DATELINE . . .
It has taken much longer than I expected to complete my book -- like, a year or so, partly due to the research. In addition to recounting our daily experiences on a transatlantic cruise, I include a lot of information such as history, health and safety, my family coming to the U.S. on ocean liners, and more.
Here is an example of one of my typical asides. What standard would you use to compare the size of ships? That would be Gross Register Tons, or GRT, which is not a measure of weight, as it may sound. It is a measure of volume. One GRT is 100 cubic feet of space (ten feet by ten feet by one foot). Mariner of the Seas, for example, encompases 138,000 GRT, or 13,800,000 cubic feet. It is 1,020 feet long. How does this compare to, say, Titanic? A respectable 882 feet long (built in 1912), Titanic contained 46,328 GRT. That means it was one-third the size of Mariner. That gives some idea of the enormity of modern cruise ships.
How crowded was Titanic compared to Mariner? Divide the space by the number of passengers. For Mariner, with 3,114 passengers, that equals 44.3 GRT per passenger. For Titanic, with 2,435 passengers, that number is 19 GRT per passenger. Mariner passengers have more than twice as much room as the wealthy clients on the fabulous Titanic. Imagine! In the 19th century, ships packed with immigrants coming to the United States had as little as 5 GRT per person -- virtual cattle cars. (The same density would put more than 25,000 passengers on Mariner!) Do you find these statistics interesting? I do. The book is filled with this kind of pondering.
I have been working on the book in my spare time. Now on its third revision, I am ready for public input. I think I still need to add more personal reflections, to make it a true memoir. We'll see. I'm looking for first readers, to look through the beta copy of my manuscript for typos, errors, or other issues and to make comments and suggestions. If you are interested, see the information on the Home page.
CRUISE FROM SYDNEY TO HONOLULU
Good on 'ya. mate. Having spent two months in Australia, we decided at the last minute to take a cruise back to the United States. There were three possibilities, of which we chose Rhapsody of the Seas, 17 days from April 10 to 28. (Yes, that looks like 18 days, but crossing the international dateline meant we repeated one day.) We wanted to continue from Honolulu to Vancouver, but there were no acceptable cabins left. We don't "do" guarantee cabins, in which you never know what they will assign you. On a full ship, it can only be bad. I used the cruise to continue to work on "the" book. Rhapsody gleamed and shone, just one week out of a 50 million dollar refurbishment. It was the smallest Royal Caribbean ship I have been on, and it did indeed seem a bit more crowded. About 80% of the passengers were Australian, a switch from the usual predominance of Americans. Aussies are the salt of the earth, as friendly as can be, but I'll have to say, that accent isn't pretty, not like a romantic French accent or a crisp British one. Ah-ee, ah-ee, ah-ee. Can you believe they ran out of Fosters after only four days! Tragic. Poor planning. For a review of the cruise, see Rhapsody.
CRUISE COMPLETED! BOOK IN PROCESS
We preceded our cruise with six weeks in Europe, four in France and two in Italy. Then, on October 26, 2011, we departed from Civitavecchia (the port for Rome) aboard Mariner of the Seas, arriving in Galveston, TX, 17 days later. This cruise is the basis of my book, FOUND AT SEA: A MEMOIR OF LOVE, RENEWAL, AND A TRANSATLANTIC CRUISE. It's a detailed, day-by-day description of the cruise itself (something I feel is missing in current cruise literature), combined with personal reflections, our love story, history, and more. On the Home page are links to a photo essay of this cruise.
September 6, 2011
LET'S GO CRUISING
(More recent updates can be reached through Dateline. We left this here so you can read our story.)
I have one message: Let's go cruising. There is no convert more enthusiastic than a new one -- which would describe me, talking about the joy of going on cruises. Why did it take me 65 years to discover it? Well, one reason is that it took me almost that many years to meet Linda, the love of my life. In 2009, she invited me to join her on a Royal Caribbean cruise from Barcelona to Galveston on the Voyager of the Seas. We preceded the cruise by a week in France. What could be more romantic? It worked its magic on us, that's for sure. Those staterooms aren't very big. You discover right away whether you get along. We did. Six months later we were married, with our honeymoon on the Queen Mary 2.
This website has no products to sell, no cruises to book, no advertisements. With one exception:. My book. I found that watching the ocean pass by makes me reflective. So, I wrote a mem
The name of this website is the name of the book I am writing, which will document a single cruise, a 17-day repositioning cruise from Rome to Galveston, from Oct. 26 to Nov. 11, 2011, on the Mariner of the Seas. When the book is finished, I hope you will buy it. There may be additional books after that. We'll see. I think cruise ships are the ideal venue for writing. They are so efficient. Just walk down and eat wonderful meals. Walk up and lie in the sun or walk the promenade deck or go to the gym -- all so accessible with so little effort. Have a margarita, dance with Linda, then go back and write some more. To make it even easier, I don't drag my laptop around anymore. I'm writing on an iPad2.
Ten years ago, Royal Caribbean's "voyager class" ships were the largest on the seas. Now, they have been dwarfed by mammoth new ships like the Oasis of the Seas. Actually, I like the trend toward bigger ships. I hope to be on the Oasis some day. In fact, I have already decided that I would like our world cruise (bucket list item) to be on the Queen Mary 2, which is both large and an ocean liner -- made for North Atlantic crossings from Southampton to New York (which is what we did, both directions) -- highly competent to handle rough weather.. But then, I get ahead of myself.
Remember that Robert Redford movie in which his band of outlaws was trying to escape to Mexico? Every time they looked behind them, the posse was still trailing them. They kept asking, "Who are those guys?" Well, the cruise community may well ask the same question of us. I read online cruise blogs in which people list their cruises, often numbering in the dozens, even 40 or 50. We met a couple who have been on 76 cruises. Me? The one which I will document for this book will be my sixth, with all of 65 total days at sea. For Linda the number is 11. We saw a couple on a Princess cruise who had a total of more than three years at sea! Wow! So, who am I to write about cruises? Here are 12 reasons.
I do indeed like Royal Caribbean, but I have no association with them. In fact, I can't even get their publicity department to answer my emails. Future writing may just as well be on other cruise lines. I intend to be scrupulously honest in my description of the cruise. I want people to get a feel of what it is like, positive or negative. I'm not beholding to Royal Caribbean in any way, having paid for our own passage, just as most others do. I wish I could arrange a few interviews of officers and staff, but that has yet to materialize.
I wasn't able to discover cruises until I stopped working so much. Being self-employed most of my life, I am ready to do the things I never had a chance to do. Namely, to live. I have read several books that were written by people who worked on cruise ships. Mostly, the authors were young men, who spent the whole time describing debauchery behind the scenes. The pages were full of drinking and fornication. For me, that isn't the attraction of cruising. Well, not the only attraction for cruising.
On the upper left is Circular Quay, the ferry boat terminal in downtown Sydney as seen from up in the Crown Viking Lounge of Rhapsody of the Seas.
Many cruisers look forward to ports, getting off the ship
and exploring. In the Caribbean, for example, destinations are close together, sometimes daily. On transAtlantic itineraries, there are six sea days in a row. Considered a negative by thrill seekers, the paucity of ports lowers the price for these cruises considerably. We
love sea days. So our favorite cruises are the ones that happen to cost the least. What a good deal. That being said, we greatly enjoyed our tour of Madeira. The guide