We have returned!
As previously reported, we brazenly laughed in the face of odds (and disaster flicks) and embarked on a Carnival cruise. Surprisingly (sadly?) there was nary a floating turd on the Lido Deck so we will never be lifetime travelers courtesy of the cruise line. Ah well.
But, as duly noted on my Facebook status, we arrived home sufficiently brown, shamefully bloated and very, very broke (bar tab? No thank you. I’d rather just write out my daughter’s college tuition check since it pales in comparison).
Honestly, it was a trip. A flipping hilarious, can’t-make-this-stuff-up trip.
If you think the best part about departing on a ship right out of the New York harbor was our cost-saving on airfare, you’d be brilliant, alas incorrect. Saving money is superb but vacationing with 95% of passengers hailing from New York or New Jersey trumps just about everything.
The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire!
It was a joyous freak show of continuous people watching and I actually found myself jotting notes on napkins so I wouldn’t forget any of the details. I’ve got to be good for at least two more full-length blogs but we’ll see how this goes.
Now don’t lick the stamp on that hate letter just yet. I happen to be a born and bred Long Island girl myself — as was my sailing partner/former college roommate, Betsy. We were amongst our people. We were one of them. We had the right to mock.
And mock we did.
Maybe I could just get started on some bullet points:
* 2600 passengers on a ship and no less than 2500 tattoos. So much ridicule, so little time…
For me, the whole tattoo thing is a perpetual head-shake. 20-somethings with deep, philosophical verses (or rap lyrics) emblazoned in calligraphy all over their body? Really? You’ve already got everything figured out so decided to spell it out in a line from “Fight Club” or a Ne-Yo song? Good idea. Idiot.
And the middle-aged woman sitting at the bar with the face of Tony Orlando on her right shoulder? Hmm. You might guess we barely had anything at all to say about THAT.
Or the guy with the faces of different Transformers on the backs of each calf? Nope. Just don’t get it.
The clear winner, though: The creepy, skinny guy with G-O-D-S G-I-F-T written across his knuckles. (Mom, what do you think of my new boyfriend?) Stupidity on parade.
I could’ve easily ignored my party of eleven for the whole week just watching the tats go by. (Again, let’s go easy on the hate mail. My husband just got his first tattoo after running the NYC Marathon this year. He rocks. And his tattoo is the bomb. But to be fair, I’d mock Tony Orlando on him, too.)
* The food thing.
It’s actually easy to keep the pounds off while cruising if you simply follow some obvious rules:
First, simply glance around the dining room at everyone eating as if it’s their last meal. All day long.
Or, grab a seat directly across from the old man with the tracheotomy netting politely covering his well, tracheotomy, because it turns out he will, in fact, start coughing if when something gets stuck in it. Kinda makes you put down the danish if you know what I mean.
If all else fails, park your lounge chair next to the deli station that’s poolside. Besides the fact that nothing screams We Are New York!, Dammit! like the lofty smell of sauerkraut all afternoon, you may even find yourself sick to death of Ruebens by Day 2 (unless of course you’re a 14-year-old boy — then you’ll still be eating three daily up until disembarkment). At the very least, sticking poolside and watching people eat in their bathing suits is calorie counting at its most efficient.
* Interesting people abound.
Good grief, I could go on and on with stories about all the fascinating folks I stared at for eight days but I shall end with the best (and maybe continue on with others in my next installment).
We spotted The Most Intriguing Man on Board the first day at sea.
Now, if you combine Samuel L. Jackson, Issac Hayes and Linc from the Mod Squad, you might come close to how coolly intimidating this guy was. Completely (awesomely) tattooed (including his bald head – I’m telling you: BADass. There was NO mocking here), he was walking around with neon colored bungee cords slung over his shoulder. Not the stupid little kind your husband keeps in the garage “just in case” but enormous 8-feet-long ones with bright brass hooks. We assumed he was a maintenance worker because he was shirtless, with jeans rolled up to his knees and work boots. But THEN we caught sight of him that night, strolling into the adult comedy show wearing (and I don’t even think I can adequately provide a proper visual here) a bright red shirt, equally bright red PANTS, and a glittery jeweled belt, smack dab in the center. Like an international man of mystery: we couldn’t take our eyes off him.
Next day, there he was, strolling with his bungees again. At this point we were beside ourselves with curiosity (you know, because there were few others on board to fixate on. Laugh.)
Fast forward another day, another few buckets of beer and POOF! He’s hanging poolside. My gal Betsy made a beeline. It needed to be revealed: FortheloveofGod, she questioned, why the bungees???
They were (wait for it) his on-board workout routine. In the coming days he went on to delight us by actually doing his resistance training routines on the deck rails above us because – along with being the Most Intriguing Man on Board, he was also a cool, good guy and seemed happy to accommodate our shallow lives by providing a little spark. Don. From Brooklyn. The Man.
I haven’t even gotten through half of my napkin notes yet …
(… to be continued …) (obvs)
Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was featured in the 2014 Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements. (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore). A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook. and@Eyerollingmom on Instagram.