Well, after a day of reflection (occasioned by a 12-hour drive from Houston to Panama City) I have a few observations to make about my first, and, if the decision is left to me, last cruise.
1. A ship is a ship. You can dress it up and take it to nice (I use that word liberally) places, but it is still a big floating prison, the inmates on which are blinded to their incarceration by copious amounts of alcohol and chocolate, and deluded into believing they are "having a great time" by innumerable insufferable obsequious twits (aka cruise directors). At least deploying for six months on an amphib provided the opportunity to get into some great fights with the swab jockeys running the ship. I didn't hear a cross word all week--what fun is that?
2. The "poor people" on this planet regard it to be their mission, no, make that "their right" to wheedle tips from the rest of us, who are not nearly as rich as they seem to think. In fact, I would dare say that most of the people, to whom I gave a tip, have more walking cash in their pockets than I do. Yeah, yeah, yeah... they have children at home who need shoes and a hot meal -- don't we all?
3. Chow is chow. A dry piece of cake isn't any more palatable because some French phony in a tall hat drizzled chocolate designs on the plate. Chef Jean Paul Lightintheloafers probably couldn't slap together a decent PBJ without making an artsy fartsy jelly design next to it.
Next year I'm going to Argentina and shoot a thousand doves in a day--now that will be a vacation.