Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cruise IV

Jamaica is lovely -- green and hilly and beautiful. And touristy, of course. The ship docks at the main port in Ochos Rios and once we get off the ship, it's tourist city. Quite literally -- they have built a "village shopping" area just off the pier that is geared towards tourists shopping and effectively buffers you from the actual people and city. Jenna and Michael hired a cab for a ride around town, and headed off immediately while the rest of us waited for one of the excursions to go off and meet dolphins and see Dunn's Falls. This is one of the most popular things to do while onshore for the day. Pat and Mark and Nicole and Peter got into the water to learn about dolphins and get a kiss and touch them (although they didn't get to swim with the dolphins on this outing - Pat started out with the most conservative option, since Peter is often a bit anxious about these things. It was a lot of fun, if a bit disorganized. My dad came along, but it was too much walking through the nature park to the beach, and he and Pat went back to the boat after they were done.

We stayed back with Nin and Peter and had lunch, then took the shuttle to the waterfall. One of the options is to climb the falls -- everyone links hands and snakes their way up the 700 foot falls, scrambling up the rocks and through the different terraces. It's not as easy as it is made out to be, actually -- we were a bit boggled that it was allowed, actually. There is no way that anything like this would be allowed in the states, period. But, if you have a good group and everyone works together, it's easy enough to get up the rocks. I, however, am a klutz, and after slipping once and falling on my butt (because the guy in front of me let go when I tried to scramble up, and then bashing my head not once, but twice, on the concrete bridge, I bailed out about halfway up, along with a bunch of other people. They said that the hard part was already done, but I'm still sporting a half-dozen bruises from the climb, so I'm not so sure! Mark and Peter, though, toughed it out and made it all the way up! Nin was very concerned that Peter had been scared or freaked out, but he was just fine with Mark and did a great job. You really, really need good, solid, rubber-soled shoes for this one. And a waterproof camera!

We were all soaked and sunburned and ready to go back to the ship, and we caught one of the last busses back to the pier. I have a goose-egg on my forehead, which is sunburned. Wah!

There is a huge age range on this cruise - lots of kids (600!), lots of older people. Apparently the average age of the cruise goes up dramatically after the holidays. Princess is not a "party" cruise, like some of the other cruise lines, and the passengers tend to be older. There are tons of activities for kids, though. One thing thatI have noticed, though, is that there is a (hopefully) small group of cruise passengers who are just rude. They don't say please or thank you, they don't even make eye contact with the many staff on board, they just order them around as if they are somehow beneath notice. It's kind of weird. Yes, I know the staff is there to serve, but barking, "water!" at a waiter without bothering to look up and just shaking your glass while continuing your conversation with someone else is just rude. Snapping orders at people, or expecting them to read minds to bring what you wanted, and not what you asked for, is out of line in my book. I was raised to ask for things, not demand them, even when they will be delivered without question. "Yes, please, if you could bring me a glass of diet coke, that'd be great!" is a much nicer answer to 'can I get you a drink?' than "diet coke!" accompanied by an airy wave of the hand.

I wonder if it's the "all inclusive" part of the cruise concept that breeds this. You pay quite a bit of money to be waited on hand and foot, perhaps some few people take it a bit too seriously and think that they are entitled to instant, complete gratification of all their demands. I don't know.

The cruise also has a pretty loose dress code, too. Some cruises have many "formal" nights, and the rest of the time everyone still dresses in snazzy clothes. We have two formal nights -- which means that suits and dresses are worn to dinner, but the rest of the time is casual. Dinner is always a bit more dressy than daytime, but a pair of khakis is more than enough. YOu can't wear your bathing suit into the dining halls, and they frown on jeans or shorts. But everything else is fair game. The Adorable Husband complained that hti sis the first time he's been on vacation where he had to bring a suit. But it was fun to see all the people dress up (and some people really dressed up, in sequined evening dresses. Or, in the case of some of the Japanese tour group, in full, formal kimono!

I think I'll limit the days I have to wear high heels on vacation to one or two.

I thought that I packed pretty lightly (at least compared to my sisters -- and after seeing some of the luggage being hauled onto the ship, I am even more boggled). But I realized that I could have packed half what I did and had plenty of clothes to wear. I wish I had another bathing suit -- putting on the suit this mornign was a wee bit clammy -- but could have managed with a couple of t-shirts, a beach coverup, one medium dressy outfit (khakhis and polo shirt) and one dressy outfit (dress). I pretty much wore the same thing every day, and the Adorable Husband wore a swimsuit and t-shirt most days, too. I spent 90% of my waking time in a t-shirt and bathing suit and flip-flops.

1 comment:

laurafingerson said...

Your goose egg was *sunburned*?! I totally feel for you - owwwwwww!

This is totally fascinating reading. I have always been fascinated by cruise ships, but kind of afraid of the tackiness and waste of them. Maybe I shouldn't be??