North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

February 27, 2013

Danielle Cater: Time on vacation is worth the hassle

By Danielle Cater
North Jefferson News

COMMENTARY — Everyone needs a vacation at some point in the year, and I was blessed enough to get to go on a cruise this month. No, I wasn’t on the cruise ship that was stranded in the middle of the ocean for five days, but I was on the same cruise line. Actually, the boat I was on took food to the stranded ship to help out.

There is one thing certain to anyone who has ever gone on a cruise: You will eat too much. Every meal is like an event. It doesn’t matter what is going on with the rest of the ship — when it gets even remotely close to food time, people start filing toward the dining halls and there is no question as to why they do it.

The food on a cruise is usually very good. Every evening we ate in the dining room and polished every five or six course meal off with a chocolate melting cake with ice cream and at least one other dessert.

And don’t think that just because I ate like a pig for dinner I could be counted out for dessert, because about midnight every night, I was either at the ice cream bar, pizza bar or ordering room service. That would really explain why I have had to go shopping for new pants since I came back to land, but it was well worth it at the time.

If you have never experienced a cruise, then you probably think it is a lot of hype for nothing, but cruisers love to cruise. Once you catch the fever, it’s hard to settle for a week at the beach.

Cruises usually cost less than other vacations because all of your meals are included. They also include a good spectrum of entertainment, although if you cruise on the same ship three times in one year, the entertainment can become pretty stale.

We went to Cozumel and Progresso on this cruise, so that means there were two days of sailing and two days on the beach. The best part about the beach days, for most people, is the shopping and the food.

But I am a little different. You can keep the shopping and I’d rather have the cruise food, but I love the cheap massages on the beach that the local women give. They will attack you as you get off the ship, basically tearing your sunglasses off your face to get you on their table to start the massage.

I must warn you that an hour massage usually only lasts about 40 minutes, but for $10 it is a steal. After you are sunburned and wiped out from your fun day at the beach, it’s time to make your way back to the ship where you eat yet again and then veg out the rest of the night, dreading the fact that you have to return to the real world the next day.

It never fails that when you return from vacation, it seems like you weren’t away long enough. Every time I am preparing my office for a trip, I think to myself, “This vacation is never going to be worth all the time it takes to prepare for it.”

And sometimes that is true, but we all need some time away from our mundane lives. It’s so nice to just take a few days to recharge your batteries and try to rest and relax for a couple of days. If you get the chance to go cruising with friends or family, set sail.

The pictures cost too much, the food is good, the entertainment is grand, but the time away is what makes it all worthwhile.