Monday, October 27, 2008

The Final Cruise For 2008

The early morning hours of October 16th saw dense fog and cold temperatures in Astoria as we prepared to greet the final cruise ship for this season. The Mercury, the pride of the Celebrity Cruise Lines was late docking due to foggy conditions, but nearly fifty members of the Astoria Cruise Hosts anxiously awaited. We were armed with visitor maps, recommendations and directions to local sights, and the omnipresent smile.

This season set a record for the number of cruise ship visits, nineteen in total. It gave us an opportunity to share our small part of the world with folks from near and far. I attempted to catalogue the countries from which passengers and crew that I met; my list reads as follows: Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Columbia, Cuba, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Malta, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Netherlands, Philippians, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, and Wales.

As I review the list, I am reminded that our world is indeed a very small place. I am also reminded that regardless of where a person calls home, when traveling, we all have similar wants and needs. To that end, I share a list of the most frequently asked by the passengers and crew.

  1. Where is the drug store? If you are from the United Kingdom you might call it a chemist.

  2. Where is the "old fashion" JC Penneys I have heard about?

  3. Where can I get a cup of coffee?

  4. Where can I get Internet access?

  5. Where is the shopping mall?

  6. Do you have a good brew pub near by?

  7. How do you get to the Goonie's House?

  8. Where can I get an international calling card?

  9. Is there some where I can purchase electronics?

If you have never heard of the Goonie's House, you apparently are over the age of say thirty. At any rate, the movie titled The Goonies was filmed in Astoria in the mid-1980s and a local house served as a major set location. The movie has a sort of cult following that honestly I fail to understand, but then I could never be accused of being Hollywood's biggest fan either.

I have to admit that getting to meet so many fun people who traveled long distances to visit Astoria will likely be the high point for me when I close the cover on the book of 2008. I will also be anxiously awaiting cruise season 2009 which begins on April 3oth.

Now to the two of you who may be reading this post, perhaps you are wondering about the picture I have included. Could it perhaps be a crucial part of a ship or is it a symbol for the strength of the cruise host volunteers? Sorry to say, it's neither. I was waiting to meet a friend for lunch last week and noticed some very old industrial equipment near by, so this is how I spent twenty minutes.

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