I did something this weekend that I hadn’t for a long time: I went to sea on a weekend Baja cruise conducted by the fine people who bring you the “fun ships.”
I haven’t been on a fun ship for approximately 41.5 years, so I was interested to see how things have changed.
Here’s an update: Most everyone is still drunk. My friends and I estimated that people must have spent an average of $500 per person on their cruise cabin and $1.28 kazillion on adult beverages.
This was not due to any extremely scientific (or accurate) survey, but rather our personal observations of people stumbling acrobatically around the ship. Now, sometimes the ship was pitching slightly, so that could explain a bit of the stumbling, but, trust me, this was critically recognized official drunken stumbling, of which I am well acquainted from my youth.
Now that I’m an antique, I’m not around a lot of drunken stumbling and I can’t say I miss it much.
Now, people did have the opportunity to pay $60 a day for a beverage package which gave you up to 15 drinks a day for free. Seriously. Fifteen alcoholic beverages. In 24 hours. Apparently, that’s what the cruise line considers an appropriate limit. And, clearly, some people on this ship were trying to get their money’s worth. There were families with kids on the ship, but not many.
There was a lot of good live music everywhere. You could never find a place to sit down and enjoy it because the ship was so crowded, but we would stand and wave our arms and sing along as long as we could until I had to find a place to crash.
I don’t mind drunken people when they’re having fun and singing along to music I like. After all, I go to Jimmy Buffet concerts. I just mind when they’re careening into me as I walk through the casino to my cabin.
The entire ambiance of the cruise could be summed up, I think, by watching the cruise director singing “Brick House” atop the lobby bar. Everyone within earshot was laughing and singing along, including me. It was hilarious.
My friends and I spent big bucks on a cabin suite with a large balcony, which was great for meditating on the open sea. I recommend this. It was also a haven to escape from the thundering hordes.
The food was surprisingly good, We enjoyed everything and I had dessert with every meal, even though I knew I shouldn’t. Shh. Don’t tell my doctor.
Most of the food you’re offered on a cruise is free and tasty. They always have some premium restaurants that cost extra. As you know, I’m a cheapskate so I didn’t see any reason to pay extra for food when we could get it for free, except for one special “Chef’s Table” dinner that we did splurge on.
On Sunday, the ship docked in Ensenada and most people got off to either walk around the town, or go on an excursion.
I’ve been to Ensenada many times, and I’d arranged for a local guide named Fernando Cuevas to pick us up and take us to the nearby wine country for the day.
I love the Baja wine country, even though it’s gotten expensive now since all the snooty publications Back East started writing about it. It’s always nice when editors in New York find things we’ve known about all along and trumpet them as if they’d just discovered them.
Anyway, Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe is now more expensive, but it’s still so chock-full of delicious restaurants that I just can’t resist visiting whenever I can. Even though it’s the wine country, wherever wine is foodies follow, and so do gourmet chefs.
I didn’t want to rent a car and drive, so Fernando took us on a fun tour that lasted all day. We stopped at a couple of gorgeous rustic restaurants that get talked about constantly and admired the rocky scenery, and, oh yeah: We drank some wine. You can find Fernando at Tours in Baja, and I recommend him.
There was drama on the ship, involving our sons. I’m not going to say any more about that, but let’s just say they’ve been banned from Carnival Cruise Lines for life. I’m not thinking this is going to put a huge crimp on their futures, and it’s already starting to seem funny. It made me wonder how many people get banned, considering some of the behavior we saw on board. At least no one fell overboard.
There was one particular guy who my friend dubbed “Elvis” who could be seen dancing, um, vigorously, everywhere we went. Apparently, he was part of a bachelor party and on board with his mother. Yes, his mother. He was a huge hit with the other drunken cruisers so he may have a formerly unsuspected career out there.
I also met a couple of readers who stopped to say hi – and let me say right off that they were not drunk.
Meanwhile, now that I’m old and crusty as French bread, I guess I need a cruise that’s more sedate. As you know, I have cancer. But preferably one that’s not full of people in hospital beds, because I do still want to get up and party, even though I need my walker to do it. But maybe where only, say, 30 percent of the cruisers are drunk.
I’m open to suggestions.
Frumpy Middle-aged Mom: It was a great trip — except for the COVID-19
Frumpy Middle-aged Mom: Here are some of my favorite travel tips. Tell me what you think.
Frumpy Middle-aged Mom: I’m gimpy but I’m getting ready to travel
Frumpy Middle-aged Mom: Yes, I went to Alaska with a bad case of chemo brain
Frumpy Middle-aged Mom: So here’s what happened in the Galapagos
Frumpy Mom: A fork, a fork! My kingdom for a fork! Or a towel.
Frumpy Mom: Remember when your phone was avocado colored and had a cord?
Frumpy Mom: So, I finally got COVID-19. Please send pizza.
Frumpy Mom: I didn’t know I was coming home to Alaska