I’m pretty excited about the fact that I’m going on a cruise next week. This will be my first cruise ever, and I get to spend it with seven very, very wonderful women, so I don’t see how this could get any better. Being the cruise virgin that I am, I thought the whole point behind a cruise was the fact that everything was included in the price of the ticket. I mean, I’ve done those all-inclusive vacations in Jamaica, and that was how it worked there. But apparently, on the cruise, alcohol is extra. Which suddenly explains why I only had to pay $800 for my five day extravaganza.
Normally, this would not be an issue. But about 4 weeks ago I started getting emails from Royal Caribbean telling me I needed to pick out my “beverage package”. When I clicked on the link, there were numerous options, from just juice and soda, to juices, soda and coffee, all the way up to the “everything you can possibly drink” package. There was even one for water only. The emails made it sound like unless I purchased one of these packages, there would be no fluids available to me for the entire five day cruise. And these are not cheap packages! The package that would allow me to drink water, coffee, wine and frozen drinks was going to cost me almost half the price of my cruise ticket!
Now, we’re talking about 8 women going on this trip, so needless to say, the emails began flying. Everyone wanted to know what everyone else was going to do. Thanks to that delightful email feature called “Reply All”, the conversation pretty much took over an entire day of discussion and 30% of my inbox. Finally around 4pm, with no answers in sight, I called the travel agent who coordinated this trip for us.
First, let me say that this woman is incredible. If you ever want to plan a trip anywhere, call or email Andrea Savitch at Unique Travel Events. Small countries have been invaded with less planning than has been required to get all of us on this cruise ship. And we aren’t even there yet. Andrea assured me that water, coffee, milk and juice would be available as part of the “free” food. The packages would entitle me to “gourmet” coffee, better juice, and bottled water. I don’t drink soda, so I could care less about that. Then she went on to say that unless I was planning on drinking 5-7 alcoholic beverages per day, I was probably better off just paying the higher price per drink ala carte.
Since it has been my intention from the start to actually remember this cruise, I wasn’t planning on having seven alcoholic drinks per day. Don’t get me wrong, I can absolutely kill a bottle of wine in one evening. I can see where I could possibly consume seven drinks in a day, maybe even two days. But in my world, five days of that much alcohol is pretty much called a bender.
Then I remembered the trips I have taken to Jamaica and Cancun. Its funny how you change on vacation in the Caribbean. If I drink at 10 am at home, I’m an alcoholic. But if I’m in Jamaica, sitting in the pool, and the drink contains fruit and an umbrella, all of a sudden it is perfectly acceptable to be sipping on rum before lunchtime.
What got to me though, was the fact that I am only allowed to bring one bottle of wine with me on the cruise ship. All other alcohol will be confiscated and locked away until after the ship returns to the dock in Ft. Lauderdale. All of a sudden, I started thinking about ways that I could smuggle something on board. I have never spent so much time thinking about alcohol in my life. I started with wine, but quickly decided that vodka would be the better choice. My mind started calculating how I could get my vodka stash on board. My toner bottle has clear liquid. So does my eye makeup remover bottle. The styling stuff I put in my hair before I blow dry it looks like water, just a little thicker. And if I can bring a bottle of wine, why not buy a cheap Chardonnay and empty it? So basically, if I follow this logic, what I’m saying is that I am willing to go five days with racoon eyes, scrubby skin, and flat hair in order to be able to drink vodka for free.
(Disclaimer — if you work for Royal Caribbean, please disregard this blog post, of course I would never actually do any of this..)
I realize this isn’t normal. Like I said, I’m not used to be fixated on alcohol. I am starting to understand what it must be like to have an addiction to it. Or at least, a small but manageable drinking problem… Maybe its because I was told I couldn’t do something, that I am immediately trying to figure out the work around. If that’s the case, then this could be pointing to a minor character flaw of mine called “You aren’t the boss of me” syndrome, which also explains why I work for myself.
I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet. I’m still considering all my options. However, during the time that it has taken me to write this blog post, I have received a text message from Royal Caribbean, giving me the important information that the CDC has issued a travel alert regarding the Zika virus. The virus may (or may not) be included in my cruise itinerary. This is their choice of words, not mine. You know, mosquito repellent is a clear liquid too, isn’t it?