Saturday, November 13, 2010

In the News

So cruise ships are in the news again. Usually they make the front page due to a rotovirus or a norovirus. This time, fire in the engine room. My sister, who lives in California, was on a cruise this past week. Thankfully, not the disabled ship though. She sailed out of Florida.

I've been on a cruise. It was my first, last and only. I cruised with some friends, who discovered just what a stick in the mud I really am. They were great, and had lots of fun. Me? Not so much. Cruising is, most decidedly, NOT for me.

We went on a cheap cruise, for just four days (thankfully!). Maybe that was it? But it was awful, just awful. First of all, the whole ship's decor was tacky. Swirling red and purple designs on all the carpet. Carpet that didn't just cover the floor but all the walls too. It was enough to make you sick in dry dock, much less out on the open seas.

Our room was approximately 3 feet wide by 5 feet long. Three of us shared this room. I included the bathroom in the above measurements. I'd never seen a combo sink/shower/toilet until I arrived. I slept (fitfully) on the top bunk. And when I wanted to roll over, I climbed out and flipped over and then slid back into place. My suitcase was at the bottom of my bed so my legs could never fully extend. Lovely. One good thing about our room though, was that we had a tiny window to let in some light. The rooms across the hall looked like caves and I am seriously not sure I would have survived in one of those. If we paid extra for that window it was money well spent!

Most of our time on board was spent waiting. We waited in the hall to get to the elevator. We waited outside the elevator to get on it. We waited on another floor to eat. We waited to disembark. We waited to get back on the ship. And every single cough I heard or railing I touched screamed ROTOVIRUS.

Because there were SO MANY people on this ship. A virus smorgasbord - no wonder you hear so much about this on cruise ships! I can only describe it like this: think of Black Friday at the mall, about 10am. Then, imagine someone locking the doors and sending the mall out to sea. That is what if felt like on that ship. People were everywhere!

Things to do on the ship were limited if you are a stick in the mud. The main activity was drinking large quantities of alcohol. I don't drink. It helped if you smoked and gambled too. Neither for me, thankyouverymuch. Oh, if you were a soccer fan you could watch it on TV, but you'd have to know Spanish to understand the announcers. In fact, I didn't find any English speaking channels at all. I felt very disconnected on board. No current news was available unless you paid some crazy amount of money per MINUTE to get online. I decided to remain uninformed of current events.

One day I signed up for an excursion. I decided to go feed the sting rays. I am a diver and had seen pictures of a place called Sting Ray City where you go out and swim among them and feed them bread and are able to pet them in the wild. I was really excited. Well, let me tell ya, this wasn't even close! The excursion was to start at 11:30am. I got up bright and early so I could get some shopping done in town before I joined my group. When I opened the room door I realized I was trapped. Hordes of people jamming the hall, waiting for an elevator to get off the ship. Uggh! I barely made it off in time to get to my excursion. Seriously! And what took so long to get off the boat? We were all forced to have our pictures taken with a fake parrot sitting on our shoulders! I am NOT KIDDING.

Then we took a small boat over to Carnival's private island. We were fenced in on a small portion of the island. The sting rays were fenced in as well. We were required to wear old life jackets and stood in waist deep water while the trained sting rays swam in a line past us, grabbing pieces of fish from our hands. Not the brush with nature I had envisioned. Then it was lunch time. I ate a $6 hot dog. Then I sat on the beach until it was time to go back to the ship.

The next day was our 'free day at sea', which basically meant - we have no plans to stop anywhere and you are completely at our mercy. I ran around their jogging track until I just couldn't take it anymore. Then I showered and headed to breakfast. There were 100 tables open. But you couldn't sit at those. You had to sit with the other folks who came down at the same time you did. So, here I am at a table with a honeymoon couple, several middle aged couples and one REALLY old couple. The old lady had on this low cut moo-moo dress that showed everything she had. The honeymoon couple laughed every time they glanced in her direction. Would it have killed them to give me a newspaper from the day we set sail and let me sit at my own table? Jeesh.

Then it was time to hit the pool. Okay, the pool was about twice the size of our room. No, I'm not joking. Twenty people in that pool and it would have been crowded. And it was a suspicious green color. Not appealing at all. So, I decided to just grab a lounge chair and catch some rays. Well, there were so many lounge chairs on deck that they were all touching each other. You had to start at the bottom, crawl up the chair and then flip over. And you had better like your neighbor really well. It was really hot, but I was hanging in there. Then, the reggae band started. Oh my. I bet folks on the nearest island heard them! I lasted about 30 seconds after they got started. I scootched right off the end of my chair and went back to my room.

The next day was the best day of all. The cruise ended. I have never been so glad to end a vacation in my LIFE. You know that feeling you get when you don't have your car with you, maybe y0u rode with someone else, and you aren't having fun but you don't have the option to leave? That is a terrible feeling. And it started the minute we got on board. I was terribly claustrophobic the whole time. If a helicopter had landed and offered to take the highest bidder off the ship I hate to think how much it would have cost me but I would have won that auction!

So, that is my only cruise experience. I know, I know, I'm the weird one, not you. You had tons of fun on your multiple cruises and can't wait to book your next one. I'll just find a deserted island somewhere (with NO fences or hot dogs!) and live happily ever after.


Tricia said... my cruising twin. you are not weird. I felt *exactly* the same way. :::sigh:::: add to that, my ex had "surprised" me with the trip, and quite frankly our marriage was literally hanging by a thread, and I had to leave my young babies (3 & 5) at home for five days......ugg. I should probably write my own miserable cruise blog instead of hijacking yours. just know that you aren't alone. said...

Tricia, I am sorry your cruise was so miserable too. But, to be honest, I am glad to find someone who understands me. Yay, we are NOT weird!

The McGee's said...


The Crazy Coxes said...

Your cruise was similar to my cruise except that it was a very expensive European cruise on Royal Caribbean - paid for by my husband's work.

Let me just say that more money DOES NOT equal BETTER in this case!
Everything OFF the boat was awesome, but the people, the crowds, the tackiness, the alcohol was the same.

Natalie said...

Oh that is nuts!! Now I know why I have never had the desire to go on a cruise!!

Dining Table Gal said...

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