I remember the first time I heard of someone being called a “Manager of Logistics.” I laughed out loud. I considered it a made-up name, along the lines of “Special Projects.” No more. For both professional and personal reasons, I have a profound appreciation for the sound practice of logistics.
For Kim and me, going on a vacation requires planning and execution of complex operations, to say the least.
Lately, we are targeting cruises that depart from ports within driving distance of Portland, Maine. Flying remains an option, but the logistics become more complicated. Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas docks in Bayonne, New Jersey, across the river from Manhattan. The GPS predicted it would take us a little over five hours to get here. But arriving in New York at five o’clock on a Friday added about two hours of lost time in traffic. When we made it to the hotel, we grabbed a late dinner and turned in.
This is our fourth cruise, but it is our first time on the mega-ship Anthem of the Seas. We are two of approximately 4800 vacationers aboard, not to mention 1600 or so crewmembers. Don't get me going on the logistics of operating one of these cruise ships.
I’ve taken to sleeping in my Permobil wheelchair when we go on vacation. It's so comfortable that I have to ask myself why Kim and I, when we are not on vacation, go through the elaborate process of taking me out of it each evening, putting me in bed, and then returning me to the wheelchair the next morning. Seems like nothing more than an unnecessary effort to sleep like normal people.
We arrived at the cruise ship terminal well in advance of the 11 o’clock boarding time. It’s situations like this where being a wheelchair user has its advantages. At every turn, workers directed us to secret openings in the queue, wormholes in the space-time continuum. Finally, we were grouped together with all the other disabled people at the front of the line. In fact, I was literally the first guest to board the ship when the big door opened. Take that, you healthy, high and mighty walking types.
Much of what we will do on this cruise is unscripted, unplanned, logistics free. But a few items required signing up and scheduling. And with 4800 competitors for a limited number of slots, Kim and I concentrated on making reservations first. We spent the better part of two hours waiting in lines. I was given no special dispensation in these cases, and I guess I didn’t deserve it. But, soon enough we were signed up for activities, shows, and dinners for the rest of the week.
We enjoyed a 5-star meal in the main dining room on Sunday, the first night, and then we participated in typical evening activities: going to a show, sipping cocktails while watching musicians, and gambling at the casino. Each evening follows this most enjoyable template.
Watch this space for more updates.