Every other year around this time, which would be the years that I don’t have my children with me for Thanksgiving, I go on a cruise.
At first, these cruises were just me and my husband getting away for a quick jaunt over to the Bahamas.
Over the past couple of years, the holiday cruise has grown to include as many as 12 of our friends. It’s a wonderful stress-free way to decompress after Thanksgiving and relax prior to the holiday season.
(My husband’s restaurant is crazy this time of year. This trip helps keep him sane. Barely.)
Which is how I found myself boarding a ship in Miami last Friday afternoon with my husband and four of our friends.
I’ve been on so many cruises that I can’t even count them. Since I met my husband ten years ago, I’ve been on at least two per year. We live in South Florida so we have three ports to choose from and we can go last minute so we can take advantage of the deals.
But this was the first time I ever got motion sickness.
Friday night, my group met on Deck 14 in the cocktail lounge. Deck 14 is the highest point on the ship. And the sea was rough. I took two sips of my champagne and sat there in silence willing myself to feel better. But it didn’t work. And I was glad I hadn’t had anything to eat for a while. I went down to the Guest Relations desk and got in line with all of the other people waiting to get their free motion sickness medication. One women looked white as a bleached sheet.
My husband walked me back to the cabin, tucked me in to bed and went back out to dinner. Woe was me. But in the morning, I was feeling fine.
Unfortunately, the ocean was not. It was too rough to take a tender to the little island so the captain called off the day’s excursion. In exchange, we got to spend an extra night in Nassau. Which was a bonus for me. I love hanging out in Nassau. Going down to the Fish Fry. Eating grilled lobster and drinking Kalik Gold.
The next day, still docked in Nassau, the six of us headed off the ship to rent scooters. Three of them. And six helmets. The weather was absolutely perfect. Sunny and a little cool. We headed out west on the island. Three scooters, that had seen better days, in a line with the guys trying to remember to stay on the left hand side of the road, even when going around the roundabouts. Our first stop was at a shack where Andy, the owner, whipped us up some potent, and tasty, fresh fruit daiquiris. I’d never seen the brand of rum that he used. I was a little concerned about the name of it but was particularly impressed that the rum was erotic.
Back on our scooters, we headed to a local rum distillery, called John Watling’s, that we found on one of our last trips there. We took the first timers on a little self-guided tour. And then enjoyed some Rum Dums prepared by master bartender Wilfred Sands, the man who invented the Rum Dum back in 1971. He frothed egg whites for his signature drink long before anyone was using egg whites in cocktails. He’s a sweetheart of a guy. I love his relaxed view on life. In the three times that we’ve been to Watling’s, Wilfred, Koko, Bryant and the rest of the staff have always been fun to chat up and they take good care of us.
(Watling’s doesn’t have US distribution for their rum. Yet. But it is amazing. Especially their Buena Vista rum. Aged 5 years. Sublime sipping.)
The last night on the ship, I got seasick again. Not as bad as the first night but enough so that I had to miss dinner and return to our cabin. I pulled out my copy of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and got engrossed in the evolving story. Which took my mind off of the rocking of the ship and my stomach.
By 10 o’clock the next morning, I was home with a load of laundry in the washer. Still swaying a little bit.
It was a great trip though I’m still kind of pissed that I missed two nights of dinner. Not so much for the food but for the raucous company in the dining room. I did manage to get some needed extra sleep. And lose a few pounds.
Not too many people can go on a cruise and say that they accomplished that. Bright side, baby.