A Christmas cruise from hell
One year the kids were all gone, and Molly’s mother talked us into going on a cruise, so we booked one from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta with stops at other famous Mexican resort destinations. I could say this cruise was really the cruise from the deepest parts of hell, but believe me that would not even touch how bad it really was. At first I was excited to go. I was ready for a week of some Coronas and scenery watching.
First, it took us three hours to board the ship because we ended up in a line that included seven people in wheelchairs, 14 with canes and six with walkers.
Our room turned out to be a 10-foot-by-10-foot dark cave, but we did have a porthole and a toilet at the foot of the bed that when covered up made a nice chair.
Unfortunately, the porthole didn’t open, which later proved a blessing as we went through a terrific storm. At times the waves were higher than the porthole, and as I watched the fish swim by during this storm, even they looked scared.
The first day I put on my bathing suit and proceeded to the pool deck — surprise — there was neither water nor any scenery. The pool had broken on the last trip and the promised, warm Mexican Riviera temperature was about 55 degrees.
Soon it was time to go get our assignments for meals. Either you received an assignment for the early seating or the late one.
In those days, as now, I had stomach problems and I needed to eat at the early setting. That’s when I found out, after standing in line for some time, that the average age of the people on the ship was 83.4, and every one of those folks were there to sign up for the early seating.
No matter how many Rolaids I took for the rest of the trip, my stomach never adjusted to those late seatings.
The entertainment was nice but I didn’t know how to do the Charleston, nor did I ever learn, and I was never very good playing checkers. Finally, I started getting up early so I could be first in line for bingo. If you were part of the first 50 in line, you got extra cards. Molly had to rescue me on my first and final visit to bingo because after I had a few (dozen) Bloody Mary’s, I thought I would lighten up the crowd. So, I started yelling Bingo soon after the numbers were called. I really thought my fellow bingo players were being amused; they weren’t. I still have scars on my legs from the canes.
On Christmas Day we stopped at Mazatlan and spent the day at Señor Frogs, and so did the crew, which should have been scary. But, I was glad to be with them because they were the youngest faces I had seen for almost a week.
I started a brand new Christmas tradition that day, and that was dancing on tables to the tune of “Santa Killed a Reindeer.” I fell asleep that night dreaming not about the ship from hell, but about the great times Christmas had brought me. I was so glad that there was a Santa, spirit or not.