The tragedy of the Carnival Triumph has put cruising on the front pages. Let me give you my two cents.
Ah memories, memories. I met Carol when she was 16. I was a lot older. I was seventeen. Gee. That sounds like a song from the “Sound of Music.”
I had already graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School and was accepted to the college of my choice, but there was a problem. They wanted some money from me and I was broke. I mean really broke. So I stayed out for a year while I worked at two jobs. I then saved enough money to enter Long Island University’s Brooklyn College of Pharmacy. Even without money, Carol and I managed to enjoy each other’s company during some really inexpensive dates. We would go see TV be broadcast because tickets were free. We loved going downtown to Court Street and sit in at night court. Loads of young couples attended night court. There were the times I called and said that I have three extra dollars. “Would you like to share a pizza or go to a movie?” For three bucks, we couldn’t have both.
Her response almost always was, “Save your money. Just come on over and we’ll go for a walk.”
I knew then that this is the girl I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Besides being beautiful and smart, she was, and still is, kind, considerate, caring and compassionate.
In the late 1950s a ferry sailed regularly from Canarsie Pier to Rockaway. The fare was 10 cents, and if you didn’t disembark at the other end, you were permitted to sail back for free. If you didn’t get off upon the return to Brooklyn, you sailed over again. So for a thin dime each, we sailed back and forth for several hours. One night I recall saying, “You stick with me and I promise someday I will take you on a real cruise.”
I kept that promise, .94 times over. Yup. Last week we sailed on our ninety-fourth cruise and NO! It was not on Carnival. We don’t do Carnival. We gave up on that line several years ago. There are many great vessels out there, and if you shop them right you could be enjoying a mega-magnificent, super-sensational cruise for only a few bucks more.
Cruising is the very best value in ultra-fantastic vacations. Where else can you get 10 all-you-can-eat meals a day, entertainment, Broadway- and Vegas-style shows, music and dancing, swimming, relaxing, and do as much or as little you want to do for under a 100 bucks a day?
For the past two weeks I’ve been asked, “After what happened, aren’t you afraid to go on another cruise?” There have been plane crashes where people have been killed. I still fly. There are automobile collisions where people have died. I still drive. Of the more than 3,000 passengers aboard the Carnival Triumph, how many lost their lives? None. Sure it was an uncomfortable, miserable, way to spend a vacation, but nobody died.
I am StanGershb