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I had a big birthday coming up. Major. The kind where you leave behind one age group and join another formerly associated with crotchety old people. (Having been a crochety young person, that part did not disturb me.) In most circles, such a milestone is celebrated by a big surprise party where invitees have the decency to show up with expensive gifts.

I feared this would not happen. Having spent decades alienating college roommates, co-workers, family members, and even casual acquaintances, I doubted that baksheesh time was nigh. So I did the only reasonable thing to save face: I left the country. With my husband, the one human being who for extended periods of time finds my idiosyncrasies, strong opinions, and questionable personal habits quite lovable. (Thank you, Goddess Judith, for sending him.)

Thank you, too, Norwegian Cruise Line, kind enough to book for us a deluxe oceanview cabin with balcony. ("What else would they offer," a friend -- okay, I have a few -- inquired: "a deluxe cityview cabin?") Let them call it what they want. But for seven days on the high seas and a few stops in port, I mostly called it heaven....

Page 2 - Enter the Cabin >
Page 3 - A Champagne & Caviar Send-Off >
Page 4 - Where the Heck are We Going, Anyway? >
Page 5 - Pleasures at Sea >
Page 6 - Don't Call Me Late for Dinner

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