The year is slowly winding down and I STILL haven't completed a newsletter. We are docked in Santa Cruz de Tenerife for the holidays. This is a busy port, with cruise ships calling in on a regular basis. Each day I like to walk down the dock and check out the names of the ships and later return to the Africa Mercy to look up each one on the internet.
This week the German AidaDiva wins the prize for having the ugliest interior (I haven't seen the interiors personally, just the photos posted online). Done in an ultra-modern style with garish colors, it is basically a party ship. I know I wouldn't be happy on that ship.
The other end of the spectrum is Cunard's newest fleet member, Queen Victoria. Her interior is elegant and classic, with the curved lines of earlier eras. For a mere $66,000 per person, you can have a suite that is 1000-2000 sq. ft. for a 16-day sail. With that you get a marble bathroom with whirlpool tub, dining room that seats 6, and an oversized balcony. They should have a good view of the fireworks tonight, as the suites are at the aft end of the ship and facing the island. The Queen Victoria's bow web cam is currently facing a less pleasing view...the Africa Mercy stern!
Of course, the Queen Victoria has had it's problems in its first 3 1/2 weeks at sea...first the champagne bottle didn't break at the commissioning and they currently have an outbreak of norovirus. The bottles of hand sanitizer are on a table at the bottom of the gangway. Rumor has it the toilet evacuation system hasn't always worked as expected. Those of us on the Africa Mercy in June can relate. My toilet (at the end of the line) didn't work for about 4 months.
On another note, we've been saying a lot of farewells recently. Several staff in my department recently left after completing commitments of two or more years. In those instances, the crew member receives a picture of the ship and a clock if it's been 10 years. When I made the presentation for the most recent staff member to depart, my good friend Jean Browne, I was reminded of the words adorning our cake at the millennium celebration: "Thank you Jesus for making the time count." I do a lot of things in life, but it really is Jesus who gives meaning and purpose to what I do. He makes it all count for eternity. No, I can't spend $66,000 for a suite on a new cruise ship named after a queen, but I can pay about $400/month and use my skills in service to my Lord and King. I can bring a glimmer of hope to those who would otherwise have little or no hope, to those for whom a new year doesn't necessarily hold a promise of anything better or different than the year now ending or the ones before them.
On that note, I'm off to check out the fireworks and welcome in the new year here in Tenerife. Newsletter tomorrow, I hope! Need to start the year off right.