Monday, June 30, 2008
My husband and I will be married for 30 years in August. To celebrate, we decided to contact a couple of friends and see if they want to go on a cruise to the Caribbean in the fall. Steve and Ann got married about a month before us, and Paul and Kathy will be married 29 years this summer, but we told them they could come along anyway. Steve and Paul were fraternity brothers of Jim at Iowa State, and Kathy and I graduated from Hoover High School in Des Moines together. Steve was in our wedding, Jim was in Steve's wedding, and Kathy and Paul sang at our wedding. So, we all have a connection to each other in more than one way. Since I brought up the idea, I got the job of being cruise director. Paul is a pilot for Northwest Airlines and his vacation is scheduled for the first two weeks of November. That set the time frame initially. Ann is an accountant, so the beginning of the month is bad for her. Okay - now we know we are going the second week of November. I put my travel agent (TA) on the job of locating some options for us, and she came back with 5 or 6 which met the time criteria. I found out that several cruise lines don't travel to the Caribbean in November at all. We ruled out the trips that went in and out of San Juan due to flight availability and cost, so that left us with four options. One is the new Ruby Princess, making her maiden voyage on November 8th. My TA said she would never go on a ship that doesn't have a couple of months of travel under its belt, so I didn't really look at the Ruby as a choice. Steve wanted to go on the Freedom of the Seas because it makes a stop in Cozumel, which supposedly has some of the best scuba diving in the world. As I had the TA check on prices, I found out that the ship was nearly sold out of window and balcony rooms. Huh? Isn't there a recession? And isn't this a slow travel time period since it is a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving? What the heck? So I stepped back to regroup. If Steve really wants to go to Cozumel (yep, he does), then the only choice is the Ruby. After talking to all the parties involved, we decided to take our chances on the Titanic - errr, I mean Ruby - and see what happens. I had the TA check on availability for us. There are no window rooms left on the Ruby, nor any of the less expensive balcony rooms. Can you believe this? Why does everyone want to travel at the same time as us? So the group is now deciding on how much they want to spend on this trip.