Your humble poster realizes that many of you peeps are experienced travelers, indeed many of you have traveled around the world. Your humble poster's travel experience will be toward the opposite end of that travel continuum, so kindly be patient when I relate just a couple of items from my recently completed FIRST TIME cruise experience.
I was so swamped with work - including clearing my schedule for the 3/27 - 4/3 cruise dates - that I simply had very little time to research the damn thing. I didn't even start packing for those seven days and nites until 3/26, and it simply never became CLEAR in my mind until around 3/25-26 in what ports were we stopping and what airport, Miami or Ft. Lauderdale, that we were flying into. I had to CONTINUOUSLY ask Mrs. Strike those questions, which she answered, but with increasing understandable annoyance.
Anyway, wish I had the benefit of some of you more experienced cruisers BEFORE I headed out on the journey. Mrs. Strike had been on three previous cruises with girlfriends, family members, etc., but your humble poster always demurred. Anyway, better preparation would have helped with the following issues:
1) seven days for a first time cruise was a bit too much for me, I would have been better off with a three or four days deal. About the evening of day 4, I was so miserable that I was damn near LITERALLY in tears. The site of being on the open seas of the Caribbean every time I exited my stateroom in the mornings was more than a bit disturbing to me.
2) I was NOT prepared for the presence of so many children on that ship, ranging from infants in carriers/strollers to teenagers. But it was the teenagers presence that caused the most angst for me. One nite around 1:00am, I go the pizza parlor to get some food, and these kids were running around the ship buckwild. I guess the parents weren't TOO concerned as where in the hell could these kids go? We were on the open waters.
3) As predicted, the ports of call - Dominican Republic, St. Thomas, VI, Puerto Rico and Grand Turk on Turks and Caicos - were pretty much tourist scams. You're basically allowed about 4-5hrs off the ship at each of those ports, which turned out to be more than sufficient time for the merchants waiting on a bunch of idiot tourists to separate you from your hard-earned US currency. Of course, all the white folks looked forward to BOTH on the ship and at these various Caribbean ports was to lay in the sun. Its something about THEM and their need for sun that I'll never understand.
Did get a chance, however, to actually go into the "hood" on Grand Turk, and the people there were fairly sweet and charming. But my thought was that we'd rather do business with African descended folks than the large, white controlled companies that owned the shops at those tourists merchant malls. And, then, what was MOST surprising about the experience was.........
4) the presence of so many negroes on the ship. I had heard and read that "we" cruise, but experienced it first hand on this trip. It was just my gut feeling that our presence on the ship fairly approximated our presence in the US general population, around 13%. And there were a total of over 3K paid customers on the ship, along with a staff of around 1K. And all this time I thought the only time negroes went on cruises was the Tom Joyner deal...............just kidding.
There is much more I can say, but I did not intend for this to be a travelogue. And, AGAIN!, I realize that my recently completed experience is small potatoes for many of you, and that you wouldn't be caught DEAD on any cruise line unless its Viking or something similar.
I was on Carnival Splendor, btw.