Cruise Trek 2004:
“The Caribbean Exploration II”
November 6 ~ 13, 2004
A 7-night cruise aboard Holland America’s ms
with guests Ethan Phillips, Robert Picardo, Casey Biggs, Vaughn
Chase Masterson, and Lolita Fatjo
Our Itinerary ~
|Saturday||Nov. 6||Tampa, Florida
|| ||5 p.m.
|Sunday||Nov. 7||Key West, Florida
||11:30 a.m.||6 p.m.
|Monday||Nov. 8||At Sea
|Tuesday||Nov. 9||Belize City, Belize
||8 a.m.||6 p.m.
|Wednesday||Nov. 10||St. Tomas, Guatemala
||6 a.m.||6 p.m.
|Thursday||Nov. 11||Cozumel, Mexico
||1 p.m.||11:30 p.m.
|Friday||Nov. 12||At Sea
|Saturday||Nov. 13||Tampa, Florida
Passage must be booked through the Cruise Trek office
to attend all Cruise Trek events.
Cruise Trek 2004, “The Caribbean
Exploration II” Highlights
By Charlie, Dee, Curt & Kevin
The Cruise Trek 2004 artwork adorned the complimentary
tee shirts and program booklets.
(Turn on your visual acuity tools and go for the ride all over
while reading these highlights.)
We just had great Trek fun! The party started in Tampa, Florida,
at the picturesque Marriott Waterside. Where along with our special
guests, we celebrated the reunion of old friends and welcomed new
members to our Cruise Trek family of travelers. With a pirate themed
Bon voyage party kickoff – the fun didn’t stop. Cruise
Trek passengers and staff were decked out in pirate attire –
complete with gold earrings, bandanas, and eye patches. So, timbers
were shivered as the Cruise Trek family welcomed this event’s
actors and special guests – Robert Picardo, Ethan Phillips,
Vaughn Armstrong, Casey Biggs, Chase Masterson, Lolita Fatjo, and
Richard Arnold gave a big heave-ho to tankards of ale and much
laughter. Trekkers being the kindest and most accepting of people
– no pillaging occurred – but the fun we had deeper
in the Caribbean did attract more than just a few puzzled looks and
thereafter wide smiles.
So, to the ports we tell ye now. . . to legendary Key West we set
a foot. . . Cruise Trekkers found themselves torn between exploring
the historic town, hanging out with Hemingway’s cats, hunting
down the perfect Key Lime Pie and partying en masse
at one of Key West’s many boozy establishments. Well, the
fun-loving nature of this particular group of Cruise Trekkers dictated
that the latter would win out. So, a large group of Trekkers convened
at Sloppy Joe’s and partied so hard that they almost forgot to
get back on the ship. A high-point was the visibly star-struck waitress
freaking out when she recognized Bob Picardo, and having a series
of pictures taken with him, causing whispered recognitions around the
bar. Adding to the scene of high energy was our ever gracious and
generous gang (Jim Shutsa, Darcy Fedorchuk and host John Gallagher)
from Space: The Imagination Station –
Canada’s Sci-Fi channel – plying everyone with
questions, filming, libations and humor.
The crew was of dubious stock.
A mere day later, and we found ourselves in sultry and sometimes
picturesque Belize. I can still visualize the trepidation of some Cruise
Trekkers when they elected to brave the local markets in search of
buried treasure, but then the majority turned really adventurous and
headed inland to get their feet (and everything else) wet by riding a
raging (maybe a little drama added here) river through a series of
mile-long underground limestone tunnels – no, not in pirate
ships, me hearties, in inner tubes! There are those of us that will never
forget the shrieks of some of us who (whose names we shan’t
reveal) lost control of their inner-tubes, and spent much of the beautiful
ride bumping into other tubers, and the cave walls. Come on, people
– we’re supposed to be pirates! The water wasn’t
that cold! A gorgeous sight was waiting at the final mouth of the
caves – a Belizean rainforest, dripping in verdant green, with
tropical flowers trailing from the trees and birds filling the skies as we
sailed down the river in our little tubes. Towards the end of the ride,
we passed a cave that was home to scores of tiny golden-furred
black-winged bats who were darting around in search of insects as
we floated by in the afternoon sunlight.
In Guatemala the following day, we took advantage of the many
different excursions offered at this exotic port. Many toured local
villages, and shopped the surrounding marketplaces for bargain-priced
tapestries, jewelry and carvings. Some of the more adventurous
Trekkers traveled inland to some truly awe-inspiring Mayan ruins,
followed by a four-hour long cruise along the breathtaking (reminiscent
of the movie The African Queen) Rio Dulce River back
to the ship.
Our final port of call, in Cozumel, Mexico, saw the buccaneer spirit of
Cruise Trek 2004 rise up in earnest. Many began their day with a simple
shore excursion – a little shopping, some snorkeling, a quick zip
around town in a dune buggy – but as the sun went down, and
thunderclouds filled the sky, our true pirate selves sought refuge at a
sketchy little place the locals call Seņor Frog’s. . . what happened
there stays there. . . Right? Well, if you happen to run into Vaughan
Armstrong, he might tell you otherwise. He might. But then he’d
be breaking the pirate code, and we’d have to make him walk
the plank. But, I can tell you the last tender was rather boisterous. . ..
Kevin, have you anything to say? Maybe the locals will forever remember
the entertainment we shared. . .
Trekkers usually huddle together for warmth and comfort.
What a great segueway. . . Now the entertainment was something
Robert (Bob), Ethan, Vaughn, Casey, Chase, Lolita, and Richard
Arnold entertained everyone with discussion panels, some
swashbuckling sing-alongs (guys, I STILL can’t get that darned
Trekkie Deckie song out of my head) and a seriously
astounding, hilarious set of two-man plays by Bob and Ethan performing
in character. They were truly hysterical. But what was really the best
was that you could tell that they are good friends and have worked
together many years – as they would completely abandon the
script no telling how often and adlibbed with side glances which in turn
created sidesplitting results for all of us.
Even more – the new Cruise Trek traditions such as karaoke
and the Chase & Lolita Pajama Party gained strength this year.
We took over the Crow’s Nest bar not once but twice and
jammed the dance floor with actors and fans singing (and occasionally)
mangling the classics. The group rendition of Dancing Queen
truly had to be seen to be believed. Big thanks go out to long-time CT
friend Wayne Applegate for his secret powers of karaoke.
I must say more about Chase & Lolita’s pajama party
which was, frankly, a scream. It was a non-stop laugh riot, with everyone
in their PJs and groups of friends offering makeovers, massages and
manicures. Vaughn even kidnapped Trent Lott’s scooter for
a wild and crazy spin around the Lido Deck and only slowed down at
the crew’s questioning looks. There was rehashing, trashing
and ultimately flashing, as Chase raffled a pants portion right off a
Trekker, and Lolita proved she is also an astronomer by revealing
Brent Stein’s full moon. . . Oops. . . thought it was going to
stay there – oh, well!
In addition to the entertainment from the actors and special guests,
there were Trek games! We tried Trek Taboo for the first time this
year and it was quite fun once it got going. It was amazing to see
people thoughtfully describe various Trek-related words without using
the five “taboo” words listed.
Scooter-jackings are common on the high seas.
The CT favorites, Trek Pictionary, Family Feud, and Trivia contests
were back with Johhanne Holland and Mark Cafurello winning more than
once! No one will forget Vaughn’s arduous attempt to draw
the Golden Gate Bridge in Trek Pictionary! A charity auction was held
with each Trek actor auctioning off their own mementos with special
anecdotal humor. Thousands of dollars were raised for good causes. . .
In fact, with Cruise Trek kicking in a few extra bucks, the amount came
to over $5000.00. Oh, and let’s not forget the Scavenger Hunt!
Wayne Applegate and his team came up with the most creative items
and took the prize!
Soon, it was time to say farewell on our last night on the ms
Veendam. Ethan entertained us with wonderfully adult
humor, Chase sang and danced, and Vaughn, Casey, and Bob all sang
together as a group and individually. Bob and Ethan also read a poem
written by passenger Louise McConkey. Prizes were handed out to all
the winners of the CT games, and the CT staff bid everyone farewell to
our Cruise Trek family of Travelers.
Without giving too much more away, suffice to say that the evenings
were as heady a combination of sweet cocktails or not, dancing, laughing
and practical joking, simply many of those crazy special nights with great
friends that you tend to remember forever.
So, until we see you again, keep on trekkin’ and may we see
you soon on another Cruise Trek adventure!