|Posted by dkchristi on March 22, 2013 at 6:10 PM|
At least once a year, I packed up my netbook, a small carry-on bag, and swimsuits for a Caribbean cruise aboard a cruise ship "wantabee." This is not to insult my favorite cruise ship as I picked it every year until it chose a new port of departure and I am now sunk.
Bahamas Celebration is a small cruise ship that once left from Miami on a four-day, three-night excursion to Nassau and back. Docked next to Oasis of the Seas in Nassau, it looks like a Dingy. Yet, we always had front docking, just a few steps from the straw market and busses to everywhere with a little daring.
On this writing retreat, I booked the smallest single pay room, located in the crew quarters where most of the fun and interesting people lived. I had a small port and could just turn around in the room. As the ship's comedian joked, the shower was simple: just soap the walls and spin. I also had a desk with the port over my shoulder.
Twenty-four hours a day my food was prepared with many fresh fruits and vegetables to nibble from the opulent buffets. I carried my netbook into the dining halls, the bars, the ice cream parlor, the Casino and everywhere people gathered with their snippets of conversation reaching my ears and finding a place somewhere in a story or a novel. On deck, I walked for exercise.
Traveling alone, I was forced to meet people at shared dining tables, movies, games, night club shows and entertainment venues for our enjoyment. The entertainment was professional and excellent on a small scale, reminiscent of the actors who received a second chance on "Love Boat."
I never felt harried or crowded. There were no lines. Ship's staff members were plentiful for any little question. I traveled the same ship just often enough to be recognized now and then with great exuberance from the staff member.
I finished Ghost Orchid on that ship. I finished several short stories for the anthologies Forever Travels, Forever Families and Romance of My Dreams. I was totally removed from my own environment and surrounded by people who sought a less opulent cruise vacation, one that had everything found on a major cruise line, just in a smaller and less grand style.
They moved their departure port to West Palm. The drive there takes too much time. I miss it, though. My friends probably wonder what happened to me. I hope so.