Did you ever think you could get me out of the mountains and onto an eight-story floating hotel with a casino, swimming pools, Jacuzzi, and enough space for me to get lost on a daily basis? Well, it happened a month ago when an old friend of forty years, Peter Beach, a member of my Board of Directors of MEH (Music Education for the Handicapped) made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. So I put my prejudices aside and took the leap.
The Enchantment of the Seas, is one of the premier ships of Royal Caribbean International. Its itinerary was to include stops at every imaginable port on the east coast from Baltimore to Key West to Nassau in the Bahamas. Activities ranged from crocodile and dolphin watching to snorkeling and swimming in the warm waters of the Caribbean. I persuaded myself that these underwater delights, found only on such a cruise, would be a reliving of just such adventures as I had had snorkeling in Elat on the Red Sea so many years ago. And also provide relief from the cold weather in February. How could I resist?
Shortly before sailing we were informed of delays due to a faulty engine (two is the optimum number for a ship that size). There was much scrambling and talk of repair and we sailed hours late…but we sailed. Tensions rose as we realized that we could go no faster than 15 knots and would be experiencing a choppy north Atlantic for a lot longer than we had hoped. Few people had packed warm clothing, so, like them, I braved the wind and cold on the outside prominade and pretended that I was fighting my way around the Annapurna Circuit under less than optimum circumstances. The imagination is a wonderful thing and indispensable in such situations.
Three days into the trip our charming Swedish captain, who was always full of witticisms and gems for the day, announced that a full refund would be given to all passengers, since we could only stop for half a day at Port Canaveral and one day in Nassau. We had to miss Coral Cay, Rose Island, and Key West, which Peter had been so eager to show me.
Nevertheless, the dance lessons continued, the entertainment and special receptions went full tilt, and the dip in the ocean in Nassau was worth waiting for. We met two delightful and very compatible couples with whom we shared dinner, talked, laughed, and lived the good life for those ten fateful days.
It wasn’t easy for me, a recent Vegan convert, but I managed because of the excellent Indian cuisine at the bottom of the menu and the incredible soups at the top. And nobody was looking when I sneaked an occasional filet mignon or dish of ice cream. Oops. I couldn’t be expected to be that perfect, could I?
So picture two thousand plus people milling about, eating constantly, sunning themselves when the sun was available, Jacuzzi-ing, jamming the two large pools, one heated and one brrr, and enjoying free hot and cold running service at the expense of Royal Caribbean. Add to that incredible nightly shows in an auditorium to rival Radio City Music Hall, complete with a magician, several comedians, and great musical comedy, and you can see that there were few complaints about “the situation.” Fortunately I brought my laptop and some good books, so filled the time that would have been spent snorkeling and exploring the Bahamas with relaxing activities.
Will I do this again? Dunno. I’m keeping an open mind, but have a few mountains to experience in Mongolia, Pakistan, Alaska, and Russia before I return to the ocean. Let’s see how my engine holds up….
Theater update: I don’t want to disappoint my fellow addicts, so here are my recent theatrical experiences. You won’t want to miss Other Desert Cities, headlining the superb Stockard Channing; Look Back in Anger, a powerful revival of John Osborne’s 1956 play; Edward Albee’s The Lady From Dubuque at the stunning new Pershing Square Signature Center, with an outstanding cast led by Jane Alexander, and the riveting Freud’s Last Session. I was very disappointed in the three one act plays, Relatively Speaking, but thoroughly enjoyed my old friend, Adam LeFevre, in the off Broadway production of a new play, How The World Began. A special note about Libby Skala, who performed a one-woman show, A Time To Dance, about her amazing great aunt Lisa Polk, a close friend of mine, who started the American Dance Therapy Association and was a head-liner at two of my MEH symposia.
I shall be enjoying Donizetti’s The Elixer of Love at the Metropolitan Opera next week, and, thanks to my niece, Margaret Magill, a violinist with the Met orchestra, my sister, Cary, and I were privileged to see the dress rehearsal of the new production of Verdi’s Aida. You can’t beat that!
And begorra…a Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all.