7:30 a.m. October 28. The Carnival Capers describes today as a "Fun Day at Sea." Due to Cozamel's being creamed by Hurricane Wilma and Carnival's not feeling obligated to give us the promised three days at ports, there will be two of these beauties back to back as we ever-so-slowly and ever-so-storm-tossed-ly creep back to Galveston. Tropical Storm Beta is predicted to be right behind us.
This morning, however, the sea is calm enough for comfort. No sun, but that's ok with me. And there are three or four games scheduled, so there could be an opportunity for another ship on a stick. And the food, of course. Lots of food. We haven't availed ourselves of the free room service, so I'll have to get dressed now to get some coffee.
8:30 a.m. I had the coffee and, as long as I was there, six pieces of bacon, half a bagel with cream cheese and butter, a bowl of cantaloupe and grapefruit, and some Swiss cheese. Which brings us to the irony of my celebrating the 158th anniversary of the Donner Party famine with the recreational gluttony that is a major part of the cruise experience. For about a minute I thought "Gee, how am I going to write about this without making fun of the very overweight passengers?" And there are a lot of them. The answer was just too easy.
A little background regarding my own weight. My highest weight, achieved and maintained for about three years after I quit smoking in January of 1997, was 170. The average weight gain for someone who quits smoking is 8 pounds. I gained 31. Back in the bad old days, I used to say "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing," laugh heartily, light a cigarette and grab a beer. You adopt a mantra like mine and you don't have to examine yourself too closely.
Of course, excess tends to catch up with you one way or another and in 1982 I put down the beer and, 15 years later, the smokes. This left food. It wasn't quite on a par with the alcohol and tobacco, but if you eat enough of it, it does the job.
I don't remember when I decided that this last vice had to be dealt with, but it primarily had to do with the fact that both my parents had spent years prior to their deaths with adult onset diabetes, probably due mainly to overweight. I didn't want to go there if I could help it, so I joined Weight Watchers and lost 20 pounds then moved to Arizona and went to my low of 123. At the time of this cruise, I was back to 144, which is just a little overweight for a woman 5'3". I'm probably almost 10 pounds higher today.
From the moment I saw my first buffet here, I lost all resolve regarding eating sensibly. I had everything I wanted plus a big piece of chocolate mint gateaux and the only thing that has stopped me from having a high-calorie dessert at every single meal is that after some of them there just hasn't been any room for dessert. And I have yet to spend one minute on the exercise machines in the spa. I'm too full. Even the day that I spent so seasick, I managed to eat three full meals.
I am angry with myself for eating so much and mad at the cruise for making it so easy to do.
2:30 p.m. I have another ship on a stick but this one wasn't as fun to win--it wasn't a real contest, just an opportunity to get on a stage with a bunch of other not-shy people and act up for trophies. There's another event at 3:45 but I think I have exhausted all my look-at-me for the day.
8:20 p.m. Tomorrow is going to be a lot like today, I believe, and then we get to Galveston Sunday and I leave for home the next day. I'll be ready. You can add Carnival Fun Ships to the bagpipes and roller coasters that will make up my personal hell. Incidentally, it's not rough seas so I might be able to get through this with only the one day of debilitating seasickness! (This doesn't count the days of mere queasiness, which means all the others.) I'm on my way to see tonight's "Las Vegas-Style Entertainment." These shows are good for what they are, but fall somewhere between "Waiting for Guffman" and really professional. I've heard they are better on other cruise lines, but I'll never find out unless I behave very badly in this life and in that case I won't be able to report back.
Day Six, Gulf of Mexico - 11:30 a.m. Diane is at the disembarkation lecture downstairs. She wanted me to go, too, just in case there was a way to go through customs a day early. I told her that they would never do that because it could cut into last day souvenir purchases. Carnival is even breaking into CNN on the in-cabin televisions in order to advertise the fact that you, too, can own Carnival bedding of your very own, apply for a Carnival Master Card, and/or join the Carnival President's Wine Club. Being on this cruise really is like being trapped in an infomercial. Thirty more minutes until lunch. I'll take the edge off by eating the chocolates I saved from last night.
Final day. Carnival warned us over the loudspeaker that the disembarkation process might be a little disorganized due to their unfamiliarity with docking in Galveston (this cruise normally would have left from New Orleans), and disorganized it was. It took us six hours to get off the boat from the time we were told to leave our rooms. But it is over now. I'm even home.
So, I know now what cruising is all about even though I have been assured by many onboard the Conquest/Poseidon that Carnival cruises are the Greyhound buses of the Caribbean and I might like some other lines much better. I wouldn't. For one thing, even the best ones involve boats and water. I prefer driving or flying. Driving is more interesting, flying is fast, and I have never been on a road trip or flight during which I put on eight pounds.
Oh yes, and about those trophies--they were worthless. Suggesting that they would have value at the end of the voyage must have been a lie told for the purpose of making people want to be in the stupid games.