Escape from Winter - 2012 travel blog

We thought it might be different now that we are retired, but a 7 day cruise is still as much too short as it was when we were working. The three days at sea were enough to visit the entire ship and spend some time luxuriating and reading in the most pleasant areas, but we didn't get to do enough sightseeing. But we can't complain. All around us people were readying themselves for the airport and a return to work. All we had to do was walk to the curb, wait for the campground shuttle and we were home again. By noon we were unpacked and the laundry was done. Next time we winter in Florida, we'll try to do this again.

The Voyager will be doing this itinerary for another month and then it will be headed to Singapore via Europe. She is too wide to go through the Panama Canal. We were surprised to see so many mainland Chinese crew members working on the ship. This is the first time we have met them in any numbers and we were told that there will be more and more as the ship heads toward Asia. Many crew members are proficient in a number of language including the one they speak at home and their skills always impress us, but Chinese with its reliance on tones is so very different from English. We've heard that Americans can spend years living in China and struggle to get the communication skills of a child. A number of the Chinese were working the front desk, an especially language taxing position, especially when angry people come to complain about something. They have to be good listeners and respond in such a tactful way to defuse the situation. As we waited one day we listened to a Chinese woman handling a phone call from a sea sick passenger who wanted her "to do something" about it. A call to the medical office would have been more productive, but the crew member arranged to send her a plate of green apples and said she hoped it would help.

Royal Caribbean seems to be doing a great job opening up new markets. We certainly saw this happening as we sailed to Brazil in November and observed the change over to an increasingly Brazilian crew. We've read that as the mainland Chinese have accumulated more and more dollars from our over consumption, they have become world travelers, something that would not have been allowed a few years ago. Perhaps if we boarded the Voyager once again in Singapore we would find ourselves in the minority as we were in Brazil.

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