Closing Night

Dearest Rachel –

And so, the curtain goes up on the curtain going down. Last full day aboard ship.

After taking care of some bills and an email (which may become important later on, we’ll all have to tune in and find out), I decided to add upstairs, and see if I had better luck getting myself into one pool or another.

While the chairs were all taken, I sent my stuff down on the edge of one of the pools, and climbed into the hot tub. Barely a moment later, there was a shrill whistle, and everybody was ordered out of the pool. For a moment, those of us in the hot tub we’re afraid that it had to do with us too, but it turned out not be the case. Unfortunately, some kid got sick in the pool. This is why parents tell you to wait thirty minutes before going swimming – although with the amount of food they serve here, it might be better to crank that to forty-five.

So, they place a net over the pool, and not to catch fish with. So much for taking a dip in that stew. Time to relocate.

At least the Solarium is free of kids, so this kind of situation isn’t likely to happen. However, it’s always a challenge to try and find a deck chair to set stuff down on. I actually managed to find one, but as I’m approaching it, someone else comes from a different direction, dumps her bag on it, and walks off. And I’m just standing there going ‘are you kidding me?’ It’s like that old urban legend about the parking lot, where ‘you’ve got to be young and fast!’ Meanwhile, I can’t guarantee that I’m older and have better insurance, so I look elsewhere.

I do find a few others, pointed in the opposite direction, but as I’m not really here to get a tan, that’s fine. I set my stuff down, drape my ‘we’ll all be skeletons’ T-shirt on the back, and head for the pool for a moment. It doesn’t take long, though, before I’m ready to warm myself back up.

The pools are layered in a Seussian fashion, not unlike an understated take on the Mustard-Off Pools. However, it’s not recommended that one take anything with mustard on it into these pools, or we’ll have a situation like the one they’re dealing with amidships already.

In the solarium hot tub, I find myself chatting with an older lady and a young guy with literal arms full of tattoos. Both of them are enjoying the rejuvenating qualities of the bubbles, which surprises me, as it’s been several days since we’ve all been walking our feet off onshore – I understand the muscle aches that go with age, but what’s the deal with the younger fellow? It turns out that he’s one of the performers aboard ship this week; a Billy Idol impersonator. Didn’t know that was a thing, but I certainly understand why he would be walking – or, more to the point, dancing – his feet off on the regular.

In fact, they’re both musicians – or maybe just performers – although the older lady is not part of this week’s entertainment; they’re basically talking shop with each other.

‘Billy’ mentions that he’s gotten no more than two hours of sleep each night while aboard, and is looking forward to taking the next week off, before he comes back next Friday for another cruise gig. Who needs sex, drugs or rock ‘n’ roll, when you’ve got sleep deprivation? You practically get the same effect. Interestingly, ‘Billy’ is almost too much of an artist to indulge in the ‘sex drugs and rock ‘n’ roll’ aspect of his character. While he worked as a bartender in real life once upon a time, he claims he doesn’t drink all that much. He does expound upon mixology for a bit, though.

The topic of discussion moves on towards the misadventures onboard ship. Along with several cases of vomit in the pool this week, there has been a brief Amber Alert from a three-year-old going missing (she was found, since there’s nowhere to go as far as leaving the ship goes, but it was a moment of panic for the parents, I’m sure), and a case of a couple of teenagers who may have vandalized several screens on board. Wonder if they’ll be placed in the brig once they’re caught (and again, it isn’t as if they’ve anywhere to go but overboard, so they will be caught, assuming there’s CCTV footage)?

At this point, I’ve been sufficiently parboiled, so I take my leave and return to my room to change into something a little dryer. I also get out my suitcase, and set it on the couch in preparation for filling it up after the evening in the Diamond Lounge. Got to get up early for tomorrow’s flight, after all.

That being said, I don’t know if I’m going to have the same kind of time that I used to – that we used to – when we would go around the ship the day we docked, and take pictures or video of various places and things, so I’d best do some of that now.

Like this panoramic view from just outside the Solarium.
Somewhere along here, I think I should be able to see my cabin – which I guess means it’s not as private as I claimed earlier.
Or how about the hanging sculpture in the middle of the dining room? It may not stack up against the ‘feather lights,’ but it’s impressive in its own way.
This sculpture by the elevator bank extends from the Windjammer to the Main Dining Room, ten stories high.
The aft view from the 270° lounge – and you can probably guess why it’s called that.

It’s at this point, that I start to realize I’m slightly hungry, so I stop in at the café behind the lounge for a sandwich; it’s only the third time I’ve had lunch while aboard ship. While I’m eating, and putting together my thoughts, I’m joined by an elderly couple with a pair of Pinnacle Club pins. They are a late-in-life second marriage, having met each other on a cruise ship. Which ought to give me hope, but when I hear them talk about their kids, well… they aren’t exactly doting parent, or grandparents. I try to be as cordial as possible, but I can’t relate to them; your parents, prickly as they could be toward me, are positively cuddly compared to the opinions these two have toward their progeny. Still, if they could be as friendly to their kids as they are to me, I am sure their family life would’ve improved significantly. Maybe some people just get along better with strangers than with their own family.

I eventually excuse myself, because for the first time all week, I’ve reserved a spot at the theater. And for what?

It looks almost like a Power Rangers knockoff, but using the powers of various technical effects; I’d wager Mike would like these super powers.

Not much in the way of plot, to be honest, and the music seems to be more from our own time – ‘Holding Out For A Hero,’ ‘Flash Gordon,’ and other such tunes – than from the kids it’s supposedly geared toward.

And some of the costumes, while I suppose they’re well-designed, look so campy. I suddenly have a great deal of respect for these theatre people for not feeling ridiculous in this get-up – or at least, not letting it show. That doesn’t mean they don’t look ridiculous, though.
The bad guy’s arsenal includes an army of actual drones, all run by ship-specific GPS (to avoid colliding into each other, as he’d look that much sillier if they did that)
But of course, evil must be defeated, and the forces of good must triumph, all done to a violently loud pop music score.

Well, at least I can say I’ve been to the theatre this week, for what it’s worth. And there’s no doubt that it was quite the spectacle. But now, it’s time for the curtain to come down; even the announcer is herding us out so that the theatre may close up to reconfigure for the next show.

Guess I’ll finish elsewhere, and talk to you later, honey. There’ll be more to relate as the day – and evening – wears on. For now, I’ve to prep for dinner, I suppose.

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

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

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