Last week I mentioned that one of my problems in life was that I was tired of the cold. I love that we’ve had a cold, wet winter. And I hope it keeps raining and yes, snowing (in the mountains) for a while. But, I am tired of it being cold.
I temporarily solved my “tired of the cold” problem. I went on a cruise last week. It was kind of a spur of the moment decision. It wasn’t as last minute of a decision as my brother and his wife made though. When they heard we were going, 48 hours before the ship sailed, they wanted to join us. Jealousy is a great motivator. We had a great time together.
They hopped in the car with us and we drove to the Port of Los Angeles. It was a successful, fun, week-long cruise with stops in Cabo, Mazatlán, and Puerto Vallarta.
I used to be anti-cruise. Fear of seasickness was my greatest turn-off. But for our 25th wedding anniversary, 19 years ago, my wife prodded, coaxed, cajoled and otherwise pushed for a cruise. So, being the model husband that I am, I gave in. (After trying everything I could think of to get out of it.)
I went on the trip with my wife and some motion sickness pills. That was the order of priority. I was fine. The trip was more than fine. It was great! We made friends and memories. I’m now pro-cruise.
For those of you who may have thought about going on a cruise, but are reluctant or teetering with the decision, let me help you out. I’m going to give you here a ten-reason list on why you should consider cruising.
1: You can escape the cold, bad weather. You can also escape reality: your job, your family (unless you let some of them tag along), your church and community assignments, your animals, housework, and everything else.
2: Cruise ships are full of generally very happy people. Most everyone is living in fantasy land. Passengers are treated like royalty. Staterooms are constantly attended and tidied and cleaned. Food is endless. Yes, I gained a few pounds.
3: Going on a trip, and cruising in particular, invites happy coincidences. When we drove to Los Angeles we went part way the first day. We overnighted in Barstow. As we were leaving the motel breakfast, Saturday morning, hands were placed over my eyes from behind in a “guess who” moment. It turned out to be the hands of a young woman who was there with her husband – good friends of ours, former Sanpeters.
“What are you doing here?”
“We’re headed to L.A. to get on a cruise ship.”
“Oh, weird – us too”
Yes, it was the same cruise and we had dinner together most nights on the ship. Serendipity.
4: Meeting interesting people. Everyone has a story. We met people from all over the world. Most cruise people are happy to have a conversation initiated with them, whether it’s at meal tables, poolside, on the deck, in a hot tub, anywhere. I had to remind my brother that he wasn’t on a cruise anymore when we made food and rest stops on the drive home from L.A. last Saturday. I had to remind myself too.
We met two friends, Scott and Matt, at dinner. They were doing a “boys’ night out” kind of trip having been pals since they were young. Scott will be reading this column.
He’s a reader, writer, TV/movie business worker, music vocalist guy, and who knows what else. He claimed to know just about all there was to know about whiskey. The latest band he sings with is called: “Drinking Men with a Music Problem.”
5: Being on a cruise gives you license to be an exhibitionist in what you wear. All the loud shirts that people (by people, I mean my wife) give me can be worn on a cruise without feeling out of place. To be fair, my son gave me the “Party International Shirt.” And, I bought the “I Love Roller Derby” shirt all by myself. It was fun to have people comment on what I was wearing. Interestingly, my “Snow College” hoodie got more comments than anything.
So, the flipside of being an exhibitionist by wearing weird stuff is noticing what others are wearing. I’m not talking about bikinis and the like (though, there is that). I’m talking about reading other people’s tee shirts. How about: “Dads Against Daughters Dating Democrats” or “I’m on the fun side of Trump’s Wall.”
6: Food, Food and More Food. You’ve heard about the endless buffets before. The tip I’m passing on is that when you’re at the more formal dinners in the evenings, you’re not limited to selecting just one starter, entrée, and dessert.
Scott and I had a little war going on as to who could out eat the other. He’s a self-admitted 300 pound – I don’t know… 6 foot 6? guy. Let’s just say, I represented Sanpete well.
7: Expand your horizons. Our voyage traveled 2,333 nautical miles. There’s a lot of world out there. And, oh my goodness! – there’s a lot of water.
8: Cruising is educational. Since I knew you wanted to know: A nautical mile is how distance is measured on the water. One nautical mile equals one minute of latitude. It’s slightly longer than a mile on land.
9: Fulfill Fantasies of a Dream Vacation. Remember the TV show “The Love Boat?” You can do what you want to do. Be as lazy as you like. Or you can be involved with activities on the ship. “Do You.”
Among other things, I chose to get a massage while on board. Jess, my licensed masseuse from the Philippines gave me an evaluation after the massage. She came back into the room and said, “Let’s talk about your body.” It’s not often that a beautiful woman says that to me, other than my wife.
Jess told me that I needed to manage the stress in my life. She consulted with me about lactic acid and knots in my muscles, etc. etc. etc. I told her I’d do my best to take care of myself.
10: Because You Can. When done right, cruises don’t have to be super expensive. The nightly cost of accommodations, food, and entertainment (nightly stage shows and movies, etc.) compares well with a traditional vacation.
So, there you have it. Go on a cruise. Think about it. Plan for it. You’re still young enough — regardless of your age. Sanpete will still be here when you get back. — Merrill