Several months ago my husband and I were awarded a free cruise just for turning up at some kind of promotional meeting. This five day cruise was out of Galveston, Texas, and heading for Cozumel, Mexico. We left November 30th, and are just now back home. First, let me tell you that those cruise commercials showing slim, suntanned people lounging in serene bliss IS A LIE. You think you are going to relax on a cruise. Not true. Cruise boats are basically filled with people of all sizes, colors, and ages who need Ritalin. And they all drink alcohol in vast quantities. NO ONE rests. Oh yes, there was a ‘Serenity Deck’ packed with sleeping people, but I don’t think they were resting. I think they were still passed out from the night before.
Cruise lines give themselves such descriptive names like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, or Princess. And they give their boats names like Crown, Diamond, Star, Oasis, Radiance, or Sovereign. We sailed on none of those. We sailed on the . . .
We had never cruised before. Which will become obvious as this blog progresses.
First, you pull into the Cruise Lines’ terminal to off-load your luggage. You are allowed two cases per person and all the carry-on luggage you can tote without having a stroke. In our younger days, Randy and I knew how to travel light. One suitcase for both of us. Now, as old people, we pack everything we own. Everything except the recliner. You never know when you’ll need that fifth pair of shoes, or an oscillating fan.
Then you park in one of their lots, and take a shuttle back to the terminal to wait for your cattle call. Then, once summoned, all one billion of us get herded one-by-one to the counter to fill out a questionnaire about our health. Once they are satisfied that we aren’t bringing Ebola into Mexico, we are all herded onboard, via zigzagging ramps, passing a young Croatian photographer who poses us in front of backdrop of the Carnival Ecstasy. I thought that the photos were taken so officials can identify potential terrorists when the boat explodes at sea. Randy, having found out that passengers have been known to disappear on cruises, assumed that the photos were to be used in corpse identification when a fisherman snags a bloater. We never even thought that the photos were to be offered later as souvenirs.
Then, once onboard, we are all herded onto the Lido deck, a deck running the length and width of the ship. Part of it is open air, swimming pool, and bar, the other part is indoor buffet. Calypso music is playing and little Indonesian men in shorts mingle with their drink trays. I’m being literal. They really are little Indonesian men in shorts. And they all look 12.
Then, while eating a buffet lunch, you wait until the boat casts off. No one is allowed into their cabin until the early afternoon. This is to allow the crews to clean and restock the cabins, and deliver everyone’s luggage.
Here, Randy is trying to figure out where our cabin was located. It turned out that we were on the ‘R deck’ – or Riviera Deck in the bowels of the ship. Think Irish on the Titanic. I was grateful, though, since the lowest cabins on the inside of the ship are the most stable.
First, let me say that I knew that cruise boats are big. But I had no idea how big. And I had no idea how intimidated I was going to be by the sheer size. Randy kept wanting to go on the very tip-top deck where they put a waterslide. A waterslide? Really? I wonder how many of those lost at sea are kids.
Once allowed access to our cabin, we unpacked and explored the rest of the ship. Everything was exotic to us. Even the bathrooms. Apparenly one squeezes the doorknobs to get out of the stall. And can you figure out these instructions we found on the toilet lids?
And how in the world does this work?
For dinner we were assigned seating in the Windsong dining room, sharing a table with three other couples. Gary and his wife, Allison, Michael and his wife, Erica, and Tyrone and his wife Kim. Tyrone and Kim looked very familiar to me. I kept thinking ‘home makeover’ on HGTV, but was afraid it might have been ‘Unsolved Mysteries’. I didn’t ask. I kept thinking of all those disappearing people. Seriously, though, everyone was charming and fun, and we were fortunate in our choice of table-mates.
After being served dessert, our waiters marched back into the dining room to put on a mini-show. First, they paraded in, single-file, either clapping to the music (apple bottom), or waving their white napkins over their heads. Then, once in place by their tables, began dancing to ‘Not My Pit Bull’.
Here is our team headwaiter, Jorge, doing the Macarena. Think Mike Meche from Columbia. And Jorge is pronounced ‘Hore-hay’. . . which Randy promptly forgot and kept calling him ‘Hay-hor’. Go ahead. Say that out loud. Yeah . . .
Then, since it was already well after sunset . . .
. . . we went to bed.
Yeah, okay . . . so it was only 8 p.m. But that only served to make sure we were wide awake before dawn the next morning . . .
CRUISING – PART 2 coming soon.
Do you have any of your own cruising tales you want to share? I know you have them. Remember, to leave a comment, click on the ‘Comments’ tag at the end of this blog, and don’t forget to check out the latest Photoblog on the right. Just put your cursor over the picture to read the caption, or click on one if you want to leave your comment.
And now, to watch a funny video – click on the link below and watch with the sound up: http://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play?p=youtube&tnr=21&vid=267764499110&l=102&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts1.mm.bing.net%2Fvideos%2Fthumbnail.aspx%3Fq%3D267764499110%26id%3D29c24681571239c5085530543d7fcf6c%26bid%3DZcNun2zDtnDebg%26bn%3DThumb%26url%3Dhttp%253a%252f%252fwww.youtube.com%252fwatch%253fv%253dTstDlnWxZcs&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DTstDlnWxZcs&sigr=11ak1ic71&newfp=1&tit=Extreme+cruise+ship+storms%3A+the+top+5
Yeah. Sorry about that. But it is only 1 minute and 42 seconds long.