Alaska rocks. Cruises suck. PART 1
June 3, 2014
Or as the people of Alaska say it…
So, today, IS the DAY that I talk ABOUT…
To layout it out for you, Danielle – the fiance – and I took a Celebrity cruise on their Solstice ship to Alaska. We started in Seattle, Washington and then sailed out to three different towns in Alaska then sailed back to Victoria, BC, Canada and, finally, back to Seattle. I’m going to do this in installments because I have a lot of shit to say or jokes or asides, so I’ll roll this out in three segments.
This was both of our first cruise experience. And, seemingly, our last. Hopefully, our last. I’m not going to deny that there outside forces in the world that could somehow lure us back on a cruise. Those outside forces could be a maniac with a gun that shoots radioactive spiders, for one. Another force could be a legit bored out of his or her mind billionaire who gives each Danielle and I millions of dollars to do another cruise again. Honestly, that sounds more like a “him” billionaire than a “her” billionaire. I just don’t see a woman billionaire getting THAT bored, you know. Either way… those are two scenarios that I could see us getting back onto a cruise boat for. Outside of those type of scenarios, I don’t see us venturing anywhere near the cruise docks in this lifetime or the next.
Going on cruises aka “cruising” – not the 1980 psychological thriller starring Al Pacino about catching a serial killer plaguing the underground gay S&M scene in New York City… and strangely actual “cruising” is more perverse than this movie – is really only for some people just like those leather bars I just mentioned. Some people like to cruise and generally those people continue to cruise and cruise and cruise and would cruise to the fucking grocery store if they could.
But if you’re not a “cruiser” then you’re just not a cruiser.
Cruising is a very particular way to travel. Living on a boat for a week is a very particular way to travel, obviously. Eating meal after meal on this boat. Sleeping on this boat. Getting drunk on this boat. Going to see “entertaining” shows on this boat. Swimming in a pool on this boat. And all the while, this boat is dressed up like an Atlantic City casino hotel. Because that’s exactly what it is… a floating Atlantic City hotel that is more like a prison because you do not get to pick and choose when you do the things you want to do – this boat chooses for you!
Danielle and I didn’t just stick our toe in the shallow end – no, we jumped headfirst into the deep end of this gay S&M Atlantic City floating hotel of “cruising” and we gave it a shot. It wasn’t all bad because…
WE SAW MOTHER F’N ALASKA!!!!!
Ok… let’s get the fuck into this already shall we?
The idea of going on this cruise kind of came out of nowhere. And, while we were both very wary of the whole thing – we kind of were like, “They’re not going to kill us, so that’s really all we have to fear, right?” So, we decided to do a cruise. To try it out. Almost to see what the big deal was with this odd subculture and also get to see the 49th state.
Standing in line on the docks in Seattle amongst the people who would fill up this giant 3000 person boat with us, it dawned on Danielle and I that we very well might be the sexiest fucking people boarding the damn boat. And, not necessarily because of our sexiness, but more so from the dearth of sexiness that everyone else was bringing with them onto the boat.
Sure, there were a few people here and there that were attractive, but it was very far and few between with I would guess the mean age being 67. There were people standing in line that I wasn’t 100% confident would live long enough to actual get on the boat. Thankfully, no medical emergencies arrived and we did end up on the ginormous boat after a couple of hours of checking in.
Once on the boat, the place looks and feels like an Atlantic City hotel casino. Or really any hotel casino, but there’s the nuvo whatever that AC has that is also slightly compact. I wouldn’t say Las Vegas just because Las Vegas is a wasteland, so those hotels could take up as much space as they want and they’re pretty much their on cities at this point. AC casinos are more like a small town, so that’s why I keep saying AC. It’s not just because I’m from Jersey.
With a drink package paid before, what else is there to do besides – drink? And by drink, I mean alcohol. There could be a rogue Amish person reading this blog that I’m trying to make understand, but whatever. Anyway! SHOTS! SHOTS! SHOTS! Yes, drinking is really the only to do because drinking a Jack Daniels and Coke costs just as much as drinking a Coke without Jack Daniels when you’ve got a drink package because in the world of this cruise boat soda is as precious a commodity as alcohol. So, why not drink? Why not add champagne to that orange juice? Why even have the orange juice? Why not drink red wine from the moment you arise to the moment you pass on an armchair in the third floor lobby with Shakira blaring and your purple teethed mouth hanging wide open? WHY NOT?!
So, we drank. We drank quite a bit. Or at least I did on the first “day” on the boat. We got on the boat around 4pm and from then until bed, I drank. And, I didn’t think too much about it. Part of the reason I was doing it was because of the above mentioned price and part of the reason I was doing it was because there is little else to do on the boat outside of just contemplatively stare out a window or I guess read or sleep. Another thing, I was quite nervous about being on this boat for a week because… I GET SEA SICK.
Why do a cruise then? Because fuck the world – that’s why! Right? I can master sea sickness. Fuck, the sea. You think you’re better than me, sea? CAUSE YOU’RE FUCKING NOT! And, spoiler alert, I did “master” sea sickness. I did get used to do the boat and didn’t feel sea sick for the majority of the trip and all that. BUT! I did feel sea sick one day. But I’m jumping ahead and not. What I wanted to mention is that, yes, I’ve been sea sick before. I was sea sick on a fishing boat during a bachelor party. I didn’t throw up, but I felt like I was going to and I was quite woozy. But what I’m learning about my problems with the sea come from being motherfucking hungover or sick drunk. I had been partying for 3 days straight by the time we went on the fishing boat and, as mentioned, I drank a bunch the first day of the cruise. I’m not the best on boats as it’s few and far between when I’m on them, so it takes me awhile to accustom myself and I might get a little queasy, woozy on the boat in the beginning and this gets far far far worse when I’m hungover.
Nevertheless… the first day. We drank. We saw our “stateroom” in the boat, which was like a little camper motorhome kind of room with a veranda. There were 4 channels of TV to watch FOX News, TBS, TNT, and Cartoon Network. And, as far as on boat entertainment, what was provided by the boat was a variety of stage shows for people who have never seen actually good stage shows of any sort or spending an obscene amount of money on anything that was at the onboard spa. So, Danielle and I did go to a show, which we regretted immediately and we ate some food on the boat and Danielle had ice cream moments being on the boat because why not – it’s there.
Eventually, dinner came and Danielle and I got all dressed up to go to the Grand Epernay dining room where the majority of the boat eats dinner. You can go to one of the specialty dining restaurants on board which cost an arm and a leg out of pocket, you can go to the casual buffet which is where you eat every other meal, or you can send for room service which was more or less snacking on grilled hot dogs and salad in your bed. So, we chose to do the big dinner cruise experience where they assign you a table and you are placed with other randoms on the cruise at a table for you to make awkward small talk with them.
Thankfully, the first night on the boat – none of the other people showed up.
Danielle and I had our table to ourselves. A four person table pressed up against another four person table and the rest of the 6 seats remained empty as Danielle and I ate our meal while we people watched and talked shit on the rest of the weirdos on the boat. As for the food, it was ok. I was never “satisfied” by anything I ate on the boat for the most part. I just found it all kind of bland. I ate lobster on the boat and it was meh. I ate steak on the boat and it was meh. I ate salmon, lamb, cheesecake, and even a spinach salad and it was all passable, but not enjoyable. The only things on the boat I would recommend were the peanut butter cookies and the chocolate cookies with the white chocolate chips. I wouldn’t recommend their straight up chocolate chip cookies because those sucked. The only thing I consistently enjoyed were the two cookies mentioned… and champagne.
Sleeping on the boat isn’t easy.
The boat does not stop moving… ever. It’s always rocking. It’s always swaying. Day 2 was one of our TWO days at sea. So, all of day 2 we would never step foot on never rocking dry land. And, I woke up – sea sick.
I had the sea bands on my wrists from the moment I got on the boat to the moment I got off, but that morning they weren’t helping unless what they were doing was preventing me from just throwing up until I collapsed exhausted forever. I took Dramamine, but that didn’t help or at least didn’t help right away.
Make matters much much much worse… Danielle saw fit to wake us up at 7… AM!!!!!
Being out at sea means that you put your phone to airplane mode or you just turn it off entirely. When you’re on the high seas, your phone will switch over to “cellular at sea” which sucks and costs a fortune. Danielle had her work phone, so we could leave that on because we weren’t footing the bill, but as mentioned that cellular at sea sucks – the phone’s time read the time was Sydney, Australia time and not just west of Seattle time. Why? Well, the boat was from Sydney originally, but who the fuck knows how these invisible lines of communication work. Either way, Danielle looked at her phone and it said that it was 12pm, but it was really 7am, so she freaked out a little that we were sleeping our way through our cruise… which honestly is probably the best thing to do.
So there we were, up and out of the room about as early as I could possibly imagine us ever waking up to do anything ever and I’m hungover, I’ve gotten very little sleep because we are perpetual night owls, and I’m on a fucking rocking cruise boat – literally ROCKING.
Danielle and I then toured the boat trying to find the best place for me to sit and try not to throw up all over myself. The stateroom was a no go because it rocked a lot and I didn’t feel comfortable in there then it was the 3rd floor lobby bar where we were treated to a waltz dance class. Yes, a dance class took place in the middle of the boat for all to see right by the elevators that went from that floor all the way up to the 15th floor. So, we watched a bunch of old people learn how to waltz.
Jordan, do you know how to waltz? Actually, I do. Strangely enough, I was forced into dance classes for 3 years of my life. They weren’t full years of dancing, but once a week for a season or so I would go to dance class. Like tap dancing? No. Like waltz and lindy hop or whatever. Do I remember the moves? Some. Did you have to dress up for dance class? Yes, sports coat and khakis and a tie. There you go, America! That’s a white NJ suburban life for you – Wednesday night dance classes at the private tennis club. YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY!
Finally, Danielle and I did find that if I sat at the outdoor bar on the 14th floor at the back of the boat that I was pretty good. Eventually, the hangover went away and my body got used to not getting sleep for the night and I started to settle into the life at sea. It was enjoyable sitting at the back of the boat at this outdoor bar on a couch with my fiance and we both just stared at the water as she listened to whatever she was listening to and I listened to episodes of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast that I had downloaded back when we were on dry land and had the motherfucking internet. That was enjoyable.
Day at sea nights were also “formal night”.
That night, Danielle got a little fancy and I got a little fancy and we went back to the Epernay dining room where we were surrounded by people who took the “little fancy” to mean TUXEDOS and BALL GOWNS. Seriously! On a fucking cruise in a ball gown and a tuxedo. It’s the fucking Celebrity Solstice and not the Titanic thank God, but you couldn’t tell that to these idiots. But I’m forgetting something…
CRUISES ARE WHERE THE 60+ GO ON SPRING BREAK… OR MORE SO SENIOR (CITIZEN) BREAK
Or at least this Alaskan cruise…
It became so commonplace for us to hear or see a man or woman who was old enough to be our parents just being shit-house wasted. Just wooing for alcohol. Literally, WOOOOOOO!!!!!! my martinis (yes, plural) just arrived. Maybe their inner-ear balance died back when they turned 50 over 10 years earlier or what have you, but they were comfortable on the boat rocking and them just getting freshman year of college drunk. So, if you own a tux – why not bring it and wear it because you’re fucking living the dream being young and wild on this stupid boat.
Maybe I’m a curmudgeon. Whatever.
We go to dinner and low and behold our tablemates(!) were there.
I’ll use their initials of P & R because why not. Patricia and Roxy? Anyway, P & R were there and they were nice and we talked, we talked mostly about dogs, which was great. They were also older than Danielle and I’s parents. Also, R was on the cruise only 2 months following her divorce and P had issues of her own. Honestly, it would have been better for the both of us if a couple more like ourselves were there in the other’s spot. I’m sure P & R felt weird being on the other end of their long marriages and sitting next to a couple of kids who are just getting ready to start theirs. Two very different places in our lives separated by 40 years of life. So, we both weren’t each others ideal company.
But we talked of dogs, we talked of Ambien – a surprisingly good conversation piece – and probably some other stuff.
At some point, Danielle and I returned to our room to try and get some much needed sleep from a long day while watching “Due Date” turned into a PG-13 neutered version of itself.
Thus ends, PART I of III, of Danielle and I’s cruise to Alaska. Tomorrow, I’ll talk about us actually arriving in ALASKA!!!!!
As a little teaser… it involves this…