ABOARD THE CARNIVAL DREAM -
When it comes to cruise ship activities, I'm missing out.
Instead of playing $1,500 Powerball Bingo, I watched my cabin steward make a frog out of a bath towel.
Instead of attending the Sunglow Make-Up seminar, I sat on a balcony and stared down at the waves.
I hate to admit it, but I have missed Latin Beats with DJ Sir Charles. I didn't sing at Superstar Karaoke. I never stayed up for the midnight Texas Hold-'em meet-up at the Jackpot Casino. I skipped Bodacious 80s Fun, Foot Print Analysis and United States Trivia.
Mainly, I've been wandering around trying to find my room and showing up for dinner.
I've been sitting in chairs on the deck.
I went ashore for part of Tuesday in Belize.
That's pretty much it.
After three days, I haven't yet gone swimming in the pool or down the giant water slide.
Haven't had a Quartz Lift Facial or gone to Game Show Mania.
I'm actually not sure where the days have gone. Cozumel. Belize City. Honduras. It's a blur.
But I am sleeping quite well at night, the soft hum of the cruise ship motor a lullaby.
If cruise ships did not have all these things to do, we would certainly complain.
What would a cruise ship be if not for Snorkel With Lunch shore excursions? It has to offer Ionithermie Detox & Inch Loss seminars and the Giant Jenga Challenge or risk the wrath of longtime customers.
But maybe cruise ships should also have other classes.
The Art of Napping.
The Zen of Doing Nothing in Particular.
Because that is the one thing that cruise ships paradoxically still offer that most other vacations do not: disconnected quiet time.
They are like a retreat, except with mai tais.
You really are pretty much out of touch with home. The Internet costs a bazillion dollars a minute. Cell phone service is spotty and expensive. You have no idea what time it is because there are few clocks. TV is in your room, but it seems like tiny little voices speaking from a dull, faraway world.
What a cruise ship offers is time to just be.
It is hard to imagine, but this huge 15-story Dream-class Carnival cruise ship does have quiet spots, even with 3,600 passengers aboard all running around in flip-flops, eating nachos and looking for 35 percent-off Tanzanite bracelets.
I found it on Deck 5 starboard at sunset. At a hidden Deck 4 lounge that I can probably never locate again. Dream has a few secret hot tubs. And my rather hidden Cove Balcony room on Deck 2 is more private than most.
Maybe being on a cruise ship with thousands actually is one of the quietest vacations you can have.
Maybe it is good for your children and marriage and mental health.
Maybe doctors should prescribe troubled patients a week on a cruise ship, with orders to do as little as possible except stare at the waves and try not to think so much.
I will ponder this entire line of thought, right after I wake up from ... zzzzz.
Ellen Creager: firstname.lastname@example.org
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