I am in love with cruises.  You see, to me, it is the PERFECT vacation.  You travel to the harbor, you get on the boat, and then you are automatically transported to vacationland where you have ZERO responsibility until the you leave the boat.  The most pressing decision is whether to hit the dining room or the buffet.  The pina colada or the margarita?  The pool bar or the piano bar?  No one has to drive, no directions to navigate, no worrying about what you’re going to do that day – it’s all there, on a little floating city for you.  All pictures are from our last cruise on Celebrity to the Pacific side of Mexico.

The only forseeable problem this time is last time I was on a cruise, I was about 100 lbs heavier, and wasn’t really concerned if I was getting off the boat at 105 lbs heavier.  I brought my elasticy pants for a reason thankyouverymuch.  However this time, I have a goal – to eat like a normal person in the real world, and I’d prefer if I came back without an extra 5 lb dumpling attached to my stomach.

For those of you who have never been on a cruise, you cannot understand the way these boats fatten you up.  You’ve already paid ahead of time for all food (minus some of the fancy schmancy extras they offer, but ignoring that), so there’s no cost factor.  It might sound insane, but you have so many opportunities to eat.  You can wake up with coffee, danishes, toast, and other continental type breakfast foods delivered to your door.  You can then hit the breakfast buffet for a midmorning feast of every type of breakfast food you want.  Lunch, you can hit the dining room and get a specially prepared meal, and later, hit the lunch buffet to see if there’s anything good you missed.  While you’re at the pool, you can order a drink and partake of the hamburgers, hotdogs, and french fries on deck.  Feeling a little tired from all that eating?  Just grab some afternoon ice cream to perk you up.  Hungry still?  Look it’s dinner time, and there’s a 4 course meal just waiting to be served to you, and the buffet is waiting just in case you have a hollow leg.  After that, go grab some drinks at the bar, and there will be late night appetizers passed around.  Now, it’s midnight, and time for the late night buffet, a different theme each night.  Three am and you feel a rumbling in your gut?  It must be your HUNGER (that’s right).  Go grab a plate and hit the all night pizza, pasta, and salad kitchen before waddling down the hall to your cabin.

See, eating like a normal person in the real world on a cruise is actually a very lofty goal.

I’m hoping that having been on this healthy lifestyle kick, I’ll be less likely to eat like I haven’t had food for days at every opportunity.  I’m envisioning this for our first “At Sea” day…

I wake up around 9 am (or whenever I wake up without an alarm clock), and change into my workout clothes.  After hitting the buffet for a piece of fruit and a slice of toast, I go for a nice, relaxing, long run on the sun deck of the ship.  Seriously, one of the things I am most looking forward to is running with a view of nothing but the ocean.  Is that sad?  Then, I head down to the pool to cool off and then to the hot tub to relax my muscles.  After a nice morning soaking up the sun (with sunblock, of course), we head to the lunch fare and grab a plate of good, healthy, yummy food and either find some fun activities to do, or back to the poolside.  Then, get all dolled up in my high school prom dress and heels (please let it fit, I was soooo close the last time I tried it on) and go to dinner and order what sounds good, but mindfully eat and not finish my plate unless it’s worth it or I’m genuinely still hungry.  Then, head down to the show, sip some wine at the bar and maybe dance a bit, and drift off to bed.

Last year, I dragged my ass outta bed probably closer 10:30, which at the time was way earlier than I’d normally wake up on a weekend.  If I could be bothered, I did a workout (walking at like 3.0 for 20-30 mins or maybe the eliptical) but I think most days I just went to the breakfast buffet and scarfed everything in sight.  Then, I got sunburnt by the pool because I was a dumbass and forgot my sunscreen, and just felt all around tubby in my fat girl bathing suit.  Then, since breakfast wasn’t filling enough, I shoved plates and plates of food down my throat.  Then either a nap in the cabin and games with the parents, which invariably had breaks for french fries and ice cream, or drinking at the pool bar.  Then dinner, then drinking, then munchies later, and some nights even room service because, well, we could and it was free.

I’m sure it will be something in between the two.  I doubt there will not be at least one day period we have a few drinks poolside or on shore instead of waiting until after dinner.  I’ll have to have one day where I grab something not-so-healthy for breakfast.  I might not be able to stay away from every midnight buffet.  But the biggest thing I want to do is eat mindfully, and if I’m full, stop eating (duh).  I think I’ve been able to train myself away from the “I see food so it must be time to eat” mentality, but this is definitely a test.

Even though I’m a little freaked out about the eating part, I am so excited to get a vacation.  People at work have actually gotten called back from theirs lately – and it’s not possible for me, since I will be incommunicado for the entire time (well, technically, they can dial the ship and have me paged for 9 bucks a minute, but whatever, I’m not telling them that).  I haven’t had a vacation that’s just me and the gnome for at least 5 years, it’s always been with people tagging along, or visiting friends or family or tradeshows or events… not this time.  It’s just quality us time doing whatever the hell we feel like.  I also haven’t had a vacation or left Austin since we moved here, and I’ve definitely been feeling the need lately.

All I know is it’s not getting here soon enough.  Ten more workdays until I’m free from the evil clutches of the gaming salt mines (yeah, yeah, I know, I just like to be overly dramatic) and heading away from shore.  I wish it was tomorrow, and not 2 weeks away.   Argh!