Baby's First Cruise I'm on

by francine Hardaway on September 25, 2006

Baby’s First Cruise

I’m on a boat in the middle of the ocean. How did I get here? Who am I? If you keep reading, you may witness my adjustment to the first cruise of my life. Some of it isn’t pretty. No one tells you about the minor details of cruises. It’s like the minor details of recovery after surgery. People who do this have selective amnesia after it’s over. They may remember the ports, but I bet they try to forget the boat.

I’ve travelled the world, but never in a structured situation where they tell you to dress for dinner, sit you down at an assigned time that is past your bed time, and prohibit you from wearing jeans to the dining room for fear you will spoil the ambience (of people wearing rented formal wear and dresses from Ross). Coming on top of the trip to Barcelona, the cruise was a real shocker.

Street life in Barcelona is wonderful. Last night we ate outdoors at a tapas bar and watched the performance artists, the musicians and the other tourists. Every cruise seems to dock at Barcelona, and it’s a big corporate destination, so it is always crowded. This morning, we woke up and took a taxi to Starbucks, of course (I try to find the Starbucks everywhere I go, to see how well the culture transfers. Unbelievably, it usually does. From Rotorua, New Zealand to Shanghai to Barcelona, I get the same coffee frappacino, sit in the same chair, and watch the same people go through the coffee line.

Then took another taxi all the way across Barcelona to Tibidabo, an amusement park on top of a mountain that reveals a magnificent view of all of the city. Barcelona is BIG. It’s the second largest city in Spain, soon to become the first. I found it impressive. It also convinced us that although we’d gone all around the city the day before on a bus, we really hadn’t seen a thing. I was ready to make a list.

But we had to leave. Full of anticipation, we set off for the pier. From the moment I looked at the boat, it didn’t look friendly. Lifeboats, portholes, small windows –eeeeek! My daughter was equally (if not more) anxious. When we boarded, it got worse. We found ourselves in a room the size of the bathroom I’m redoing at my California house (not a big room), with two twin beds covered with Euro shams. Euro shams are the square pillows they put on beds that are too narrow for real pillows. I’ve been on trains in India that were more commodious. And we’re in Concierge Class.

Quickly we realized that if my daughter wanted to get to the bathroom, I would have to stand on the bed to give her room on the floor to pass. We contemplated getting off. Was it worth $5000 to leave the cruise right here and now? We thought it probably was. But because we were with a group of friends, we were chicken to do it.

We collapsed on the bed in gales of laughter, imagining ourselves abandoning the cruise before it sailed, or perhaps after the first night. Then the lifeboat drill began. My daughter opted for unconsciousness, telling me not to wake her for anything. I skipped the drill. I’m a big risk taker. Face it, if we get into a lifeboat, either my seat cushion will be a flotation device, or it will not.

I was all alone in the universe. And then the sucker started to MOVE. Our boat pass ed another boat, and all the passengers on our boat screamed at the strangers on the other one. Who were these people, and were they adults?

I walked out into the corridor. Thank God I ran into a friend immediately. She invited me to the room of another friend, where about ten of the people I paid to spent this week with were drinking champagne. I began to feel better. Sort of. This sucker is still moving. And the Internet is $.75 a minute. At that rate, it’s more expensive than the spa treatments.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mcgill June 29, 2007 at 2:22 am

Thanks for sharing with us an interesting voyage with a funny concierge :)

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