Cruise ships

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 25, 2004

My wife and I have done a lot of traveling in our retired years but have never been on a big cruise ship. We feel it’s too much like living in a congested city except for the lack of cars. While I was down in Florida this spring I visited the port where Disney’s huge floating fun ships load up. The terminals are massive, providing parking for thousands of cars, facilities for boarding and unloading passengers, and warehouses for the endless supplies needed every few days when they come home to roost. The traffic is horrendous on those days, people coming to and leaving the ship, trucks of all descriptions bringing every kind of food and beverage known to man. I counted twelve beer trucks, that tells me a little bit about the travelers.

I don’t know how many ships Disney presses into service but it’s much easier to count them while enjoying a cold beer on the river walk of the many pubs along the narrow waterway that leads from the ocean to the terminals. During one glass of ale around five in the afternoon I saw three gigantic tubs of waving people back from somewhere in the Caribbean, some had seen half of the Panama Canal. I thought about how much easier it would be to board a cruise ship in Norfolk. Now that the battle ship Wisconsin has bailed out the sinking Nauticus they are contemplating a 36 million cruise ship terminal. Seems like a good idea if they can find the space required for such a venture, like parking. The financial numbers are great…two years ago 24,000 sailed out of Norfolk and they expect 110,000 this year. I just hope Suffolk city fathers don’t get an idea like that for the Hilton Garden Inn on the Nansemond. Well, they could ferry passengers out to Hampton Roads.

On our last Roundtable TV talk show when Robert T. Williams was guest, he’s the mover and shaker for North Suffolk, we suggested, as we had done a year earlier, that North Suffolk either be a separate city or we move City Hall up there. Now it seems we have Council Member Linda Johnson taking up the cause. That’s her territory and she, like me, believes that’s the place for City Center. The place is already sufficiently populated to have more than one Council Member. And the Mayor, Dana Dickens, lives up in that fast growing part of the city…he should jump on this idea while it’s hot. You should take a ride up there and then decide whether City Hall should be in the new fast growing area or where it is now in the old old part where tons of money are being spent to gild the reluctant lily.

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So they skimmed off some asphalt on West Washington and discovered a road made of beautiful red brick. The duel is on between those who hope Public Works will attempt to uncover the whole street and revive the historic roadway so it will match the historic buildings. Funny how the road surface was changed but the architecture wasn’t except for an occasional facade. Where the bricks had been torn up for repairs made with ordinary concrete, history buffs would replace those repairs with brick; that would be far more expensive, time consuming, and traffic halting. And where would they get the brick? Simple, just uncover some other street and see what’s under there, like an Easter egg hunt. That could go on ad infinitum, longer than it is taking to get sewers and water to some parts of town. It will be a tough fight to keep the brick and I’m betting on the other side even though they also uncovered curbstones made of solid granite. But I wonder what could be under that brick.

Do you suppose maybe that’s worth a peek?

Robert Pocklington is a resident of Suffolk and a regular News-Herald columnist. He can be contacted via e-mail: