I will tell you there’s something magical about sailing slowly away from a cold, bleak Texas coast and into progressively warmer and bluer waters until you’re standing sandy-toed in Cozumel holding a rented snorkel and feeling your skin sizzle.

The downside is that on the way back you have the exact same experience in reverse. Heart sinking with the temperature, every stressor you left behind waiting on the other side of customs.

I can also tell you that my off-season vacation places me in the unique predicament of having both a nose sore from sniffling, blowing and over-tissuing, combined with the peely red pain of sunburn. Amazingly acute.

So how WAS my big vacation?

Wonderful, but let’s face it, the bad things are just so much more fun to talk about.

Like the laughable musical, dancing variety shows, or the not-so laughable comedians. Or the addition of the “Fun Ship” cocktail to my “Do Not Drink” list. Also, since rum has been on that list for some time, my awkward conversation with a Sandals’ Jamaica bartender about ordering a margarita.

On the cruise I learned that I am becoming more of a food elitist, and am now above things I can’t even afford — like Carnival cruise food. Seriously, the variety and amount of food on board is impressive, but when “dinner” is a filet mignon and short rib combo, and the short rib is the only thing worth eating (without excessive chewing), there’s a problem.

It occurred to me on this trip what a lovely little slice of Americana cruises really are. Like half-buried Cadillacs in the dessert, cowboy boots with suits or jackalope postcards, they offend the senses in a way that is somehow endearing. Any attempt at sophistication on board seems a farce, yet we embrace the act and the truly American ideal of bigger is better.

Still believe in quality over quantity? You just need a bigger buffet.

3 thoughts on “Off-Season

  1. I have to say if cruise lines got rid of meat they would be much better off, after all, no one ventures much past the 24 hour pizza and soft serve.

  2. I did that same cruise but I was fully vegetarian at the time. The fam dined in the fancy dining room for two nights. Both of those nights I hardly ate anything because the one vegetarian option on the menu was so bad. For the remainder of the trip I definitely stuck to the pizza and soft serve.I can't be sure but unless you're on the QE2 or something I think most cruise food is going to be on par with a lower priced all inclusive Mexico resort – aka, crappy.

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