I am writing this posting from a cruise ship vacation with my wife, daughter, and my third grade teacher. This is one vacation I never thought I would do. In the past I always thought of cruise ships as people stuffed into an overgrown tin can floating in the ocean with hungry sharks underneath waiting for a snack. The idea of being on one was as enjoyable as eating a plate of artichokes. And I hate artichokes! So how did I wind up on the Voyager of the Seas on a Royal Caribbean cruise??
This all started one Saturday in the Summer when I attended a creative journaling seminar at El Rocio, a local retreat center in Mission, Texas. The seminar was led by Dr. Marsha Nelson, a therapist who focuses on creative therapy techniques. She gave each of us at the training a pamphlet about a cruise group to the Caribbean she was planning in December. I dutifully took one and showed it to my wife when I went home. She excitedly said, “we need to go!”. Then my daughter overheard and was all excited ,”Yeah! We are going on a cruise!” I was thinking, “Oh, great! Floating in a tin can for a week! How do I get out of this!”.
I told them I would check to see if I could get off work. My perfect out! The cruise was during the end of the university semester so I probably would not receive time off. Well -- I am here so I did get the time off.
When we boarded the ship, my wife, daughter, my third grade teacher and I were amazed by the ship. The size was enormous and the décor was like a top scale hotel. We looked at the daily planner schedule and there were so many things to do, special classes on different topics from scrapbooking, to cooking, to better health classes. Each evening they have talented entertaining and music of all varieties throughout the day. The food is all deliciously prepared and you can eat round the clock if you wanted or would be able to. State of the art exercise facilities are available to work off the pounds from all the food. It was awesome to be working out on an elliptical machine staring out at the sea water with the sun reflecting its rays at sunrise.
All the activities and entertainment have made this an enjoyable time. Also the freedom where my daughter can go off do her thing, my wife and my third grade teacher can relax poolside, and I am free to work on my writing and reading. Of course being a bookhead I need my reading time. Yet the most enjoyable part of the cruise is the wonderful people on board. We came up from the Rio Grande Valley with the nicest group of folks that Dr. Marsha Nelson put together for the trip. Beyond our small group with all the friendliness between fellow cruisers you don’t feel like a stranger.
First of all I want to mention the workers on the ship. I can tell they are dedicated to great customer service. They go out of their way to serve and each person from those at the information desk to the dining helpers always have a smile on their face. Then the other cruisers on the ship are so friendly. You can strike up a conversation with about anyone. I began to wonder if they slip a happiness drug in to the water supply? How else could the emotional atmosphere be so congenial?
Thinking about it further, there are several more probable variables other than a happy drug. One thought that comes to mind is the superb respectful customer service along with their friendliness of the workers helps create a climate in which the friendly spirit spreads throughout the ship. Another is that the type of people who go on cruises are more open to meeting new people, so that aids in the people on the ship having a closer sense of fellowship.
Another reason for the relaxed atmosphere is there are so many things you can do and no pressure to do any particular activity. Family members can do different activities or do the same thing. You can eat when you want, sleep when you want. SO no one feels pressured. I have had several people tell me before taking the cruise that a cruise is one vacation where you go home relaxed and not tired. Many vacations I have been on you feel like you need a vacation from the vacation. This cruise is almost over and I still feel relaxed.
Vacations are an important part of living more than ok. We need time to break away from our work and the routines of life. Vacations are a way to learn new things about the world around us, other people and people groups. This experience of being on a cruise has opened my eyes to a new way to vacation. I would encourage anyone now to be open to having a cruise experience as one of their vacations. I know my family and I will be trying other cruises in the future.
Make a list of your top 5 vacation spots. Then go online and search for cruises that may go to one of those locations. Take some time to explore cruise websites to see what is all open to you in a cruise experience. Create a goal plan for doing a cruise vacation.