Cruising just before the virus

Back in February before the virus broke out, Lorna and I took a 2 week cruise in the Bahamas simply to get warm and see the sun. We didn’t go anywhere we hadn’t been before so we didn’t have great expectations.

We elected to travel on the Holland America Zuiderdam. It turned out to be less than we expected, far less in quality and far, far more costly. The main dining room was cold, the menu was limited and the service was slow and often incorrect. The buffet on the Lido was far better. We ate once at the Pinnacle Restaurant but found the menu limited and the food ordinary and not worth the extra fee we paid for the privilege.

Things were costly to the point of gouging on the ship. For example we had done a tour of the Navigation Deck before. It was free then but cost $100 now. We happened to be on board at the time of the Super Bowl. I was free if you watched it in your cabin but cost $55.00 per person if you wanted to see it on the big screen in the auditorium. This included a drink and a snack but we felt that the price was outrageous. This was typical on the cruise.

We were on for two back to back weeks but the entertainment never varied from the first week. The two comedians were more rude than funny and the juggler merely worked with a few balls and dropped them frequently .This too was less than we expected.

The ship stopped in several ports but we were dismayed to see than we were often one of six cruise ships in port at the same time. We watched in disbelief as they disgorged tens of thousands of passengers off onto the overcrowded shore. It was a distasteful madhouse.

We were glad to get off the ship in Fort Lauderdale where we had arranged to pick up a car. We spent the next six days visiting snowbird friends in Fort Myers and Naples. We had lived in Florida and owned a home there many years before but we were unprepared for the crowds, traffic and congestion. The small sleepy towns we once knew were gone and we visited in two expensive, gated golf course communities where the homes were priced in the millions. We had a wonderful time but were glad to be headed home.

In retrospect it was a nice break, pleasant weather and nice relaxing visits. But were glad to leave and saddened by what had happened to the Florida we used to know. We were also fortunate to have done this a few days before the Corona Virus hit and we had no difficulty getting home to Canada.

This is the last time we will go on a large cruise ship or visit Florida. Canada is not as warm but we were grateful to be home where it is saner, safer and more polite.

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