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Crusing the sea

Have you ever gone on a cruise? Personally, I have been on seven of them – cruising different lines. Most of the cruises were on the Royal Caribbean Line. We were the first passengers stateside on my first cruise. It had come across the Atlantic, then boarded in Boston.

I did all of my cruises before I remarried. Don told me he always thought I was out scouting men when I was on my cruises, but I assured him it was not that way. He is not a cruiser. He vividly recalls his trip across the Pacific on his way to Korea. It was not a pleasant experience and that was enough for him.

My first cruise was to Nova Scotia. I returned for an additional trip in this area a few years later. I love New England. Then, I took a cruise to the Western Caribbean with a side trip to New Orleans. My next cruise was to Hawaii. There we cruised around the islands stopping at several of them. My next cruise was to Alaska. If you ever go to Alaska, be sure that you travel on land and at sea. You see completely different things. The next cruise I took was through the Panama Canal. They were rebuilding it at the time and I hoped to revisit it, but that never happened. On that particular cruise I visited countries that I never thought of visiting! It was very interesting.

When the news broke about the ship stuck in the Suez Canal I could relate. We had a cargo ship ahead of us get stuck in the Panama Canal. They were able to free it though so we could continue our trip.

My last cruise was up the Danube River. I always wanted to go see Europe. I was delighted that we saw the old parts of the cities we visited.

That was a fabulous cruise. The food was wonderful. There were excursions planned for us at each port we stopped at. I was able to see the old spots in Europe which I very much enjoyed.

I wish that I knew the address of our foreign exchange student from the Netherlands. I did not find out her whereabouts until a couple years later. I might have been able to visit with her while we were in Amsterdam since she was quite nearby.

Now, I am reading a series of mysteries that take place on board a cruise ship. It is very light reading and the plots are pretty good.

Maybe I am enjoying it because of my cruising experience. I can relate to experiences on board since I know the schedule.

Millie, the central character, is a divorced woman. Her husband left her for a younger model. She applies for the job of Assistant Cruise Director on a whim. When she gets the job, she has mixed emotions. She will be leaving her family to accept the job.

The adventures of Millie are all possible. I know this because I have been on board. She is quite adventurous for a close to retirement age woman, and gets herself into many scrapes. She even gets accused of murder herself. I am about half way through the series. They read very quickly.

As I read, I recall experiences that I had on board. There is always an abundance of food. In fact, before the end of each cruise I was too full to finish all of the courses offered.

On the Hawaiian cruise we chose to have ice cream most evenings as dessert. We did indulge when the baked Alaska came out. On my last cruise I substituted one of the fruit soups for my dessert course and was completely satisfied. The fruit soups were offered in the salad section, but I told our waiter that I wanted to order it, but I wanted it served when he brought out the dessert.

I have a pretty good palate to detect flavors in various dishes. I came home with numerous recipes to make. I have tried most of them and they turned out well.

Millie eats in the crew area. It sounds different from what our waiters told us. They told us they ate a lot of rice. She does not mention that. The food she consumes seems to be quite ordinary. She often enjoys burgers and fries.

On our last cruise we did not have a chocolate buffet.

I am not sure why, but on all of the other cruises there was always a chocolate buffet. While we did try some of the dishes, we really were not up to eating that much chocolate at midnight.

Bon Voyage, Millie. I will continue to follow your adventures. The books are written by Hope Callaghan. They really are a fun read. Nothing educational, just light reading for enjoyment.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.

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