In an earlier post, I wrote about why I travel. From a kid’s dreams to an adult’s reality, I’ve been fortunate to experience some sights that still leave me breathless and show what an incredible world in which we live.
As magnificent as the geography and architecture and cultures are, it is really the people who make travel the most enjoyable. Whether it is asking someone for directions and sometimes getting an escort to your destination, to sitting in a restaurant and striking up a conversation with those at a nearby table or to just saying hi and smiling as you pass someone on the street, these personal encounters are key to enjoying travel.
That is particularly true when you cruise. No matter what size ship you’re on, and we’ve been on some of the smallest and some of the largest of the Princess Cruise vessels, it is the people you meet or see regularly that enhance your time away from home.
We have met people from too many countries to count and have kept in touch with some of them in places as diverse as Australia and Minnesota. Some of those best relationships have come with the people with whom we nightly share dinner. People like Jenny and Glynnis.
One of the mysteries about cruising is how people are assigned to dining tables. We enjoy being seated at tables for multiple people as the ensuing conversations make dinner a much anticipated part of the day.
On the last cruise we were seated in a banquette for six. At the first sea day, we were joined by Jenny and Glynnis…and no one else. That is not unusual as often people take the first night to acclimate to the ship and just relax. The other two people, however, never made it to dinner the entire cruise which, as it turned out, was great as it gave the four of us time to interact and become friends.
Jenny and Glynnis are from London, one from the north and one from the south. We are both very fond of that great city so we took the opportunity to find out more about London, the city that tourists, like us, never see. The tips they gave us and the places they recommended will help us on our next, as yet unscheduled, visit there.
They had traveled together before but, like us, had never been to many of the stops along the ship’s itinerary. We agreed that sometimes seeing your own country gives you a greater appreciation for your home, as we found on a cross-country road trip last year.
At dinner, we shared the day’s excursions and our impressions of what we had seen. It was interesting to compare our view of what we saw with theirs. Sometimes they were similar, others different, but always made for good conversation.
As the trip progressed, we knew that we were fortunate to have been seated with Jenny and Glynnis. Their comments, their humor and their sharing made each dinner a pleasure. By the end of the cruise we had gotten into the familiarity of friends, looking forward daily to seeing each other and waiting to hear their latest news. It was one of the highlights of our trip.
The only problem: We forgot to get our pictures taken with them. We promise we will when we meet them again.