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Cruise Trek 2004:
“The Caribbean Exploration II”
November 6 ~ 13, 2004

A 7-night cruise aboard Holland America’s ms Veendam,
with guests Ethan Phillips, Robert Picardo, Casey Biggs, Vaughn Armstrong,
Chase Masterson, and Lolita Fatjo

Our Itinerary ~

Day Date Port Arrive Depart
SaturdayNov. 6Tampa, Florida  5 p.m.
SundayNov. 7Key West, Florida 11:30 a.m.6 p.m.
MondayNov. 8At Sea   
TuesdayNov. 9Belize City, Belize 8 a.m.6 p.m.
WednesdayNov. 10St. Tomas, Guatemala 6 a.m.6 p.m.
ThursdayNov. 11Cozumel, Mexico 1 p.m.11:30 p.m.
FridayNov. 12At Sea   
SaturdayNov. 13Tampa, Florida 8 a.m. 

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

CT 2004 artwork

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.

Cruise Trekkers as pirates

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. . .

Group shot

Trekkers usually huddle together for warmth and comfort.

What a great segueway. . . Now the entertainment was something else!

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.

Vaughn Armstrong

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!



Please get in touch with us for any questions – or to join our mailing list:

CruiseTrek   ~   PO Box 4277   ~   Malibu, CA   90264   USA
(310) 456-7544   ~   SKYPE:   cruisetrek   ~   CST# 2053934-40

Please note:   Passage must be booked through the Cruise Trek office to attend all Cruise Trek events.