We’re all at sea

Every day the ship prints out a list of all the goings on that passengers can attend—the “Princess Patter.” I of course, having a hard time remembering the name, just call it the pitter patter. I had no idea what to expect of these events before we boarded, this being our first cruise and all. Everything from learning ballroom dancing to bingo to lectures on buying diamonds, we giggled at some of the offerings and were genuinely interested in others. Always, they try to get you to buy a $6.75 drink at these things. We tried to map out a schedule for the day: start off at the gym, take a dip in one of the hot tubs, have lunch, go to a rumba class, get dressed up for formal night.

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The gym didn’t go so well because all of the treadmills were closed due to a lecture on weight loss. This seemed like a mixed message to me, although perhaps the gym director didn’t want someone my size on the treadmill anyway because it would make working out seem hopeless to fat people. We went straight to the next goal on our itinerary, the hot tub. That was a relaxing experience until the boat hit some choppier water, and then the water inside the tub was splashing all over. Susanne said she was starting to feel like she was being thrown about at sea. We changed, and had lunch.

There are many, many options for eating at sea. Because there are two buffets open 24/7, if one wanted to eat all day and all night, they could achieve success. But the buffets are not filled with the foodstuffs I’d imagined. I guess I’d pictured piles of Alaskan king crab and other regional seafood, something like a fancy cafeteria. Instead it was more like the catering Susanne’s college prepares, complete with those perfectly round, kind of bland cookies for dessert. How can anyone make a bland chocolate chip cookie, anyhow?

The dining rooms serve much better fare, and Susanne has discovered a favorite dessert: the Love Boat Dream, a chocolate mousse (in the shape of a heart), over a chocolate brownie (in the shape of a heart), served with raspberry sauce (in the shape of a heart). It is demonstrated in the following picture.

shipboard desserts

We’ve walked around all of the ship now, save a room or two, and have gotten pretty familiar with where everything is, but the going is a little difficult for passengers. I’ve seen more than a few look frustrated and lost. In fact, of all the little annoyances we’ve encountered so far on this vacation, I’d say pushy passengers top my list.

First of all, they’re everywhere we go, except our cabin. There is simply nothing one can do without at least 38 other people being there, attempting to occupy the same physical space you are standing in. The elevator, the lecture on fruit carving, the spa giveaway bonanza—sometimes we’re so pressed up together I have to look around to make sure I’m not on a subway car heading to Foggy Bottom at rush hour. And many of them are just as rude as the day we checked in. I keep wanting to ask if they think their  bacon burger will taste so much better if they bite into it 30 seconds earlier because they skipped someone in line. Susanne is good at giving me those “settle down” looks though, which is good.

That’s not to say we haven’t met some jolly nice people on board, however. At one meal we sat with two older couples from New Jersey, who were unhappy with the matzoh ball soup at lunch.

“Mine is 100 times better,” she said, tasting the weak broth.

“Mine is 300 times better,” said her friend, after her bite.

I’m pretty sure she just said her matzoh ball soup is 200 times better than her friend’s, but I didn’t mention that. I just told them of course their soup is better than the boat’s soup, and they smiled, first at me, and then at Susanne, as if to say, Oh, he’s learning already, on your honeymoon, too. You’ll do just fine with him.

The day at sea was capped off with the first formal night of the week, so Susanne and I changed into our fanciest outfits: me in my tux and she in her wedding dress. Good thing it doesn’t look exactly like the typical wedding dress, so people weren’t thinking we were getting married there and then. We did have “Just Married” balloons outside our cabin, so there is that, I suppose. I feel a little like we’re lying, having gotten married last July, but this is our honeymoon, so close enough, I guess.

Everyone else was decked out in their finery, too, and Susanne remarked that maybe such a night is appealing because it’s fun to play dress up; we did look a little like extras on the set of Days of Our Lives. At one point we spied a few women who had little crinkled tinfoil doggie bags. One wore it like an edible bracelet. Susanne snapped a picture.

The waitstaff had been made aware of the honeymoon thing because we had a card to signal to them that this was a special night among nights. We were rewarded with our own little “special events” cake and a “happy honeymoon to you” song, sung to the tune of happy birthday to you. After three courses of dinner and dessert, we couldn’t even begin to eat cake, so we asked for a to go container, and were somewhat chagrined to see the waiter return with the cake in a tinfoil sculpture. Our very own cake bracelet.

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