God I fucking love Mini Eggs…
But I digress!
Traveling. It’s an art form, a past time, a necessity in my highly fruitful and satisfying life (As evidenced by that whirlwind trip to Belgium I took last November). A truly satisfying trip includes surprises, action, scenery, photo-ops, and a shit ton of Nachos! These reasons, and many others, are why I am officially and mercilessly from here on out, PRO Cruise.
With a gaggle of family in tow, including my five year old daughter, I boarded the Carnival Victory in San Juan, Puerto Rico on April 25th and a week of gluttonous joys and careening death cabs commenced. It was epic, it was rad, it was ultra violet and resulted in serious sunburnery, but holy shit it was worth it.
Before I break down my Caribbean explorations in photo blogs, I will say this. Carnival gets the reputation from many cruise snobs as being the “cheap” cruise line. Well, let’s be honest, it is definitely cash friendly in comparison to say, Disney Cruise Lines or Princess. The cost does NOT however make the trip less worth while. Carnival aficionados consider Carnival to be the family cruise line. A couple from Mississippi with three kids and permanent farmer’s tans will fit right in on Carnival. That isn’t a bad thing, snob!
First of all, my daughter made a thousand friends, spent most of her time in Camp Carnival (the kid’s program, which is MADE OF WIN, might I add), and swam til she was pruny, and that was before she ever got off the boat and was accosted by monkeys.
Our first stop out of San Juan was St. Thomas, an island I have visited in the past, back when I was thirteen, suffering from a sinus infection, and St. Thomas still had a Hard Rock Cafe. (They no longer do. Fuckers.) I almost didn’t get off the boat that morning because my Scopalomine patch had the “Zombie Drug” effect on me and my head was swimming more than the boat. After removing the patch for an hour, I was back in buniess (keeping that typo. It was epic) and off the boat, getting into altercations with the locals.
Yes, I got feisty with a shop worker, but it wasn’t my fault, she came at me like a crazed bull. I can’t help it, when someone takes a tone with me I retaliate. All I wanted was to buy a fecking dress, lady. A simple transaction for a simple dress, one would think.
Light, airy, beautiful. I freakin loved the dress on the little display, with its blue hibiscus flowers and its simple island allure. I checked the price tag like the bargain shopper I am.
The love bloomed further. Searching the hanging options I found the same dress with bright berry colored Hibiscus and only coveted further. Yet again, $14.99. There was no question this dress would belong to me. So, I snagged a hat, a silver necklace of the Caribbean stone, Larimar, (pictured as well, with matching earrings. I have no control) and headed up to the check out.
Fuck yeah I was buying the dress. Yet as the woman, the surly, burly islander with a serious grump long before I ever arrived, checked the tag of my dress, she announced that it was incorrectly marked and mumbled about how she was “done fighting with customers.”
She lied. Suddenly she cut the tag off my dress and informed me my dress would cost $20 if I still wanted it.
“It’s supposed to be $20, it’s mismarked. For some reason, every time a customer comes up they have the ONLY one that is mismarked, I wonder why dat is, but it ain’t my problem. So, it’s $20. You still want it.”
“Yes, but does the tag say $14.99?”
“Yes, it did.”
“Well, then I would like it. For what the tag says.”
She was pissed! Demanded the manager of the shop come over and everything. Manager looked at her like she was a fucking lunatic. “Give it to her!”
She rang me up mumbling further about how she questioned my integrity and I paid her pleasantly, said thank you kindly, and walked away thinking, this dress better look fantastic on me!
This disembarking was one of the strangest of the trip. The vessel of infinite size was well away from the dock when a tiny speck of a person appeared on the dock in a golf cart, trucking a suitcase close behind. The boat fucking reversed direction, pulled back into dock and picked her up. I’m pretty sure she was Queen of Shiva.
Now, despite the gorgeous views, pristine palms, and cloud kissed mountains it regales you with, Carnival does have some quirks. For example, during dinner, when you can order seventeen Filet Mignon and your waiter won’t bat an eyelash, the waiters put on bizarre dance numbers and sing strange songs during your meal every night. Seriously, waiters climbed up on platforms and swung napkins around over their heads on the regular. I laughed at the silliness and the utter ridiculousness, but my daughter loved every fecking second of it. She got up and learned their dance numbers with them, laughed, giggled, wiggled to Apple Bottom Jeans just before our dedicated waiters began folding my daughter her first origami animal of the trip, a frog that actually hopped.
The decorations of Carnival are flaming. I mean FLAMING! There is no question you are on a cruise ship when you’re on it. I began wondering if I would be able to keep a straight face let alone get in the romantic mood were I to go cruising with my honey and suddenly the waiters burst into their best Christina Aquilera impression. Still, while cruising with my daughter, high stepping food staff was the perfect meal entertainment!
Now, I’m currently carting around ten extra pounds from this trip, but god damn it, it was worth it. Cruising made me face and conquer my fears of endless, all you can eat buffets. Cruising resulted in me eating Escargot for the first time (not my bag, really). Cruising made me aware of my love of a 24 hour ice cream station and chocolate covered strawberry counter. Cruising made me realize I want a towel animal on my bed every night, I want a balcony off my bedroom, I want fresh linens and subtle rocking to my bed some nights, and I want to murder Zoe Deschanel in (500) Days of Summer.
It also made me realize I need to go again, because like a schmuck, I didn’t get off the boat in St. Thomas OR Barbados.
I also need to get the old timey pictures taken on the way to fancy dinner, I need to buy an evening gown with matching evening Doo Rag (saw this exact outfit in bejeweled Magenta on a large Nubian Goddess of a woman. It was fucking fierce!), and I need to do wear it whilst draped across a grand piano while a paparazzi style Carnival employee shoots pictures of me with a tacky sunset backdrop. It is a moral imperative.
So, major pros of the first day of my Carnival Cruise:
Baby LOVING the kids playroom, where she spent hours of her day.
Reading on the Lido deck in the sunshine with a nice breeze.
Going back for seconds on the Strawberry Frozen Yogurt machine.
Riding in Glass Elevators to the subtle sounds of slide guitar. (The guitarist shouldn’t sing. He sounded like bad karaoke.)
Eating a perfectly dank Warm Chocolate Melting Cake, despite knowing I would be uncomfortably full afterward.
Watching my whole family act like goofballs with the drink of the day in their hands as the Sailaway party kicked off with the Macarena.
Dominica…and the near death of my Equilibrium