A Christmas Cruise Around the Caribbean

New York right now is as cold and hostile as our landlord when we told them they need to turn up the heating. So to warm myself I’m going to make myself a nice cup of tea, put on a pair of slippers, and talk about how warm and wonderful our Christmas Caribbean cruise was. Bear with me while I put the kettle on…

Okay, so, I was just musing on the fanciful notion that on said cruise we even ate ice cream for pleasure! Ho-ho-ho, what a lark it was! What giddy times we had! If we ate ice cream today it’d be like bundling up nice and warm for a trip to the Sahara desert, hand warmers and all.

We left New York when it was a bit nippy, but knowing that the Caribbean would be lovely and toasty, we even braved without a jacket the long walk from our apartment door to the Uber outside. And getting off the plane in Martinique we chortled heartily at all the poor saps who now had to lug giant coats and fleeces around the Caribbean.

The next morning we boarded our cruise ship, the MSC Fantasia, pronounced like Sia the singer is heavily promoting a certain Coke-owned soda. Fanta-Sia. And then add an Italian flourish, the fantasia.

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This was our first cruise so all bets were off. We had no idea what we’d be doing on board. Was it all just awkward dinner conversation with strangers, gambling, and wading skin to skin with a hundred old people in a swimming pool the size of a puddle?

Well, it was actually really great.

Dinner was, err, let’s say, hit and miss. The cigar-smoking Anglo-Belgian couple were interesting and hilarious, the first Welsh couple were just hilarious and the second Welsh couple were just annoying.

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The boat amenities were fantastic. The evening entertainment featured high-quality shows: a musical Tintin; an hour of Queen cover songs show; an Operetta with actual opera singers (this was an Italian ship, after all). There was a casino, a miniature sports stadium on the top deck, an arcade room, a library, and more bars than in a prison cell.

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Talking of prison cells, one thing that in hindsight we might’ve splurged on, would’ve been upgrading to an ocean-view cabin. Instead, we had an inside room, meaning there were no windows. No matter the time of day or night, that room was always darker than my sense of humor.

Even though the cruise was only seven days, we still established a routine. Wake up, grab breakfast at the buffet, hurry down to meet our excursion group, go out on the excursion for 4-5 hours exploring the day’s sun-baked, tree-lined island, return to the boat, eat lunch, amuse ourselves for a few hours, shower, watch a few shows, eat dinner, grab a few drinks, sleep. Rinse and repeat. Repetitive, but not far removed from my ideal day. It sure beat wake up, go to work, be at work, come from work, eat dinner, watch Netflix, sleep; rinse and repeat. But that routine made the days blur into one, so it became difficult to tell one perfect day of vacation from all the others, and then before we knew it we were disembarking, tears in our eyes that then froze on our faces as our flight landed back in New York. Now I need another cup of tea to warm my hands. Bye.

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