PJ and I are off on a cruise this weekend in the Caribbean. My nephew decided he wanted to get hitched on a beach in St. Lucia. So, you know, family obligations.
Regardless, we are grateful to him and his future bride for giving us another excuse to spend a week with 3500 other people, closely billeted on the world’s largest floating septic tank, surpassed only by aircraft carriers.
The Caribbean islanders call these port-o-call stops “The Invasion of Very Large People Wearing White Nikes.” If you are not large when you board, you will be a few days later.
We are amazed that the happy couple has amassed so many close friends so quickly. I posted a special sign-up page on the Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas’ website for the “Hans & Tracey St. Lucia Wedding Excursion”. So far 2753 have accepted the invitation. It is a special surprise I arranged for my brother, Hans’ father.
Most importantly, as a veteran of three humongous-ship-cruises, I thought I would share some pre-cruise regimens I have found useful.
· Turn your air conditioner down to 70 degrees. Stay in the house for half an hour, then, if you live in a warmer climate*, go outside for half an hour. Return to your house and repeat this ritual several times a day for the next three days. If you catch a cold…don’t come. If you don’t, you will have built up enough immunity for the cruise. *If from a colder climate, turn on your shower to high heat and stand in the middle of your bathroom without any fans running.
· Buy your favorite adult beverage and drink mass quantities of it over three hours. Vomiting is allowed – you’re in training. Repeat for the next four nights. The key object is to be able to find your key and your room at the end of the evening.
· If married or you have a roommate, move into about 200 square feet or less of space for the next several days. Perform basic living exercises while in the space. Try very hard not to get into each other’s face. Try to find a place to “contribute to the ambiance” discretely. Women will find this easier to do than men. While on the cruise your best bets are the balcony or the bathroom. If billeted in an inside cabin, you’re in foul-air jail.
· Try to go several days without roto-rootering your nose or scratching yourself in your nether region…in public. For guys this is actually impossible. The ship photographers seemingly take pictures of everything. They have no compunction about posting all photos on the ship’s gallery.
· Don’t be bothered that your stateroom attendant makes sculptures out of your pillows, towels or whatever he/she finds available. Hint – do not leave your underwear lying around. They are just angling for bigger tips.
· Visit your local flea market. Practice your negotiating skills. This will prepare you for the island stops and bizarre bazaars. On a cruise stop, paying more than half of the asking price is lame.
· Buy a calypso CD and Bobby Ferrin’s Don’t Worry, Be Happy. Practice your favorite Karaoke numbers to the beat of steel drums.
· Find a local all-you-can-eat buffet and visit it several times over the next few days. Consume mass quantities of everything. The goal is to stretch your stomach. Again, if you vomit, that’s fine. You are in training. Vomiting on the cruise, however, is not permitted, especially on the party balcony.
· Dust off your favorite resort attire and get in the mood early. Just don’t wear it in public. You neighbors will talk. On the cruise you will be part of the Brotherhood of Pasty-faced, and Pasty-legged Men Wearing Hawaiian Shirts.
If you follow these pre-cruise regimens, I guarantee that all will have a memorable time.