Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The People You Meet

Cruising is a great way to meet people. You are on a ship with hundreds of other people in a large but confined area. On other cruises, we have normally chosen the fixed dining option, where you sit at the same table with the same people at the same time every evening. This is great on a shorter cruise as it gives you a chance to get to know your table-mates pretty well by the end of the trip. There are many people who we have met on cruises that we keep in touch with. Strangely, other people who you get to know well on a trip, never contact you again. Or, you exchange e-mail addresses and possibly write back and forth a few times but then it stops. We met an older Scottish military man and his wife on one cruise and had a great time with them. He was not at all well, and his health was failing, and could no longer fly, so was traveling on the seas. He wore kilts and regimental regalia to formal nights and swore like a sailor, but he was a character you couldn’t help but like. I got his e-mail and tried to send him a picture we had taken of the four of us, but never heard anything of him. I worried that something had happened to him, but then years later I happened upon him on Facebook, and discovered that he had given me an incorrect e-mail so never got my correspondence, and we have kept in contact off and on since.

Now sitting with the same people for 43 days might be great, but what if they were not very nice or downright annoying? We elected to try the open seating on this voyage, and we sit with different folk every night. We have indeed met a few rather annoying people but the vast majority are interesting, friendly travelers and we regularly find ourselves happily chatting about hometowns, favorite trips or common interests when we notice the dining room staff waiting for us to leave so they can prepare for the next hungry diners. We have missed not a few events or amazing shopping opportunities because we lingered too long with our dinner guests sharing stories.

Our Ship The Noordam
The biggest difference to this is that although we have only been sailing for 9 days, we have met more people than we have ever before. As we wander from one event to another we are always being greeted by someone who we ate breakfast with, or shared a Lido table with. The biggest difficulty is recalling what their names are or exactly where we met them. Was that the guy who was going boar hunting in Australia, or was she the retired lumber baron? Did we meet them at breakfast in San Diego or was it while sailing to Hawaii. That is the advantage of travelling with Regis; everyone recalls her name. My name is common, but when we introduce ourselves we are often faced with a response to her name. “That’s interesting; What was it again?; Are you named after someone? Of course that other “Regis”, “what’s his name” always comes up.

One afternoon, we politely asked a man sitting alone at a large table out on the pool deck if we could share it with him, and he quietly said “Sure” and went back to his book, head down. Twenty minutes later we knew that he was from “South Texas – as far south as you can get!”, and he had no idea where his wife was in her walker. Although shy and quiet at first we have now seen him many times around the ship (And he still can never find his wife . . .) I recall his name, but I forget the names of the people we came up on the elevator with . . . . where did we meet them?

1 comment:

  1. We really enjoyed the Open dining on our River Cruise in France. The flexibility and the opportunity to maximize our chances to meet nice people really appealed to us too.
    We are enjoying your posts, Art.