I realize I’m a day late in posting my final thoughts on our trip. I’m probably a dollar short, too. Better late than never, I suppose.

I have no idea why I just used two idioms in the span of three sentences. Probably boatlag.

Okay. Cruise. Final thoughts.

Leigh and I thoroughly enjoyed our cruise, but it was much different than other vacations we have taken. Cruises are designed to be carefree experiences for the vacationer, which, depending on how you look at it, can either be a positive or a negative. It’s a positive for folks that aren’t used to vacationing, that feel uncomfortable when confronted with new and different cultures, and that basically need a babysitter. It’s a negative for folks that relish cultural challenges, that want to learn about and try to immerse into new societies, and that are independently minded.

Let me say this: If you’re the type of vacationer that a) is uncomfortable when surrounded by different-colored, different-language speaking people; b) is passive and in need of guidance; or c) gets so freaking drunk that you need a bib and a diaper, then the cruise ship is probably just right for you.

I had a lot of fun, but since I’m am none of those things, I felt a bit antsy at times. There’s only so long I can sit by a pool doing nothing. I like wandering around odd cities and watching the people and eating the native food, and that’s pretty damn hard to do on a cruise ship. Well, unless you count watching drunken college students, hyperactive children, and drunken middle-aged parents. Sure, there are plenty of those to watch.

Another odd thing is that even when the cruise ship stopped at a port, we had to actively try to find the native culture. Carnival has recognized that poverty, illiteracy, and brown-people are all things that the average cruise taker probably doesn’t want to look at. The average cruise taker wants to buy cheap jewelry, liquor, and Cuban cigars. Carnival has wisely encouraged the cities that its ships port at to revamp the area around their ports to more closely resemble American shops and restaurants. Consequently, several city blocks that surround the Carnival ports are indistinguishable from Las Vegas, with the exception of Jamaica. Jamaica’s port is shabby and real, but Carnival doesn’t suggest the cruise taker to go out and do anything on his or her own in Jamaica. Too dangerous and all that.

Which is not to say that we won’t take another cruise. They’re convenient and fairly reasonable. They’re just extremely limited.

And I’ll close this post by introducing some of the interesting people we met on our cruise

This is Wallace. He was our tour guide in Jamaica. He liked to punctuate every sentence with “Ya Mon!” And I didn’t get the impression that he was doing it in an ironic way, either.

This is Kino and Marlon. They were our kayak and zip-line guides in Jamaica. I feel like I’m a pretty brave guy, but those two fellows would do things on a zip-line that I wouldn’t even dream of trying. They also tended to say “Ya Mon” a lot, but sometimes I got the feeling that they were playing it up for us tourists.

This is Yasa and Made. They were our waiters on the Cruise ship. They were very nice men who were very good at their jobs, but I got the impression that not many people said “thank you” to them. They always seemed shocked when we said it.

This is Paul and Andre. They were the art auctioneers on the Carnival Ship. The painting to my left? We now own that.

This is the nice man that sold us a coconut in Grand Cayman. He was lethal with a machete.

This is Debbie, the ship’s sommelier.

And this? Well, this is Big Black Dick. I think the name says it all.

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