Adventures in Travel: Food/Booze Cruise - Part 1

Day 1 - Sunday 10/25/15.

Oh what a lovely meal that was… and that one… and that one.

Thus far, cruising (as the professional sea-faring vacationers call it) has been about meals and hidden fees. What is the first thing you do when you get on the boat? Book restaurants for the week, decide which drink package you might need, and pinch yourself for not bring a 24 pack of bottled water. Oh, and there’s excursions to select as well.

Just like going to Disney, there’s a fee for everything. Having spent a lifetime in close proximity to theme parks, I’m used to the idea of paying a premium for having no other options. It’s just how life is when you elect to partake in an entertainment experience. You play by the rules… this buffet is free because the bottle of water is $4.95.

One awesome and unforeseen development in my inaugural cruise vacation happened before we even got on the boat. While waiting in line to check in, I recognized some old friends from my college days. What a small world to run into Nelson and Anna, two of the dearest people I had the pleasure of knowing while living in Florida. They moved to Georgia years before I left, but we still kept in touch. Well, in touch as much as adults do… the occasional phone call every six to eight months and love on social media. As small as the world has become with technology, there still doesn’t seem to be enough time to catch up. Now, I’ve got seven days to reconnect with them. I’m excited. However, today was more about figuring things out.

We traversed the boat up and down, back and forth a few times, getting a lay of the land - the pool, the spa, the shops, the gym, the bars, the restaurants, the casino, etc. It was helpful and kind of soothing. I had feared that I would feel a little stuck, ironically landlocked, in one limited location for seven days. Having walked around and felt the sea breeze, I don’t feel one bit stuck. Now, sharing a cabin with my family might be more claustrophobic, psychologically, than any kind of sea madness I was dreading.

Overall, it was a really good day. I’m a little creeped out by not being able to check my email or messages for the duration of the trip, but I suppose that’s what a real vacation is like; unplugging and being a little more in the moment. It does suck that you end up cutting out the pleasant people, too, though. There are people I really like talking to throughout the week and I find myself preemptively missing them. Again, not a real problem… I should shut up, have fun, and just declare, “I’m on a boat!”

Dinner tonight is at Teppanyaki, a Japanese hibachi restaurant. Our chefs’ names were Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber. I suspect that those are God given and chosen.

Day 2 - Monday 10/26/15.

The first instance of habitually relying on my phone failing me has occurred this morning. Due to being in airplane mode and exclusively on the ship’s wifi network, the clock is not automatically updating when we cross time zones. I’m up an hour earlier than the already early start I thought I was getting. It’s not a huge deal, just a little stinky.

How did I sleep? Well, not horrible, but not good. It wasn’t the shifting of the boat (which I could feel) but the cacophony of snoring from my family members that effected me the most. Sure, I probably snore too, but I was the last to sleep, so its a moot point. I swear, I think they were communicating, plotting nefarious things subconsciously via snore, because there was definitely a call-and-response nature to it. Or in my exhaustion I was hearing patterns within the ransom? Who knows?

It almost doesn’t matter because it’s fucking beautiful this morning. First opening the balcony door, there is a humidity that hits you, but it’s quickly dissipated when you three three steps out to the rail. The most surprising aspect of the beautifully barren view is just how blue the water is. I know that sounds frustratingly obvious, “Yes Noel - water is blue.” I just expected it to be a deeper, darker shade of mystery. Not the inviting, welcoming shade of royal. Looking out in the distance, the tiny flickers of white as the waves crest over and over in perpetual motion. I think I finally get aquariums, because watching water naturally move is just soothing.

I took the ship’s indoor cycling class today. It was a charge, but what isn’t. I looked at the sign up sheet with 8-9 people on it, but only two of us showed up. We set the bikes up to stare out into the water, which only mildly helped a little bit when then Swedish instructor yelled for us to give it “100%” in his broken English. It was a very difficult hour, but at least I can say I did it.

More eating, more drinking… life on the boat hasn’t been broken up with a port yet. That comes tomorrow. For tonight, we make our dinner reservations, dress up, and take pictures.

Dinner was at Cagney’s tonight, a fancy steak house. Yah, protein! After dinner we attended a Night Out event at the ship’s lounge where the boat band played cover songs. We partook in more drinks and people watching until our eyes got heavy. With full bellies and fuzzy heads, it’s time to call it a night. Port tomorrow in Roatan and that should be interesting.

Drunk stink eye.

Drunk stink eye.