This first page is mostly text, with some links to pages with photos. A mild apology. My scanner has been playing up, and giving the occasional picture which is obviously too blue. I have tried to get the colour back to right, but... I'm red-green blind.
This was my second Cruise Trek, after the Alaskan cruise in 1998.
Last year there were a lot of actors because there were a lot of Trekkers. It was a seven day cruise. This year the cruise could start from Los Angeles - 16 days - or Acapulco, about 10 days, so less people could afford it, so there were less guests. We had George Takei, who pretty much goes every year, Jonathan del Arco, or Hugh the Borg, and Cecily Adams, Moogie. Cecily is the daughter of Don Adams, alias Maxwell Smart.
While I don't intend to put many pictures on this page, let's introduce you to some of the characters:
Our Master of Ceremonies, Eric Stillwell, suffering an attack of megalomania at Tikal:
I decided that since I would have to pay some
reasonable sum to fly to Acapulco, it would be economically feasible
to cruise there instead. So did about 50 of the Trek fans, and so did
the three guests. This had the benefit that those of us who started
early got to know the
guests pretty well, and more to the point,
they got to know us!
The Trek part of the Cruise is run by Charles C Datin and Linda Wolf. As someone said, it is a great benefit to have your travel agent on the trip with you. The master of ceremonies is Eric Stillwell, who works with Star Trek producer Michael Piller. Any little snippets of information he reveals are generally matters which have been on the internet for months, so he is not a useful source of information, but a good MC. His wife, Debra, rounds out the organising committee.
Our cruise package included a nice T-shirt, and a copy of the novel, "The 34th Rule," signed by all three authors, including Armin Shimerman.
After leaving Los Angeles, we had a predinner gathering in a bar to introduce the three guests, but in general the whole journey was more cruise than Trek event. This was because we had so few Trek actors. Let's have a look at the ship.
Dinner was formal five times, because of the length of the cruise. I was on a table of eight, and it included people I knew from the previous year. This turned out to be one of the pluses of the trip, because our table pretty much acted as a unit. We didn't go around eight at a time, but we did things together. The first evening meal was formal. Before it we were introduced to the crew in the Rubens Lounge, where all the big shows were staged, and photographed three times! I avoided two of these, and didn't buy the one photograph I was in. Being photographed is almost a hazard on these trips. The photographers take shot after shot, then they are posted on a wall in case you want to buy them. They are naturally pretty pricey, because only a fraction of them are sold. After dinner we went to a "Las Vegas" show, and I went up to the disco where there was karaoke. I retired at midnight, which was effectively 1am because of a time change.
We had a number of time changes, which I suppose the ship could have ignored if we had not been in ports from day to day.
I did excursions at every stop, but they were mainly snorkeling, and it was not very good for someone who has been to the Barrier Reef. But they were pleasant social occasions.
On October 13th, I woke at 9, and dined with the actors. I asked if I could sit next to Cecily and her husband, Jim Beaver, then emptied my breakfast, mainly scrambled eggs, on my seat next to her and on the floor. I read till 11. At 1pm I distinguished myself again with a skating pratfall as I got on the tender to go ashore at Zihuatanejo. My thong slipped, but I landed on my camera and backpack and did not hurt myself.
Late at night I went to the disco, and was inveigled into dancing even though I was wearing rubber soles. In a limbo, after dancing for some time, I thought it would be amusing to do a judo roll under the pole - and couldn't get up! I was disoriented and couldn't tell which way was up. Tom then fell on top of me. And I nearly broke my glasses, which were in my pocket. So I managed to make a spectacle of myself three times in one day!
I resolved to have tattooed on the inside of my eyelids, "You are 62 years old," but as someone pointed out, I'd have to keep changing it every year.
Thursday was a tour of Acapulco. We drove through unmaintained streets, sailed around a lagoon, and looked at a jewellery factory. It seemed a great place for a competent signwriter to make a fortune. I had a short walk around Acapulco, which seemed like a big Mexican village, with no driving rules, though I did see one set of traffic lights. We also picked up the rest of our complement, plus a few other groups, and Jim Beaver had to leave, because he had an acting gig.
Next day we were at Huatulco, and I did "beginner snorkeling'. This place improved my perception of Mexico. In the afternoon I was struggling to stay awake, so I slept about three hours instead of attending the Trek events, then slept well again during the night.
Saturday was an early start in Guatemala. We drove in a bus to the military airport, about forty five minutes, flew for an hour, then drove for an hour to Tikal. My first "wow!" experience for the day was on the flight. I was looking out of my right hand window at the ground hundreds of feet below, and glanced across to see trees going past the left hand window! That was presumably the volcano, which I never really saw. Our guide on the bus, Guillermo, talked all the way, then about eight minutes at the model of Tikal when we were impatient to start.
Cruise Trek events after Acapulco consisted of a costume event with not a lot of entries, and the casting for a spoof by Jonathan del Arco, "Aye, Borg". These were the events I slept through. The Dealers' room opened a few days, but didn't appear to sell a lot. There were some very nice but expensive paintings there. There was a writers' workshop and behind-the-scenes talk with Eric Stillwell, a Trek Trivia, and Family Feud (in which I won a copy of a script), and scavenger hunt.
We went through the Panama Canal, which was the centrepiece of the trip. It was interesting to see the ship slot through the locks, but otherwise a quiet day. We had the Trek photos taken there. The previous year the group of actors had taken all afternoon to be photographed with each traveler. This time it was all over in half an hour.
Wednesday we were in Caragena, Colombia. 900 people had chosen to do the tour, and set out in busloads of 22. We went to a church with spectacular views, and I wished I had taken my new 17mm lens. We were continually harassed by vendors, and beggars. We saw St Peter Claver under an altar, and a fort and a couple of tourist shopping centres. It was hot. I bought a small polo shirt for US$5. Some people went back afterwards, and the vendors and beggars had gone. I thought Cartagena was a very attractive city, but next day in the newsletter I read that Colombia was not a nice place at all.
I didn't go ashore again. In the afternoon I swam in the aft pool. There was a lovely sun/cloud effect, gone by the time I got my camera, but I took a few slides. The view was spectacular as we left, but too dark for pictures. In the middle of the bay is a statue of the Virgin. The Captain announced "Ahead warp factor 6. Make it so, number one." I had gone in the daily quiz for the first time, and won a luggage tag as first prize.
Next day, in the Dealers' Room George Takei and others sang "Happy Birthday" to me. I also had a birthday cake for dinner. I danced a little at the disco, but we were advancing an hour again, so I retired at 1am, which became 2am.
I breakfasted with George Takei and others. Rain fell occasionally, and hurricane Jose was reported closer. I also found myself in the forward bar with George Takei and a couple of others, gossiping for half an hour or so before dinner.
After dinner, and an excellent show (which some of the others thought was off-key!) I karaoked for the first time, then danced with Cecily Adams, before retiring about 1.30am.
Next day we were at Half-Moon Cay (pronounced "key"), a spot in the Bahamas owned by the shipping company. The sea was smooth, and it was hot. I had intended to walk around, but was carrying a lot of gear, so I just swam. A spectacular black cloud was behind the ship. The locals assured us it would not rain. They erred. I took my cameras back and lunched on board. The sea had quickly become very choppy. I went back and walked around the island for about an hour. It was not as hot, but hot. We had an auction at 4.45, followed by a short play. After dinner and the night's entertainment I went up to the disco after sitting a while in the piano bar. Cecily and Jonathan came briefly for a dance. I retired about 12.30 with a sore throat (which had been developing for some time), and rose at 6 with stuffed-up sinuses.
I did not fly straight home, luckily, as I was exhausted. I had ten days in Disneyworld, with my nose flowing copiously, but I enjoyed it.
Next year the cruise is in the Mediterranean, from Barcelona to Barcelona, May 21st to 28th. We were on the Veendam, and this will be on the Maasdam, which is apparently identical. If you would like to learn more, Cruise Trek's address is P O Box 2038, Agoura Hills, CA 91376-2038, USA, email cruisetrek @aol.com. Their URL is http://members.aol.com/cruisetrek/cruisetrek.html
I also took a few three dimensional pictures. There are some of Tikal, some of a lake near Acapulco, some of Guatemala and Huatalco, and some on the ship.