|World Trip Home||Post Seven|
|The Platinum Club|
The average age on the ship was probably 60. And that's despite the fact that we and a few other passengers skewed the mean downward. We would point out younger people to each other like we were spotting Orcas on a whale-watching trip: "Did you see them? They were our age, didn't they?" They were equally elusive, and we never got close to any of those rarefied creatures.
And to be honest, we didn't really care. I've met enough people "my age" who act like geriatrics to know how little that counts. I've also met 70-year-olds who made me feel like an old fart.
Besides, these people were blowing us away on the party scale. Scott and I would be yawning, sipping mineral water, and glancing at the clock as couples twice our age would take another hit off their scotch and water and glide onto the dance floor, looking fresh and dewy as they swished into the next samba.
|Do You Feel Lucky?|
Can't you just hear the bells dinging and the coins chink-chinking in the slot machine troughs? Every cruise ship needs its own little den of sin, and this one had the Fortunes casino.
Formal nights were the best times for a casino stroll. The striking black and white of tuxedos, the rainbow of shimmering fabrics, and the jewelry glittering on décolletages matched the crystal, brass, and colorful slot-machine lights, twinkle for twinkle. I felt like I was in Monte Carlo or Nice.Once your eyes adjusted to the glare, though, it began to look like any other casino, only maybe with better-dressed clientele drinking more expensive drinks. People sat in slot machine trances ("must-pull-lever") or hunkered down over cards at a blackjack table, mesmerized by the dealer's hands shelling out cards. I can think of more fun ways to lose money (shoes, for example), but to each his own....
The entertainment in the Celebrity Theatre was a treat, with top-quality talent, choreography, music, and costumes. After the first night, you stopped waiting for the dancers to fall when the ship pitched. Not a single misstep. They were that good. They kicked and sashayed their way through Broadway revues, as the singers belted out crowd-pleasing numbers from "The Phantom of the Opera," "Les Miserables," "A Chorus Line," and other shows.I wanted to hate the comedian, but he turned out to be pretty good in a Las Vegas-in-the-50s, ethnic-joke, Bob-Hope kind of way. He won my approval by doing an excellent Tom Jones vocal impression. The visual didn't quite work, though. Picture a 300-pound man in a tux with a thick thatch of snow-white hair, gyrating his hips to "What's New, Pussycat?". See? I told you.
|Love, Exciting and New…|
This is the "Love Boat" shot: Blue sky, blue ocean, sunbathers. I know what you're asking: Where in the heck are the cute, buff guys diving into the pool?
I certainly didn't see any G-strings. That might have been a good thing, though. Most of the people out there looked like they could stand to skip the midnight buffet once or twice. But hey, this cruise was not about keeping fit. It was about indulging! We probably had three days of sunny weather, tops, but there were people sunbathing almost every day. And they weren't even German!If the pool scene didn't exactly remind me of the Love Boat, at least we had our own little Julie McCoy in the form of Rob, our cruise director. He made an announcement on our coordinates and weather at noon every day, stretching out his syllables with a sexy Aussie accent laced with Robyn Leach enthusiasm: "Good off-tuh--noon, lye-dees and gentleman, this is Rrrr-ob Wheatley, coming to you...from the bridge." (It's just not the same in print.)
I guess "thalassotherapy" sounds more soothing and spa-like than "salt water." But with either name, this warm, salt-water pool was the best free part of the spa. (The Etruscan mud bath sounded tempting, but at $250 it was out of my price range.)You could lie back on wide, ergonomic benches made of metal piping that were built into both sides of the pool (you can kind of see one here) and float in the warm water. It was really relaxing, until the ship's pitching would cause the water to slam into one side of the pool and right into the faces of people on the bench. Nothing like a saltwater sinus rinse....
|Death On the Nile|
These sturdy, teak deck chairs in the spa might have been teleported straight out of Agatha Christie's "Death on the Nile." This was a nice place to sip iced tea and relax with a book after a dip in the pool.
|Food Coma Treatment Center (a.k.a., the Gym)|
Ever try running on a treadmill that's rocking slowly side to side? It takes practice. Holding a yoga position like "the warrior" onboard ship is even more challenging. Step aerobics is downright dangerous.We tried it all, our defense against the béchamel and brown sauce, fresh-baked breads, and crème brulée. Besides a full gym, you could take lessons three times per day in combat, cardio-step, yoga, weight training, fat-blaster aerobics, abdominal workshops, you name it. A perky blond Australian national aerobics champion (yes, there really is such a thing) taught the classes.
|Stern bar in the evening|
Whenever there was a sunset to be seen, the stern was the place to be. There was an elegant outdoor bar here.On that note, here's the estimated alcohol consumed on board over 13 days:
3,400 bottles of assorted wines
200 bottles of champagne
200 bottles of gin
290 bottles of vodka
350 bottles of whiskey
150 bottles of rum
45 bottles of sherry
600 bottles of assorted liqueurs
10,100 bottles/cans of beer
Scott & Karen Semyan