Golden Ticket"Travel is only glamorous in retrospect." --Paul Theroux
This blog came about as a result of a trip I took recently. I had the opportunity to work as an entertainer aboard a cruise ship, the Seven Seas Voyager. (www.rssc.com) The contract was seven weeks in the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas. While I was away I wrote newsy and informative emails back home to friends and family. People enjoyed them so much that I promised to post them all in a blog when I got home. So here we are. I will be chronicling the trip through various posts over the next few weeks.
But first, getting there was half the battle. Here is an excerpt from an email I sent home:
"So far the hardest thing was the flight here which was delayed leaving JFK partly from the weather and partly due to a "maintenance issue". The flight was overbooked and there was a long standby list, so imagine my surprise when the seat next to me remained empty all through the boarding process. I was seated in the center section of the plane on an aisle seat and the girl on the other aisle seat and I could not believe our great good fortune until the flight attendant came by at 8:20 (20 minuntes after our departure time) and asked if our center seat was empty. I said yes. (Doh!) If only I had thought before I answered that question... So, at 8:30 PM, a full 30 minutes after our departure time, on walks a woman with what appeared to be a toddler of at least 18 to 20 months. GREAT! So down she plops in the center seat with her enormous child on her lap. The child started to fuss and I began to seethe. At this point the captain comes on the PA and announces that we are fifteenth in line for take off. FABULOUS! We finally took off at 9:40 PM.
Meanwhile, Mama sitting next to me decides to nurse baby Huey. (The baby was actually a girl--but you get the idea) So I'm figuring, good, she'll nurse and then the kid will pass out. Right? WRONG! The kid nursed 4 times before dinner,
her head bumping me while she nursed the left boob and her feet kicking me while she nursed the right. Then dinner arrives and the little girl eats half her mom's dinner. Meanwhile, there are no signs of the child getting sleepy and mom has apparently not brought anything to amuse the child which is not surprising for a woman who chooses to fly standby to Rome with an 18 month old. Baby starts to fuss so mom tries to distract her by thumbing through the in-flight magazine. Brilliant. That'll do it--those things are riveting. Finally I suggest that mom walk up and down the aisle with the kid which will hopefully help her to sleep. This works and mom and baby fall asleep after they return to their seat. At this point though, the cabin is stuffy and turbulent and I'm getting claustrophobic.
The turbulence eventually wakes the baby up and mom goes back to nursing two more times. Breakfast arrives and baby eats half of moms meal. And for desert? You guessed it--more boob. All in all the kid nursed 7 times in 7.5 hours and ate half of both her Mom's inflight meals. I think I slept a total of 10 minutes the entire flight. I have to say though that the kid wasn't that bad considering the situation. Mostly it was the lack of room in the seats (Delta SUCKS) that made everything uncomfortable. And she was an angel compared to the 3 year old about 5 rows in front of me who HOWLED the entire flight. Thank God for my Ipod I could tune most of it out. I couldn't tell you what the ride from Rome to Civitavecchia looks like because I passed out the moment I got in the van.
Our ship, the Voyager, is fabulous. Quite elegant if a little contemporary for my taste. They recently went from Being a Raddison Seven Seas ship to Regent Seven Seas because their service has gone from 5 to 6 stars and believe me it shows. This is a pretty swanky establishment, even for the crew. I haven't been off the ship yet due to my rehearsal schedule, but I did get on deck to look at Sorrento from afar. We will "Torna a Sorrento" next week as the old song says and I will be sure to venture off--maybe even into Positano with one of the excursion tours."