Thursday, January 31, 2013

The (Very) Good Life

You probably think I'm going to write yet another blog about how great it is to live in Israel.

No, my friends, I'm going to write about taking a cruise.

No, I'm not kidding.  My husband and I went on a cruise to the Caribbean with Kosherica to the Caribbean, accompanied by about 250 people who came with Kosherica, 700 other Jews who just happened to be on the same ship, and about ten million other people who were on the ship as well, not part of any group that I know of.

If you're never done a cruise, let me tell you - it's the vacation-takers' best-kept secret. 

I know it sounds exotic and luxurious, but when you consider that all of your meals are WELL taken care of, you are taken from city to city without having to arrange your own transportation, you don't have to shlep your suitcases anywhere, and when you are not exploring some port you have a ton of stuff to do on the ship, it's quite an amazing, and not overly expensive, vacation.

We were on a ship with the Jewish Music Cruise, a Kosherica specialty.  With us were Cantors Yaakov Motzen, Dudu Fisher, Simon Cohen, as well as Avraham Fried, Lipa Schmelzer, and others. 

Now some of you are shuddering at the thought of listening to chazanut every day.  Believe me, it was nothing like that.  They sang all kinds of stuff - one singer even sang Old Man River.
Anyway, when you're sitting in a comfy theater and not standing up in shul waiting and wondering when Kedusha is EVER going to end, who does this guy think he is, etc. - it's nice to listen to the music.

Oh, also, the ports were interesting and the weather was warm and sunny, a nice thing to do in the winter.

Now a full disclaimer.  Our daughter Aliza works for Kosherica and is basically the manager of the cruise along with a few other employees.  She's not Julie, so don't be a smarty pants (for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, I'm not going to explain).  She's the person who takes care of every single detail.  It was fun to watch her work (also lots of nachas was shepped).

But we always pooh-poohed the idea of going on a cruise, thinking it was for other people.  Now we're hooked.

But before you do this, here are some thoughts:
  • The ship rocks - it is a ship, it is in the sea, it will rock back and forth. Take Dramamine.
  • When you get home, the ship will still be rocking - it takes a couple of days to get used to being on dry land
  • Food - there is a heck of a lot of it.  And it's gourmet and it's also heimish and it's awesome. Pace yourselves, people.  The first day, everyone gorged on all of this abundant food, and then we all kind of looked at each other and thought, "Huh.  this food will be here all week.  Let's take it slow."
  • Bars - the ship has about 350 bars. People walk around everywhere with drinks in their hands.  It is a boozer's heaven.
  • Casino - to get to our shul you had to walk through the casino.  People would be sitting there an hour before the casino opened, waiting.   אנו רצים והם רצים....
  • Luxury suites - if you get a chance to see a luxury suite, do it - each have 3 bedrooms, a baby grand piano, and their own pool.....
  • Ports - for each port the cruise line sells excursions.  Some of these cost several arms, legs, and other body parts. 
  • Kvetching - sometimes when people pay a lot of money for something like this, they kvetch whenever something goes wrong.  If you've ever been on the other side of a massive organized event like this, you understand that something will always go wrong, or at least not be perfect.  So have sympathy and empathy and deal with it - don't kvetch. It's so unattractive.
  • Crew - I have to hand it to the crew - to a person they were friendly, helpful, and warm.  And as far as the Kosherica staff, well there's one woman named Aliza who is amayyyyyyyyyyzing...
  • People - if you're going to do this, you should be open to meeting all kinds of people.  If you're not, you really won't have a good time. The group included Chassidim, non-religious, all different flavors, and it was fascinating how friendships blossomed between the most unlikely families.  If you go on a cruise with the attitude that you are going to get to meet other Jews and get to know how other communities are, it's worth it.
  • OFFLINE!- this is the best part.  At sea, it is very difficult to get any Internet connectivity, and if you do it's via satellite and very expensive.  Also, your phones won't work.  So you are really disconnected in many ways.  This makes the aspect of building friendships with new people even more important.
So that's my story.  We are already saving up for the next cruise, and consider it worth not vacationing in the meantime, just to have the experience again. I still have some Dramamine left over.


No comments:

Post a Comment