairways. It’s not the nicest course on Maui they could have chosen, but it was more than adequate.

The course surprisingly did not have a beverage cart on the course, but there was a snack shack you passed a couple of times, and a player services rep. driving around the course offering complimentary cold Tang Orange Juice.

Our golf pro Shannon, and legendary Ken Venturi, moved from group to group, giving golf tips, playing a few holes, and telling stories through the entire day.

The golf group enjoyed the golf, and upon returning to the clubhouse, everyone could order whatever they wanted off the menu, and a couple of drinks were included.

Our mini-bus showed up to transport us back to the tender pier, and the cleaned clubs were loaded onto the bus. Arriving back at the tender pier, ship’s staff were present to unload all the golf clubs and place them in the tender to return to the ship. No passenger had to lift a finger, or their golf bag.

This was without doubt a luxury golf tour, which I had expected of Crystal to begin with. Kudos to whoever was responsible for the quick turnaround in style and organization.

At the golf course this morning, but before we teed off this morning, my brother in law from Arizona called my cell phone. The news… my mother had been taken to the hospital after a visit to her family physician, and my sister was heading to the airport for a quick trip to my home town.

Suddenly, I was faced with the same situation I faced a couple of years ago; we were on a ship in the Caribbean, and my father was ill. Those of you who have followed my writings over the years will recall how tortured I was with the decision whether to disembark the ship in Rotan, and fly home, or stay on the ship for the remaining few days. That time I actually spoke with my father who insisted I stay on the ship and come home as scheduled. We did as asked, and sadly my father passed away before we got home.

It was a decision I deeply regretted, and as a result of the regret, I didn’t cruise for a year and a half. For most people that doesn’t seem like much time, but for a travel writer, it was significant. And even when I went back for my first cruise last May, I was stressed and somewhat depressed.

Now… I’m suddenly faced with the same decision; do I get off the golf course, get back to the ship, and pack my things before the ship leaves Maui at 5 P.M.?

I spoke to, and text messaged, with Mrs. Kuki, who is at home, to see if I could get the most current status report on my mother, and decided to wait a couple of hours to get an update, if there was one later, thinking there would still be time to get off the ship.

As I posting this tonight, it’s obvious that after many more conversations, I decided to stay on the cruise. To say that I’m satisfied with my decision, or happy to continue on, simply isn’t the case. I’m now traveling with a heavy heart, and tears constantly welling in my eyes when I think about it.

I have no idea if I’ve done the “right thing”, if there is a right thing. Or if this is one of those moments… a decision I’m going regret for the rest of my life.

What would you have done facing similar circumstances?
 
 
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