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. :-(