I will start with my arrival on the ship, the M/V Polar Star. This being the most expensive vacation I had ever taken in my life, I booked the most economical option on the ship; a triple cabin with a shared bathroom. I had quite a bit of apprehension about the roommate situation, sharing a cabin with two other total strangers and a bathroom with three more strangers on top of that. I had done a lot of mental work to get my head in the right place for being flexible and adaptable in crowded quarters. I even got to the ship an hour early to choose the best bunk.
When I arrived, I was giddy over being the first one there and being able to choose the only stand-alone twin bed in the room that wasn’t part of a bunk-bed. I was dancing a jig and congratulating myself for getting first choice by arriving early! I have had bigger closets than that cabin, so I hurridly got everything unpacked and stowed away before my other two roommates arrived and the room suddenly became very crowded.
I was almost finished when the door flew open, and in walked my two roommates…..Two burly backpackers with beards!! Huuhh?? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?? It was the Yangtze River trip re-enacted! We all stared blankly at each other for a few minutes, and I said, “Oh, somehow I thought I would be sharing with females…” to which they replied, “yeah, we were expecting a dude.” Not that I am any kind of prude, but I really didn´t want to try to change clothes and sleep in a room for 11 nights with the covers up around my ears!
I went down to the Reception desk to ask if there had been some mistake, and they said, “Oh, you slipped by us because you came on board early. You have been UPGRADED!!!” WOO HOO!!! This would mean I had to completely repack, but you have never seen things fly back into a suitcase so quickly, before there was any chance of changing their mind!
The upgraded room was one of the largest double cabins with a private bath, huge square windows, large closets, and a nice writing desk. I opened the door to the cabin with great trepidation, praying to the compatibility Gods, only to find on the other side a warm, smiling face – the Lovely Lynn from Melbourne, Australia, one of the most congenial people I have ever met. I gave thanks every time I went into a bathroom that I was not sharing with five other people! Each night before we went to sleep, Lynn (who was also benefiting from the upgrade) and I would say “Goodnight! We are soooo lucky!”