[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false] The world’s largest, in fact.
Remember when people were, like, super excited to board the Titanic, because (at the time) it was the world’s largest passenger ship and Leonardo DiCaprio was on board? I totally know how those people felt. Except that I survived, and I didn’t lose my favorite necklace, and fortunately (the even more handsome than Leonardo) Nick D’Not Caprio on board. Last week, I enjoyed an incredible week aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas with Nick and two of his friends. I had never been on a cruise before, so I really didn’t know what to expect (even though I had spent approximately 89 hours creeping through other people’s flickr photos and spent each evening for the past 4 months playing multiple rounds of 20 questions with Nick).
What are the odds I fall overboard? What if I get seasick? Has anyone ever been murdered on a cruise ship? Would I be able to eat any of the food? What if I get off the boat, but then get distracted and it leaves without me? Where is my passport? What should I pack? Where can I find SPF 55 sunblock in November in Boston? Should I bring this dress? Ok, what about this one? Can Clark come? Why not? Do they have Diet Coke on board? Who is driving the boat? Will you paaaaaaalease stop asking ridiculous questions? (That last one was Nick’s.)
We flew to Fort Lauderdale via Memphis last Saturday, which was basically a high point in my life, because I could finally sing Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis” with some real conviction. We actually touched down in the land of the Delta blues in the middle of the pouring rain. Once we got to Florida, I was sweating in my yoga pants. I had forgotten what 40+ temperatures felt like. The boarding process was quick and painless– we were on the boat in no time. I was sort of overwhelmed, there was so much to see. So I did what any freshly-on-vacation-vacationer-person might, and ordered the drink of the day. Yowza. And then I learned my lesson and ordered a Diet Coke (yes, they do have them).
We checked out our stateroom and balcony– it was far bigger than I had imagined. I guess I didn’t need to practice sleeping, eating and changing in our front hall closet, after all. Live and learn, my friends. We enjoyed the view as Floridians gathered on the jetty to wave the boat out to sea.
We enjoyed Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday on the Oasis of the Seas. Monday was spent in Haiti, while Thursday and Friday were spent in Mexico. During our days at sea, I think we did a pretty good job taking advantage of all the ship had to offer. Stacey and I took two yoga classes in the Vitality at Sea fitness center, and later in the week Nick and I hit up the spa for a massage and manicure/pedicure, respectively. We also made use of the running track and treadmills (apparently marathon training does not go on vacation)– nothing will ever compare to turning the track corner to catch my first view of Haiti. It felt like my heart was opening up and I forgot for a minute that I was running. I just felt a pang of wanting to be back in that moment. Please excuse me. I am a cheeseball. But you knew that.
For entertainment, we drank more drinks of the day. Oh, and we went to a few shows. We saw Hairspray, Come Fly With Me, and the Royal Players’ Throw Me a Line improv show. Tim entered the International Bellyflop Contest… and lost… but he did it with style. We explored the ship’s sprawling gardens at Central Park, enjoyed a beer at the Rising Tide– a bar that travels between floors not unlike a giant bartender-equipped elevator, soaked up the sun on the upper decks, and soaked in a hot tub overlooking the Caribbean. I took a nap nearly every afternoon. I read a whole book. I beat Nick at Suduko twelve times. I gained 5 pounds (they’re gone already– perhaps it was all the sea water I swallowed?).
The food (which is where I presume the lbs actually came from) was pretty great. There weren’t a ton of options for picky vegetarians, but I always found something to enjoy. Dinners were particularly good. Our service was impeccable. I looked forward to seeing Etem and Raj each night, and not just because they had rolls and hot tea waiting for me. I missed dinner one night due to feeling like I might be dying (was it the rum punch, or the looming ear infection?… we may never know), so the lovely waiters sent Nick back to our stateroom with a piping hot bowl of linguine for me. In addition to the dining room (isn’t it fun dressing for dinner?), we enjoyed a spectacular dinner at Izumi and several lunches at Johnny Rocket’s. I invented a new, improved way to enjoy my grilled cheeses with tomatoes: add pickles. You’re welcome.
I wasn’t planning on touring the medical facilities (really, who does?), but I found myself way down on Deck 2 mid-week when I could no longer stand the pain in my right ear. I think it got filled with sand, salt water, a small anchor, three sea urchins, and several flip flops while I was body surfing in the waves off the coast of Labadee. I was promptly seen by the doctor who examined both ears, admonished me for trying to cure myself using excessive force and Q-Tips, hugged me (normally this would freak me out to no end, but it was surprisingly welcomed and comforting) and told me I was very nice. And then she gave me ear drops and Advil and sent me back to the sun deck.
It would seem life on the high seas is much more than all-you-can-eat buffets, bingo and towel animals. The amenities (and anemones) were fabulous, but it was the people– both those that I arrived with and those who were waiting aboard– who made last week the amazing time that it was. And as incredible as our time on the ship was, our time in Haiti, Tulum, and Costa Maya was absolutely surreal. I can’t wait to tell you about that. But I will. Because I presume you’re sick of me… and there is no medical facility at On Tap for Today.
Also On Tap for Today:
Have you cruised before? What did you like best?