My husband and I have been on many cruises. Our favorite company is Norwegian Cruise Line. They do the job right.
Last year, we took what we thought was going to be our last cruise. We figured that we had seen a lot and didn't need to go on any more cruises.
But, friends of ours from here in On Top of the World found a great bargain and convinced us to go with them.
We drove to Port Canaveral and boarded the Royal Caribbean ship "Enchantment of the Seas." We were scheduled for a four-night voyage to the Bahamas with a stop at Royal Caribbean's private island on the way to Nassau.
The ship is beautiful. Our room was fine. We usually get an inside cabin, since all we do in the room is sleep. There's no need for us to get a more expensive room with a window or balcony. Actually, the only time we had a balcony was on a cruise to Alaska. We were glad we had a covered balcony during that trip. The weather was cold and damp, so - if we wanted to see something - we could step out on the balcony for a short time and then duck back into our warm room.
The first night onboard "Enchantment," we met our friends for cocktails in one of the many lounges available. We were sitting there, enjoying our drinks and talking about the weather in Florida, which was headed into the colder winter season.
All of a sudden, from the table next to us, a voice said, "Do you know what the weather is like in Jim Thorpe, PA?" Jim and I quickly turned toward that voice to see who could have known that Jim Thorpe used to be our hometown.
Wonder of wonders! The voice belonged to my nephew and godson, Scott. He and his fiancée Debbie were sitting right next to us, both smiling and looking like they were very pleased to see us. After some hard hugs and kisses, they joined us and we heard how they managed to get on the ship.
Apparently, back in the fall when Deb and I spoke, I mentioned that we were going on a cruise in January. I told her the name of the ship and our destination. She went online and found the trip, booked space for the two of them, and told no one.
They wanted to surprise us. Boy! They surely managed to do that. They weren't sure where we would be on the ship, so they walked around all the lounges at cocktail hour. Anyone familiar with the Smiths knows that we enjoy cocktail hour every night before dinner. Scott heard Jim's voice and said to Deb, "That's my uncle. I'd know his voice anywhere." So, they sat down right next to us while we were intent on our conversation.
I recognized Deb right away, but it took me a second to recognize Scott. He lost so much weight in the past few months! He looks happy and healthy. It was so good to see them both.
From that time on until the ship docked at the end of the cruise, we had a lot of quality time together. Our friends made friends with Scott and Deb and enjoyed their company. The six of us had dinner together each evening, played cards and dice in the Solarium every afternoon, and saw each other at breakfast and lunch when our schedules meshed.
As my husband says, it takes a lot to surprise me. But, this surprise was pulled off without a hitch. Having friends and family around me during the cruise was a blessing. If this does indeed prove to be our last cruise, then it was fitting and proper that it be wonderful. And, it was.
If you would like to contact Dr. Smith, she can be reached at her e mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org or in care of this newspaper.