A few weeks ago we went on our first chartered cruise, a Country Western Music event arranged by StarVista. The cruise line was Holland America, and the ship was the Westerdam.
The trip started in Fort Lauderdale FL. But before we get into the trip details, a little background. My sister Liz and her Husband Mike live just north of Ft. Lauderdale in West Palm Beach FL. We arrived a couple days early so that we could spend a day visiting. On Friday Jan 15th, we headed up Interstate 15 in the middle of a major downpour. Dummy (that’s me) had forgotten the Garmin GPS, which was packed securely in our luggage in our hotel room. Thank God that Sherron is really good with her iPhone 6, else we would probably still be lost. After we arrived at my sister’s house, we received emergency notifications that tornados were headed our way. That storm was a real doozy!
Everything turned out OK, but it made for a bit of an eventful day. By the way, on our way back to Ft. Lauderdale that evening we saw eight traffic accidents on the freeway. One would think that residents of Florida would be better at handling the rain. Maybe they’re all Los Angeles transplants.
We were beginning to think that we carry some sort of a jinx whenever we travel. After the experience with the heavy rain, we couldn’t help but reminded that nearly every time we travel some type of tragic event occurs. We have had family members pass away when on our vacations, the parents of friends, and one time, we arrived in Rome the day after the Pope died. How bad is that? It has been suggested, tongue-in-cheek, that perhaps we should not travel.
After arriving at the Holland America embarkation facility on the 16th, we knew immediately that this was going to be a fun trip. The crowd waiting to board the ship was dressed in cowboy hats, boots and jeans. The music of our favorite country singers was playing over the PA system. The southern accents of our fellow travelers added to the festive sounds of the music.
We were pleasantly surprised as we boarded the ship to find that our stateroom was ready. It was about 11:30 and we didn’t expect to have our room until 2:00. It would be another three hours for our luggage to show up, but that was fine. We used the facilities, wandered about the ship and headed for the café to have a light lunch.
I like to get the lay of the land (er – the ship that is) as soon as possible, so we went up on the outer top deck and wandered around as the ship was readied for disembarkation. I watched as truck after truckload of supplies was loaded onto the ship. From my vantage point on the top deck, I could look down on the crews unloading food, water, booze, etc. from trucks, and then onto forklifts being driven into the ship. I was surprised to see police officers with drug (explosive?) sniffing dogs checking each palette before it was cleared for boarding.
Bill Blowers – Author of Dangerous Betrayal – The Vendetta That Sank Titanic. www.billblowers.com Hear Bill speak at the following locations. Admission is free, public is invited:
February 16, Simi Valley Senior Center, 3900 Avenida Simi, Simi Valley, CA. 1:30 PM
February 18, Ventura City Hall Auditorium, 510 Poli St. #109, Ventura, CA. 6:00 PM
February 20, Base Camp Cafe, 16311 Askin Dr. Pine Mountain Club, CA. 1:00 PM