10 a.m. It is Day 3 onboard the Carnival Poseidon and I am savoring every minute knowing that after this cruise I never ever have to be on one of these things again unless the melting of the polar icecap means that there isn't a speck of dry land anywhere. And in that case there would still be the suicide option so I would still never have to be on one of these things again. I'm not going to bother you with the story about how I got here. It doesn't matter.
On Sunday, my friend Diane and I arrived at the ship around noon, the time at which the boat was supposed to start loading. It took quite a while to check in and go through a security check (not exactly like the airports, but still time consuming) and then we were directed to the back of the line for the actual loading. While walking, we passed a room full of chairs where those who were even earlier than we were sat waiting. Some had been there since 9 a.m. and looked like it. In fact, the whole scene had the ambience of an airline terminal waiting for the snow to melt or the fog to lift or the strike to end.
We stood and waited, sat on the floor and waited, waited and waited. Diane mentioned that she was hungry but hadn't brought anything, assuming that bringing snacks to a cruise ship would have been a serious case of coals to Newcastle. I said something loudly like "I'd be happy if we just had those little chex mix things that Southwest gives you." A boy of about ten jumped up from middle of the floor where he and his family were playing cards, reached in his backpack and handed me his little chex mix thing from their Southwest flight. I ate it.
A woman from the cruise line came by with an itinerary change. Instead of visiting Cozumel, which was still being torn to smithereens by Hurricane Wilma, we would be at sea an extra day. We would still be going to Jamaica and Grand Cayman Island. "What?" you are saying, "You went on a cruise during a hurricane?" Oh, yes. It was very reasonable. They charge less for cruises that are taken during the most active hurricane season ever recorded.
At 2 p.m. the line finally began to move and by 3 p.m. we were aboard. Part of the delay in the line was due to Carnival's insistance that all passengers pose for embarkation photos that they would later try to sell to them. Then, further along, you had to be photographed again for some sort of security purpose.
Those first pictures, which you will never see since I did not buy them, were Carnival's initial attempt at extortion and the fact that we weren't even on the boat yet tells you something.
We went directly to our room, a nice Lido Deck room with balcony, where two-thirds of our luggage had already arrived. I can't fault the accommodations--the room is nice by any standards, spotlessly clean, quiet, and cozy. We freshened up and headed for the luncheon buffet, which was terrific. Any intention I had of staying on my diet here vanished.
After lunch, we went back to our room and unpacked our luggage. There was plenty of storage in the room and even Diane, who does NOT travel light, was able to unpack everything.
The boat left port around 7 p.m., I believe.
By then it was time for dinner and there were no dress requirements for the main dining room, so we ate there. Another great meal.
I slept well that first night but Diane's bed apparently had a low side and a high side.
In the morning, I got up alone, Diane having finally fallen asleep, and immediately noticed that in spite of the huge size of the ship, we were doing some serious bouncing around. By the time I got out of the shower, I was feeling queasy. By the time I was back from breakfast, I was green. By the time Diane woke up, I was back in bed in a fetal position watching the horizon through the stateroom window and trying to not throw up. I got up for lunch and went back to bed. Got up for dinner and went back to bed. I couldn't even read or write--everything made it worse. If I had been offered a pill that would render me senseless for the next five days, I'd have taken it. I had thoughts like "I wonder how much it costs to fly to Texas from Jamaica?"
But this is Day 3 and the seas are calmer and I am not green. I feel so good that I am ready to take on some of the shipboard competitions. One of them, The Battle of the Sexes, begins at 11:00 so I had better sign off for now.
8:00 p.m. I won! I won! I am the greatest of them all, women rule - men drool! It was a trivia contest and the questions weren't really easy but I did know most of the answers to the questions the other people were asked and ALL of the answers to the questions I was asked and that's what it takes to win. Someone stopped me this evening and told me how smart I was. I said that it really wasn't about being smart--it was about being able to be smart when someone says "Be smart." Different skill set.
They said that the "ship on a stick" (my very first trophy ever) would prove to be a very desireable thing at the end of the cruise. Maybe it gives you a chance to win a free one!