JULY 22: Travel to Barcelona, Spain
As many of you know (who follow the Stryker Reports), travel is always an adventure
for me...especially airports. Sometimes it’s my error (late to the airport,
etc); but, more often it is thrust upon me and out of my control. So goes the start
of this adventure.
The luggage was in the car and my dear mom drove me to the airport. She dropped me
off at the curb and headed for work. I dragged my two large suitcases, a carry on
and my “man-bag” up to the self check-in kiosk (I tried to check-in
online yesterday; but, for a reason to be revealed, it would not let me). I looked
up my ticket and it said I had to go to the agent to receive my ticket....and so
I did. It’s a small airport and I had ample time (about an hour) to get my
ticket, go through security and arrive at my gate with plenty of time to spare.
I waited about 10 minutes until it was my turn to see the agent. I put my
first piece of luggage on the scale as she ran my information. Then she said, “I’m
sorry, but your ticket has not been purchased.” “What? I have the information
right here” (a copy of my itinerary printed from the computer), I told her.
“That is only a reservation...you have not actually paid for the ticket,”
she replied. OMG, now that 50 minutes ticking away didn’t seem like such a
long time; and, if I miss this flight then I’ll miss my flight to Barcelona
and eat up all the spare time I have planned there to spend with David and Sue (who
are flying down from England to visit me) and to enjoy the nightlife.
I immediately looked up the emergency number
supplied by HAL and pulled
out my iPhone. It so happened that the person responsible for booking tickets was
the one who answered the phone at HAL. I explained the situation and she responded,
“I’m sure it’s paid for.” But after looking it up, she then
let me know that somehow my ticket was overlooked. She immediately electronically
paid the ticket and in a moment, the ticket agent printed my boarding pass and accepted
my luggage. I only had about 25 minutes left to go through the TSA checkpoint (which
took me 15 minutes) and arrive at the gate. I walked right on the plane, strapped
in and breathed a sigh of relief. Then, I thought, “How do things like this
always happen in my life” and smiled over an inner burst of laughter.
As usual, I was fast asleep before the wheels left the runway and when I woke, we
were 15 minutes out from Atlanta, Georgia. There, I had a short layover and
then, without incident, boarded the plane for the nine hour flight to Barcelona.
I sleep well on planes so I would nap until my ears heard the rattle of the food
cart; then, I would quickly wake to eat and watch a movie until I fell asleep again.
To me, a nine hour flight is only about two hours of awake time....lucky, I guess.
JULY 23: Barcelona, Spain
My flight arrived at 8am this morning. I grabbed a taxi and in 10 minutes was at
the checkin desk at the Hotel. It was too early to checkin so I parked my luggage
and was ready to go to the restaurant for breakfast when I ran into Ron, a HAL travel
guide, with whom I have sail before. He knew of a local convenience store with a
small cafe; so, we walked over to the store, ordered coffee’s and danishes
and sat and chatted for a bit. I realized there was nothing here and we were far
from the city. My excitement for having extra time in Barcelona was now diminished
as travel to and from the city would be timely and expensive.
When we returned to the hotel, a room had come available. I moved my luggage
in and soon I received a text on my phone. It was from David and Sue who had
just made it to their hotel. I began to calculate my next 24 hours. A taxi ride
into the city to spend the day with David and Sue would be sixty Euros round trip;
then, to return to the city to enjoy the nightlife would be another sixty Euros;
and, the trip to the ship in the morning would be another thirty Euros...not to
mention the amount of time I would waste in a taxi. After a brief discussion with
David, he reserved a room for me at the hotel in which they were staying, right
in the heart of Barcelona. I grabbed my luggage, drug it down to the taxi
and headed into the city. A thirty minute ride (which would have been a total
of 2 1/2 hours if I stayed by the airport) and I was hugging my dear friends and
checking into the hotel. While I waited for my room to readied, the three of us
had cocktails and and enjoyed each other’s company. We spent the day together
exploring, taking pictures and eating. It was a great day with my British friends.
Spain is known for late club times (or actually early) with the dance clubs not filling
up until after 1:00am. I headed out to the nightclub scene and the first place
I stopped (around midnight) only had 10 people in it. I headed to another bar and
waited there, meeting a new acquaintance and returning to the packed dance club
(the first one I tried) after 1:30am. It was a night of dancing, drinks and
loads of fun as I enjoyed my last night before joining the ship.
JULY 24: Barcelona, Spain
David, Sue and I met for breakfast and I did a little shopping for earrings (I lost
an earring and needed to replace it) and a fan for my piano bar. Then, it
was time to head for my new, temporary home aboard the ms Noordam.
I arrived on the ship and faced the stressful day that is usually associated with
the first day on the ship. Safety meetings, drills, rehearsals, unpacking and setting
up my piano bar. It was all made better when I finally got to see my dear friend,
Jodie O’Shea (HAL Cats singer), who will be sailing with me for the next three
weeks. I took two naps to try and catch up on sleep and then it was time for my
first night’s piano bar performance.
The schedule is a bit different on this ship as HAL has introduced new 35 minute
cast shows that will stage three times each night: 6:30, 8:00 and 10:00pm.
So, my piano bar will open 30 minutes earlier than on the other ships, at 8:30p.
Tonight, however, there is only one show, a welcome aboard show, that showcases
all the entertainment on the ship, entitled Listen To The Music.
my bar at 8:30 and within 15 minutes it was packed. WOW, what a great first set.
I ended the set at 9:15, rushed to change into a flashier outfit, and headed backstage
for the 9:30 show. My performance of Shout
went well and the audience
was full of energy with applause and cheers. This is a younger, mostly European
crowd and the energy shows it.
I returned to the bar and immediately after the show, my piano bar was so packed
that people were standing in the hallways and trying to get a glimpse of the pianoman
through the entrance doors (this piano bar is in a room that has two, double door
entrances....quite cramped). It was awesome and I’m looking forward to what
is to come on this cruise.
I had planned to go back into Barcelona after work; but, I was just too exhausted.
I spent some time in the Officer’s Bar with Jodie and met her friends. It
was great being reunited with her and I look forward to getting to know some of
my new friends better.
JULY 25: Barcelona, Spain
I woke this morning and made my way off the ship to meet up with David and Sue. We
spent the morning together, once again, exploring and finding a place with ample
food and drinks. It was soon time for our sad goodbyes; yet, with the joy to know
that soon, we will meet again. I am so humbled that they would spend the money and
time to fly from England to Spain, just to see me.....how awesome is that!
I returned to the ship and slept through much of the remainder of my day. Then it
was time for Sing-along with Stryker
in the piano bar. With the new schedule,
I perform from 8:30 to 10:00 (that’s a long set without a break); then I take
a break during the 10p show and return to my piano at 10:30p and play until 12:30
or 1:00p. That’s a two to two and a half hour set....way too long and exhausting;
but, if I split up that time with a break, say at 11:45p, many guests will leave
for bed and I will return to a half-empty bar. So, I just don’t take a break.
Another night in the officer’s bar. Another night with Jodie and friends. Another
night of exhaustion and much needed rest.
JULY 26: Palma de Mallorca, Spain
I woke today feeling so unorganized. Usually by day three I have everything
unpacked, suits pressed and I'm ready for my contract. However, for some
reason, I am still not completely unpacked, my suits are in a stack on my couch,
my room is an unorganized mess (as opposed to an organized mess) and I feel as though
I am running behind on everything. This is probably a result of being docked
in Barcelona the first two days with late nights (well, early mornings) keeping
me too tired all day to accomplish my tasks.
So, last night Jodie asked me to join her and a couple of the cast, at the beach
for a relaxing day. This morning, however, I thought that I should just stay
on the ship and get my room unpacked and organized so I could just get on with my
life on the ship. Well, when the call came to meet on the gangway, I gave
in and decided to go ashore. I've never visited this port and won't
be returning; so, I better take advantage of it. Besides, tomorrow is a sea
day and I can take care of everything then.
Jodie, three of the cast dancers (one male, two female) and I met on the gangway
for our trip to the beach. For some reason, we decided to ride the local bus.
That was a pain in the, well, you know what I mean. It took forever for our
bus to arrive and then there was standing room only. People were shoving and
it was so packed, we had to stand the entire time. But, after about a half
an hour, we arrived. I quickly bought some flip-flops and sunscreen, then
we hit the supermarket for sandwiches and beverages and headed down to find a spot
under an umbrella (for a fee, of course) on the beach. We broke out the sandwiches,
mixed some cocktails, watched the variety of beach combers, and told stories.
It was a great time and I was so happy to be reunited with my dear friend, Jodie
O'shea. Plus, as and added bonus, I have added three new ship friends.
It was very hot, but tolerable, today. I kept hidden under a beach umbrella with
a cool cocktail in my hand...what a tough life.
Much sooner than I wanted, the time had come for me to return to the ship.
It was a late night port (we didn't sail until midnight) so the cast was in
no rush to return to the ship and Jodie didn't perform until 9:30p (so, she
had an extra hour since I started at 8:30). I needed, not only, to clean up; but,
also, to try and sleep off one too many cocktails. I made it back to the ship
around 6:30, showered and plopped down on my bed by 6:45, woke at 7:45, dressed
and was down in the piano bar by 8:30 to begin my evening.
The bar was totally empty at 8:30; but, as soon as the show let out, it quickly filled
beyond capacity. It was another loud, energetic night. As a matter of
fact, it was so loud I started getting noise complaints from the guest rooms on
the deck below the piano bar. The bar server came over to me and said, "We're
getting noise complaints from the deck below, can we bring the noise down a little?"
Really? A bar that seats 60 guests, with about 80 guest packed in the room
and I'm suppose to keep it quiet? Well, it wasn't quiet and it remained
that way until I closed the bar (to the boos of the guests) at 1:00 am. I
was suppose to do a name-that-tune; but, the bar was hopping and we were having
a great time so I didn't want to slow it down with a game. It was another
long day, long night and now it's time to head to the officer's bar to hang
out with friends. Tomorrow is a sea day so I can sleep in! Yea!
JULY 27: At Sea (Mediterranean)
It's a sea day and I finally got my room organized, clothes pressed and feel
like I'm settled into my home of six weeks. I put my CDs in the shops
and had the EM (Event Manager, my supervisor) get some workout mats from the fitness
center to place under my piano stool and to cover the exposed floor under the piano
with the hopes of muffling the sound and the stomping of my foot that caused the
suite below to complain last night.
I watched a portion of the new cast show tonight. The vocals are brilliant
and the show is dressed with beautiful staging and costumes. HAL is trying
a new format of shows. Each show is only 35 minutes (compared to 45 minutes, previously)
and there are three shows each night: 6:30p, 8p and 10p. It seems to be working
well for me with the exception that it makes me work longer than I'm use to.
I know, I know, you think I don't work that much; however, singing for four
hours at 100 percent performance level every single night is way too much on a singers
voice. Even Elton John doesn't have to perform like that....and he makes
a slightly bigger salary than me....LOL. If you add it up, with the extra
hour of vocals each night, I will be performing an extra 46 hours in six weeks;
or, an additional 12 days. But, the show must go on and I'm loving the
energy level and standing room only crowds (well, actually, there isn't even
standing room some of the time).
Tonight was the first formal night of this cruise. Of course, as always, it
was my Broadway night with "Hits of Broadway" at 8:30p and "Showtune
Sing-along" at 10:30p. Both were packed and I gave it my best; but, my
voice cracked a few times and there were songs I just avoided singing all together.
The highlight of the evening was Ray. Ray is a bartender that was the first
to perform in my piano bar when I took the position in 2009 on the ms Rotterdam.
He was so funny (and a decent singer) that the guests absolutely fell in love with
him....as did I. I begged the beverage managers not to rotate him out of my
bar while I was on that ship (the bar staff rotate to different bar areas each cruise
to give them all a chance to make better tips in the more active bars). They
complied and Ray was in my bar during my whole contract. I haven't sailed
with him since I completed that contract in early 2009 and was so surprised and
elated when I saw him on this ship. So, I called him up to the piano and handed
him the mic. It was like we had been working together all along. He brought
the house down with "Help Me Make It Through The Night." The clock
then struck 12 midnight and it was one of the guest's, Karen, birthday.
Her husband reminded me and we all sang Happy Birthday to her....she was so surprised
that I think she was tearing up. Her family have attended my bar every night.
I had to close early, even though I had a nearly full house, to protect my voice.
So, to the dismay of my guests, I closed at 12:30a. I then went to the OB
(officer's bar) to see if Jodie or any of my new friends were there; but, they
were not so I retired to my room after another great night in the piano bar.
JULY 28: Marseille, France
Marseille....a place often heard of as a sought after tourist destination in the
French Riviera. So, as I finished breakfast on the back deck, I walked to the rail
to look upon this place of beauty. WOW, was I sorely disappointed. From the
deck, all I saw was a huge port, scattered beige buildings and beige dirt landscape
(with a few trees) as far as my eyes could see. I pondered, for some time,
of not even leaving the ship. But, I decided that I'm only scheduled here
once and must, at least, ride the shuttle into the city and give the place a chance.
My voice is almost gone this morning; so, I had two cups of green tea with honey
and lemon. I will do as little talking today as possible (which is difficult
for me) and hope I can perform well tonight. The first three nights of this
cruise have been high energy, packed room and 4.5 hours of performing with only
one 20 minute break. I should pace my voice; but, I have a difficult time
not performing at 100 percent and giving my best when the guests are so into the
show. I know, however, that if my voice is this stressed after four days, what will
it be like after six weeks....ugh. The only saving grace is that it is Guest
Talent Night tonight and hopefully there will be a lot of guests performing and
I won't have to.
After traveling down the gangway, I signed my room number to the clipboard on the
shuttle bus that allows them to charge me $16 (US) for a round-trip ticket.
I rode the 20 minutes into the heart of the city where we passed an old, beautifully
striped, cathedral. Other than that, the entire trip was through road and
building construction....not a pleasant sight.
The shuttle dropped me off in the city center by the harbor. Of all the days
to choose to go ashore hatless, I would pick the windiest day we've had.
My hair was dancing on top of my head like a Cirque du Solei show. The harbor was
filled with sailing vessels of all shapes and sizes. Across the harbor and
high on the peak of a hill was a cathedral that towered over the city. It
was the "other" famous Notre Dame. This is the third "Notre
Dame" that I have seen and yet I still have never seen the "hunchback."
Disappointing. But, the cathedral, with the large golden statue that seemed
to keep watch over the city, was absolutely stunning. I happened upon a small
tourist train (ran on wheels, not tracks) that toured the city and climbed up to
Notre Dame; however, the line was so long that it would probably steal, at least,
an hour or more of my day.....so I opted to just walk around the harbor area.
My goal was to find a coffee, crepe and wi-fi. I found all three; but never
all three in the same place. The harbor area is quite nice but I don't
believe the people here believe in color. Every building was light earth-tone
colors....no variety. It is an artsy place, however, with crafts stands, artists
and brightly colored animals (statues) spread across the walkways.
I finally found a place where I just had a coffee, looked over the harbor at Notre
Dame and typed this entry into the Stryker Report. I will save the tour of
the famed cathedral for my next visit.
(NOTE: As I am typing this, several men in black and yellow costumes, took to
the center of the street and began performing a martial arts routine...capuella)
Tonight in the piano bar was a little slower (though a full house) than the past
few days. It seemed that this group of guests are not as excited about the
Guest Talent Night and listening to their fellow cruisers, We did have two
guests that carried the night: Terry and Sue both gave great performances.
I had to end the night early (12:30 am) again due to my voice not holding up.
I think it's throat infection #5 of the past 18 months.
I hung out in the officer's bar where I found out we have an Entertainment Department
meeting tomorrow morning at 9:30a. Jodie, Michael and I made big plans for tomorrow
(we all love Monte Carlo); and, I decided not to make it a late night in the OB
to get rested up for tomorrow.
JULY 29: Monte Carlo, Monaco
HELLO MONTE CARLO....goodbye Monte Carlo. Jodie, Michael and I had plans to
eat breakfast, attend our Entertainment meeting, then quickly head off ship, to
enjoy a full day in this amazing port. However, before I even saw them at
breakfast, the announcement came over the speakers that we would not dock in Monte
Carlo. I looked out the window and we were aside the dock. Monte Carlo
was practically in arms reach; however, the winds were picking up and making it
dangerous to keep the ship in the harbor. Furthermore, the weather forecast
for the rest of the day predicted strong winds. As we left the dock, the winds
hit gail force status at 58 knots. That's hurricane force. I sat on the
back deck watching chairs and tables being blown over and dragged across the deck.
A pontoon boat in the harbor capsized, guests were loosing their hats and I was
afraid I would see someone get picked up and thrown overboard (thank goodness that
didn't happen). I received word later that a tornado hit a hotel in Nice
(just a few miles down the coast). I feel fortunate to cruise with a company
that won't take chances and chooses to keep us safe in all situations.
So, today became a sea day and I took the opportunity to get my throat checked out
at the infirmary. And, as I guessed, it's another throat infection.
I guess it's time to get my tonsils yanked out. The doc started me on an antibiotic
"Z-pack" which actually made my stomach slightly sick. I spent a
lot of time talking with guests on the back deck and typing this Stryker Report.
Tonight was "Stryker Goes Country" and as soon as the 8:00 main show let
out, my bar packed to standing room only.....for "country" night.
I put my best effort in to singing the country songs but the voice was almost gone.
I transposed several of the higher range vocals to a lower key so I could at least
get through them. The 10:30p set was full at the beginning but dwindled down
to about 2/3rds full by midnight. My energetic Dutch and Belgium guests were
rockin' the night. We even did several songs (popular in Holland) that
I picked up while visiting Rene and Natasja Froger. They were the highlight
of the evening and helped give my voice a rest.
After closing at 12:30a (not because of a lack of guests, but because my voice just
couldn't handle anymore abuse) I went to the officer's bar and chatted briefly
with my dear friend Jodie. But, I knew I needed to rest and returned to the
room, ordered room service and watched a movie.
JULY 30: Livorno, Italy (Florence/Pisa)
Today is IPM (in port manning) for me so I can't get off the ship.
It is a bit disappointing as I had hoped to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa
today....one of the few world renowned iconic sites I have yet to see; but, I must
stay on the ship...besides, I need to rest and heal my throat. I will, however,
return here in January and can hopefully see it then (if I don't have IPM).
We had an Entertainment Meeting (that was postponed from yesterday) this morning
at 9am. It was uneventful.
I spent most of the day in my room; however, in the evening I spent time chatting
with my Dutch/Belgium couple from last night and we were joined by another couple
that have been consistently in my bar each night.
Despite the fact that my throat is a mess and I can barely force out the vocals,
it was another rockin' night in the piano bar. Fortunately, it was "Sing-along"
all night so I passed out the books, would get the song started and then let the
guests sing while I kept my mouth closed and just played the piano. With a
standing-room-only crowd already filling my bar, the
sanctioned "Pub Crawl" (with about 30 guests participating) crammed in
my bar for three songs. The bar was stuffed like a can of sardines for about
15 minutes and three songs....then they crawled along to the next bar.
Before my night ended, my throat was burning, I cracked on several notes; but, my
guests stayed with me until the end and even then didn't want me to close.....neither
did I; however, I can't keep pushing my voice or it will take forever to heal
and I don't want to go through this for the next six weeks.
For those of you who read the Stryker Report often, you probably wonder why I go
to the officer's bar so often on this ship and not so much in the past.
Let me explain...on this (a Vista Class) ship, the officer's bar is just down
the hall from my room and opens onto the bow of the ship (where we can sit on the
bow at picnic tables under the stars). On the other ships, the OB is down
on the crew deck with no outside access. So, it's not about going to the
bar, it's about relaxing on the bow of the ship after an energetic night in
the piano bar. After I closed the piano bar, it was a quick stop at the officer's
bar and then back to the room for a room-service cheeseburger, a TV show and a good
JULY 31: At Sea (Mediterranean)
It's just a sea day (not many of those on this itinerary) and time to relax,
sit on the deck talking with guests, watching some TV and typing this Stryker Report.
Formal night tonight and my tails didn't return from the dry cleaner in time
for me to wear it. So, I sported my black tux, white pleated shirt, lavender
bow tie/cummerbund combination and a black, sequined hat.
Tonight was another packed house in the piano bar as I performed "Oldies, but
Goodies." My throat is the worse it's been and I'm on day three
of my Z-pack. I hope it lets up soon because it just burned through my four
hours of performing. Fortunately, it was "Showtune Sing-along" tonight
so I was able to let the guests do more of the singing. No matter how badly I feel,
my core group of Dutch, Belgium and German fans keep my spirits up and help me get
through the night.
After the piano bar, it was back to the OB for a quick drink, some chatting and making
plans to go to the beach tomorrow.
AUG 1: Cagliari, Italy
Well, today is my first day for some relief from my throat infection. I am,
by no means, cured; but, I can feel that I'm now headed the right direction.
Today we were suppose to port (according to the original itinerary) in Tunisia. However,
with the current atmosphere in that part of the world, HAL has changed, not only
our trip to Tunisia, but also, our trip to Egypt (which was replaced with Israel).
I waited for my friends to call so we could head out to the beach; but, the call
never came. I just ended up heading ashore myself (later I found they went
to the beach and just forgot me.....not unusual). It was a typical Italian
port: old buildings, narrow winding cobblestone streets, small balconies with flowerpots
and small cafes everywhere.
I walked up the main street from the port and found a small plaza with several cafes.
There I had a coffee, orange juice and spent some time on the internet. After
that, I walked through the streets and alleyways absorbing the the sites and culture
and snapping lots of photos. After some time I returned to my home on the seas and
prepared for my night ahead.
Tonight, Jodie scheduled a dinner for four of us in the Canaletto (the Italian restaurant
on board the ship). We had a great time together; however, the dinner was
at 7p and I work at 8:30p. So, I had my appetizer, a few bites of my main
course (cheese tortellini) before I had to excuse myself to get down to the piano
bar. The food and company was great!
It was "Guest Talent Night" in the piano bar and quite a few guests performed.
I took my break at 10p and returned, at 10:30, to an empty room. This
was the first time guests were not waiting for my return, which was probably the
result of the "Dessert Extravaganza" tonight....never try to compete against
Once the show let out (about 10:40), the room filled up for "Anything Goes."
Several guests sang and we had a great surprise. One of the guest entertainers
onboard, Hayden Smith (who does a music show in which he plays several instruments
and sings), was sitting in my bar; so, the guests and I encouraged him to perform.
He ran to his room and brought back his saxophone. We performed "Fields of
Gold" and "Desperado" with him backing me up with his sax. It was
great! I handed my iPhone to a guest so she could record it for me. I will
post it on YouTube for you to watch (go to www.youtube.com/strykerae
to see my videos). Later,
my friend Jodie stopped in and we sang "Endless Love" together; and, she
also performed "Greatest Love of All." It was a great night and
the guests wouldn't let me end at 12:30a like I wanted to (due to my throat
problem); so, I pushed it to 12:50a.
After I closed the bar, I spent some time chatting with Hayden, another guest entertainer
and several co-musicians; then, I headed down to the crew mess to hang with some
of the bar staffers and a couple of people came back to my room to hang for a while....well,
until 5:00a. We're planning to go to the beach at 11:00a; so, I may need
a nap tomorrow.
AUG 2: Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Once again, no beach. Everyone decided to sleep. I actually didn't
wake up until 11:00 myself. I decided to just walk in town for my traditional
coffee and internet. I threw on my shorts and tank top, grabbed my bag (with
iPad mini in it) and camera; then, headed down the gangway. After a 10 minute
walk into town, I saw a magnet I wanted and realized I didn't bring my wallet.....no
money. Ugh! I headed back to the ship and decided to just stay on board.
After napping (for about 20 minutes) and a bite of lunch, I decided to try going
into town again....this time with my wallet. I walked around for a bit, bought
my magnets and decided it just looked like the other ports in Italy (except a bit
dirtier); so, I went back to the ship to hide from this blistering sun. It's
only in the 80's; but, direct sun is unbearable. The locals are saying this
is really cool for this time of year. I heard a rumor it is suppose to be
in the 90's tomorrow; so, lots of sunscreen and water.
Ronald and Karen (guests from Belgium) informed me today that they have booked a
cruise to be in my piano bar again in March. It is so humbling to think that
people will spend money, travel and take time out of their lives just to see me.....who
the heck am I to deserve that kind of attention so often by so many?
I finally attended a cast show at 6:30. Tonight I saw the cast show "Droom."
It staging and costume were spectacular. I love the new shows as they have
brought the level up quite a few notches. Don't really like the three shows
a night as the early show only has about 100 guests in a showroom that seats 900....not
a good audience size to bring out the best performance.
Tonight was formal night with "Showstoppers" as my theme. The room
took a while to fill up and then it was barely full. The second set had great
energy but, again, the room was not packed tonight. Not sure why.
No OB tonight....just went to my room for a cheeseburger.
AUG 3: Naples (Pompeii), Italy
I was getting my coffee when the announcement for all crew to go to their stations
came over the loud speakers. It was a general drill....that I forgot was this
morning. I rushed to my room, put on my life vest (and traffic directors hat
and poncho) and ran to my station. It was a short drill, thank goodness.
Jodie and a couple of others and I headed off ship after the drill and sat at a sidewalk
cafe all day using the internet. I Facetime'd mom (video chat) but the net was
acting up so we didn't get to talk very much.
Some of you may remember my Stryker Report story of Naples from a couple of years
ago. This is where I bought the iPhone that was a piece of wood once I had
it in my hand. Short story, I got people arrested and made and extra $30 after
all was said and done. Well, when I got off the ship, a guy approached me
to buy an iPhone or an iPad Mini....to which I respond, "Get away from me!"
I was asked by the cruise director to be a judge for the "Dancing With The Stars"
finale. Jodie was also a judge. Of course my extensive knowledge of
Ballroom and Latin style dance comes only from the many hours I have watched "Dancing
With The Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance" with my mom on American
TV. So, I just took it upon myself to try and be funny, rather than a serious
judge (that was Jodie's role) of the actual dance moves. It was a whole
lot of fun and I kept the audience laughing.
It was the final night of this cruise and though the crowds were somewhat smaller,
my hardcore fans were there closing the bar with me. It's been a great
cruise and I have met some new fans that may prove to be some long-term friends.
On top of that, one of the guest put a beer glass on the bar and encouraged guests
to tip me....I ended up with 150 euros.....awesome way to end a cruise.
This cruise has been so very exciting, so very exhausting and full of great adventures.
And, yet, I am even more excited about the next cruise which has several ports that
I have never seen before...including the reason for joining this ship, Venice, Italy!
You’ll hear about that in PART 2 (of 4) of the Stryker Report
soon to an email box near you!