Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Cruisin' with the Girls

In case you hadn't noticed, I've been absent from the blog for a few days. See that ship on the far left? I was on it - the M/S Holiday, which is part of the Carnival fleet.

Several years ago my sister and I decided that instead of giving each other a Christmas gift that we really didn't need or want and having something else to dust or find a place to store, we would take a "Girls' Trip" every year. Several years ago we spent several days in Nashville, Tennessee, and painted the town red -- or as red as two mild-mannered women can.

Last year I spent a week at her house while her husband and son were gone on a Boy Scout trip. She lives on the Georgia coast so we figured why pay to go to some other resort area when she already lives at one. Then later in the year she came here and we leisurely drove the Natchez Trace and then toured several plantations when we got to Natchez. We also had lunch with Maven Beverly en route.

This year we went wild and took a four-day cruise to Cozumel. She'd never cruised before so she didn't want to go on something longer in case she hated it and/or became horribly seasick.

She did neither and we're already trying to decide where we want to go next year. Cruising, we've decided, is the way to go. They cook you three meals a day -- and I'm talking escargot appetizers, beautifully arranged salads, lobster and chateaubriand entrees and desserts you'd kill your mama for. There's a little soft-serve ice cream machine on the Lido deck and you can fix a cone any time you desire. They have shows and activities. If you're a gambler (we're not) there is a casino. On the day we docked in Cozumel, they had tons of shore excursions we could choose from. We chose to just shop. And on our two "fun days at sea" we just did nothing but read by the pool or in the shade on a side deck.

We're actually afraid they might not let us come back because we drank no alcohol, didn't gamble, attended only one show, took part in only two activities, didn't enter all the raffles and the combined total on our Sail & Sign cards was less that the one-day bar total for the average guest. They made very little if any money off us.

But we had a blast. Colin, our wonderful waiter, treated us like royalty.

Every time we stepped out of our cabin, Lary the cabin steward came in to freshen the towels, empty the wastebaskets and make sure we the ice bucket was full. And he created the little menagerie below.

Trips are always a learning experience and here's what I learned on my cruise.
  • An aft cabin on the next to lowest deck isn't a good place to be. The noise from the stern thrusters is pretty bad when you enter or leave port. And they will wake you up at 2:05 a.m. when they use them to adjust course. Next time I'll study the ship's deck plans more carefully.
  • If folks want your dollars, they'll speak your language fluently. I encounter more folks who don't speak English at the Wal-mart than I did in Cozumel. I shopped til I dropped in Cozumel and the Playfriends will just have to wait til Saturday to find out what I bought them. :-P
  • It's amazing how difficult it is to create those towel animals. One of the two activities we did was the towel art class. They make it look so simple. Ha! After trying to make a dog and a monkey, we decided we'd had just about all the fun we could stand and went to the Lido deck for one of those little soft-serve cones.
  • Any food is good when you don't have to shop for the ingredients, prepare it and clean up the kitchen afterward. Okay, so that Neptune Chef Salad wasn't exactly what I had pictured in my mind, but I ate every bite.
  • You will do a silly little dance around the dining room if it means you get to have Warm Chocolate Melting Cake which several of us re-named Orgasmic Bliss.
  • There are some majorly wacked out people on cruise ships. There are also some folks you end up trading email addresses with so you can stay in touch. We met two wonderful women from Atlanta whom we hope to see again some day. And we had breakfast with a couple who were on this particular ship when Hurricane Katrina blew through the Gulf of Mexico two years ago. Note to self: do not sail during hurricane season.
  • Some folks will spend hundreds in the duty-free shop on the ship just to win a $100 shopping spree. And when they win, they'll stand in the middle of the shop and say "Hell! Now I have to figure out how to spend $100." Duh!
  • People who consume massive quantities of alcohol should avoid karaoke night and audience participation activities in the main theater/lounge.
  • People who wouldn't dream of drinking the water in Mexico will get a tattoo or body piercing in Mexico. What's wrong with this picture?
  • Bethany is a witch with a capital B and her husband did not show his private parts at the pool. (The cabin walls are thin, this couple had the cabin next door and I heard every word of their rip-roaring fight.)
  • And last, but certainly not least, I don't think I've ever seen bluer water than in Cozumel.

The sunset leaving port was pretty spectacular too.

Fun as it was, it's nice to be back home. Thanks for keeping the other Playfriends company while I was gone.

Do you have any good vacation stories to share? Tell me all the funniest ones to keep me laughing cause I'm probably going to have to have my kitty cat put to sleep today. :-(


Rhonda Nelson said...

Marilyn, it sounds like a wonderful, wonderful trip. So glad you're back!

(And so sorry about you kitty. :::sniff::: )

Rhonda Nelson said...

Er...that would be "your" kitty. Sorry. It's too early.

Problem Child said...

Well, this summer on our way home from San Antonio, we got to the airport Saturday to find that the computer couldn't find our reservations. Seems DG booked tickets home for Friday--we were 24 hours late for our flight.

Totally DG's fault, and I was having fun teasing him about it.

We got on Standby and managed to get the first leg of the trip to DFW. While at DFW, I went to get a magazine. When I returned, DG had a big grin, which shocked me as our chances of getting on the flight home as standby were pretty slim--the waiting area was packed!

But DG was giddy because the flight from DFW to home on Friday had been canceled, and most passengers spent the night in Dallas. They were all there on Sat, trying to finally get home.

So, had we made the Friday flight, we would have spent the night in DFW, instead of spending it with my Uncle and family.

DG calls it "excellent planning." I call it "Dumb Luck."

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Aw, hugs Marilyn! I've had to put two kitties to sleep, and it was traumatic. Horrible. :(

I loved hearing about your vacation because hubby and I, along with his parents and mine, are taking a Christmas cruise on Carnival! We're spending 7 days cruising the Eastern Caribbean with stops in Nassau, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten.

And I know mine and hubby's bar bill will be big. ;) This will be our second cruise. We aren't taking excursions and we aren't feeling the pressure to go to shows or take classes. Lying by the pool with umbrella drinks is our big plan, no matter what the parents' think. :)

I am all about relaxing. We don't have cabin assignments yet, but we have oceanview. I guess I better hope we aren't near the thrusters!

I loved the photos, btw. Makes me think of Hawaii. :) I miss those sunsets.

I don't really have any funny vacation stories. Well, I did drag about 8 gigantic suitcases to Italy once. Hubby was very angry, especially when we had to take a train from Pisa to Brindisi and lug all that crap along. I think I took every pair of shoes I owned. I didn't know what I would need for a month in Italy, so I took everything. Including an iron. And I was going to my mother's house. Does that make any sense? (I was 21, what can I say?)

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Well, dammit, the kitty part didn't come out right! I meant to say that I understand how it feels and I'm very sorry. I didn't mean to be insensitive or add salt. Big hugs, Marilyn!

Instigator said...

I'm sorry about your cat, PM!

The cruise sounds fantastic. I went on a cruise to St. Maarten and St. Thomas when I was 7 months pregnant with Baby Girl. I had a great time but I really think I'd have enjoyed it more if I hadn't been pregnant (and chasing around a 2 yr old who wasn't old enough to go to the child care activities).

DH and I have talked about taking another cruise just the two of us but so far we haven't set anything in stone.


BethRe said...

I'm so sorry to hear about kitty

Kathy said...

Welcome home, PM! I'm so glad to hear about your adventures. And you're in my thoughts and prayers as you deal with such sadness today. Bless you. I've been in your shoes.

Funny stories, huh? Well, this isn't funny but our family seems to have need of emergency rooms whenever we travel. We joke about it wherever we go and make sure everyone knows not to venture too far away. Let's see, what have we learned...

"Don't get too close to the edge of the Grand Canyon!" "Don't get too close to the edge of the balcony!" (I'm afraid of heights and am greatly disturbed whenever people I love try to look over the edge. That goes back to a time I visited Carlsbad Caverns as a kid and tried to see over the edge of the Bottomless Pit. My Grandy had to grab me before I tumbled over the edge.)

"Go backwards down a Battleship's ladder!" (We spent the night in the trauma center, all 6 of us, after #4 fell down and received a 4 inch hairline fracture in her skull when she and #3 decided to do things their way.)

"Mommy, why does my head feel so squishy?" (Is not something you want to hear in a camping ground hundreds of miles away from home.)

"Don't shut your brother's finger in the van door!" (Another 4 hours at the emergency room while house hunting for an impending move.)

Always...always stop to feed your mother when you take a road trip. Even though you're pressing to make it to the hotel in time and snacks can fend off your kids hunger pains. A older woman's uncontrollable shaking isn't worth the extra mile.

However, DH and I had the best time in Cancun last May for our 25th anniversary. Everyone we met wanted to make sure we had the best time and other than getting too hot at the ruins, we enjoyed our margaritas and drinks.

And you can get on a plane much faster when one of your friends is in a wheelchair. :-)

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

What a beautiful post. Love your photos!!! I knew a stop to your blog was a must today. :D

{{{Hugs}}} for the kitty. That's a difficult time to go through.

Once on a cruise I was standing by a gambling table and the man was winning bigtime. I turned to walk away and felt a restraining hand on my shoulder. He wouldn't let me move. I was there for an hour longer than I wanted to be. You're lucky you didn't get stuck in the casino. Good move not going. :D

Hugs, JJ

Problem Child said...

And BTW, I loved gambling on my cruise. I won almost $300 at the roulette table. It was our anniversary, and we were all dressed up for formal night, and I couldn't seem to lose.

If I was a riskier gambler, I probably could've won a lot more, but I tend to bet conservatively. Oh, well. It's still fun to see the marble drop onto your number!

Smarty Pants said...

I think cruises and all inclusive places are the way to go. You don't have to worry about anything, just do, eat, see whatever you want to. I tend to spend more on cruises because I end up drinking, going on excursions, etc.

Sorry about Kitty. Hope everything works out for the best.

Meljprincess said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your kitty, Marilyn. I had to have my 20 year old Siamese sweetheart put to sleep on Oct. 22nd. I'm broken hearted. I'll cry for you too. Seems that's all I do...

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Meljprincess, hugs! I know it hurts so bad, and you are broken hearted, but it does get better. My babies were 19 1/2 and 16 1/2 when they left me (one in 04, one this past Christmas). I'd had them their whole lives. They are so special and wonderful, and it hurts so much to lose them, but the pain WILL go away. I know it doesn't help right now, but I wanted you to know that. You will stop crying and you will feel better, maybe even better enough to share your love with another kitty. It just takes time. :(

I didn't think I'd ever open myself to more kitties, but I did. Now I have two more that I love so much.

I'll keep you in my thoughts.

Playground Monitor said...

Cat update:

Aside from the possibility of a urinary tract infection, the cat is in perfect health. She just has behavioral issues that can't be cured. We're at the end of our rope dealing with cat urine and excrement in our dining room. Soooo, we signed her over to the vet who will try to find her a home instead of euthanasia. If they can't find someone willing to take her, then they'll put her down. I felt good about that decision. And no, I'm not getting another cat. I just don't have the patience for kitten antics these days. The DH has fish and I have him. *g*


Playground Monitor said...

Hugs, Mel. This is the second or third animal we've had to make some sort of decision about. The others just passed on from old age. It's tough because they're members of the family too.


catslady said...

I really empathize about your kitty because I stayed home today thinking I was going to have to do the same thing. So far it's still a wait and see.

I took a cruise 30 years ago and it was the best vacation we ever had and we've taken a few! Not funny but we took a roll of 36 pictures and found out at the end that the film hadn't advanced!! Digitals have to be the best thing ever invented.

Meljprincess said...

Thank you so much, Lynn. I feel so empty and numb. But I know I'll adopt sooner or later. There are so many who need our love.

Marilyn, how old is this cat? Why can't it be trained to use the litter box?

catslady! I didn't know. I'm so sorry! Did your sis tell you about Damian?