Heights Above the Depths

Dearest Rachel –

I’d like to hope this wouldn’t make you jealous, but I’ve just gotten back from swimming. Although, it wasn’t so much swimming, as hanging around in one pool or another and chatting with other people doing pretty much the same.

I don’t know why, but I keep running into people from North Carolina; the couple at my dining room table are from Charlotte, the couples I talked to in the hot tub were from Raleigh and Charlotte (the latter of which had their flight canceled at the last minute with no explanation, forcing them to drive some fifteen hours straight to Port Everglades); the one fellow in the Solarium was from Wilmington (and was pointing out that his home city is due west of Bermuda, a fact that he thinks some cruise ship company ought to take advantage of). If it weren’t for the other couple in the solarium pool being from Boston (and complaining about how everybody expects them to have a Hahvard Yahd accent), I’d swear that hailing from North Carolina was a requirement to taking this cruise.

That, or I’m just lucky. Yes, I’m kissing up to them; considering how many of them there are here, I’d just as soon stay on their good side.

To be sure, that was not the eventful thing about this afternoon. You rarely shared stories after you’d come in from swimming, probably for that very reason.

No, the real interesting thing about this afternoon’s activities was one of those things that got my attention about this ship in the first place; something they refer to as the North Star.

See that capsule up there? Yeah, that’s the thing.

The thing is, it seems that cruise ships – especially the ones that ply the Caribbean – have gotten to the point where they are every bit as much the attraction and destination as the ports of call. In an effort to attract customers, the upper decks of your typical Caribbean cruise ship are practically tiny amusement parks in their own right these days. I’ll go over this in a little bit more detail during some of our sea days, but I might as well touch on this one right now, since I was on it today.

So what we’re looking at here is basically a single cell of the London Eye. There’s just one of them, and it’s a bit smaller, but the population of the Odyssey is considerably less than the number of tourists visiting London at a given time, so that’s quite fair. It also doesn’t go up quite as high as the London eye – at its peak, it’s 300 feet above sea level, compared to the Eye’s 442 feet. And that’s counting the 15 decks of actual ship below it. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a breathtaking view.

The funny thing is, a ride in this thing is free while we’re in port, but they’re charging some $20 once we’re at sea. It seems counterintuitive to me – out over Coco Cay, there’s at least actually something to look at. At the same time, there aren’t that many people on board when we’re in port, so with demand low, I guess they drop the price to zero. Additionally, the fellow who was running the capsule from the inside pointed out that, as well as going straight up, when they’re over the open ocean, the arm will extend straight out on each of the ship’s sides, port and starboard. So, there’s that.

Regardless, it was quite the view, and quite the experience. I’ll see what other attractions I can describe for you in the coming days.

Until then, honey, keep an eye out for me.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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