Until last week, I had taken exactly one cruise in my life, back in 2010 with my ex-wife, a five-day excursion to the Bahamas. It was fun, but not all that memorable.
Last Friday morning I stepped aboard a Royal Caribbean ship and once again sailed on the high seas. This was very different in most ways, except, remarkably, I just checked our itinerary from 2010 and it was almost exactly the same.
A big difference, of course, is that I have two little humans I helped create who came with me and my wife Shelley, and that made the cruise challenging and fun.
A few thoughts from our excursion at sea…
— The Royal Caribbean was, of course, enormous, bigger than anything our kids had ever been on. A majority of their fun on the cruise was just running up and down the long passageways on each deck, since you can run forever and not hit anything. The 5-year-old also really loved that we were sleeping and moving at the same time, and that he got to ride the elevators and push floor buttons a billion times (he doesn’t get to do that much since we moved out of the city and to the suburbs).
— Quality of the service was excellent; everywhere you turned around there was an employee offering to get you something or help you with something. What was interesting to me was that they didn’t put out all the food items they had; a couple of times we asked for things like bananas which weren’t among the 100 food items at the buffet, and then suddenly it appeared when we asked for it.
— The temperature of the ocean water in the Bahamas made our 5-year-old be kinda amazed. He’s used to the freezing-cold ocean temps in New York, so when we stuck our feet into the Atlantic one day in Nassau, Bahamas and it was as warm as bathwater, he was like “Whoa!” It was awesome.
— Excellent food and entertainment throughout the three day cruise; On the last night several waiters in one of the ship’s dining rooms performed a rousing song and dance medley for the hundreds of customers, finishing with a slightly-risque version of “Gangham Style” that they put their heart and soul into. It was … something.
— Under the category of perhaps TMI for you, dear readers, I suffered a first in my many years of traveling the country and the world as an adult on this trip: I actually forgot to pack underwear.
Don’t worry, I didn’t go commando for the whole trip (that might not have gone over well). Happily, there was a Ross for Less store a mile from our hotel in Orlando where we stayed the night before the cruise, and I happily overpaid for some boxer briefs.
Underwear is always the first thing I pack. Not sure how I forgot that one. Anyway, one to grow on.
–Finally, this had nothing to do with the cruise but is one thing from the whole journey I’ll remember for a while: Monday morning in the Orlando airport, I was looking to buy a pack of gum, as I always chew a piece when I’m on a plane that’s taking off or landing, to help with the ear-popping thing.
Couldn’t find any at the first store, nor the second. My wife then asked an employee of the store why we couldn’t find gum, and she said that it’s against the rules to sell gum at the Orlando airport. Something about cleanliness, and having problems with people leaving gum everywhere.
Literally, you cannot buy gum at the airport in Orlando. Mind-boggling. And really annoying. Any other airports have this crazy rule?
**Next up today, “Saturday Night Live” had its season premiere last Saturday night, and as much as I’m not usually a fan of hers, Maya Rudolph absolutely killed it as California Senator Kamala Harris.
In a guest cast that included Larry David as Bernie Sanders and Woody Harrelson as Joe Biden (come on SNL, you can do better than Woody as Biden), Rudolph was fantastic, especially in this clip above.
I’m still hoping Kamala can get her poll numbers up after a very poor summer that’s making me rethink her chances, and hopefully if she does, we get more Maya Rudolph playing her. This is almost as good as Tina Fey doing Palin back in 2008.
**And finally, this is a great example of a reporter asking a “seemingly dumb” question that actually gets a great response.
In a postgame session after the Houston Texans lost to the Carolina Panthers Sunday, a reporter asked star quarterback Deshaun Watson why he didn’t take more shots downfield.
And Watson, after at first seeming bemused by the question, calmly explained exactly what the Panthers defense was doing Sunday.
A major lesson to reporters out there, one I learned early in my career: Don’t be afraid to ask simple questions.