To Cruise or Not to Cruise

February 14th, 2013

Over the weekend, my in-laws proposed a trip to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.  This trip won’t happen for over a year, so there is time to plan.

That’s good since the top suggestion was that we all go on a cruise.

At first, I was all for it.  Years ago, my husband and I took our oldest son on a Disney Cruise, and we all really enjoyed it.  At least, we loved it while we were there and shortly after we returned, but since that trip, my husband’s happy memories seem to have faded and now he seems 100% against doing it again.

As we discussed this trip option, I did everything I could to convince him what “fun” we would all have.  Disney Cruises are great for families because the ship is separated into adult, teen, and kids areas.  Everyone can find something they like to do, and unless a member of your party jumps, falls, or is pushed overboard, it seems safe.

That’s not to say that a cruise isn’t without its issues—even a “good” cruise.  For example, I found sleeping to be tough.  I could have handled it better if the bed would just stop moving. I don’t have much trouble falling asleep in a plane, train, or car (except when I’m driving fortunately).  A ship is an entirely different matter.

On our particular cruise, there was also the issue of the Norwalk virus.  Just before we left, an outbreak of that diarrhea inducing ailment struck the Disney Magic.  We were on the Disney Wonder, but evidently the crew of our ship wasn’t about to take any chances.  I’ve never seen so many antibacterial wipes in one place in my life.

We also had the unusual experience of being onboard at the same time as former President George H. W. Bush, Barbara Bush, Governor Jeb Bush, and pretty much the rest of the Bush family except for George W. and Laura.  That meant that a navy helicopter rode alongside our ship and divers inspected the ship every time we went into port.  As I told my husband, “We’re the safest ship at sea and the biggest target.”

Overall, I’d give the trip an “A” which is why the other day I was willing to do it all again.

That’s until I heard that the Carnival Triumph cruise ship was floating in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico like a discarded paper cup littering a lake.  Since then, things have improved slightly.  The ship is now being pulled by tugboats to Mobile, Alabama.  Mobile is a perfectly nice town, but it’s not usually on the list of Ports of Call for one of these cruises.

When I say conditions are “improving,” that means they’re actually going somewhere and not just floating aimlessly in the Gulf.  From what I’ve read, it’s still very hot onboard, passengers line up for hours for an onion sandwich, and raw sewage is seeping up through drain holes in passenger cabins.  Some witnesses claim that the ship smells like a “floating outhouse.”

Maritime laws are tricky and not worth going into here.  Suffice it to say, once you board one of these big beautiful ships, you’re pretty much agreeing to be at the mercy of whatever fate befalls you.  Maybe I just overthink things, but I really don’t think I could have much fun on a vacation that ended with me shouting, “Hallelujah!  I survived!”

This doesn’t mean I won’t go on another cruise.  If you come back in one piece, for the most part, they are fun.  I’m just not sure I’ll be ready to go in the next couple of years.

Every day the dude ranch my in-laws mentioned as an alternative looks better and better.

Now if I only knew how to ride a horse.