Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

June 3, 2014

John Cannon: They choose not to cruise: 6/4/14

ASHLAND — I was working in my home office Monday night when I received a phone call  making me an offer only an idiot would refuse.

Well, call me an idiot, I refused it.

It was offered two free tickets for adults on a cruise to the Bahamas. The operative word here was “free.”

“That’s right, free!” the caller said in a voice so excited you would have thought she had won the cruise, instead of me.

Oh, there would be a few minor charges I would have to pay for port fees in and out of the country and the like, but beyond that, this vacation of a lifetime would not cost me a penny. Zilch! Nada, she said.

The problem with this unbelievable offer is my wife and I had “been there, done that.”

A few years ago when my wife was selling clothes for a company that later went belly up, she won a cruise to the Bahamas that was said to be absolutely free, but by the time all those incidental charges were added up, it cost us close to $400, which I thought was a little extreme for something that was absolutely free. And that didn’t count the cost of driving to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to board the cruise ship.

That experience was enough for me to never want to take another cruise. Our time on the beach in the Bahamas was great, but wandering through this huge building full of merchants all selling practically the same thing was not my idea of a good time. To many other people on the cruise, this was the highlight of the entire time in the Bahamas. I just wanted to get out of there as soon as possible and back home to Kentucky. Unless it is at a supermarket, I don’t like to shop in Ashland. Why would I want to travel to the Bahamas or anywhere else to shop?

I have been trying to think of the best word to describe our time on the cruise ship, and I started to write “boring,” but that may be a bit harsh. The shows were OK, but not great. The food was good, but not so tasty I was going to stay up until midnight to partake of another round of crass gluttony. All one has to do is take one look at me to realize I like food as much as anyone and more than most, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing and as far as I was concerned there was too much food on the ship. It also did not help that one of the people seated with us at our assigned table was one of the most obnoxious women I have ever met. All she did was complain. Of course, she and her husband were on their fifth cruise of that year.

A lot of people on the cruise spent most of their time in the casino, but not me. I am too much of a tightwad to gamble. Other than spending a few dollars here and there on lottery tickets, I do not gamble. My ex-son-in-law fancied himself a good gambler, but instead of being rich, he is constantly in debt. That was one of the problems with my daughter’s marriage to him.

As we were getting off the ship, my wife asked me what I thought of our cruise.

“Well, I loved the time on the beach, but if we ever go to the Bahamas again, let’s take a plane and avoid that giant bazaar when we get there,” I said.

“I agree with you 100 percent — and that’s rare,”  she replied.

I was reminded of all this when I received the call for a second “free” cruise to the Bahamas. I attempted to ask questions about the cruise, but it soon became obvious she was reading from a script and didn’t know enough about the cruise to go off script.

I attempted to tell her my wife and I had had a bad experience with our first free cruise to the Bahamas and we weren’t really interested in doing it again, but she ignored my comments and kept on reading her script. Finally, I did the only thing I knew to do: I hung up on her.

As she heard my dial tone, she probably thought I must be the dumbest person in the world to turn down a free cruise. She probably shrugged her shoulders in disbelief and went on to the next number on her list. If she were lucky, maybe a sucker would answer.

Fortunately, our cruise to the Bahamas was just a small portion of that vacation. On the way to Florida, we visited old friends in Georgia and even attended the Sunday morning services of the church where the female half of those old friends was pastoring.

We also visited my cousin, my sister and my wife’s cousin in Florida. While the cruise itself was probably the least enjoyable part of that vacation, if my wife had not won it, we would not have even been in Florida and would have missed visiting some great people. That was the best part of our free cruise.

JOHN CANNON can be reached at jcannon@dailyindependent.com or at (606) 326-2649.

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