Tag Archives: sea

I found Brooklyn in the Caribbean (Part 2): “On Watch”

19 Jun

June 19, 2015

So there I was, eating breakfast in the cruise ship buffet dining room. What did I have for breakfast? What didn’t I have for breakfast! Cruise ship + buffet = passengers too fat to get into a lifeboat in case of an emergency. Seriously, if the boat did go down, there would be a significant number of people clinging to the omelet station in rough seas.

So the four of us were sitting at a table next to the floor-to ceiling windows. We were in the back of the ship and I had an amazing view of the sea.


I had to take this without the flash. My first attempt with the flash blinded half the dining room when it reflected off all that glass. The Captain thought we were torpedoed.

Somehow the conversation came around to watches. There was a watch sale onboard, and the prices really were good- 75% off Invictus watches, for example, and no tax. My brother was showing off the expensive watch he was wearing (NOTE TO WOULD-BE THIEVES: He keeps the watch locked in a safe, so back off!) and I showed off the classy watch I picked up a couple of days before at the $10 sale. OK, it was no Invictus, but the painted-on day and date dials saved the trouble of actually having to set the day and date. And I think Cruise Club is a pretty swanky name because hey, it tells people “I bought this $10 piece of junk on a cruise!”

There was a lull in the conversation as we all took in the majesty of the sea, Neptune’s Kingdom, Poseidon’s Paradise, the place my Uncle Lou peed, when from the next table came an unfamiliar voice in a very familiar Brooklyn accent saying “so you like watches, huh?”

This was directed at my brother, not me. Or maybe it was directed at me, I don’t know. My plan (and I implemented it beautifully) was to ignore people I didn’t want to talk to, which was anyone who was not handing me a dry towel as I got out of the pool.

It turned out the Brooklyn accent came from a woman sitting at the next table, another very senior senior citizen. She was there with her companion, who turned out to also have a very thick Brooklyn accent. Their names were Lorena and Robyn, and I know this because Lorena went around the table third-grade style and made us introduce ourselves, herself and Robyn included. And guess what? She was a former third-grade teacher. (Ever “see” a word in your mind’s eye? Even though Robyn never spelled out her name, I saw it spelled with a “y” as soon as she said it, hanging there in midair in front of her.)

The conversation was actually kind of not unpleasant. We talked for a few minutes and of course the talk turned to where everyone came from. And not only did Lorena and Robyn come from Brooklyn, and not only the same part of Brooklyn (Bensonhurst), but from 2 damn blocks away from me. Two blocks! We talked about stores in the neighborhood, schools, all kinds of stuff that I talk about at home, not a thousand miles away from home.

I traveled to the Caribbean to talk to a pair of people who live 2 blocks away from me.

I haven’t seen them since I’ve been home. I’ve been spending a lot of time in my apartment just in case they walk past my door.


TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 3: My Review of Saturday Night Fever: The Musical, at Sea.

You can find Part 1 right here! Click! You know you want to.


Allan Keyes Is So Very Stuffed….

4 Nov

November 4, 2013


So as you may know (or may not care) I was recently married. Well, the wife and I took a honeymoon on one of the fine ships of the Royal Caribbean Company. If you’ve ever been on one of these ships, you’ll know that it’s totally unreality. And let me tell you, the wife kept me exhausted all week……..……with the demanding schedule she set for all of the activities we had to do each day.  So for the benefit of you all, let me give you a bit of a rundown of what a typical cruise day at sea was like for Mr. and Mrs. Keyes (actually, she’s a professional gal so she’s doing the hyphenated thing, so she’s Mrs. MAIDEN NAME-Keyes. I totally understand what she’s doing; she’s hedging her bets in case this thing goes pear-shaped anytime soon. I’m pretty sure this marriage is in a three-month probationary period with a formal evaluation meeting soon to come. How romantic! )

 – Wake up absurdly early.

 – Head down to the buffet for breakfast. Now I normally don’t eat breakfast but on cruise I do. I paid for this sh*t, I’m gonna stuff myself! So here’s a normal breakfast for me on cruise days:

                -A bacon and cheese omelet from the omelet bar

                -A side of hash browns

                -A couple slices of fresh ham from the carving station

                – A tongfull of pork link sausages

                -A side of prunes (for obvious reasons)

                -A breakfast Danish

                -A bagel w/ cream cheese, tomato, onion and smoked salmon

                -A bowl of fruit loops

                – Beverages are two large orange juices and 1 chocolate milk

I totally understand the looks of contempt the buffet wait staff gives to passengers, we routinely leave more food on our plates than their average family in whatever impoverished country they come from sees in a week. But again – I PAID FOR IT, I’M EATING MY MONEY’S WORTH


After a good long bathroom session (thanks prunes!) it’s off to wallow in the pool for a while. Which is great, but you know, floating in the water breathing shallowly is hot, sweaty work so you gotta treat yourself right – and you cool off with a nice large cone of cold soft serve (chocolate, strawberry or vanilla) that’s available free at poolside ALL DAY.  So eating that on the sundeck refreshes, and as you head back to the room to change and shower, you pass the poolside buffet, and so what if it’s only 10:30 or so, those corndogs just look soooooo tempting! So go ahead, treat yourself sport!

After another good long bathroom break, change for lunch and back up to the buffet! My average lunch was actually light – for some reason I didn’t have a big appetite. But if you were inclined to eat hearty, you could do so with all the burgers, dogs, pasta or sandwiched you felt like. I heard rumor of a vegetarian option somewhere, but I think it’s like the Yeti – all myth.

So back to the room for another good wrangle in the bathroom (cruise pro tip: bring a good book for the bathroom, a long one) you decide to stroll around the boat and take advantage of the activities.

Now have you seen some of these boats? They’re huge! So walking from one end to the other could be a little draining, so if you need to fortify yourself with a key lime donut from the Donut Hut, or maybe visit the Dog House for all sort of variety of hotdogs and sausages to keep you going, then you make the sacrifice and do so. After all, it’s a busy day! Maybe you stop at the Midship Pizzeria for a pre-dinner slice. So you’ve done your activities, time to go back to the room and change for the evening!

After another bathroom session (cruise pro tip: to avoid chafing, use soothing wipes) you’re dressed in your finery and ready for dinner! Now you could go slumming in the buffet, but there’s all sorts of options to explore, including steakhouses and Johnny Rockets. Most nights though, it’s just going into the regular dining room.


The dining room is a wonderful experience! The waiters perform for you, and the food is highest quality. When you sit you’re presented with a menu, usually 5 choices of appetizer, entrée and dessert. My wife and I usually order 4 of the appetizers to “share” between us. Share is in quotes because at the table we’re like Bart and Homer fighting over the last pork chop, but we don’t have to broadcast it.


For the entrée, we each order one, but since one entrée choice is ALWAYS a pasta dish, we order that one to either share, or use as a backup in case someone dislikes their entrée, which almost never happens. And for dessert, one of the options is always low-fat, and one is always low sugar, so we feel quite comfortable and smug ordering 4 desserts between us. I’m not going to lie though. The cruise is coming, and coming soon where one glorious night I’m simply going to say to the waiter “bring me one of everything”


Back to the room to dress for nightlife! And one last confirmation that the prunes are in fact doing their jobs, and it’s out to the shows! And after the show’s you can disco yourself till the wee hours of the morning. But dancing like the rhythmless portly awkward white guy that I am is hard work (especially dancing like I do. My opening move is the “Thriller” set from Michael Jackson, and then I go into Macarena regardless of what song is playing) So to cap off the night, you head to the promenade for a sandwich and cookie that’s available from the snack bar 24/7 then it’s off to bed, and ready to fight another day!


It’s a huge boat, I didn’t have time to explore all of it but the brochure said they had a few other activities I overlooked such as rock climbing, zip lining, wave riding, dancing lessons, trivia, karaoke, live music, game shows, casino, bingo, a gym, spa and much more. I sure hope I find some time to do some of them on my next cruise!



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