GETTING AWAY

You can just work so much until it all becomes a fog and you can no longer see what it is you’re trying to accomplish. That’s when it’s time to get away from it. Take a break and reevaluate your life. After the fall semester at Connors State College ended last December, and after the fallout from the turmoil of Christmas, my wife and I embarked on the HM Westerdam (courtesy of Holland America Lines) for a cruise through the Caribbean.

For seven glorious days we sailed from Fort Lauderdale to Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman. And for those seven glorious days we revitalized our worn nerves with comfort and serenity. Oh, and of course, lots of food. There were also the single malts available at every bar on board ship. I think it was the food that had the most impact on my recovery. It’s not often that I can wake up and climb one flight of stairs to feast on such a grand offering of breakfasts. Not just any breakfast, but a world of breakfasts. Nearly anything I could imagine eating. Some of my favorites are the Scottish Eggs Benedict and Eggs Benedict Italian. What a way to start the day.

Lunch and dinner provided select fish, pork, beef, chicken, lamb, and vegetarian dishes. Something for everyone.

The stops we made afforded us opportunities to tour the local islands for a sample of island life. Our excursion through Grand Turk was surprising for an island ravaged by a recent hurricane. Aside from structural losses and some damage to the landscape, life there seems to have adapted and made a remarkable recovery. The island was lacking in infrastructure, but the inhabitants seem to be okay with that. I didn’t see a lot of commerce, tourism being the prime industry. An interesting place with a fascinating history.

The ship docked at Ocho Rios, Jamaica, the next day and after I set foot on the island, I was seriously considering jumping ship. But, I would still have to eat and provide a means of support for my wife and myself. I kept this thought all through the tour of the Good Hope Estate, some ninety minutes from the coast. It is a sugar cane plantation, or was. The highlight is the large house built in the 1700s, on a hilltop, elegant and grand in its time, built by the owner for his new bride. Views of the surrounding mountains are spectacular. It is now a tourist attraction and museum. Dinners and functions are hosted there for special occasions. Back at the ship, rational thought took over and I elected to continue with the cruise.

The last stop was Grand Cayman. This island has an extensive infrastructure, industry, and everything else. All of the amenities one could hope for. It also has the highest cost of living. That pretty well dashed any hopes I might of had of retiring there. After all, I’m not a millionaire. As impressive as the island was, I still got the idea that Americans were not held in hight esteem. I guess we can’t be popular everywhere.

Holland America Lines provides an experience that you won’t find very often. I don’t know what it’s like to live like royalty, since I an not a member of any royal blood lines that I know of. But I imagine the way the crew and staff treated my wife and me, as well as all of the passengers aboard the HM Westerdam, would be the way royalty might fare. It was all about us. We were always right, never wrong and anything that happened was for our benefit. The attention to detail, cleanliness, and comfort is just…what can I say, but outstanding.

This was our second cruise with Holland America Lines. It won’t be our last. It revived our tired bodies and minds and afforded a fresh view of life. Everyone should go one at least one cruise during their lives. It’s something you’ll never forget.

Now, back to work.

About marc cullison

Retired college instructor, math and science. I write and read as much as I can. I am also working on my log house. So much to do.
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