© Jerry Stanecki
What happens when you don’t buy into “ Maybe another time?” Read on.
How easily the smell of the sea washes away the snows of winter, is what came to mind, as I lay under deep blue Mazatlan, Mexico skies.
Amazingly, it had been just seven days since I woke in Michigan, looked out the window and saw snow.
“Oh, no, “ I said to the cats, who, staring out the window, I’m sure shared the same distressing discontent.
Two choices, I thought.
Find a rope to sling over the branch of the giant oak tree out back, or— sure, why not?
I reached for the phone and called Julie Davis, a friend of my daughter Anastasia. Julie lives in Fort Lauderdale and works at Davis Tours, a group cruises booking company.
Was it possible to book a cruise during high season on a Tuesday and be at sea by Saturday, I asked Julie?
“I can try,” Julie said. “Why don’t you take Annie? You’d pay the same as a single.”
“I don’t know,” I said. “She’s got to find a new place to live in LA, move, lock down another film to work on, and needs—“
“If I know Annie, “ Julie chuckled, “she’ll make it all happen.”
“See what you can do, but don’t tell Annie.”
A few hours later, Julie called again.
“Diamond Princess, a new ship, the biggest of the line just sent through a flash sale for today only.” Julie bubbled. “And, the price is terrific.”
The escape gods were with me. I immediately began to procrastinate.
“There’s one room left, inside stateroom. Not what you wanted but…”
“Can you put a hold on it while I call the airline to see if I can use miles?”
The procrastination continued for all of five minutes before I decided to live for today.
Four days later my daughter and I stood on the top deck of the Diamond Princess saying “Bon Voyage” to America as she slipped almost soundlessly to sea.
“That was the quickest, most effortless check-in for a cruise I’ve ever experienced,” I said to my daughter. “I’m impressed.”
“I couldn’t believe no line, ”Annie said. “And, a full ship.”
It was the first example of— without exception— excellent service.
The inside stateroom was compact. Twin beds, built-in desk and mirrors on both walls to help with size. The problem was, it was not the picture of the cabin I booked. That one had a chair and small area to sit.
Via cell, Julie told me to check with the purser and see if there was a possibly for an upgrade to outside cabin if there were no-shows.
Nigel Stewart, the passenger service director, who really runs the entire ship, pleasantly told me that he was sorry for the misunderstanding and would let me know if any one missed sailing.
As it turned out, the gods of escape were still with me. Several people did miss the ship, and we were given another stateroom with balcony and small sitting area.
Clearly it was another sign that my flee to sanity from dreary weather was the right move.
“Dad?” Annie said, breaking my thoughts,
“Better,” I said, rolling over in the Mazatlan sun.
-0-The Diamond Princess commissioned in 2004, carries 2670 passengers and a crew of 1,000. Four swimming pools, Spa, Internet Café, Casino and a real treat, you can choose where you want to dine in four differently themed restaurants. (There’s no fee.) Or, enjoy the main dining room with two servings nightly. I recommend this ship and crew highly. www.princess.com