Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Musing on cruising…

Why isn't it Muising on Cruising? But I digress.

By this many months before our last—uh, make that most recent—cruise, in 2012, I had already organized a couple of tours and the rollcall on had about 400 messages. This roll call (you’ll have to become/be a member, but it’s free and I’ve never gotten any junk from them) only has about 75 messages so far and we’re about four and a half months out!

Nonetheless, I’m excited about this cruise. But then, cruises are what we get excited about! All those new cities and experiences and we only have to pack and unpack once per cruise. Heaven! And we are waited on hand and foot.

Aside: (friends know that I am easily distracted and almost infinitely curious, hence, I often have several asides in my blogs) Where does the expression “wait on hand and foot” come from? I’m still a bit of a Luddite in that my first thought is to go to some of my books (yes, I still have reference books), such as Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins and Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable but neither of them seems to care a whit about being waited on hand and foot so I had to go online. The best of the websites seems to be the StackExchange which explains it thusly: “So far from my research, this seems to be the basic idea; that a person being "waited on hand and foot" has handmaids and footmen (or their equivalents) to perform any manual labor the person would otherwise have to do on their own.
The term may have different but related origins; it could be related to a similar term viewed from the other side, that a person is at someone else's "beck and call", responding immediately to any gesture by the person being served. An extremely attentive servant or corps of same could respond not only to obvious hand gestures, but by more subtle movements of the feet.
Lastly, it's perfectly valid to think of it in the more modern sense of being pampered physically. To "wait on" someone or something is to be immediately available to answer any need. The term may thus have originally been "to wait on someone's hand and foot", thus meaning to have no other duty but to address any need of that hand and/or foot, be it heat, cold, an itch, or in more general terms responding to its every move including as a gesture having meaning. Over time the possessive may have been discarded.”

So, cruising allows us to just enjoy and not have to worry about laundry, doing the dishes, cleaning up after a party, or much of anything except getting to the next activity. So decadent. And yet there actually are people (gasp!) who think cruising is supremely boring. I might agree with them during our first seven days on the ocean cruise when we spent the time merely (!) crossing the Atlantic. Seven days with nothing to do but
·      get a suntan by the pool (well, it IS the North Atlantic, we probably won’t be spending a lot of time by the pool)
·      play bridge (there will be a bridge teacher on board and there will be much time devoted to bridge)
·      go to cooking classes (there is a dedicated kitchen on board just for cooking lessons)
·      party (we’ll be in a suite; see above on cleaning up!)
·      look at the art on board (Holland America has world-class art on board each of their ships and some ships have $2,000,000 worth of said art; they even have a curator who gives tours)
·      gamble (well, we don’t gamble so that probably won’t be on our short list of stuff to do)
·      watch movies (there is a large movie theater on board)
·      laugh, sing-along, and enjoy the various performers that perform every night on board
·      learn to knit, crochet, use Photoshop, draw, paint, etc. (most classes are free)

We won’t be bored, I can assure you. And within one day Randy will have trained the bartenders on how to make the perfect martini (stirred, not shaken [sorry, James Bond] and with just a whisper of vermouth and a single pimiento-stuffed olive).

Oh, yes, and today is our daughter’s birthday! She was born at the Bangkok Nursing Home (a luxurious place to have a baby!) an unspecified number of years ago, in Bangkok, Thailand. Happy Birthday, Kathy!