Thursday, December 07, 2017

First Cruise

For all cruisers out there, (and if you’re reading this there’s good chance I’m addressing you), I’m sure your very first cruise holds a special place in your heart.  There was something about that experience that hooked you, and you’ve been taking cruise vacations ever since. For me it was a cruise aboard the Carnival Holiday in 1988 to celebrate our 5-year wedding anniversary.

Everything about this ship, the itinerary, and the people we encountered was nothing less than stellar! We met a couple at dinner that we hit it off with immediately, and the four of us ate, drank and explored the Caribbean together for a week.  We kept in touch with them for many years after. 

The recollection of our first muster drills and photos we took modeling our life jackets still makes me smile.  I don’t think standing on deck in the strong Florida sun wearing that padded vest bothered me back then.  It was a necessary preparation for the exciting days ahead.

I recall the sympathetic dining room waiter that brought me crackers and a lemon when he noticed my complexion to be an odd shade of green that first evening and an extra dessert the following night when I was feeling so much better.

There was an area at the top of this Carnival ship that was roped off with a sign restricting the area for topless sunbathers (anyone else remember that?). Although it was probably a place where hubby would have liked to spend some time, we instead settled ourselves on loungers at the main pool where we were entertained by the men’s hairy leg contest, the cannonball contest and a crazy, corny cruise director.

We patiently awaited midnight with our cameras, ready to capture images of the mile-long buffet of food.  Fruit carved into flowers, braided breads, carving stations of turkey, beef, and pork and zillions of desserts including chocolate cakes, chocolate cookies, chocolate puddings, chocolate fondues, chocolate ice cream….

Themed menus, singing waiters, and collecting glasses from the drink of the day were all important parts of this week-long party at sea.  And on one special night in the dining room they dimmed the lights, turn up the music and the waiters marched around the dining room with trays of flaming Baked Alaska lifted high for all to see! I was mesmerized!

So much of the cruise vacation experience has changed over the years.  It’s not better or worse, more fun or less fun- just different, but we still love it.  Next year hubby and I will celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary on a cruise ship yet undecided. However, its come to my attention that Carnival Cruise Line is reintroducing Baked Alaska and as is the tradition, uniformed waiters will once again parade the confection through the main dining room prior to serving. That just may sway my decision. 

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