Many “real” travelers poo pooh cruises, saying cruising is a form of cheating.
Well, I consider myself a real traveler, and I have enjoyed cheating nine times. Ok, I enjoyed seven of the nine.
My latest cruise, around South America, may very well be my last sea cruise.
Of the 2,100 passengers on this two-week cruise, over 500 were children. Children with parents who apparently told them to go have fun and leave the folks alone. So the ship was overwhelmed with unsupervised and uncontrolled miniature humans who formed little terrorist pods, determined to have their own kind of fun.
I could sympathize with those parents.
I, too, wanted to enjoy a stress-free two-week vacation. But it ended up that everyone else on the ship became the babysitters to these unruly mobs. Mobs who spat (sometimes literally) in our faces when we tried to regain calm.
Mini mobs who overtook the elevators, sprawled on the floor and wouldn’t let anyone on as they rode up and down to each call.
Mini mobs who cut lines to order their hot chocolates and ice creams, and when asked to get in the queue, remarked, “we don’t have to. Watch.” And they would then get served as we stood dumbfounded while the staff shrugged and served them.
Mini mobs who played video games, at high volume, in every single lounge, bar and relaxation area on the ship. When asked if they would please turn down the volume? We were lucky if the response was a smug, “nope.”
And then the teenagers who got a kick, literally, out of charging up and down the hallways after midnight to bang on our doors…then disappear down the stairwells.
This is a mere sampling.
We all complained, to the point that the staff would sadly shake their heads as we approached, “yes, it’s awful. There’s nothing we can do.”
I didn’t enjoy being a captive in my cabin for two weeks, just to avoid abusive children. I ended up using room service for almost all of my meals, as my few early ventures involved child abuse. Children abusing ME. As the parents completely ignored the extra bread landing in my water, the cloth napkin snapping the back of my head and the non-stop chatter, and sipped their wine. When I asked if they could keep their children away from my table, all I got was a dirty look.
At every port I got off of the ship and explored the city. And I loved each and every one, but there were 500+ uncaged beasts who also got off at every port, and they had a LOT of energy to expend. Everywhere I went I was accompanied by grabby little hands and screaming, running, hopping, bouncing maniacs.
In the end, Celebrity did offer me $500 toward a future cruise, but at this point I don’t plan to return to Celebrity…or any other ocean cruise line.
But have I disavowed cruising once before…after my very first cruise. It was a three-day Ensenada party boat on Carnival, and I had an innie-innie-innie-down-down-down room (translation: in the bowels of the ship, no window, next to the elevator shaft). It was a drunken barf-a-thon(g) and escaping to my room was dismal.
One year later, a client gave me a seven-day trip to Mexico in a room with a balcony, and while there was plenty of wild drinking, it wasn’t at all like the three day binge. We visited Puerto Vallarta and swam with dolphins, Mazatlan to ride horses on the beach, and Cabo San Lucas to go sailing and snorkeling.
I was then hooked on cruising, loving the idea of unpacking once and visiting various cities to decide which one to visit later at a more leisurely pace.
And I haven’t given up on River cruises at all. If you haven’t tried those, I strongly recommend you do. The ships are much smaller (about 150 passengers), more personal, sometimes less expensive (at least for a solo traveler, as they don’t charge a single supplement) and the ships usually dock in cities rather than ports. And because you’re on a river, you’re viewing historic little burgs and big cities, active farmland, and bustling LIFE the entire journey rather than a lot of open ocean.
I’ll end by saying the South America cruise wasn’t a total bust.
I sat in a little bistro for a traditional Buenos Aires Tango Show (which is much more passionate and assertive than on Dancing With the Stars), waddled with Magellan penguins, visited Eva Perón’s crypt, attended a Chilean rodeo (my photo, above, is one of the cowboy’s actual spurs, which he’d slip into a wooden stirrup), drank some excellent Chilean Bordeauxs, discovered that the Uruguayan countryside rivals Tuscany with it’s rolling hills of olive trees and vineyards (their oils and wines ain’t too shabby either). And I cruised around Cape Horn and witnessed South America’s shrinking glaciers and fjords, with whales dancing in the water around me.
So, don’t cry for me, Argentina.
#Celebrity #cruises #south America #