There was a time, not so long ago, when a person desiring to have a grand vacation atop a luxury cruise ship, had very few options to choose from, if any.
My family had discussed taking a cruise for more years than I can recall, but we were limited by our need for Glatt kosher, and pampered palates, developed through having world class cooks in our family.
We looked into researching a peak experience, which was to combine my parent’s golden anniversary, my husband’s promotion and our two kids graduating from college. It was just time for celebration, and we wanted to do it as a family, on a cruise.
We found several companies advertising what seemed to be great trips and shore excursions, entertainment on board, activities gallore and most emphasised gourmet kosher cooking. We were agreed on the destination of Europe and several of the companies were headed there at our prefered time of year, all we had to do is pick.
I must admit the gang was willing at this point to just go for any of the advertised cruises, they all sounded perfect. Yet I am a little bit of a perfectionist, and decided that before we decided on one, I’d ask around. My neighbors and several friends made recommendations based on "exceptional food, each meal was a cornucopia of gourmet delights". Plus entertainment which would fullfill the heart’s desire of all the three generations in the family.
I presented the findings to my family and we bought 3 cabins with Kosherica Cruises.
I’m tickled pink knowing it was my insistence on the best, which got us to enjoy the most wonderful experience our family has ever had.
My parents were so elated to find that on top of being celebrated by the big, warm family of passengers (we bonded from the get go), they found lots fascinating things to do between meals. There were some brilliant Rabbis who delivered daily lectures, both to men and women, my dad could always join a minyan and mom was like a sponge, absorbing the Dvar Torah directed at the women, shopping for treasures on our stops, and complaing with delight that she can’t stop eating the food was so unbelieveable.
That’s a big compliment coming from her.
My husband and I felt like we were in a romantic fairyland. We went on late night strolls on deck, hand in hand, laughing as the ocean sprayed our faces. Full tummy, full heart, youthful rediscovery of the thing which made us fall in love in the first place.
We joined our kids for the Broadway class nightly performances, and sneekily observed that both our kids were hanging out with two sisters (cute as buttons and smart to boot) from Chicago. One night there was a concert of some of the greatest chazonim, which made my dad teary eyed.
We stopped at destinations I only read about and had our pick of shore excursion, depending on what we wanted to experience most.
There were definitely moments when I felt such indescribable joy, knowing that my loved ones and I had peak experiences we wouldn’t forget for a long time. And best of all, the Heimishe atmoshere and the gorgeously presented, perfectly cooked food, were keeping with our faith.
Then Sunday morning arrived, signalling the end of the trip.
– Helit Eidlestein
image credit: destination360.com