Nine Nights On Silver Whisper & A Lifetime Of Memories For Britton & Me

Silver Whisper dropped us off in Lisbon after a wonderful nine-night cruise from Southampton. We took this photo from our hotel, Altis Belem Hotel & Spa, Saturday evening as Silver Whisper left Lisbon en route back to Southampton. She will sail back to the Baltic for a few additional cruises before the season ends. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

I am in Lisbon today with my 17-year-old daughter Britton. We stepped off Silver Whisper yesterday, a sad farewell because of the many friends we had made. With that in mind, I need to take a moment to brag about my daughter, so please pardon this commercial break.

I first met Britton on June 1, 1995, when the doctor delivering her proclaimed, “Good morning Sunshine!” I was lucky to be there. Only 48 hours early, the same doctor had told me that it would be fine for me to fly to Seattle and Los Angeles, across the country from North Carolina, for a business trip. I was meeting with cruise line executives to launch a publication called Cruise Week, and Britton, according to the doctor, was at least two to three weeks from popping.

I arrived in Seattle, and while meeting with Jack Anderson (then with Holland America Line, now with Crystal Cruises), got a call from my wife, and with news that the birth of my baby daughter was possibly imminent, hopped back on the plane to North Carolina.

Of course, the plane circled for an hour in Atlanta, was late landing in Greensboro, traffic lights took longer than usual, and I couldn’t find a parking place fast enough. I sprinted into the hospital, like something out of a movie, glancing as I ran past the nursery thinking that she could be one of the newborns inside, and as I came nearer the delivery room, sighed relief when I saw the big hump in my wife’s stomach, Britton still basking in embryonic warmth.

A few hours later, she was born in an emotionally rich moment. A happy day indeed.

Britton has grown into a mature young woman who loves meeting people. She is somewhat of an anachronism, enjoying older people more than she enjoys her peers.

I can’t tell you how many times Silver Whisper guests came up to me and told me what a fine young woman Britton was. She matched the crew on knowing the names of the guests, which is remarkable. And the guests also knew her name, demanding that she sing a few songs in the Panorama Lounge on the last night of our cruise. A father could not have been prouder at her performance, the applause and praise.

She easily cries at departures on cruises like this one — on an intimately sized ship where people come to know one another — and yesterday was not without a few tears. There were lots of hugs, and Britton now has invitations to every country in the world it seems. One couple plans to visit her in Asheville.

My daughter has said it before and she said it again on this trip: “You know dad, instead of going to college right away, I think I’d like to take a year to spend traveling with you.” These ears have never heard sweeter words, and I hope that as she completes her senior year of high school this year that she holds on to that dream. I know I will.

Silver Whisper provided a memorable trip for us, which I am presenting here mostly in pictures. I’ll have more to say about our adventures on this week. Today, however, we have Lisbon to explore. Here are a few of the memories in photographs from our cruise on Silver Whisper.

All posts from our trip so far:

On Silver Whisper © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
“Good morning Sunshine!” My little girl – all grown up. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
On Silver Whisper © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
With the always-smiling Ruby Ranoa. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
On Silver Whisper © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Our butler Guresh served us an authentic Indian dinner in our suite. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Guresh escorts Britton to the Captain’s Cocktail Reception. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
On Silver Whisper © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Briton with Norman, our affable hotel director. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
On Silver Whisper © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
We enjoyed a French-inspired poolside lunch thanks to Anne Mari, executive chef, and her team. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
On Silver Whisper © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
More complimentary wines, these for our French lunch. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
On Silver Whisper © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
One of my favorite dining venus: The Grill. Cook your own beef, pork, chicken or seafood on hot lava rocks. A fun experience! © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
On Silver Whisper © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
The wonderful and always-there Mario, at The Grill. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
On Silver Whisper © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Cooking our own, with a little help from Mario. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
On Silver Whisper © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Dad enjoyed the complimentary wines. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
On Silver Whisper © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
On one night we dined in Silver Whisper’s Le Champagne by Relais & Châteaux specialty restaurant. The restaurant features a new à la carte dining experience for a fee of $30 per person. Guests may purchase wine from the Connoisseur’s List or they also may select wine from the day’s complimentary selection from the dining room. I started with Homard du Maine, pictured above. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
On Silver Whisper © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Caviar & Condiments at Le Champagne by Relais & Châteaux specialty restaurant. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
On Silver Whisper © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
More complimentary wine, served by the ever-delightful Mark. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
On Silver Whisper © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Grilled peaches for breakfast in our suite. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Having fun on a tour of A Coruña. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

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    • Doting a bit more of a fit doting pop thanks to your encouragement Wes!

  • Tears! Beautiful post, Ralph.
    Britton, it’s thrilling to imagine your life, given the global education you’ve already begun. However you chart your continuing education, you’re so fortunate to have a dad and all the wonderful cruise people who’ve introduced you to the world. A girl couldn’t have a better debut! 🙂

    • Thank you Ann. Nice to hear words of encouragement that we, as parents, are doing the right thing. It’s not always certain, is it?

  • Ralph, congratulations on such a fine young lady. I’m just walking around Appalachian State University with Christopher as he starts school in a few weeks—and I can’t deny it seems like a time warp he’s grown up so fast. And that goes the same for seeing pictures of Britton. I remember meeting her and your son in AVL what seems like not so many years ago—but they were children! Now she is definitely not. Congrats again, Dad.

    • Thanks Randy, and congratulations to you too buddy! Hope to see you soon – if I can just park myself back in my beloved mountains.

  • Picked up Ralph & Britton @avidcruser from @silversea #Lisbon dock & showed them the city like they’d never seen before. We got them back to the hotel Altis Belem in time to snap this shot of the Silver Whisper with the Cristo Rei & the background. Check out the image below of Britton in training to become the next Avidcruiser Reporterette – behing the scenes at the best custard tart bakery of 2012 Almoma. Britton you are a star & a credit to your father, come back & visit with us in Lisbon again soon!


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