The people who talked about cruises were emphatic.
They said one of two things with reverence normally reserved for meteors or Beyonce concerts.
Or Beyonce riding a meteor.
You can eat as much as you want.
You can drink the whole time.
And while those are both things I really enjoy doing, I was also keenly aware that these activities took place on a non-stationary boat in the middle of the ocean.
Oh you barely feel it, I mean after the first day it’s fine.
These people were not me though. They had not previously thrown up inside of 3 trains, 2 boats, a bus, and a helicopter. Motion sickness is kind of my vacation/adventure albatross.
None of those experiences had lasted longer than a single day, so 8 days on a boat. The odds would not be in my favor.
Though honestly I forgot about my motion sickness until much later. When TripFilms reached out to be in the beginning of October and said they wanted me to film a cruise to the Caribbean for them at the end of the month AND I could bring a guest. I said yes before performing any substantive thought.
This is the way I operate when ice cream is presented.
I was committed, I had 2 weeks to pack, prep and begin imagining every possible negative motion sickness outcome.
Aside from what I’d read and what I’d been told, I didn’t really know what to expect. Who would be on the ship? What would the mood be like? What do people do for days on end in the middle of the ocean?
My answers came in short time.
The first thing that struck me as soon as land was out of site was just how massive the ship was. I kept saying out loud to myself, “we are on a giant building, in the middle of the ocean.”
The sheer scale of it was incomprehensible to me. And we weren’t even on one of the larger ships. When we pulled into St. Maarten we were dwarfed by the ship that pulled in next to us that held thousands more passengers.
It also became readily apparent who was on this cruise based on how fast certain people embraced specific activities. For example;
These were the people whom, before the ship had even left the port and it was still 57 degrees in Liberty City (previously known as Bayonne), had already stripped to their bathing suits and jumped in pool.
These would be the same people who would, over the course of the next 7 days, spend hours upon hours poolside, from sunup to sundown, turning various shades of red.
They were there to sun and very little if anything was going to get in there way.
Anytime you have an all-you-can-drink package, people are going to come out of the woodwork to take advantage of it. And they did. It wasn’t uncommon to see somebody walking by with a martini at 9 am while you were on their way to breakfast. Perhaps they were having theirs.
These were also the same people who during the routine safety drill shouted loudly for anybody within 200 feet to hear; where are we supposed to get life jackets?
I softly whispered to her that they were in her room though I’m not sure that I should have.
Yes I am aware this will be not-so-subtly hypocritical as I suffer from an adrenaline spike any time I am near a buffet which is superseded only by the guilt I feel while laying on my side 20 minutes after eating.
But here were way too many people on the ship who didn't realize that stacking a bacon and sausage omelet on top of a pile of bacon and sausage should be a once a week thing, not an every day of the week thing.
So if you were on a budget eating on a cruise is like a dream come true. And if you are the type of person who prefers elastic waistbands to anything else, a cruise is also a dream come true.
It was kind of fun to see groups of 10 or 20 friends gathering and spending time laughing and hanging out together. I really understood this. It’s hard enough to get people together for 1 night a year, never mind a whole week.
And to see such diverse groups partying and celebrating in the same space was also a pretty cool site.
The “Jammin' Cruisers” who wore t-shirts that announced their presence and spent most of their time in a specific corner of the pool deck laughing louder than anybody else.
The smokers didn't wear t-shirts announcing their presence but they sad around in a cloud of their own creation greying before my very eyes.
I wasn't even aware there was a large group of gay travelers cruising together until they all made their way to the center of the dance floor on the final night.
There were more groups as well.
But perhaps the most poignant moment of the whole cruise came when I saw the parents of the wheelchair bound daughter having drinks together one evening.
And things became a little bit clearer.
Cruises or "Cruising" as those in the know tend to say, provides a lot of things, a lot of stuff, food, drinks, entertainment. And what they provide appeals to many audiences including those for whom travel is an extreme challenge, who are not fortunate enough to have the freedom to pursue anything their mind imagines.
For some, being on a boat where everything is provided for you, everything is close, and everything is handicap accessible, while still allowing you to travel the world, is everything they could ever hope for.