ON BOARD THE NORWEGIAN PEARL - They say crime doesn't take a holiday - but crime writers sometimes do.And that's where I find myself right now, enjoying the annual tropical cruise that I've been lucky enough to host for three straight years.Along with my wife Chassity, we've taken a group of 30 frigid Canadians straight into the heart of Paradise for a 10-day southern Caribbean adventure.Our journey began last Friday when we set sail from Miami and has already taken us to the Dominican Republic, the British Virgin Islands and Antigua.As I write this late Tuesday evening - sitting on the 13th deck of the ship, a warm breeze blowing across the deck and a nearly full moon lighting the sky above - we're on our way to Barbados.We'll also make a stop in St. Lucia, then turn around and spend two full days at sea abord this glorious vessel before returning home on Sunday.I'll keep the bragging to a minimum, as I realize things are a tad chilly back on the homefront this week.But I did want to point out a few highlights:1) I'm constantly amazed at the way technology keeps people connected when we're so far apart.My webiste - www.mikeoncrime.com - hasn't missed a beat so far, thanks to the high-speed Internet connection that is allowing me to make regular daily updates no matter what port of call we may be in or where in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean we may find ourselves.The connection is nearly as fast as at home, and it's allowed me to stay on top of the latest news from around our community, country and world.(And bring a few evil smiles to the faces of our fellow travelers when I told them earlier this week much of western Canada was under a blizzard warning! "Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of people," cackled one native Manitoban before returning to his gourmet five-course meal)Some may say "Mike, that's not exactly a holiday if you're still working". Perhaps, but I feel lost (and certainly not very relaxed) if I stray too far from current events. So I consider it a blessing, not a curse! (Although my wife may disagree!!)2) I'm constantly amazed how small this world is. Case in point. I'm sitting at the blackjack table Sunday evening, well on my way to kissing another $20 good-bye. A guy I've never seen before leans over during a break in play and says "So, did you do your radio show from the boat tonight???". Once I picked my jaw up from the ground, I found out the guy was a fellow Winnipegger and listener of my "Crime and Punishment" show (which, for the record, are "Best Of" taped shows on both Jan. 27 and Feb. 3)He had booked his cruise ages ago, along with five fellow Winnipeggers, before realizing they could have saved some bucks by taking advantage of the great group rate a hosted cruise like ours can offer. (Ah well, maybe next year...)Another example occurred earlier Tuesday. My wife and I were on a glorious, three-hour tropical rainforest hike in Antigua when we get to talking to a friendly couple who were also on the excursion. We asked where they're from. They say West Virginia. They ask us the same question back. We tell them Winnipeg. To which the man replies..."Wow, I lived in Winnipeg for about 20 years."Incredible.Turns out his father worked for CBC radio. And he had plenty of questions about the state of pro sports teams in town and how downtown was doing. 3) Swimming with dolphins is an amazing experience.My wife and I lived out a dream on Tuesday in Tortola when we spent nearly a full hour in a dolphin sanctuary, which included a ride on their bellies, a little dance and a great big wet sloppy smooch from Flipper. Just an incredible day, and I strongly encourage anyone who has the opportunity to do this to take advantage of it. The big price is well worth it!I'll have plenty more to say about the cruise in an upcoming Winnipeg Free Press travel feature. And I'll be back in the crime saddle on Monday, with a full slate of new Free Press stories, radio shows, blogs and even some news about my next book project!Until then, feel free to go back and read some previous blogs and discuss anything that's burning a hole in your saddle...and stay warm!