Monday, June 30, 2008


I felt like the king of the castle for over a week !

Yes indeed, we had a smashing time on our Bermuda cruise. For eight days, we were lavished on the Norwegian Dawn...a virtual Las Vegas on the high seas.

If you've never been on a cruise...everything here will seem like an exaggeration but it isn't. Unlike the biggest and the best casinos around the world, anything you could imagine is available. Aboard ship, all the restaurants are open, different entertainers perform throughout the day and the party atmosphere never ends. Plus there's a movie theater, art auctions, organized children activities (for different age groups) a spa and world class-fitness center. I could babble on-and-on with more stuff but you'll have to take my word for it or pick up a brochure because there's something for granny--something for baby and something for everyone in between. And talk about being wow-ed continuously, I haven't even mentioned the world-class service !

Eight hundred nautical miles later, all this leads us to Bermuda. During our three days in this rich man's paradise...we basked in the most beautiful settings I ever experienced:

Horseshoe Bay Beach - Known for its pink sands and perfectly blue ocean, this arched-shaped beach is edged with a coral reef and mountainous rock formations. (Please pardon the tee-shirt, I got a weird sunburn on the ship that left me with a burnt left side, burnt belly button and an excruciating burn across half my left nipple). ALWAYS REMEMBER, WHERE EVER YOU MAY BE, YOU CAN NEVER TAKE ENOUGH TIME TO PROPERLY APPLY SUNSCREEN !


Church Bay Park - The cruise line tries to get the passengers to book excursions through them. A trip to a similar place would have cost us $70.00 each. Instead, we asked a local and were sent to this less commercialized snorkeling venue. We avoided being jammed on a chartered bus, took public transportation for twenty minutes and rented, for $15.00 each, our own equipment. Plus we stayed all day in this slice of heaven instead of being hustled away ninety minutes make room for the next bus load of suckers.


Hamilton - Complete with just the right touch of British charm, Hamilton is the capital city. We did some sightseeing and shopped in the lower echelon shops of Rodeo Drive-like Front Street. (Those were the most expensive refrigerator magnets I ever saw).


Andrew's history of motion problems are well-documented in this column. Plus, I'm no stranger to sea-sickness problems either. So it seemed natural that that subject is the number one question asked by you land-loving cruise virgins.

We used Bonine (a stronger version of Dramamine) as a precaution before boarding. YES, absolutely the boat sways but on such a huge vessel, you rarely feel it. Certain spots in the ship, like the extreme front and back, do rock and roll but you get used to it.

The next morning, we took another dose. Actually our stomachs were unaffected so on the third day, we didn't take the Bonine. On the way back after Bermuda, we went without it and were fine. To prove the point, the last day we were in a storm with choppy seas. The swimming pool water was lashed side-to-side like a wave pool but we never missed a meal.

Norwegian Cruise Lines has the reputation of being an A- level outfit. Veteran cruisers seem to agree that Royal Caribbean is slightly better and that Carnival is a distant C+. What I liked best about Norwegian is that it offers a free-style environment. This mainly means that Royal Caribbean has set times to eat and you are expected to "dress" for dinner.

In the end, my family survived all my bad vomit, Titanic and Bermuda Triangle jokes. Then our collective bubble was burst when we docked on West 48th Street and Twelfth Avenue in Manhattan. A chauffeur whisked us away from Pier 88 when I realized that we were near the statue of Jackie Gleason as bus driver Ralph Kramden. I was positive that it adorns the front of the transit authority office building on 48th Street near Tenth Avenue.

Being a big fan of the old "HONEYMOONERS" show, I always wanted to see it, take pictures etc. As Kramden might have said, "How sweet it is;" because my driver would have taken us anywhere I asked. But my family was anxious to get home, so I kept my BIG-MOUTH shut. Its a good thing, because later, I found out that the statue is actually on West 40th and 8th.

Yes, having my photo taken with Ralph may seem like a strange ambition to you...but like the replica Oscar and Maltese Falcon I hope to own some day, I fully expect to feel like the king of the castle again...when I go on another cruise next year.

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