Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Opinion

September 21, 2012

Don Newbury: Down to the sea ... again

 

When best behaved, the Mississippi River is credited with great and wonderful things, including provision of a meandering route for cruise ships from New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico.

As we left the port there recently on Carnival’s Conquest, we thought of songs, stories, plays and books inspired by the old river that “just keeps rolling along.” 

The list grew long.

———

One cruising veteran, whose “bucket list” expanded to a “barrel list” a couple of decades ago, enumerated a dozen cruise ports where trips had begun, and now he was adding New Orleans.

“The wife and I always head to an upper deck as soon as we’re underway,” he said as we set sail on schedule at 4 p.m. “We like to make pictures and enjoy the panorama of entering open water.”

A Louisiana native nudged his wife. They chuckled, aware that the meandering route requires close to eight hours of river cruising before reaching the gulf. (Good luck on photos and panoramas at midnight.) Carnival brochures could rightly describe a “three-in-one cruise” — river/gulf/sea — from the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico to the Caribbean Sea.

———

On cruises — as in life — choices abound. One can seek quiet places if solitude is sought, but for folks who want to expand horizons, meet new friends and learn new things, few vacations provide such an array of opportunities.

We always choose the latter, particularly in the “new friends” category. Early on, we met the Navid Sharafatian family from California.

Their bright-eyed children, Cameron 11, and Kayla, 8, were as polite as any we’ve ever seen. Cordial and courteous, they were easily engaged in conversation, their comments laced with “ma’ams” and “sirs.”

———

With a half-dozen cruises already logged, the youngsters chose to spend most of each day at Camp Carnival, where activities are directed by trained counselors for guests from ages 2-17.

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