Humor, Life, Travel

That Cruise Took 13 Years Off My Life

I’ve been back from the cruise for a full thirteen days, my friends, and I still feel like I’m floating at times. I slept more in the two days after my return than I did while on the ship (no exaggeration). It took me four days to fully detox from the alcohol and feel like I was actually safe to be operating a motor vehicle again. NOTE: Three people had to ride in the car with me during this window of “not yet sober” (AKA the day we got off the ship) — two passengers asked to be let out of the car so they could Uber to the airport and one asked to be let out of the car so they could walk home…

I really don’t even know where to begin with this blog. Before I left for the cruise, I imagined returning with a few funny stories to tell and a few pictures to share. Turns out, I could write an entire novel about the seven days I spent cruisin’ and boozin’ with my gals, Alex, Lizzie, and Felicia… and the group of Joisey boys who we met kept following us around all week.

I guess we can start with them. We met them at Serenity, which was at the back of the boat and the only place on the entire ship that children were not allowed to enter. So, naturally, we’d spend the entirety of our “Fun Days at Sea” out there. Away from the heathens and their judgmental parents.

Serenity had a small pool, hammocks (which I’d end up passing out on one night), cabanas, and most importantly, a full-bar, complete with pool-side service. It was also conveniently next to the water slides, which I fell in love with.

Me and my gals were chillin’ poolside (a la Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda) with a drink called “Sex on the Lips” in hand. Only that’s not the name of it. My drunk ass kept confusing “Sex on the Beach” and “Kiss on the Lips.” The bartenders were confused every time and I was like… just pour alcohol in a glass, I’ll be fine. So this was Monday, the first full day at sea, and collectively we struck up conversation with this group of guys. Within hours, they had all been given nicknames… we didn’t even bother to learn their real names until mid-week probably. For the purposes of the blog and protecting identities [because trust me, theirs need protecting], they’ll be referred to by their nicknames. So we had:

Chad – because he just looked like a Chad, at least in an Urban Dictionary kind of way: A stereotypical douche-bag asshole/jock/frat boy/with an ego the size of the planet, who needs a swift roundhouse kick to the jaw.

Anthony – because Lizzie thought that’s what he looked like and I just agreed. Anthony and Chad are cousins.

Carole – because he kept talking about his girlfriend Kara, but through his accent, all we heard was Carole.

Billy Cheese Steak – he was originally Brad, I think, but he got his actual name because I heard so many of them calling him Phil. I didn’t know any of their real names, but I knew Phil’s. The next day, I was informed that it was actually Bill/Billy, so we made his nickname of pun of sorts… which doesn’t do a great job protecting his identity. *Kanye shrug*

Harvey (more commonly known as “The Hot One”) – because he told me that he was a Flood Adjuster and was present in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and Irma; I kindly allowed him to be Harvey instead of Irma, but apparently everyone else was just referring to him as “The Hot One.” Like Chad, I don’t think his ego needed anymore boosts, but whatever.

Pat – because he looked like our friend Pat.

Tad (who would become Tic Tac Tad by the end of this night) – because we were trying to rhyme all their names… Chad, Brad, Tad. At the end of this night, we were all sitting around the table eating Pirate Pizza, which was an early morning ritual after the club at 3am, and Chad, randomly looked at Tad and said [in the most Joisey accent ever], “And this guy over HEAAAH looks like FAAAUCKING Tic Tac!” I truthfully didn’t know what that meant, but when I looked over at Tad, I was shocked to see the striking resemblance and was LOL for a solid ten minutes. Alas, Tic Tac Tad was born.

Green Shirt – because we somehow became completely unoriginal and named him after what he was wearing the day we met him.

Now, it’s truly impossible for me to cover everything… I can barely remember half of it to begin with.

I connected the most with Chad, who made the following statement to my friend Alex, “You know, I’ve never met anyone who is like the same person as me… only extra. But that’s Melanie.” His friends, too, apparently, thought we were the female/male versions of each other. Guess I’m a stereotypical douche-bag asshole/jock/frat girl/with an ego the size of the planet, who needs a swift roundhouse kick to the jaw. So much so, that one of Harvey and Carole started a bet with Alex that Chad and I would hook up by the end of the week. Knowing me for well over a decade, Alex knew that he was 1) not my type and 2) that I had no intention of being unfaithful to my boyfriend. So, she accepted this bet with a high price tag. By the week’s end, Alex’s husband texted her the following (their Venmo account is linked):

I died. “Seems legit.” It was. I was mostly impressed that he actually paid up! Kudos to you Harvey! I suppose being a man of your word does make you “The Hot One.” 😉

Chad also got me so drunk on my birthday. Or at least that was Felony Melanie’s version of the story: “Chad kept dragging me out of the ocean and forcing me to take tequila shots. And he broke your snorkels, Alex!” Meanwhile, Chad’s version of the story was, “Felony Melanie was dragging ME out of the ocean and forcing me to take tequila shots. And SHE broke your snorkels!” Who was telling the truth? The world may never know, considering that the others went on some excursion to look at fish… and the boat caught on fire. But as I’m writing this… I seem to recall Felicia and Lizzie were present at about shot #7. Perhaps they can weigh in as to who was insisting on tequila shots… it was probably me, in all honesty.

I got some awesome pictures this day. Not sure who allowed me to take my phone in the water after that much tequila, especially after I had proven that I couldn’t hold onto things. I dropped an entire plate of food all over myself and a small child… but yeah, this island was gorgeous! Crystal clear waters and sunshine all day.

It was an amazing start to my birthday.

Well wait, we have to backup for a quick story. My birthday actually started at Beauties, the most bomb-ass night club. We kept saying: “Beauties: Where things get ugly.” Felicia and I discovered Beauties on night one when we followed the Cruise Director there and he had everyone doing the Wobble and the Cupid Shuffle. The dance floor was neon squares that would light up different colors – Alex insisted that everyone should stay in their own squares, but no one [but her] followed this rule. I absolutely loved this place, but the bullshit rule about no drinks on the dance-floor was a complete bummer. Every five minutes, you’d see people from our crew running up the stairs to take shots, because nobody wanted to be away from the dance-floor long enough to finish a full drink. You can imagine that we were all turnt af after day-drinking ALL day at Serenity, continuing to drink at the formal dinner, and then SHOTS into the early morning hours.

So, at midnight, I started on with my whole “It’s my birthday” bit. I wish we had made it a drinking game. Everyone take a shot every time Melanie says “It’s my birthday.” But we would have maxed out on our drinks before noon, so it’s best that we didn’t. Anyhow, while at Beauties when my birthday started, many people were asking to take birthday shots with me. Two, in particular, were these two girls that Tic Tac Tad and Green Shirt were canoodling with earlier in the week. Keep in mind, my birthday was Thursday, so the cruise was already halfway over. The two girls came up to me and asked if they could take a birthday shot with me and I was like “Of course!” They breathed this sigh of relief, as if I was going to say no or something. They smiled, “We have wanted to be your friend all week long, but you look so mean!”

Resting Bitch Face.

As Felicia would say, “If I had a nickel.” I’m all over the place with the blog, hopping from topic to topic, but it’s kind of analogous to the trip itself. But I just want to say that Felicia really missed out on the first two days. She had a terrible migraine one day that took her down for the count. I encouraged Chad, Anthony, and Billy Cheese Steak to come with Lizzie and me to wake her up around 1pm. She was not receptive to our drunk antics. At. All. The guys thought she was genuinely pissed off, but I assured them she’d get over it, especially since it was my idea to wake her up. When she finally rebounded the next day after 36 hours of sleep, Billy Cheese Steak killed Felicia by shoving seven jaegerbombs down her throat in less than an hour. Lizzie and Alex found her frowning in her sleep, like full on puppy-dog pouty lip. Felicia didn’t even make it to dinner that night… thanks Billy Cheese Steak.

Speaking of dinner, I have to give kudos to Felicia for choosing the late 8:15 dinner because it meant that we got to spend more time poolside before going back to the room to get ready. More importantly, the dinners were some of my favorite times on the ship. We had the most AMAZING head waitress and waiters. They knew our names immediately and very quickly learned our orders. Example, I always got a Caesar Salad with R-r-r-r-r-r-ranch dressing (Sawan would say it with a trilled R every time). Meanwhile, Budi and Sheldon were in for a surprise on night one, when I snatched the butter dish from their hands when they tried to take it from me before I was done. For the rest of the week, they had double butter set up at my place. They really made the dining experience so fun. Budi was also the star dancer at the end of the dinner each night. He’d get up on that podium and shake his ass like nothing I had ever seen before. This statement holds a lot of weight… I’ve seen a LOT of men shake their asses. #NobodyShakesTheirBootyLikeBudi

The four of us also had this conspiracy theory that Sawan and Budi were secret lovers because of the flirtatious looks he’d flash her while up on the podium. When we approached them about it – because alcohol – they denied, denied, denied. One of them, and I won’t say which, sheepishly commented, “I’ll keep them on the side.” WE DIED. But seriously, they saved our lives every night by supplying us with gigantic water bottles. As you can tell, we did a great job hydrating. And my drunk ass apparently ordered two bottles to our cabin via room service on my birthday… as if this stash of waters wasn’t enough???

What other things happened…

We played “Never Have I Ever” at Pirate’s Pizza on Monday night. For the first time ever in my life, I wasn’t the first one out of the game (thanks, Lizzie!) but the group learned some new things about me. And I had to spend about 15 minutes defending my sexual experiences. I’m a grown ass woman and I like what I like.

We went to a comedy show featuring Tom Foss, who’s show was on the trials and tribulations of marriage. Alex and I found it to be hilarious. But Felicia and Lizzie were too distracted by the guy who asked to sit next to Lizzie. Felicia struck up a conversation with him and when he said he was from Charlottesville, she questioned, “Greene County?” And within a millisecond of affirming, Felicia shot back, “Hi Michael, it’s Felicia.” I swear this bitch knows EVERYONE.

I won a cup-stacking competition at Margaritaville against a lady named Melanie. The DJ asked for two volunteers to represent each ship that had docked at Grand Turk – Carnival Pride and Carnival Sunshine. I was at the pool bar at the time and had to swim like my life depended on it. It’s amazing how people – or maybe it’s just me – will volunteer for something having no idea what they’re going to have to do. I was out of breath by the time I made it to him. He asked us where we were from and I got some DC love and support. It was really coincidental that her name was Melanie, too, and especially distracting when everyone is cheering, “Go Melanie!!!” I ended up getting a giant margarita out of it and ended up making friends with the group from my area. This was the first place we ported and the girls and I got off the ship together and parked our asses at Margaritaville. Within 10 minutes the Joisey boys had also shown up. Like I said, they followed us around all week long. They claim it wasn’t on purpose, but we knew better.

Carole, however, spent one day napping because he reportedly, “Needed a break from you ladies!” God bless him. On Wednesday, he kept asking what island we were porting at on Thursday and I drunkenly slurred, “My birthday.” Solid response, Melanie. Totally answered the question.

Felony Melanie was a compulsive liar all week long, especially on my birthday. Just like I tried to blame Chad for the tequila shots and broken snorkels… I woke up with 17 bruises on my legs because, “Pat wouldn’t stop making me go on the slide!” Apparently, I was dragging him up there over and over. I think I knew I needed a chaperone because after tequila shots at port, I switched to Jack Daniels on the boat. One of the crew told me I slipped getting into the slide that drops the floor out from under you. I was so grateful to know where 1 of the 17 bruises originated.

I was then also informed that I tried to throw myself over the balcony to retrieve my Sign & Sail Card. Chad was with me at this point. My next move was to grab a wet floor sign to get it back. Chad ended up wearing the black part at the bottom around his neck. RIP to that Wet Floor sign.

But on a serious note, shout out to whoever grabbed my ankles and pulled me back to safety. Chad? One of the crew? ALSO – shout out to Lizzie, who was seen sprinting across the pool deck to come save me while Alex and Felicia knowingly watched me while sipping on their Pina Coladas. I’d like to point out that I have known Alex since 2005 and Felicia since 2010. I met Lizzie the day we departed from Baltimore. Tracey Lawrence once sang, “You find out who your friends are…” and I now personally relate to that classic country hit. JK, if Melanie had been watching Felony Melanie, I would have been like… just let her drown.

I kid you not, though, the day after my birthday, I felt like the entire ship was just staring at me. I mean EVERYONE. So naturally, I knew I had been “that drunk girl” on my birthday. Annoying, offensive, inappropriate… you name it. I know I offended this one guy’s wife. He told me that she was resting up in the cabin and wanted him to be napping, too, so he’d have energy later that night.

“Energy.”

When she finally joined him, I jokingly said to her, “Don’t worry, he’s been taking it easy out here. He’s gonna give it to you later.”

Like, I need a muzzle. I apologized the next day to both of them. Soon after, I was back at the slides, and a little girl tapped me on my thigh and said, “I remember you.”

SHIT. “I remember you, too!” More lies.

“What day did we meet again, sweetie?”

“Yesterday,” she said.

I sighed. I had exposed her pure, innocent little mind to my shit-housed “It’s my birthday” self. I’m sure her parents were one of the ones staring at me that day. But, in my defense, it was my birthday. And furthermore, with the exception of the slides… I really stayed at Serenity so that I would avoid permanently traumatizing young children.

There was a casino on the ship as well. I didn’t spend much time here, but Alex was one of the top gamblers and was gifted with a bottle of wine as a result. She also provided Anthony and Chad with some gambling money and I believe they managed to lose it all after being given specific instructions from Alex on when to stop. This wasn’t the only time money went missing.

Pat had $900 in the safe in his room, which was next to Harvey’s $200. Billy Cheese Steak was passed out in the room for the day and at some point, Felicia had gone down to the room, as a favor while on her way to get something from our room, to get Harvey’s Sign & Sail card, which Billy Cheese Steak had taken to get in the room because he forgot his. Later that day, when Pat’s $900 was missing and Harvey’s $200 was untouched, Pat went on a man/witch hunt for the thief.

Felicia was suspect #1 and Pat was questioning Alex, who was like “I just met Felicia on Sunday…” and I was like, “It wasn’t Felicia.” Provided no explanation. When I told Felicia about it all she had to say was, “Fuck, if Billy had just woken up when I screamed BILLY walking into the room… my name would be cleared because he would have seen that I didn’t take the money!” Somehow Billy had failed to be a reliable alibi. Shocker.

To this day apparently (per our group chat), no one knows who stole Pat’s $900. My bet is on Alex, though, considering she bought a pair of $900 sunglasses a week later in Las Vegas. But what do I know? I was off making friends the whole time with the crew [Shout Out to: Janeil, Pabs, Maid, Marko, and Talaai] or trying to throw myself overboard.

The week ended with me at the back of the ship on the phone with my boo, telling him how much I had missed him and couldn’t wait to see him. It was 5:00 in the morning by the time I wandered back to the room… I was expecting everyone to be passed out, but instead I found Chad, Harvey, and Billy Cheese Steak in our room… clinging to their final moments with their favorite Carnival cruise girls. By 7am, we decided to nap before the calls for embarking started around 8am. Billy slept in Felicia’s bunk and begged her twice to cuddle with him. He was denied both times. He then asked Alex to cuddle and she basically told him “Uh uh! Mama ain’t no Plan B.”

So Alex and Felicia slept on the top twin bunk. Meanwhile, Harvey was below in Lizzie’s bottom twin bunk, silently hopping Lizzie would join him, too. Instead she spooned with me in my bottom bunk across the way. Meanwhile, Chad crashed in the middle of the floor. It was the worst hour of sleep I have ever gotten… sounded like a construction zone with all the boys snoring. I let out an audible, “Oh my god” every five minutes. Miserable.

“Morning” came and the boys reluctantly said their final goodbyes… begging us to do Thanksgiving in Atlantic City with them. When we got in line to get off the damn ship, the boys showed up again. Literally in love with us, literally followed us all week. Funny, because, as Felicia so aptly noted, not a single one of us put out.

Phew. I feel like I left out so much. If I had to summarize the cruise in one word it would simply be… drunk. From sun-up til sun-down. And most times, from sun-up til sun-up. We lived at the Serenity Bar by day and shut down Beauties by night. Tore it up on the dance floor. Alex in her own square. Lizzie in her workout attire. Felicia twerking in her Lily Pulitzer shift dresses. Me… trying not to drop it too low because I kept forgetting to put on underwear. Shout to the DJ for playing “Middle” by Maren Morris — it takes me back to everyone meeting in the “middle” of the dance floor while singing the chorus at the top of our lungs. Also, love how hype I got the club when I requested “In Da Club” by 50 Cent… because “It’s my birthday.” And god damnit, we partied like it was my birthday… all morning long, all day long, all night long, all week long. SIDE NOTE: Alex found a four month cruise we can all go on… but we all agreed we’d all be dead by Day 8. Except Felicia, who Billy Cheese Steak will probably kill on Day 4.

Yeah, so all in all… that trip took thirteen years off my life. Don’t ask me how I calculated, I just did. Hell, it’s taken me thirteen days to piece together some semblance of a blog. If you made it this far, I’m honestly impressed. I’ve been finishing the last half of this blog while drinking some tequila cranberry [mostly tequila because it’s put me back in a Carnival Pride state of mind]. And I just saw my word count and was like, woah. No way people made it past the introduction of the Joiseyyyyy boys. But seriously… I don’t think I would have made it this far if roles were reversed. So, if you did… shit, here’s my formal invitation to join me and my crew on next year’s cruise. We’ll be the ones in the matching T-shirts, shooting tequila, fireball, and jaaaaaaaegahbombs, occasionally sipping on Sex on the Lips and Strawberry Daquiris, and always, always bustin’ a move at Beauties.

Here’s a few more pictures, since I probably should have included more of the beautiful scenery and not the inanimate objects I used and abused and water I didn’t drink.

Okay, I should probably stop typing and go edit this. But ahhhhh, fuck it. I’m just gonna publish and hope for the best. I mean, I warned y’all that I was…

FEATURED IMAGE BY: BRANDON NELSON
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2 thoughts on “That Cruise Took 13 Years Off My Life

    1. Hi Maryam, I grew up around the water so that didn’t phase me. I’d recommend trying to do a day-tour on a boat in the next city you visit. Here in Washington, D.C. they have them for tourists to view the city from the Potomac. They’re short and often make several stops. It’d potentially be a good way to ease yourself into it. I went on a 7-day cruise which did have me stir crazy by the 5th day so if you ever make the decision to take a cruise, I would definitely start with a short 3-4 day cruise. Just to see how you like it! Thanks for reading and replying!

      -Melanie

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