Hanging with the VIPs

We are crossing the Atlantic as the world recognizes the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking. Although icebergs are sometimes sighted in the areas we are sailing through, we are farther south than the Titanic’s route and icebergs are not found in this area in April. There were several documentaries on the television and interviews with descendants on some of the live news reports, but there was absolutely no mention of the anniversary on board this ship, not even in the mini newspaper we receive each day. We found this very odd.

This is our third transatlantic crossing. We are enjoying fabulous weather and outdoor activities and pool time (and a serious sunburn) are definitely options. All of the crossings we have done have included guest lecturers. A couple of weeks ago I read a wonderful book on the Titanic by John Maxtone-Graham, a lecturer I heard on a previous crossing. Now in his 80s, he is probably the foremost living expert on luxury travel at sea. His son’s writing has gone in a different direction and he is the lead writer for the Simpsons television show.

Our current crossing includes a biologist, a politician, a former ambassador, and a news reporter as guest lecturers. I haven’t made any of the biologist’s lectures, although I am interested as he is speaking on coral reefs-right up my alley with the diving. The politician was a forensic scientist and pediatrician, but he doesn’t like to use notes, gets lost repeatedly, and heads off on tangents; I have given up on those lectures. The British ambassador spoke on the history of piracy and slavery in the Caribbean and his presentation was very well done; I am looking forward to today’s talk on his diplomatic work.

The fourth lecturer is Morton Dean who reported for CBS and ABC. Even if you don’t recognize his name (I did), you would certainly recognize his voice. (Unless of course, you are too young to know whom Walter Cronkite was.) Dean spoke on war correspondence in the field during the Vietnam War. He included several clips of his interviews and trips into the action from that time which ran on the CBS evening news and told us stories about Walter Cronkite. I ran into him later in the specialty restaurant we were dining at which only seats 24 for the evening and he was quite friendly.

I am staying out of the sun today, having overdone it yesterday. The morning was for sleeping and blogging. We went to lunch on the terrace at the back of the ship. First dinner with Morton Dean and now lunch with the captain who was sitting at the table next to us. It was a lovely setting, so I went and got my camera and then Boris took my picture with the wake behind us. The captain commented on the photo with my hair blowing in the breeze, but I don’t think he recognized me with all my clothes on.

Boris loves these smaller ships and swears he never wants to go on the larger ones again (although he did enjoy the Oasis of the Seas in January). The staff on the Silver Spirit makes a real effort from the very beginning to get to know your name. All ask how they should address you. I am happy for them to use my first name, but some really want to call you by your surname. This of course creates problems for us, as I use my maiden name. We have confused more than one staff member. Some of them will use our first names but usually add “sir” or “madam” in front of it. All the staff at the pool knows “Madam Natasha”. They even had my chair covered with towels for me today, although I couldn’t go out due to sunburn. “Sir Boris” is convinced that he would have been knighted if he were British, so he finds the name highly appropriate and will most likely insist upon being called that when we return home. (Good luck with that.)

About travelbynatasha

I am a retired attorney who loves to travel. Several years ago I began working on a Century Club membership achieved by traveling to 100 "foreign" countries. Today, at 49 years of age the count is at 82. Many were visited on land based trips. Some were cruise ports. Some were dive sites. Most have been fascinating.
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1 Response to Hanging with the VIPs

  1. Melissa says:

    You all take the most fabulous trips! I have always wanted to go on a Trans-Atlantic cruise. The smaller ship sounds delightful as well. I hope you continue to have a wonderful voyage.

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