CRUISE II: THE SEQUEL
Jenni, Matt, Wendy, Cindi, Jumi, and the S.S. Razzmatazz (also known as the Costa Mediterranea)
special appearances by:
Andre, the assistant pastor, Pepe (gay or Italian), DJ Nick and the Helper Monkey, Niner, Mr. Pizza and Maxine, Jones, Sneaky Pete, Arsenio, Lamp, Imelda Marcos, Dragon Lady and Dragon Lady Junior, Arsenal and Man U, Towel, Roque, Jersey and his family, Patrick Swayze, Bungee Cord, Droopy and Shingles, Ukulele Hero, Mark Boney, Gerald, Rocky, Chris, Jaime, Joseph, Humberto, Falco, Walter from Uruguay, Massimo, the Oesterreicher Dyker, and Disposo.
[To view the entire Flickr photoset, go here!]
Saturday morning, we got up at 3:45am. It hurt, but we survived out of sheer determination to get to the ocean as soon as possible. It was cold in Minnesota. I went to pick up Cindi while Matt retrieved Wendy, then we met at my mom’s; we wanted to bring both our cars out there in case there was a snow emergency in Minneapolis while we were gone.
Our flight was delayed about 20 minutes because they had trouble closing one of the cargo doors. Once they finally got it duct-taped shut, we had to wait for the de-icing truck to spray us off. My irritation over having to wait was mitigated by watching the de-icing process. It was kind of fascinating. However, we had a 25-minute connection in Memphis.
We arrived in Tennessee a little late, and rushed to the gate. Thankfully, most of the other flights arriving were also running late, so we were in no danger of missing it.
I knitted, Matt and I had a snack, we played cards, and then we had a very long conversation with a guy stuck behind the beverage carts trying to get to the bathroom. We talked about tattoos, where we lived, and then our jobs. We did a very good job of not reacting when he told us he was the assistant pastor for a church in St Paul. When we saw him later at the airport, he gave me his card. It was the flashiest clergyman businesscard ever. I’m guessing his church is actually pretty cool.
We got our bags, and took a taxi van to the cruise ship docks. (If you’re going on a cruise, don’t pre-book the shuttle service from the airport. Cabs are about $6/person, at least half the price.) Embarkation was really quick, because we were so early; we were on the ship by 2pm, and ready to start the show.
my fancy new frequent-cruiser card.
We went to check out our cabin, then all went up to the card room to talk to the maitre d’ because, as usual, they’d assigned us to the wrong dinner time, and put us at separate tables. I have no idea how to keep Costa from doing this every time, but it’s not really a big deal to switch to late dinner. It gave us time to hang out and drink coffee while looking at the creepy cherubs suspended from the ceiling in that room we know so well.
After switching to the late dinner, we went up to the buffet for lunch. None of us had really eaten much all day, so we were starving. We took our food out onto the back deck, got us some cocktails (a mojito should always be the first beverage consumed on a cruise), and it was already the best vacation ever.
We found our suitcases waiting in the cabin when we returned. We unpacked, then perhaps removed our clothing and celebrated. Afterwards, we sat on our balcony and watched the people on the two other cruise ships doing their muster drill. Because we weren’t leaving til 7pm (during the first dinner), we didn’t have to muster til 5pm the next day, after leaving Key West. I assume they don’t require it til you’re actually leaving the U.S., but I’m not sure how that works.
matt on our balcony
We went up to the very top deck by the smokestack to meet Wendy, Cindi, and Jumi, who were hanging around like hooligans. After a trip to the pool bar, we found the bocce balls out on the court, so we played. You know what’s hard? Playing bocce on a ship. And it wasn’t even moving yet.
cruise ship bocce
As 7pm neared, we went downstairs and took up spots on deck chairs at the back of the ship. Right after dark, the ship started heading out to sea. The whistle blew, and I started crying. I was so damn excited to finally be there with the people I love most.
We changed and headed to dinner, where a bottle of champagne was waiting. The menu struck me as more impressive than last time; I had papaya with Cointreau, broccoli soup, vegetable lasagna, and sugar-free apple crumble. We decided that we wanted fruit with liquor on it for breakfast every day. It was the new cereal.
After dinner, we hung out at the Talia Lounge right outside the restaurant on deck 2. This would later be renamed “Pete’s Place”, but we didn’t know him yet. There was a duo singing the greatest hits of the 70s and 80s, and a few people dancing. After that, we headed to the front of the ship to Giardino Isolabella, one of the few bars Wendy and I hadn’t been to last time. We’d only set foot in the place and noticed that it was 1) pimp, with round booths and a fancy stage, and 2) empty. It was still fairly empty, but we took up a table and ordered drinks anyway.
There were a couple groups at tables at the front, and we soon discovered they were the band. Once they got on stage and started playing, we were the only audience. They were excellent, and we felt bad leaving after a while. We finally clapped a lot and left, yelling to them that we’d be back. We had more important things to attend to, namely the DISCO.
The first night at Disco Selva is apparently always singles night, but we didn’t care. We had a couple singles with us, after all. Also, singles night only lasts half an hour. The place was pretty empty (as it’s wont to be early in the week, apparently); there were some old, definitely not-single people at tables upstairs, and an extremely creepy couple of dudes in a dark corner. We went downstairs, ordered drinks, and hung out to see if anyone would dance.
Our host was DJ Nick, and he was something. He spoke hardly any English, so putting in requests was nearly impossible. The video board was a giant display showing lions in the African savannah, with his name and logo on top. RAWR. The dancing only began once Pepe (the staff member who started the whole “gay or Italian?” inquiry on the previous cruise) came in and starting grooving to Billie Jean. There was also a lot of Fergie, and all in all, the Disco (which you must pronounce ‘deeeee-sco’) was not hoppin’ that night. We headed to bed at 1pm, realizing we’d been up for almost 24 hours.