If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm. – Frank Lane
Hello, my name is Kathy and I’m addicted to cruising…
Ten years ago I knew nothing about cruising, and had no clue that I’d become addicted in a matter of a couple of short years. I’d never been addicted to anything before….well, except chocolate… Then one day I discovered that a new co-worker was addicted to cruising. Every few months he was headed off to Florida to take a cruise to somewhere new. Then he’d come back and regale me with his stories of lands he explored and excursions he went on, of the ships he sailed, and the ocean blue.
No problem, I could take one cruise just to see what it was like. I would be okay with just one cruise under my belt. Why would you want to cruise again once you’ve done it? Once would be enough to let me see what the attraction was. All ships are alike, aren’t they, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Right?
So, I went online and booked our first cruise, and then we got our first passports. The cruise was just a five day on the Carnival Fantasy out of Charleston, SC, traveling to Nassau and Freeport. I have to admit that I was terribly nervous about that first cruise. I looked up at the ship when we were embarking, and it seemed immense. I walked into the Atrium, and it was all so overwhelming to me. Everything was overwhelming. I’d barely been out of the country before, except to Canada and Mexico, and here I was going out to sea, where I would not be able to get in the car and just drive home if I wanted to. I was stuck! I was so nervous that I needed a Pina Colada just to calm down… But a funny thing happened. I looked at the windows of the ship, and we were already sailing, and I didn’t even know it. I went to dinner and then to a show, and I didn’t have to drive to it. I could walk to my room and not have to pack and unpack each day. I could explore new places that I would never have seen otherwise. I could meet new people that I would have never met anywhere else. I could sit on the deck and totally and completely relax. And I really didn’t have to worry about anything, because everything was okay. And I was so sad when the cruise was over, it was way too soon.
I took my cruise, I got it out of my system, I saw what cruising was about, and everything was fine…or was it? It didn’t take me long to start craving my second cruise. I really tried to forget about it. I didn’t really need it, I could live without it. It wasn’t that exciting…it cost too much…there are plenty of places to vacation in the good old US. But no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Just one more, I told myself. One more will satisfy me then I will quit cold turkey. It won’t be that hard, I can do it anytime, I have enough will power to stop.
I figured that to get cruising out of my system once and for all, we needed to go big, so I booked a cruise on the Carnival Dream. This was a longer seven day cruise, I figured that if we cruised longer I might get tired of being on the ship, and then it would be so much easier to give up this addiction once and for all. This time it wasn’t the Bahamas that we went to, but the actual Caribbean. Carnival Dream is a huge ship, and it was completely overwhelming to me, and completely wonderful. The staff was so friendly and helpful, the shows were great, and the food…well, the food was to die for. The ports of call were so much better than the Bahamas. The water was so much bluer, the kind of blue that you see in postcards. I even got to ride a semi-submersible submarine. I never got to do or see these kinds of things at home, I didn’t want it ever to end. Nothing would ever been the same.
I wasn’t in this alone, mind you. My husband was just as addicted as I was. We were a sorry sight. We were sad all the way home. How were we ever going to manage without a cruise to plan and count down? The only solution, we thought, was to start looking for another cruise….and then another…we needed our fix…
That started a downhill spiral of always having to have a cruise (or two) to count down to, having excursions to plan, having to go online to check out ports and excursions, watching YouTube videos of ships and cruising. The ships got bigger and bigger and the cruises longer and longer. The ocean was calling me! I was out of control! Something had to be done!
What have I learned from my addiction? I’ve learned that the world that God made is so huge and I’m so small. It is so humbling. I’ve learned that people from all over the world are the same under the skin, and that they’re lovely. I’ve learned that I can walk and sleep while the ship is moving, and it is so peaceful. I’ve learned that there really are flying fish, and that you can watch them from the ship’s deck. I’ve learned that if you walk away at a Straw Market in port, you can get what you wanted even cheaper. I’ve learned that I can float in saltwater, even though I don’t swim well, and that fish are beautiful. I’ve learned that I can touch a stingray and not be killed by it. I’ve learned to never get near a Bearded Fireworm because their sting hurts like the dickens. I’ve learned that I can interview people and not be intimidated. I’ve learned that it’s okay just to hang out on the balcony and relax. I’ve learned that I’m very likely to eat way too much. I’ve learned that you can make life long friends on a cruise. I’ve learned that my family will be okay without me for a week. And I’ve learned that I don’t want to get over my addiction to cruising, that I’m just fine, thank you. No twelve step plan or intervention for me. I’m happy just the way it is…
So, I decided to quit Cruise-aholics Anonymous instead! How about you?