Cruises are for People who love to Eat

Do you love to eat? Would you be happy to have access to well-prepared food twenty-four hours per day? Yes? Then a cruise is your dream vacation.

I love food. Good food can be as comforting as cozy sweats on a chilly day.

I especially like food prepared by someone else. It’s doubly delightful when I don’t have to clean the kitchen before, during or after preparation.

A cruise is the closest I’ve been to food heaven.

Good News

Gluten free, sugar free, low calorie, fried, roasted, broiled and breaded. You name it, you could find it in the Windjammer Cafe.

This was the place for buffet eats on Freedom of the Seas. It was on the eleventh floor (or would that be deck eleven?). The first day, we climbed the stairs because the elevators were worse than an obese person’s clogged arteries.

Think of all the extra calories we burned. That meant an extra helping of French fries or gravy or dessert.

And it never happened again. (Climbing the stairs not the extra helpings.)

Thai, Chinese, Cajun, American. The major food ethnicities were represented. At every meal. Even breakfast.

Egg fried rice this morning? Yes, I think I will.

A few staples were there at every meal – order up an omelet at breakfast and make your own salad at lunch. I can’t speak intelligently about dinner in the cafe because we ate our meal in the official dining room each night.

Why not? They had a menu of amazing, highbrow choices served to you at the same table by the same friendly people every night. A two-hour dining experience is worth every bite.

Our amazing servers: Shirlynn and Tyronne
Our amazing servers: Shirlynn and Tyronne

I was seriously ready to take the chef, maitre d and servers home with me.

Bad News

Day or night, you could find something to eat.

All-you-can eat pizza was available free of charge (included in the price of your cruise) on the promenade deck around the clock.

They would even deliver anything you wanted straight to your cabin. Any time, day or night.

A midnight snack? No problem. You don’t even have to get up to raid the refrigerator.

Not good for the waistline.

All this food is no big hindrance, is it? If you do get up and walk the wind blown track every morning. Or run on the treadmills in the fitness center. Or show up for circuit training or fab abs classes.

Maybe not if you have gargantuan willpower.

You have to resist the call of free ice cream on the pool deck. Just say no to the friendly servers offering you warm-from-the-oven cookies. Ignore the sensual aroma of cheesy pizza when you walk down the prom.

And every time one of these temptations presents itself in a flowing robe of delectability, your brain will say, “You’re on vacation.”

After all, regular life will reinsert itself soon enough. There will be Shakeology for breakfast and berries and yogurt for lunch. Carrot sticks or apple slices for mid-morning or afternoon snacks.

Did I mention you should pack your Incredible Hulk-sized willpower on your next cruise?

In the end, I’m happy to be back home where my own lackadaisical attitude toward cooking for two people will bring the same-old dinners. Low calorie meals with lean protein and double the vegetables.

There won’t be anyone to take my order, bring out the next course or recommend a culinary masterpiece.

I should be able to fit into my clothes again in a week or two. I guess that’s the best news of all.

What to Do on a Rainy Day

When it rains…He snores

I live in Oregon. I’m used to rain. I’m used to pouring rain that shivers a body to the bones.

And I know all about the old man snoring (which has nothing to do with being an Oregonian, does it?)

What does this have to do with a Caribbean cruise you wonder?

Maybe nothing. Maybe I just thought the title looked catchy.

Or, it could have something to do with nap time on the ship.

One way to alleviate disappointment is to sleep it off. Seriously. Like a migraine or a hangover (not that I would know about those). Sleep is the best medicine.

And it helps a person stay awake for evening activities like karaoke, Love and Marriage and The Quest.

When it rains, he snores. In fact, she snores too.

Actually, neither of us snored, but we did sleep. In the twin beds magically joined to make a not-quite King-sized bed that took up the whole width of the stateroom.

First formal dinner. Yes, the bed takes up the whole room.
First formal dinner. Yes, the bed takes up the whole room.

And naps are good.

At first, I was irritated with myself. After all, I’m on a living ship chock full of interesting activities. Shouldn’t I be off enjoying them?

My reasonable self argued, “Isn’t this vacation?”

On vacation, a body should do what feels right at the moment. You know I’m a proponent of reading rather than running around. So why not go horizontal and let the brain do all the work?

And if it’s spitting rain? What else is there to do that’s half as relaxing?

So, yes, I’m guilty. While the Freedom of the Seas cut its way south and east across the Atlantic Ocean, my husband and I snoozed in our cabin. Even when the sun was shining.

After all, Oregon winter white skin can only take so many hours of exposure to tropical sunlight. After that, it’s begging for a nap.

Rain or shine, naps do a body good.

Happy Cruising

For years – maybe since I saw the show Love Boat when I was just a kid – I’ve dreamed of going on a cruise. Specifically, a Caribbean cruise.

I’m starting off this new year with another fulfilled dream. Thank you to my wonderful husband who said “yes, book it” when I asked about this last April.

Don’t worry, my blog won’t go untended while I’m gone. And those memes about gratitude you’re already looking forward to have been pre-programmed into my Buffer queue. It will be business as usual around here.

Except I won’t be around here.

I’ll be on a boat in the middle of the Caribbean Sea basking in all the natural Vitamin D my body can tolerate.

The Itinerary

We’re flying out of Portland the day before the cruise. This gets us to Florida in time to acclimate – and not be late for the bon voyage ceremony.

We have three ports of call in the Eastern Caribbean. Here’s the “official” itinerary:

Sun, Jan 10 – Depart Port Canaveral, FL
Mon, Jan 11 – CocoCay, Bahamas – 7AM to 4PM
Tues, Jan 12 – All day at sea (I’ll be reading by the pool!)
Wed, Jan 13 – St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands – Noon to 7PM
Thur, Jan 14 – St. Maarten – 8AM to 5PM
Fri, Jan 15 – Day at sea (Poolside drink service anyone?)
Sat, Jan 16 – Still floating on the Caribbean Sea (Guess what I’m doing?)
Sun, Jan 17 – Arrive in Port Canaveral, FL at 7AM

Let’s hope we won’t be greeted by snowy weather when we fly into Portland airport at midnight on January 18. Ugh.

Fingers crossed that I soaked up enough happy rays to get me through to the end of March. We’re heading to Palm Springs with friends for a week – their Spring break since he works for the school district.

Additional Plans

Ever since I went zip lining in Mexico, I’ve wanted to go again. This time over a lush, jungle canopy. I have no idea if that’s what I’ll get in The Bahamas or The Virgin Islands, but I’m going to ride the wire either way.

Adventure

Ever since I didn’t go para-sailing in Mexico, I’ve been kicking myself.

I won’t be missing my chance on this vacation. Floating high above turquoise waters with sunshine kissing my skin and a breeze nuzzling my face is on the agenda.

Except I don’t like to have an agenda. I’m on vacation!

The third port will offer us some sort of kayaking activity. My husband will probably find his way into some snorkeling, but I’d rather keep my face out of the water, thank you very much.

Don’t forget shopping. I’ll have to bring back souvenirs for my new daughters and those boys they married. Maybe even start my Christmas shopping.

It’s a new year, right? Anything is possible.

Happy cruising to me. You can expect to hear my take on the “Love Boat” phenomenon when I return.

Have you ever been on a cruise? If you could go cruising, what’s your dream destination?