I’m on my first cruise.
So if you have a blog and you go on a cruise, you pretty much have to write about it. It’s expected. I think. I’ll try not to bore you.
I’m cruising with a friend from college. We’ll call her Margot. Because that’s her name. Originally I planned to cruise with my husband, for his 50th birthday. Long story. Not really, He had back surgery. He’s recovering well, at home. Plans change and that’s ok. I’m here with Margot.
Sometimes the universe does for you what you would not do for yourself. A seven day girlfriend getaway. It’s happening right now.
Intentionally, I opted out of the expensive wifi package. To disconnect. Decidedly, I chose not to purchase an international plan for my cell phone. To get away. For real. In a emergency, the ship can be contacted. I assured myself.
I checked Pinterest for cruising tips n tricks. I packed clips for the chair towels, magnets for the metal walls, an over the door shoe organizer for our toiletries, extra slim hangers, a highlighter, wrinkle guard, a flashlight and whatnot. You get the picture. A lot of crap suggested by the seasoned cruisers. Stuff to make life easier in the cramped quarters.
Margot and I have lived together before. We have similar preferences and obsessions. It works. Our tiny, inside passage cabin is organized and efficient. Our hangers are spaced beautifully in a way that some would appreciate and others would never understand. We doused the shower with eucalyptus and sprinkled the bed linens with lavender.
Margot has a keen sense of direction and she mastered the entire ship within hours. I’m still trying to remember our room number. It’s not easy, hanging around with me. What floor are we on? Where’s the elevator? Help, I’m locked in the bathroom. Again. It’s annoying to some, but Margot manages to find humor in it. We’re thinking of widowing together. Some day. No hurry.
It’s day three as I write this.
Day one was fast and fun. We walked for miles exploring every inch of the ship, enjoyed a late lunch in the main dining room and attended a super secret sober people meeting in a small room on the port aft side of the ship. Yeah, they have those. We are everywhere. Next, desert for dinner. We sampled a little of everything. Margot purchased us weeklong passes to the Barong Spa Thermal Suite and we rounded off day one with a Turkish bath. Early to bed, the ship rocked like a cradle and I slept like a baby in the dark cozy cabin.
Despite starting off with an early yoga class, day two was challenging. It hit me that I was far away, at sea. That my loves at home could not call or text me. That I could not go home. What if ____? Fill in the blank. I thought of everything. Everything that could possibly go wrong. The total disconnect. It overwhelmed me.
Poor Margot. My anxiety does not stay contained. It seeps out my pores and contaminates anybody who dares to get close. I was inches away from purchasing the two hundred dollar wifi package when Margot talked me off the edge.
“Don’t do it” she said. “You’ll spend the entire week checking on everybody. They’re fine. They’re capable. Let it go.” She convinced me. Finally. Thankfully.
She led us to a couple quiet deck chairs up top (the centrally located pool, slide, mariachi band and tiki bar were a bit too much) and I practiced relaxing. Practiced, yes. At first. Under the circumstances, it didn’t come easily. It got easier though, as the day went on. Eventually. I felt better. Good even. I felt good.
Determined not to partake in the gluttony and waste that cruise ships are famous for (not on day two anyway-not yet) we shared a lite lunch of fruit and cheese before revisiting the Barong Spa Thermal Suite. A few laps in the hydro therapy pool. Meaningful conversation in the bubbling hot spring. Twenty minutes in the herbal steam chamber. Cool shower. Minty soap. Fluffy towels and crisp clean robes. Not another soul in sight, Margot and I settled into comfy chairs on the relaxation deck. Soon we were both snoring.
We woke about an hour later. Still day two. Wow, I could get used to this. Back to the cabin to freshen up. We were in synch. We’d found our groove.
We enjoyed dinner in the main dining room. I had French onion soup, spinach & beet salad, flounder with balsamic dressed arugula and coconut pudding. Okay, so I surrendered to gluttony. I assure you though, there was no waste.
We finished just in time for another super secret sober society meeting. The turnout was bigger on day two. Our new friends. We welcomed one another home and the hour passed too quickly.
Till we meet again, we exchange knowing glances. Stealth fist bumps in the ships passageways. Simple nods in the elevators. Discreet waves across the dining room.
I see you nice couple with 47 years combined, celebrating thirty five years of marriage.
I see you Air Force guy with 8 years, enjoying ice cream with your beautiful wife.
I see you school principal lady with 16 years, hoopla hooping with your grandchildren.
I see you lady with just ten weeks. So happy and proud. Hang on girl. It gets even better, I swear.
I see you old guy with 36 years, having just lost your wife, cruising along because you promised her you would.
And I see the rest of you, cruising sober. Happy, joyous and free.
New friends. I’m grateful to have met you, along the path to happy destiny.
We rounded off day two with a comedy show followed by a little fun in the karaoke lounge. We sat with and befriended an older couple. Cruise enthusiasts, Doris and Frankie. Doris belted out Patsy Klein, Boston style. Frankie was her biggest fan.
Day three we visited Cozumel. It was, as expected, over commercialized and tacky. No offense intended. I’m from Florida. I get it. Paradise shared. It takes it’s toll..
I called home. Everybody and everything is fine. All my worrying for nothing. As usual.
We purchased a couple silver trinkets and headed back on board for for some quiet time and sun bathing. Ice cream for lunch, an early dinner and we were back in the cabin for an 8:30 showing of Bridge of Spies. It was good. I think. I fell fast asleep about twenty minutes in. But it was Tom Hanks, so I’m pretty sure it was good.
So today, were here in Costa Maya. It’s beautiful. We’re currently paying eight bucks apiece for diet cokes. And wifi. A quick check of e mails, texts. Everything is fine. Still! A peek at Facebook. A blog post.
No time to proof read, we’re off for a swim in the blue waters of Costa Maya. I’m starting to get a hang of this ‘ letting go’ thing!
Until next time…..