Melanie and I have been talking about going on a cruise for about 10 years. Timing, children and money never seemed to line up. It’s been roughly 5 years since our last vacation (something I NEVER advise) but things have been busy. So in the early spring we started looking for a date. We had hoped for a date in May but as it turned out the first time we felt like everything would fall into place was last week (September 15-19). We agonized over the details but finally landed on a shorter cruise with Carnival to Cozumel. I taught class at Spring Meadows Wednesday night, got everything I needed to get done to be gone and had one meeting after services and headed out about 8:40 Wednesday night toward Mobile where we were sailing from.
I’ve asked MANY people and as to yet have never met one who went on a cruise that did not love it! We were pretty excited to say the least. We were in vacation mode.
We had a very good time. The time away was needed and the time together was wonderful. There were some special highlights:
- When we got to our “cabin” (that’s what they call the 15x15 rooms:)) on the first day they had a few soft drinks and bottled water on the small counter. I really wanted one of those cokes and knew they’d probably cost a lot but late the first night I had one. Melanie wanted a diet Coke, yet she likes her’s cold and there wasn’t any ice. The next day as we walked down the hallway I looked for an ice machine to fill the little ice bucket so that if Mel wanted a diet Coke I’d be set. Couldn’t find one. But late the second night we wanted a soft drink after we got back to our cabin. So, I determined I’d take that bucket and hunt down some ice! I picked it up, only to realize, it was full. Little things must humor us for we laughed for ten minutes. I tell that (one because I think it’s a little fun) to illustrate the kind of attention to service they rendered. It was outstanding in every way.
- On the second night as we got back to our little abode there was a beautiful cake that Mel’s boss, Dr. Rob and his wife, Amy, had sent to us. What an unexpected surprise (and what a great cake). They also sent us an photo gift certificate. What a wonderfully thoughtful gift.
- Our first night at supper, while making our way to our table a young couple called out my name. I vaguely recognized them. It was a couple I’d married several years ago. Then the last day we were reading on the upper deck and a lady walked over to me. I didn’t remember her at all. She said: “You’re Dale Jenkins, aren’t you.” And then she reminded me of her name. I had married she and her husband about 20 years ago. Two rather neat moments.
- A third little highlight. I was without cell service or internet service for four days. That for me was challenging but nice and refreshing. I was disconnected - really - for the first time in probably 13 or 14 years.
- At our port of call we did an “excursion.” When we started looking at cruises online Melanie said she wanted to swim with the dolphins. One of the cruises offered that. We didn’t know but as it turned out that was one of our options too. And, we got to enjoy interacting with dolphins for about an hour and learned a lot about these creatures that God designed.
So obviously we enjoyed it all but on the whole cruising may not be for us. At least if we do it again we learned a few things. Here are a few things that our next (if we do one) cruise would include:
- Carnival means carnival: On board it was party time - and not the kind of partying Melanie and I do. There was enough liquor that it would be hard to imagine not walking around in a drunken stupor all the time if one drinks. Much of it was free and they used free drinks to promote the other events. The second most talked about event was the dancing. And then there was plenty of gambling. So, unless you really like to party and you’re planning a cruise I’d suggest some other line.
- We purposely went on a brief cruise. Time and timing alone with the idea of “what if we got on the ship and hated it” made us decide on going on a brief cruise. As a result we only had one “port of call” (i.e. place we docked). If you plan on going on a cruise one of the real highlights are the ports.
- My kingdom for a chair: I know this is crazy. Our “cabin” needed a chair. There wasn’t a chair in the room. I want a chair. I’m strange, but next cruise I either get a chair or I’m bringing one in my carry-on luggage.