I didn’t realize that the entire history of planetpooks is not here on planetpooks.com. Several years still live at planetpooks.wordpress.com. I had no idea, and need to decide what to do about that. In the meantime I’m reposting this for Billie Sue Mosiman, thriller and horror writer, and old friend from the magical world of GEnie, who is contemplating a cruise. She mentioned curling up with a book, and I remembered, oh yes, I remembered…
September 28, 2007
As we leave our last island, my view from my wing chair in the library:
And my chair by the window:
Sorry for the whiplash, but I’m yanking you back to 2012 now. Almost five years have passed since that cruise. I am not a cruise person. That’s the only one I’ve ever taken.
I sat in that chair for more hours than I can count, and wrote thousands of words. The views were amazing and the atmosphere quiet. I only recall one other passenger entering the library while I was there. Who goes on a cruise to sit in the library? I guess I did, and believe me, I’d love to spend a writing week there again. It was a beautiful library, and I propped my feet on the window sill with my laptop in my lap and wrote a new world. I had to rearrange furniture a bit to do so, mind you. The chair usually faced into the library, not out.
We were on the Pride of America, the Norwegian Cruise Line.
Just for the record, it is the only cruise in the world that is governed by American (in this case, Hawaiian) law. It departs from and returns to Honolulu, and in the meantime visits four islands. With the exception of the last day, all travel is done at night. You wake up already docked, ready to take off and explore the island.
Unlike other cruise lines that were docked where we were, we were allowed to stay on the island hours longer than they were. It seems like there might have been one night where passengers weren’t required to come back at all, but my memory may be bad on that. We were told it is because the other cruise lines originate in Canada, the US or Mexico and thus don’t have to follow Hawaiian laws unless they are in American waters. Thus they grab their passengers early enough to get back out into international waters for the nightly gambling. There is also an issue of port fees. Our cruise paid to stay longer than the others did.
Because this cruise has to follow Hawaiian laws, its crew is 90% American (that percentage may not be exact, but it was a high number). This also makes it different from other cruises. Some passengers liked the fact that all the crew wore name tags with their hometown listed and the general atmosphere was casual and friendly. I also heard complaints from seasoned cruise folks who preferred the less casual atmosphere of their previous cruises. The dress code is also different and more casual from most cruises.
There were some restaurants that required reservations and were not part of the package. The main dining room had an upstairs and downstairs. Upstairs was for those who wanted the more upscale experience and had a dress code. Downstairs was more casual. I think they served the same menu. The food on the cruise was plentiful and good. We hit most of the restaurants at one time or another, including the sports bar where I watched the Cowboys win (and was the only Cowboys fan present, which was fun).
Those are just a few of my memories of that trip which may be of interest if you’re considering a Hawaiian cruise. I personally like the fact that the boat is under American/Hawaiian jurisdiction, since there are a lot of scary things that happen in international waters and the US hasn’t been that successful in getting justice of our citizens. That wouldn’t stop me from taking another cruise if I wanted to, mind you. But it was definitely something I liked.
Now, the other part of looking back. That state room held the week-long slumber party where the four of us–my mother, sister, niece and I–were crammed into too small a space all together due to various confusions prior to boarding. We often laughed until tears rolled down our cheeks, I said a few words that made my niece laugh hysterically, my sister gasp and my mom pretend she hadn’t heard them. It’s where we gave my mom the time of her life.
It’s also where we saw my mother’s back covered with unexplained bruises and discovered that her doc would start running tests when she got home. That was the beginning of the end, though like my mother, there was no tragedy involved, just a lot more love and laughter as her body finally let go.
I’ve just returned from Hawaii again. This time, we were there for my youngest son to get married to my beautiful new Hawaiian daughter-in-law. Once again, I return filled with memories of laughter and love and beauty, and the constant presence just over my shoulder of my mother’s memory.
Damn, she would have loved that trip.
In fact, I’m pretty sure she did.