I received hundreds of inquiries last week asking why there was no Between the Bridges column in The Rockaway Times. Okay, maybe not hundreds but I did get quite a few. Several maybe? Sadly, truth be told, only my neighbor and friend Larry called and asked about the missing column. I figured I would use this column to come clean.
Myself and my beloved Grace ("she who must be obeyed") were recently happily preparing to depart on a 10-day Caribbean cruise aboard the Norwegian Gem leaving from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal in Hell's Kitchen over on the west side on the Hudson. We were scheduled to visit four islands that (hopefully) were not overly traumatized by the recent spate of hurricanes. Accompanying us was a rather significant number of other friends and neighbors from Broad Channel and Rockaway whose idea of breakfast at sea is a frozen margarita or, in some cases, a Bahama Mama!
Grace loves life aboard a cruise liner while I, on the other hand, really dislike the claustrophobia that gnaws at my inner being when inside a small cabin. I had also heard all the horror stories about rough seas and seasickness, passengers being struck down by the norovirus, (Legionnaires’ disease), and all the tales of passengers falling (or being assisted by an irate spouse) overboard. And c'mon — doesn't anyone remember Leon Klinghoffer and the Achille Lauro hijacking back in 1985? Geez, getting long in the tooth sucks! On the other hand, the all-inclusive beverage package which guarantees you can obtain your favorite beverage aboard the ship at any hour of the day, certainly helps to smooth out the rough edges of life aboard a cruise liner. That being said, I went to hell with myself deciding that if there was even a smidgen of a chance I could be struck down sick or fall (or be thrown) overboard, this trip I would go in style.
Throwing caution (and whatever common sense I have left) to the wind, I lowballed a bid for a cabin upgrade and was shocked to discover that I had been awarded an upgrade to a Luxury Haven Owner's suite with multiple rooms, espresso machine, stocked bar, two large balconies and a bathroom you can get lost in that has both a window and a television just above the tub. The suite also has a guest bathroom so our royal potty and sink need not be sullied by visitors. And get this — the upgrade included 24-hour access to a concierge, private court yard, pool and restaurant, as well as 24-hour access to our own personal butler. As an aside, I immediately made plans to heavily tip our butler upon arrival in the suite with the instructions that I would call (insert your own pronoun here — don't want to rile the gender fanatics!) "Alfred" and (insert your own pronoun again) in turn would refer to me as "Master Bruce" for the entirety of the cruise.
I could hardly contain my excitement as it appeared that with my lowball upgrade bid, Lady Luck had finally deemed to smile upon my pending ocean adventure. I was so pleased with myself I told Kevin Boyle, this paper's publisher, that I would proudly wear my Day-Glo Rockaway Times T-shirt, while basking in the luxury of my owner's suite and any formal events that might come up during the trip. Ever the pragmatist, Kevin cautioned me that the T-shirt might actually get me thrown overboard!
Unfortunately, I had forgotten to take into account one of the most important factors to be kept in mind while undertaking any project, including the planning of a vacation — that of Murphy's Law, which states that "If anything can go wrong, it will!" Apparently Mr. Murphy saw fit to wait until just four days prior to our scheduled sailing to put the kibosh on one of the cruise liners main engines down in Barbados, effectively taking it out of service, canceling our planned cruise, leaving me with the sole option of taking my beloved Grace over to Beach Channel Drive to hop aboard the Rockaway Ferry for a round trip cruise to Manhattan. I hate Mr. Murphy!
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