In March of 1989 I stepped on board the SS Rotterdam in Port Everglades, Florida with my family for a 10-day Carribbean Cruise. Little did I know that my future spouse had also just stepped on board ten days before. On the third day into the cruise, we met each other in the Smoking Room on the Holland America Line's flagship, had our first date on Barbados, and the rest is history.
Anyhow, back to this weekend. We were welcomed on board, got our keys, dumped our bags in our rooms, and set out to show the kids the ship where Mom & Dad got to know each other. In spite of the fact we had paid for two rooms for one night, we soon discovered that we could not venture anywhere in the ship without paying for a tour ticket. Say what?? The ship where we lived on board for months on end had become a tourist attraction that must be visited on a paid tour. We could not even show our kids the Smoking Room where we first met because there were four people standing guard to check people's tickets. Fine, we moved on to dinner.
The Lido Restaurant, where my husband and I ate all of our meals with the rest of the crew during the months we spent on board had been completely gutted and looked nothing like the beautiful restaurant we once knew. Where we had once enjoyed Mexican-themed dinners, Midnight Buffets, and Dessert Extravaganzas for free, we now spent mucho $$$ in an overpriced bistro shelling out thirty-five dollars a person for a hamburger, french fries and a coke. This left (pardon the pun) somewhat of a bad taste in our mouths.
All in all, it was an interesting experience and we were glad we could show our kids a little of our past. Unfortunately, walking down memory lane is never the same as the first time you took that stroll. At least we we able to sneak into the Smoking Room to take a few pictures on the morning we checked out -- I guess this counts as our one freebie.
Jan and Cheryl on board the SS Rotterdam -- back in 1992 and now in 2012