Win a Cruise

It’s almost wintertime, which means it’s almost time to start craving the sun and warm temps again. Fortunately, Southwest knows this and is offering up a cruise through the Caribbean. Enter to win a trip for two in the Cruise the Caribbean Sweepstakes and be eligible to win roundtrip airfare for two, courtesy of Southwest, plus a seven night Caribbean cruise aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines.
Deadline: Oct. 31, 2011.

Enter for a chance to win a 7-night cruise for two with Paul Gauguin Cruises to the almost untouched Tahiti and Society Islands. Explore the verdant peaks, crystalline waters, and pristine beaches of these magnificent volcanic islands, from dolphin watching at Moorea to snorkeling off Bora Bora. Discover the “Garden Island” of Huahine, with its lush rain forests and dramatic terrain, and experience the Polynesian antiquities of Raiatea. Then enjoy an unforgettable day on Paul Gauguin’s own private motu (islet) off Taha’a.
Deadline: November 3, 2011.
Mauruuru! (That’s Tahitian for Thank You!)

Grab those Mickey Mouse ears! Disney Cruise line is celebrating its newest ship — Disney Fantasy — and giving away a cruise. The Sailing in Grand Style Sweepstakes will give one winner and three guests a trip aboard the new liner. The prize includes roundtrip airfare and three nights aboard the Disney Fantasy, including a Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom and all meals.
Deadline: Nov. 14, 2011.

Get on a boat in 2012! Royal Caribbean is giving away five grand prize packages to enjoy a seven night Caribbean cruise next year. The five lucky winners each get to bring along three guests and soak up the sun and fun for a week on the crystal blue waters. Deadline: Dec. 31, 2011.

All you have to do is sign up for our cruise newsletter for your chance to win a dream getaway in the sun-drenched Caribbean. You’ll also receive unparalleled access to big bonus offers and last-minute savings of up to 75% on trips all over the world – at guaranteed best rates.
Prizes Include:
-One (1) grand prizewinner will receive: 500,000 award miles and a 7-Night Caribbean Cruise for Two in an Oceanview stateroom.
-Five (5) other prizewinners will receive 100,000 award miles.
Deadline: December 31, 2011

Doctor On Board


Living and working onboard a cruise ship is an outstanding, exhilarating experience for anyone with a sense of adventure. Each cruise ship is a multi-cultural environment with passengers and employees sometimes representing more than 100 different nationalities. Different people will bring their own customs and habits to the cruise ship resulting in an eclectic and unique atmosphere.

Most of the cruise news is of the typical “life happens at sea” variety, but there are always a few just plain “bizarre” stories.  As a doctor on a cruise ship, I occasionally respond to some unusual cries for emergency medical help.  For instance, take Mrs. Sarah Merrill, better known as Lady Merrill, a frequent passenger on Gold Cruise Line and the recipient of a state-of-the-art mechanical hand device that not only looks pretty real but functions fairly well too. Most of the time.

Cruise Ship Crime
A Medical Murder Mystery
From Chapter Eighteen
July 17, 1984: Jamaica

Lady Merrill was currently on the lookout for husband number fourteen and a number of the single gentlemen on the cruise did everything in their power not to have to sit with her. She was truly a ‘black widow’ and although charming to many people, was a real handful to deal with.

Lady Merrill also utilized a walker, or Zimmer frame, as the English would call it. However, the walker was not in evidence this cruise. The Doc had wondered about this, but he wasn’t overly surprised when she responded in a tone of voice that would have made you think that she was in her thirties instead of her seventies.

“Oh I am in love again. We are both deaf, but he does say sweet nothings to me all the time. It is just so exciting that he would be interested in an old lady like me. He is so charming.”

Her new beau was an eighty-eight year old British fellow, Bert Ranowski. He dressed abominably, usually walked looking toward Mother Earth due to his kyphosis, and seldom had something intelligent to say. Bert had made his fortune running a garbage collection business in one of the industrial tows of the midlands of England. The British of good upbringing would classify him as “lower class” and his accent, when he spoke, was not the Queen’s English, or even close. Definitely not someone you would bring home to introduce to mother if you were a respectable girl.

However, despite Lady Merrill’s obvious prejudices, the Doc had something of a soft spot for the elderly woman who was so full of life. It was cute to see those two old characters holding hands ninety-nine percent of the time, even in between courses of meals. No wonder she did not use her walker, she had to hang onto him and a walker was not in the romantic plan for husband number fourteen.

That was how she had come to be in her current predicament with Alfonse. It was a surprise when she had called the tour desk to book a tour. She would not normally speak with “poofs” directly, but later, Alfonse told the Doc that the conversation went pretty much as follows:

“This is Lady Merrill and I want two tickets to go on the Athenry Gardens tour tomorrow. You two should know about gardens, shouldn’t you? Well – get me the tickets and send them up to my room so I can be sure you fairies don’t mess this up. It is very important to me that Bert and I get a chance to be in the romantic gardens together.”

Even though he assured her that would be attended to and her tickets duly sent up to her, Alfonse said that she arrived about fifteen minutes later wanting her tickets.  He said, “Here are your tickets, Lady Merrill. I think you will enjoy the gardens. Make sure that this time of the year you visit the Petunias. They have a big floral display of them in various . . .”

As Alfonse described it, he was rudely cut off when she grabbed the tickets with her orthotic hand: “the grab of the pirate” he called it. Unfortunately, this was one of those times when the hand malfunctioned and thus the Doc had to be called to fix it. Thankfully, there was no lasting damage to either party and the three, including the Doc, were soon able to go their separate ways. Of course, that unfortunate, but amusing incident went right into the Doc’s notebook. He didn’t want to forget a second of that incident.