One of the most enjoyable interactions that I have been privileged to partake in…for some time…was my visits with, Jack, during the first few days of our Caribbean Cruise.

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I mentioned Jack in an earlier blog.  He was one of the most vibrant and aware and alive 89 year olds that I have ever met.

His recounting, over dinner, of his military exploits just after the WWII were enthralling.  Jack told me of visiting the Roman Coliseum and it being empty of people.

He also mentioned, when we told he and his wife, Jill, that we had taken a private tour of the Vatican…a few years ago, that he had been in both St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel when they were completely empty of people…just after the Second World War.

He went on to talk of he and his friend convincing two spies to have their picture taken and an article written about them for the military newspaper.  Of course the article visually identified them by their photographs and blew their cover with the accompanying narrative.

Listening to Jack brought a time, long past, alive for me and caused me to relish in it’s intrinsic detail and incalculable worth.

Jack is a part of the Greatest Generation.  Time is drawing short for us to learn what they have to tell us.

We met an artist from Siberia…the warmer part.

Victor Shvaiko has a compelling story.

Viktor Shvaiko (or Victor Shvaiko: born 1965) is a Russian artist who’s work has been shown in various galleries across the world.  He was born in Altai, Russia, on of Russia’s most remote towns.  He exhibited around Russia up until 1991 where he fled to Italy, through Yugoslavia during the confusion of the civil war there.  His forte is in paining cafes from areas around Italy, France and the rest of Europe, with  great sense of lighting and shadows in his evening and morning paintings.’   Wikipedia

Mr. Shvaiko spoke of not having anything to eat for 24 days during his time in Russia.  The suffering that he underwent and the cheerfulness of his demeanor was a stark juxtaposition of the human experience.


Mary Jane and I were sitting at a dinner table that the Shvaiko’s were hosting…but we really could not hear them, due to the background noise.  Victor, came over and knelt on the floor between us and visited with us for ten minutes or better.

I was impressed with his humility and caring spirit.

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He is an extraordinary and accomplished artist.


We have cruised several times…but never have we experienced a more thoughtful and considerate cabin steward than on our recent journey.

He greeted us, both morning and evening, and beseeched us and implored us as to what he could do to make our stay more enjoyable.

I must admit, at first, I thought that he had been been trained well and that, perhaps his concern was expected by his supervisors.  However, I quickly discovered that his demonstrated customer service…was who he was and that he, indeed, did care.

A cruise ship crew member that truly cares about your vacation experience can transform a good cruise into a great cruise.

Such was the case with, David G., who was part of the group that we were traveling with.  His keen interest in our welfare and looking out for our best interest was inspiring and made us feel both welcome but also a integral part of the festivities.

David G. is a professional that is truly immersed in his chosen discipline and his enthusiasm for it is contagious.




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