Friday, December 01, 2006

The Payoff

We always hope there is a big payoff after we slog through a lot of hard work. Well in my case, there was. I recently finished my latest book, "CrossTalk", and took off for 5 glorious days on Royal Caribbean's Splendour of the Seas. I was pampered, very well fed, entertained, and waited on hand and foot. Let me first say, I never wanted to go on a cruise. Ever. No interest at all. But I said yes to this one and I am so glad I did!

Our lovely waitress at dinner each evening, Maria from Romania, had the world's most charming mannerisms. Every time I thanked her, she would say, "My pleasure, madame." Which could seem obsequious or perhaps even a bit sarcastic, but from Maria it seemed sincere and lovely. Our stateroom attendant, Clinton, was equally fabulous. He magically procured things like ice for our champagne and extension cords, remembered all the scheduling details we couldn't seem to manage and folded our bath towels into interesting animal shapes when he turned down the beds each evening. We love Clinton!

Then there was Charlie. After we went parasailing, my friend Jenn and I grabbed a cab to head into downtown Cozumel. Instead of a regular cabbie, we were gifted with Charlie, who offered to take us on a private tour of the island for a very reasonable flat rate. Not only did Charlie take us to the ruins at San Gervasio and down the lovely, mostly undeveloped Caribbean side of the island, he also stopped every time we wanted to take pictures, toted purchases, took pictures of us (complete with the optimum breaking of waves in the background) and told us where the best guacamole on the island was (the beach restaurant at Palancar, if you're interested). Before our tour ended (much too soon, but that was our fault), we were all fast friends and Jenn and I promised to look him up when we visit next.

Not only did I parasail on this cruise, I also climbed the rock wall twice (but didn't make it to the top either time), rode an ATV through the jungle (very fast--thanks, Carlos!) and toured some cool Mayan ruins. Thanks to our tour guide on the bus, Francisco, we learned more about the history of the state of Quintana Roo than you could fit into a History channel documentary. It was all fabulous!

So great, in fact, we are attempting to plan a cruise to the Mediterranean in 2008. Cruising, I have found, is like a sampler platter. Once we nibble on a few ports of call, we will find out where in the Mediterranean we would like to explore more. Then my darling husband and I will jet there and spend a week exploring.

My recommendation to everyone is to finish your book, then celebrate with a cruise! Anyone else had great cruise experiences?

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