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3 Tips for Planning Your Next City Break

During long sticky days at sea, one of the many exciting activities offered to passengers (we called them cones for some reason) on a cruise ship is skeet shooting.
We used lead free pellets and biodegradable skeet discs to make certain that no creatures of the sea were harmed in any way.
Never mind that we were handing a shotgun over to an inebriated, over heated, somewhat older and usually male cone.
Happily full from the generous late afternoon lunch buffet and rum-runners, these cones would pay about thirty dollars just to pop off a few rounds and hopefully hitting enough targets to brag about it at the dinner table that night.
Our older cones usually traveled in threes, husband, wife and his heart condition.
This heart condition would make itself known at the most interesting times.
As part of the emergency response team (yes, they put a twenty year old cruise staff member in charge of saving lives!), my job was respond to a "code alpha" announcement with basic paramedic supplies while the ship's doctor squirmed his way out of whatever cone's cabin he might have been lounging in for that particular cruise.
In this case, a code alpha was called to the aft section of the ship, the skeet shooting area.
As I sped along the deck with supplies in hand my mind was going crazy.
Had a deranged old man killed his wife in a drunken fit of rage?I was expecting to arrive to gruesome scene all blood and guts, only to find a peaceful looking man laying on his side, a heart attack victim.
His ticker shut down with the explosive sound of the shotgun.
As I began my unfortunately Chapter Eight-Bang-Bang, Make Room in the Walk-In Continued...
unsuccessful revival routine his wife of obviously many years was by my side telling me how she "expected this to happen" and that "his doctor warned us not to go on this cruise".
As he vomited all over me as I attempted to inabate him, I wanted to smack her.
I knew she was just trying to make herself, and me feel better.
It was nice, but I had heard it all before.
It happened at least two times per cruise.
We called it "the cruise to death" plan.
Someone condemned by their doctor to a life of pain and misery usually from congenital heart disease would quite literally go on a cruise as their "last hurrah", a final happy chapter in their life.
I really could not blame them, why not go in paradise?It just bothered me a bit that I always ended up with my fingers down their throat trying to find the tongue that they had just swallowed.
What was even better was the fact that our older cruise ships did not have a morgue.
Not able to just leave poor John Doe at the next foreign port of call, it was necessary to find a way to keep him cold until we got back to Miami so his wife could make the sad arrangements.
So what do you do with the recently deceased when you are at sea and the temperature is in the upper eighties?You call the chef.
The huge walk in refrigerators on this older ship often doubled as make shift morgues.
So we made room next to that nights dinner for the body bag.
As I sat that night at the Captain's table with the wife of the just departed, I could not bring myself to eat.
I bought the new widow a drink andwondered to myself as she busily gnawed away on a leg of lamb...
did she have any idea?


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