Welcome aboard, Toastmasters!
How’s everyone today? I’m Katherine, your Cruise Director hailing from the gem of a state NJ. Essentially, I am Julie from the Love Boat, and I’ll be going over the excursions and entertainment I have planned for this week.
I’ve been to nearly every destination on the east coast from Maine to South Carolina. I’ve drunk blueberry beer, cracked crab shells on the Chesapeake, waved to two late passengers stuck on shore as they were late for departure and escorted an 80-year-old lady to the hospital because she broke her hip on the marble floor of the capitol building in Albany. But not to worry, I always have a list of emergency services while were out and about.
I don’t normally do test runs of each service, but I can say that the urgent care in the Catskills is efficient and friendly. I hitchhiked my way there after I stepped on a nail on the boat, and the receptionist drove me back to the port.
When you are with me that means were are out exploring for most of the day. We’ll be back for lunch and dinner, so let me know of any special requests or plans then as the crew takes advantage of my fresh ears.
When I get back I hear it all. I am like the bartender for everyone, and for you too as I am the main mixer during happy hour. So as I said before, “‘any special requests?’”
When you tour the bridge know that the captain has an ego. When you tip remember the crew works crazy hard because they are, and if a room says crew only, abide by that or you’ll soon learn why you don’t date anyone on board.
So with those items out of the way, let’s dive into tonight’s activities.
For our opening night on board, I’ve put together two options for entertainment.
I know the marketing brochure said we wouldn’t be sailing the first night, but before you think we’ve struck out, itineraries can’t be set in stone. I reckon the entertainment will knock it out of the park because you can watch the primetime game on the 5th floor aft deck.
There wont be any franks for a late night snack. They are the only reason I’ll go to a three hour long game anyway, but don’t lump me in with not liking sports at all, in fact, I do like them. I know that if I had to pick a baseball team it would be the Mets, but my sport of preference is hockey, and that means I’ve been rooting for Devils since I was a kid.
I remember when I was at my first or second game and was bouncing on those cushiony seats in Continental Airlines Arena and declared to my dad that he (as I pointed to the first red blob I saw on the ice) was my favorite player.
It happened to be #17, Petr Sykora. My dad heard me loud and clear because one day after that he gave me a trading card of my favorite red blob.
This happened in the early 2000’s and the Devils did well then—maybe they were on fire—with 2 Stanley cups in 3 years. Now, not so hot, but I grew up in a Jets and Mets household so I know how to stay loyal to subpar teams.
I still have that silly trading card. It’s still in its original clear, plastic Ziploc baggy with pushpin holes marking it like raindrops from all the times I pinned it to my corkboard at Pitt.
Speaking of the steel city, our other activity on offer for tonight is the duelling pianos on the roof deck. It’ll have an open bar where I’ll be serving our special the Steel City Sinner, which is a delightful refreshment of rum, vodka, sprite and lemon zest.
I know I wished I learned of it when I attended college there. I had strict criteria for choosing where to send my money.
To make the best college choice, I visited environments. One that my dad and I trekked to Pittsburgh was Pittsburgh.
We went on a tour of the campus during move in day of the grade ahead of me. I realized I could see myself here, but only for a bit. It satisfied my unorthodox checklist of requirements. It was solid in academics and sports. Plus, it was not in the middle of nowhere and had that city feel I wanted.
I did not have that cliché, over-excited dramatized realization that I belonged anywhere but by those three rivers. I didn’t get pinched by the “Arn City’s” love arrow. Pitt, somehow, fit my inane criteria:
▪ Location above the Mason-Dixon line
▪ Nothing in my NYC/NJ/CT metro area
▪ Boston was too expensive
▪ Forget Philly
After the tour, some student in the admissions office said I could apply for no fee or essay. I filled out the application on the spot. Two months later, that ugly, burnt orange manila envelope was scrunched in the mailbox.
And four years from my December 2012 graduation date, I’ve been to numerous destinations, developed a love for travel, history and people watching and as clichés abounded in this speech, I’m always at bat for the next turnaround.