By Joe Novak
“Can you see me now?” he asked as he sauntered by the Lido Buffet where I was eating lunch. George, a Canadian I had met a few days prior, had a propensity for florescent colored shirts that were visible from several miles away in a London fog. His bright shirts and a personality to match is why I love to travel; meeting these characters is always interesting and at times a real joy!
Then there was Jerry from Columbus, Ohio who let me use his e-mail to send an important message to my son about our return trip home. Jerry was another one of those guys who I am certain made friends easily and life-long. I did insist on purchasing him a beer for his kindness and he accepted the cold beverage on a hot afternoon in the Caribbean this past January.
My wife and I spent 17 days on a “Brand New” cruise ship; Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam in the sunny and warm Caribbean. I booked this cruise over a year ago since new ships fill-up fast and getting a premium cabin becomes difficult if one procrastinates.
I recently lost 15 lbs. after my stomach hernia operation and this ship was the perfect place to gain it back; endless deserts and fine dining. I did gain it back and currently I am at my most desirable weight at 158 pounds. My wife thinks I am too skinny so I pointed out a few gentlemen on the cruise that have not seen their toes in 20 years and told her I could soon look like that if she kept encouraging me to eat more.
I spoke with the pastry chef, who would strut around the bread counter like a peacock displaying his wares. He told me that before accepting the chief pastry chef position, he insisted on being able to supply the most delicious pastry to the guests on this ship, and I can attest to his achievement firsthand. Melt-in-your-mouth croissants and fruit filled tarts awaited us every morning as I salivated like Pavlov’s dogs waiting for the restaurant to open.
I did not need to plan meals, cook them or clean up, just show up and enjoy some delicious food for three meals a day plus snacks, burgers, ice cream, pizza and a nightly buffet for 17 days. Does life get any better than this? Oh, did I forget to mention the most amazing french fries out by the pool?
Holland America is the only cruise line that hires a Catholic Priest to say Mass everyday aboard ship. This is one reason we cruise that line and if you don’t have a reason for attending daily Mass, just being on this amazing ship should be reason enough.
Now let me look and see if I can still see my toes. Yes, I just can’t bend over far enough to touch them. I can touch my kneecaps; that must count for something!
To find out what Joe would do, e-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Joe has 20-some years experience in manufacturing and says that as a small business owner, he found that you either learn how to solve a problem yourself or pay to have it done. Joe’s articles are his opinion and are only intended as a guide. Please consult an expert when in doubt.