View Full Version : One more column about the Bush cruise

01-01-2003, 06:24 PM
The local columnist for the Palm Beach Post was onboard the Wonder last week. His write-up about the cruise appears here:


Among the more interesting excerpts:

Sure, they got to be with the captain when the ship left port. And sure, they had first-off-the-ship privileges and their own private gangway to hustle them off the ship at the end of cruise. But they also acted a lot like any other family onboard.Jeb and his father got daily massages in the spa, ate in a variety of the restaurants and sometimes exchanged pleasantries with surprised passengers during chance encounters.

"Jeb was in the exercise room with my youngest daughter, Leslie," said Jeannette Chermside, 71, of Apopka. "He programmed Leslie's bike for her because she didn't know how to do it, and he told her that he didn't know how to do it the first time he tried it, too."

Barbara and George Bush showed up for a performance of the stage show Hercules the Muse-ical. And Jeb and his dad stood on the top deck with other passengers to watch the ship enter the harbor at Nassau.

"It's been great hanging out with my dad," Jeb said.

When the ship set sail from Florida on Thursday, Jeb and his father were in the spa getting their massages, while Columba, wearing Mickey Mouse ears, watched Sail-Away Celebration on the Goofy Pool Stage.

But when the stage announcer said there were very special guests onboard, he introduced... Mickey and Donald.While some passengers got Bush family members to pose for photos with them, others didn't see them at all the entire cruise.

"I have a hard enough time finding my own family on the ship," said Matt Zann, 27, of Minneapolis.The Bush family's most visible day was Saturday, after the ship moored at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the Bahamas.

The Bush family, like many others, chose to lounge around at Castaway Family Beach, a favorite for families with children. The Bushes didn't exactly plop in chaises among the hoi polloi. Instead, they occupied a little jutting point on the beach, roped off with decorative-looking nautical cargo net and watched over by agents who stood in the shade by the snorkel rental shed.

The arrangement created a viewable but private stage right there among the other beachgoers.

George Bush Sr. was reading The Eleventh Hour, an FBI thriller by Catherine Coulter, and Columba was sitting next to Jeb, who was reading Theodore Rex, Edmund Morris' biography of President Theodore Roosevelt. Barbara Bush wore a ballcap and snapped a couple of photos of her granddaughter and daughter, Dorothy, as they went into the water nearby.

The former president left the beach by golf cart and took a brief excursion out to a Coast Guard cutter that had followed the ship to Castaway Cay and was visible off the beach.

"I heard we are being followed by two warships and a submarine," Japanese-born London doctor Tetsujiru Ihara said. "So we are safe."

Unverifiable stories about exceptional security abounded, making some passengers feel safer and others feel more like a target.

Before the ship left port Thursday, divers swam under the ship's hull, checking for explosives. Dogs were clearly visible on the pier sniffing luggage.

While tied up in Nassau, a boat drove up and down the seaward length of the ship, making sure no one was trying to board it, and the ship, unlike other cruise ships, was operating its surface search radar while in port.

01-01-2003, 06:30 PM
Glad to know that people left them alone to enjoy their Disney vacation. Can't imagine what it would be like to be constantly hounded for an autograph or photo opportunity.


01-01-2003, 07:09 PM
Thanks for the link Dave.;)

01-02-2003, 12:56 AM
Man! I am so glad that I wasn't on that cruise. I would be so torn.

I am a big First Lady fan. I think I have every book on every First Lady that has beed written, and Barbara Bush is one of my favorites. I would SOOOOO want to walk up and say hello and maybe get an autograph, but since it is their vacation, I wouldn't have. It would have been hard though!

I actually met Barbara Bush once while they were in the White House. My HandBell Choir played there during the Christmas season and they had a little juice and cookie spread for us. She actually came down and said hello and served punch. Very classy lady.


01-02-2003, 04:43 AM
Mrs. Bush will write you a personal note if you write her. After 9/11, I sent notes to both she and Mrs. Laura Bush and received very nice letters back from both of them. She gave a very moving talk at Grissom AFB when her husband was still President; she was very gracious afterward to everyone, especially the children.


01-02-2003, 06:34 AM
Dave, thanx for the wonderful info. I will have to wait a week and a half to get the skinny from my boss who was on this cruise, since i am getting ready to take off for my cruise tomorrow, and i won't see him until i get back...