By Linda O’Keefe
Today was exciting and informative. Holland America offers everyone the chance to turn their cruise into a learning experience by offering demonstrations, classes, and seminars in four diverse areas.
The subjects are Explore Our World (travel talks), Food & Entertainment, Technology (digital workshops) and Wellbeing. Our daily newsletter, called Explorer, lists each day’s topics. Fortunately, the same 60-minute sessions are repeated several times during a cruise since many classes are held simultaneously.
Since I went the culinary route last time, I make my way downstairs for a Wellbeing seminar on “How to Lose Weight Through Acupuncture.” The burning question in my mind is why acupuncture on a cruise ship? That question along with many others is answered by MacPherson Jaegerson, the Maasdam’s MSTOM Certified Acupuncture and Chinese Herbalist NCCAOM.
Acupuncture: No Points for Me
Jaegerson explains that traditional Chinese medicine, which has been around for thousands of years, has helped millions of people when more modern methods fail. Her treatment program begins with a free consultation to determine each person’s needs and goals. Then she decides which approach to take: whether to use acupuncture needle or herbal medicines or a combination of the two.
It is an interesting talk. Ironically, most people are here seeking relief from seasickness and little interest in weight loss. I decide to book a consultation. Hey, it’s free after all!
Our meeting is not what I expect and I am totally unprepared for what she tells me after I explain my goals and answer her questions about my often hectic lifestyle. She says she will not take me on as a patient unless I give up a full week of the cruise and spend it sleeping. Sleeping!
HA! Who would write my blogs or take my pictures? And I would miss so much I’ve never seen, which is the point of being here. I politely respond I need to think about it. But she already knows my answer.
Her theory, probably accurate, is that I need to completely recharge in order for my body to function better. So afterwards I will make a better effort to sleep as much as I can but still go as much as I want.
A Poor Sales Pitch
I still have another class to attend today, a seminar in the fitness center about “Secrets to a Flatter Stomach.” What a disappointment! Ruurd Halverhout, one of the Maasdam’s two personal trainers, starts by explaining the importance of exercising three to four times a week (nothing new here) and good nutrition, which he cites as being more important than exercise. He advocates eating all you want for breakfast followed by a smaller lunch and even smaller dinner, basically the opposite of the way most of eat today.
Then he begins to stress the importance of detoxification, of cleaning the body from the inside out. Ruurd says detox is necessary because the liver can be overworked and water may infuse the fat around our lymph glands, which makes us jiggle when we walk or raise our arms.
Only detox, not exercise, will cure all our evils. And he has the magic pills to sell us that will accomplish that. Just take two pills each morning, with a month’s supply costing $100.
This whole thing is nothing but a sales pitch. And since the trainer is not completely forthcoming, he is setting people up for failure: He never mentions that a genuine detox regimen requires giving up things like caffeine, red meat, dairy, alcohol and gluten. Detox isn’t easy at any age but especially not for cruisers between the ages of 40 to 80. I know, because I’ve done a real detox program under medical supervision. I wish it was as easy as taking two pills a day.
The Slots Tournament
I decide to push health and well being off the front burner for now and head to the Casino to compete in my first-ever slots tournament. The rules are simple: pay $20 and wait for one of the tournament machines to be free. Then I work the one-arm bandit for 200 spins. The person who ends up with the most points at the end of the tournament wins.
I score almost 3,000 points, which may sound good, but many others are far ahead of me. The current leader has more than 10,000 points. Just think what kind of jackpot they might have won if they were playing normally. The tournament’s top prize is $500.
The Casino hostess offers me the chance to buy 400 spins for the price of 200, a two-for-one. It was fun but I pass. Surprising how what a short time it takes for 200 spins, lasting just long enough for Tim and me to share a free glass of wine.
The Maasdam’s program for our days-at-sea can make them full of learning and experiencing new challenges, or we can just relax by the pool reading a book. I love the fact that we have that kind of choice.