It. Was. Awesome.
I’ll be honest. I was skeptical about cruises as they seemed to me merely “Vegas-afloat.” And I’m not a big Vegas fan. If I never went to Vegas again for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t feel deprived in any way. I guess as a non-drinker, non gambler (more because of my inherent bad luck then any sort of conviction), struggling young professional/student status (means I can’t (shouldn’t)shop the shops), and having a natural inclination to be in bed with a book, pills taken, and slippers snugly fitted by 10:30pm… well… clearly I have more in common with the Goldon Girls than Vegas. Whipper-snappers the lot of them! So back to cruises begin Vegas-afloat. You’ve got a lot of alcohol and alcohol consumption; which produces drunks (which produces entertainment ;)). You’ve got chintzy shows, various Casinoing areas, buffets, buffets, buffets, and over-priced everything. A little Vegas-ish, right? And honestly, the “cruise crowd” as I will heretofore refer to my fellow-cruisians as, is reminiscent of the type of folks who tend to surface in Las Vegas; minus the young partying crowd. Turns out this cruises demographic focus was old folks, middle-old folks, children (guess they don’t count as much towards the Vegas demographic likeness), and families. Rarely did I spot a 20 something chillaxin on deck unless they were attached to a significant other or parents. Guess that’s how these Cruises roll… er sail… er… yes.
Vegas style or no, I had me a fantastic time on my cruise via the illustrious ship, the Carnival Spirit, through the Mexican Riviera. We stopped in Cabo Saint Lucas, La Paz, and Mazatlan. I’ve never been to Mexico and I feel these three tourist stops gave me a little nugget of what Mexico is all about! Sans drug-wars, government break downs, and all that sort of thing. Alright alright, probably not a “true” Mexican experience – but I tell you the food was true Mexican and THAT, amigos, is all I needed.
Uno/Dos Day at sea… OR… the Day(s) of the Polar Bear... OR... We are Spartans!
Our first day at sea was cold and boring much like our second day at sea. Right?! Darnit! Alright, as for the first day, we were luckily still riding the Cruise-euphoria-wave which helped the first blustery day – but after touring the boat, gagging down a buffet lunch (honestly, buffets freak me out. All that food sizzling under iridescent lights… their preservatives glinting off the unsuspecting slathering faces hungry passangers… shudder), working out in the gym (twice), sauna then steam room then sauna again and then get up and repeat the second day at sea – I got bored. It was the weather. Truly. We couldn’t go outside and enjoy reading our novels under the warmth of a non-winter sun (thus the point of cruising over Christmas) or general lounging about – slipping in and out of a sun-induced stupor. Thus, we had to rely on our own faculties for entertainment and having all come from an 8 hour a day job, school, the general hustle and bustle of life, Internet connections and DVR’s, it was hard to fathom doing “nothing.” Define nothing, would you? What IS doing nothing? Are we doing it now? Or are we “not” doing it now to be more to the point? Nothing’s hard to cope with sometimes. Then, sometimes it’s not. Cause we got used to “nothing” fast ;)
There were 3 redeeming occurrences that first and second blustery day, however. They are as follows:
1. The Spartan
2. The Dinners
3. The Polar Bear
First, I’d like to tell you about The Spartan. The Spartan was one of the trainers in the onboard “gym” and the moment I saw him I claimed him as mine for the next 7 days. We play a little game, my friends and I, picking individuals to be on “our team” if we find them appealing (i.e. HOT!!). You’ve got to have your wits about you in this game or your friends may hand-pick all the good’uns and leave you choosing between the one legged Chiwahwah or the cock-eyed greasy bar tender wearing a “Kiss the Cook” apron over his sweat-stained Cabana t-shirt. See what I mean? Serious stuff. Well I selected the Spartan to be on my team since I spotted him FIRST! Dammit! And he was HOT and from South Africa and personally trained ;) i.e. rippled (no I meant rippled… seemed less objectifying than ripped… somehow), and also from South Africa. Num num. I call him the Spartan since when we first laid eyes on this manly specimen, he was trying to sucker some googley eyed ladies into signing up for a $120 “Train like the guys in 300” session during the cruise. Though I wanted so much to be one of those suckers, we instead took the schedule outlining the free classes such as “morning stretching” and “Abs”, making mental note not to skip a single session he led. The Spartan was redeemable occurrence #1 on that blustery first/second day and will make many a referential appearance throughout the cruising experience along with such things as lion testicles, toxins, and 90 yard field goals. Stay tuned.
Second reedeming occurence(s), dinner. Dinner was delicious every single night. Can I explain to you the menus on Cruises? Arrayed with elegance and deliciousness. That’s what they are. And you can have as many of anything as you damn well want. You’ve paid your dues! You deserve a New York Steak, New Zealand Lamb, Prime Rib, Pastas, shrimps, chocolate cakes, sherbets, stuffed mushrooms, soups, salads, the skie’s the limit, and even then I’m sure the food Gods negotiate! The Diet Coke’s were $2.24 though. Sheesh. There was an option of buying an “unlimited soda pass” for $7 and you receive a red refill container labeled “I drink soda like a fat American whose life goal is to suffer from Type 2 Diabetes by age 30!” strewn across the front. I opted to pass on that little deal because of my pride and just paid the $2 for my 4-5 Diet Cokes I had throughout the duration of the cruise. Not bad right? Well that’s because 3 of the other Diet Cokes I had were off shore and paid for in pesos ;) Oh snap! At any rate, diner those nights and every night after that was delectable, divine, delicious, desirable, and any other “d” word you can think of that describes “damn good.” And dear friends, guess what my favorite part of each meal just happened to be? The desserts? Negative – too easy. The massive array of food selection? Close, but no. It was the bread basket. I dreamt of that bread basket, glistening with hot rolls and slices of French bread, slathered with swirly butter and the Spartan, every night before going to bed and then thought about it all day long; “I can’t wait until I can have some bread… ” I’d think to myself while walking the market streets in Mazatlan or squeezing into my swim suit in Cabo, “Grahhhhhhh…” (i.e. drool). We also got to dress up for this dinner in our “formal wear” the second evening which was enjoyable. I like dressing up and going out to eat with friends. It’s probably one of my favorite things to do: good food, good friends, good times. That’s my motto!
Here are Heidi and Camille in a Food Coma - hereafter - Foma.
Here's me discovering my magical bunk bed