Today is Day Six on this holiday journey and I’ve learned so many lessons already. I’ll call the first Cruising 101. While I realize many/most of you have likely been on cruises before, there were some fine points I learned following serious research and advice from friends and my travel agent.
My six-day-long lesson was a a personal one: do not give up two addictions at the same time. I admit I have a social media problem, often posting two or three times a day on Facebook and recently becoming more active on Twitter and Instagram. Learning the cost of a daily fee for online access to social media only — no cell phone calls, email or blogging — I cut the cable, literally and opted out for four days. My daughter and I decided to focus on cruise line activities by not being attached to our phones.
This only became problematic when we learned the Carnival Cruise Line app was the main method of remaining in touch with our account — food, shore excursions, entertainment and charges. Their cruise-centric chat feature was like the good steaks and sushi onboard, another extra fee. Oy vey!
I’m not one to cut every cost; we’ve shared a dozen Uber rides this trip, tipped generously and purchased souvenirs that outweigh my suitcase. But, I wanted to concentrate on the reason for the season and the reason for the trip – time alone with my youngest daughter.
Another addiction that doesn’t bear beating on a cruise line is food. Specifically carbs.
Don’t want to preach to the audience, but cruises are notoriously rich in food choices, day and night. I may have skipped room service and the one pizza place, but we tried literally every other food service on board, including most days in a high-end restaurant with quality seafood. One day, I believe I ate shrimp, scallops and lobster three times.
Three large bites of seafood, adorned with heavy cream sauces and garnished with vegetables brighter than the cruise line’s primary colors, were surrounded by plenty of white space. More on the wine appreciation tour later, but the shrimp at the winery’s gourmet lunch was perfectly sauced and the waitstaff, anxious to please, subbed Brussels sprouts for the penne. A different variety of wine accompanied each course, so my palate was stretched to the limits.
My birthday girl had complimentary desserts at every meal, including brownies at breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime. Feliz Cumpleanos decorated the plate at the Mexican winery. Wine appreciation for dummies to follow.
Back on dry land in L.A. Thursday and Friday, I’m back on the ‘Net, of course, but more strict with my carbs than ever.
Am I addicted to cruising? It was definitely a fun, inexpensive way to enjoy time away from home with family. The variety of entertainment included two or three that didn’t fit my lifestyle: casino gambling and explicit (X-rated) humor at 11:30p.
I did pick up a new addiction online, one I hope to replicate at home. The Alchemy Bar at the top level in the aft end of the ship has recently won a specialty with their mixed drink, the Cucumber Sunrise. I’m pretty sure I can use puréed watermelon and Stevia to slay the sweetness, but I’m taking suggestions for orange juice substitutions.