As published in The Florida Villager
With the holiday season upon us, stress levels rise and exhaustion sets in, so here is something to think about, a gift to yourself this season; a reset cruise. A cruise where it is all about you, where you can completely relax, hit the reset button and step foot on land completely rejuvenated and ready to take on 2015.
I boarded the Caribbean Princess with Princess cruise lines on a Thursday and docked back in Ft. Lauderdale Monday morning feeling like a new person. It was a four day cruise with no ports of call only relaxing days at sea and one day at their out island, Princess Cay.
Under gray skies we pulled away from Terminal 2 drinking a Bahamas Bay Breeze and listening to the sounds of Pit Bull. No one even noticed the approaching clouds as the crew had everyone up and dancing to the phenomenal band, Epithani. By the time everyone was doing YMCA on deck, we had left the city’s skyline in the mist and were a floating oasis adrift on the sea.
That first night I watched the sun set from my balcony and then watched Godzilla under the stars wrapped in a red plaid blanket. As crewmembers passed out popcorn, I settled back on my lounge chair and thought, “Life is good.”
Every morning I was greeted by my cabin steward, Pionono Bermedez, infectious smile and during the entire cruise he made me feel like I was home. My mornings were filled with yoga, a spa treatment at the Lotus Spa and a healthy breakfast from the buffet. Afternoons were spent on the pool deck with a book in hand (one of many I brought), a nap and at least one activity. To be honest, there were so many interesting ones to choose from I felt like I missed out on some. I did a dance class, wine tasting, teatime with Jackie, where I learned about the jewelry Jackie O wore and of course, listening to the band Epithani. Ok, I admit it, I was a 55 year old groupie; wherever they played, I was there. They kept me on the dance floor all night!
Speaking of which, nighttime on the ship was whatever I wanted it to be. One night I did happy hour at the Wheelhouse, then sat on the deck and gazed at the stars. I did a Country Western Hoe Down and ate at one of their specialty restaurants, Sabatini’s. The great thing was that I could eat at any time I wanted, as casual or dressy, as I wanted. One night, I opted for pizza on my own balcony listening to the waves and enjoying the stillness and solitude of the night. Another night I went to Karaoke after enjoying the amazing talent in the main show.
Now for the crème de la crème, Princess Cay on Eleuthera. I have been to many out islands but this was by far the best. I could have built a hut and stayed. There was a band playing by the bar and pastel colored Adirondack chairs dotted the beach. Lounge chairs were strategically placed under coconut palms and drinks were flowing. Grabbing a frozen drink I made my way into the water and floated into Heaven. There were floats, paddleboards, water bikes, kayaks and banana boat rides to occupy the time but I chose the Dune Buggy Heritage Adventure Tour. I had never driven a dune buggy so it was a check on my bucket list. We ended up at Lighthouse Beach where I spent 20 minutes swimming in beautiful, crystal turquoise water. Hut #2. Before I knew it, my time in paradise was up and I was on the tender back to the ship.
Packing my bags the night before we docked back into the real world, I realized how much I had needed to reset myself. This cruise was just what the doctor ordered. I shut my cabin door, walked up to the top deck and did what any self-respecting 55 year old would do, I danced the night away under the stars.