‘I get sea sick’, ‘the ships are too big’, there are too many people on the ships’, ‘there is no way I am going on a cruise’.
I’m sure there are many of you who get the picture (both male and female). In our case the stumbling block to our first cruise was my wife of 37 years – Carol.
I had always fancied a cruise and our impending retirement appeared to provide the ideal opportunity to try one. Just one very big problem!
However nothing ventured etc. I noticed cruise vouchers on ebay and given their excellent value I purchased a Titanium voucher at what I considered a ridiculously cheap price and waited for the fallout. I didn’t have to wait long.
‘What a waste of money’, ‘You can’t buy a cruise for that much’, ‘they must be con men’, ‘I bet nobody’s had a cruise’, ‘there’s bound to be a catch’ – once again I’m sure you’ve got the picture!
‘Unbelievably’ a cruise appeared on the site that fitted in with our retirement holiday. ‘Bound to be a hitch’ proclaimed Job’s comforter. However there wasn’t a hitch of any sort and our week visiting 6 islands in the Caribbean was booked and I suffered 11 months of pre-cruise prophecies of doom.
Things were not helped by ‘friend’ Chris (a seasoned cruiser and non-cruise voucher convert) declaring that Carnival were ‘fun ships’ and making it sound like Butlins on the ocean. A further potential problem reared its head when we found we had been allocated an ocean view stateroom on ‘Deck 1’ – the lowest on the ship. ‘If we had been on the Titanic we would have been below Jack Dawson’ became a regular observation from a less than happy future ship mate.
The first sign of a thaw came just 3 days before we were to board the Carnival Victory at San Juan in Puerto Rico. We were enjoying a week in St Lucia and we spotted Carnival Victory as it left Castries harbour on the Thursday. Even Carol, who at that point was looking forward to flying to San Juan with about as much enthusiasm as a visit to the dentist, looked suitably impressed with the ship as it sailed away.
Next day we flew to San Juan to spend 2 superb days prior to our date with destiny. I can thoroughly recommend Charlies Car Hire to any prospective cruisers out of San Juan. Cheapest car hire in the Caribbean by far and superb service picking up at the airport and dropping of at the cruise terminal. I can also recommend a superb b&b on the edge of the rainforest overlooking the ocean that was magical (Ceiba Country Inn).
Enough of the free publicity – back to a nervous wreck. Me. Would our marriage survive? Would I survive?
The glimmering of a thaw I had noticed in St Lucia started to become a reality with our swift embarkation on the Sunday. We were heading for our cabin just 20 minutes after arriving at the terminal. The first view of the room was going to be the determining factor!! Wow! What a superb cabin. It wasn’t under water! In fact it provided a superb view of the harbour. Suddenly there was a smile of delight.
The thaw was underway and the next 7 days were to provide the biggest conversion since Saul of Tarsus!
Everything about the cruise – the ship, the crew, the food, the entertainment, the ports of call turned out way beyond my expectations. As my expectations were already at a fairly high level I can only imagine how Carol felt as all her preconceptions were shattered.
Enough to say that the smile did not leave her face until we had to disembark 7 days later. However her rather sad face was mirrored by mine as we left the terminal and took a last look at our home for the previous week.
Thank you Cruise Vouchers for giving me the opportunity to introduce the joys of cruising to Carol and to bring the biggest looks of surprise imaginable on the faces of our friends when we returned – still as man and wife. Even more surprising is the newly converted disciple for the new Cruise Miles. Her friends are going to get sick of her preaching to them about just how unbelievable they are.
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