It was a kind of last-ditch effort to do something exciting before I exit this life. Not that I am planning any journey like that soon; it’s just that at my age every opportunity for adventure is a not-to be missed grace. So, I went on a Caribbean cruise for eleven days.
There were five in our group. All men; four priests. All at least 76 years old. The cruise included a partial transit of the Panama Canal and a land visit to Panama and four other Central American countries. Our expectation was that lectures would be given for those who wanted to know more about the culture of the countries we were to visit. But, it wasn’t that kind of cruise. Most of the people on the cruise were post-baby boom critters who liked to play games like “The Price is Right” or Bingo. There was also a considerable amount of imbibing.
The evening entertainment wasn’t interesting to me at all. It was mostly reviews of 60″s and 70’s singers. The reviews by passengers were generally unenthusiastic. I listened for a while to one evening show; it was mediocre. Never actually went to any of them.
The activity sheet listed about 40 things each day, most having to do with massage, weight loss and self-improvement kind of stuff — much of it merely bait for the cruisers to spend more money and, of course, for the cruise line to make more money. Four TV stations on board hawked diamonds, emeralds and so-called fine art (which was Kinkaid kind of stuff), not to mention the incessant trolling for the bored to sign up for another cruise.
I liked our morning an evening prayer together and our three Masses, the last “for the ship,” as the Cruise activities director phrased it. I visited all five countries, Marion visited none because his health really would not allow it. Rich was cautious about taking excursions not offered by the ship; he ultimately visited Panama, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Don settled for Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Mexico. Tom and I visited all five countries.
Comments: Marion had a “great time.” Rich gave it a “C+.” Don, I think found the adventure he was looking for but not the adventure he had expected. Tom? Tom likes everything and tries everything. He’s filed away our trip and its details and has now moved on. And me, I agree with Rich that it was disappointing not to have exciting lectures and better entertainment. I’d give the cruise line a C+ and my trip a B+ because I was able to get off the ship and out on excursions where I could use my Spanish and soak up a bit of each country’s culture. I suppose if I was too disappointed I wouldn’t be thinking so soon of hopping on another cruise.