OK, so cruise ships are pretty cool.
Deborah and I are en route to Key West aboard Royal Caribbean's "Vision of the Sea." We took a shuttle from the Airport Ramada Inn down to the port about noon today. The shuttle driver was a crotchety older gent who sounded just like Morgan Freeman when he spoke, same accent and everything.
Boarding the ship was very smooth and didn't take especially long. Security was much easier than at the airport (shoes off? nope...) and the security staff were super friendly and helpful. In full disclosure, due to Deborah's gimpy foot, we were directed to the fast lane and bypassed most of the throngs in line.
Some nice ladies snapped our photos and gave us all purpose "sea passes," plastic cards that serve as our stateroom keys, credit cards if we buy anything, and ID for reboarding the ship when we get off at various ports of call. Then we walked the gang plank and entered the massive floating city.
We found our stateroom and then hit the free all-you-can-eat buffet called the Windjammer for lunch. What a spread: salad bar, all manner of entres, cheeses, soups, desserts. I am probably...no...certainly going to gain weight on this trip. It is fortuitous that after lunch we found the fitness room.
"We should work off that food tomorrow," I said.
"I plan to," Deborah replied.
On the deck beneath the fitness room was a health spa where a bunch of people tried to upsell us on some sketchy health procedures "clinically proven" to trim belly fat, erase wrinkles, cure assorted incurable illnesses, and even whiten teeth. We mostly had none of it, but Deborah was intrigued by some orthopedic shoe inserts that are supposed to reduce pressure on parts of the foot by distributing weight across more area, since she has that foot thing. The fitness trainer gave her a pair to try out for a day, for free. So that was cool. If I had to wager, I'd put money on her probably buying the damn things tomorrow.
At around 3 PM, all passengers had to muster at muster stations next to the life boats for the safety presentation.
Mostly the other people on the boat aren't dicks. But there were a few difficult people at the safety drill. You know the type...rolling their eyes, looking at their phones, drinking beer, and generally not even trying to make things go smoothly. They will be the fish fodder when we ram the freak ice berg that global climate change sends to the Gulf of Mexico, or the first ones cannibalized when the rations run out on the life boats.
There's hand sanitizer everywhere on the boat to prevent the transmission and spread of noroviruses, gastrointestinal pathogens that are a persnickety problem on cruise ships, due to jamming four thousand dirty humans together in close quarters. I use it whenever I see it and especially before and after eating in the Windjammer dining hall.
We mostly dicked around after the emergency drill, exploring. The ship is so massive that I didn't realize we had left port and were churning out to sea for quite a while after that did in fact happen. It's a bit disorienting. Every so often the boat rocks from side to side but mostly, if you are not looking outside the boat, movement is undiscernable.
We saw a show in the ship's theater later in the evening, a decent albeit cliche comedian. The house band also performed and they were pretty tight. I always thought it might be cool to perform on a cruise ship. But the music is a little too milquetoast for my tastes, which are improving with age. I realize they have to appeal to the most common denominator; I'm just not in it. My former cover band, Baby Rocket, would do quite well in this environment though, me thinks.
After the show, Deborah and I hit the Windjammer again for some dessert and herbal tea, and we took the latter with us as we explored the ship some more. With little else to do, we retired to our stateroom for re-enactments of a couple of Lonely Island songs (think about it...).
I probably won't be able to post these travelogues until we get off the boat in Key West, as there is no free wifi or cell phone service on the cruise ship (a public relations error, in my opinion).
Stay tuned for more updates.