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hucifer

Allure: Confessions of a solo passenger

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THE CONFESSION BEGINS…

“Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.”

– Oscar Wilde

 

[taps microphone]

 

Hey folks.

 

[cringes at feedback]

 

Thank you for stopping at my trip report. For those that enjoy unorthodox trip reports with a healthy dose of sarcasm, welcome.

 

[curtseys]

 

As you get to understand the tone of my writing, this is where you will either be all in, or bow out immediately. My writing is not for everyone, and that’s okay. Really.

 

[gives the stink eye to folks leaving]

 

This trip report is about the Allure cruise I took back in late September. For those of you who like more timely reports, I will excuse you as well.

 

[pauses while more readers leave room]

 

So, what is there? Four of you left? Well, welcome. I’ll be here all week. Try the veal. Wait…what?

 

[covers microphone while listening to someone backstage]

 

Sorry, try the chicken.

-----------------------------------

 

It really is possible to never step foot on an elevator on the Allure for an entire week. I have the thighs to prove it. These thighs could squeeze your head so hard that your brains would squirt out from your ears. They are so ripped that if you punched them while I was flexing them, you would break your hand. But please don’t punch my abs. I ate too much.

 

I cruise solo, thus the title. As a single mom, this is my respite. It is my own schedule and agenda. I don’t have to put up with the boy’s whining, eye-rolling, or misbehavior for a whole glorious week. Let’s leave that to the adults. Throughout the week I will get a lot of “You’re vacationing ALONE?” It’s weird for people. And that question is usually followed by one of two reactions: either they are impressed that someone would travel solo (“You are so brave!”), or they are jealous of the opportunity to have all that time to yourself (“You are so lucky!”). Sometimes I get both reactions from the same person (“I wish I had the nerve to leave my husband for a week.”), which is often followed with an eyeroll and a nod toward said husband.

 

So while I am at home and detoxing from a week of rich, salty, greasy deliciousness, I am gathering my thoughts about the time I spent on The Beast. Because dammit, Allure is a beast. Remember? Thighs of steel? (ref. previous para.)

 

When I embarked onto The Beast, I was lowly Platinum status [spits on ground]. By the time my thighs of steel carried me off the ship a week later, I reached a slightly more respectable Emerald status [curled lip]. Not that Royal recognized this great achievement during the cruise with a congratulatory memo, an appreciative nod, or even a private event at Dazzles. And let’s be honest, people. In the scheme of things, as long as I’m Emerald [curled lip], I’ll always be Not Quite Good Enough To Be Diamond. So pity me. Fools.

 

I’m not really sure that many will have an interest in my sordid tale. I am not a big drinker, but I do appreciate good cuisine and live music. As an extrovert, I adore meeting people. As an introvert, I have an uncanny ability to stare at and breathe in the sea for hours at a time without a soul around. And I freaking love cruising.

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Hucifer and the boy she is leaving behind.

 

 

 

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He loves cuddles and hates cruises. Honest.

 

 

 

Up next: The Fluff Stuff

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Looking forward to the rest of this. You may or may not be brave and/or lucky, but what I see so far, that I challenge anyone to dispute, are smart, strong and funny.

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Love the review so far. Sometimes I travel solo, sometimes not. Like you I love the solitude. Thanks for taking the time to write this review. Katherine

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Following along too.

 

I’m a mom of 6 and have taken one solo cruise bc I just needed a break. I had so many people day the oddest things (not all were kind either) to me when they found out about my travel plans...

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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I have readers! I'm so excited.

 

Omg!!!! This is great so far. You sound like an awesome mom. Are you normally this clever and funny?
You flatter me. GO ON.

I don't know how awesome I am for leaving my son behind, but he was actually okay with it. You'll find out why in a later installment...if you keep reading, that is.

 

I'm one of the four. 😉

YAY! Thank you!

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Ok, I'm on board for this too. If sarcasm is the lowest form of witt, then I have no issues with going really low, even if I have to dig a hole.

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Looking forward to the rest of this. You may or may not be brave and/or lucky, but what I see so far, that I challenge anyone to dispute, are smart, strong and funny.
Dang, Kmom from Chicago. You are my new best friend. Please keep reading and telling me things like this. ;)

;

Love the review so far. Sometimes I travel solo, sometimes not. Like you I love the solitude. Thanks for taking the time to write this review. Katherine

Thank you for reading and responding! I do love my solo time.

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I'm reading whatever you post today because I leave on Allure tomorrow. I usually sail solo so I hope I didn't make a mistake inviting a friend to join me on this casino comped cruise. I guess the next 7 days will determine whether we are still friends!!!

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I'm reading whatever you post today because I leave on Allure tomorrow. I usually sail solo so I hope I didn't make a mistake inviting a friend to join me on this casino comped cruise. I guess the next 7 days will determine whether we are still friends!!!

That is the thing about sailing with family. Their status doesn't change at the end of the week.

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Following along too.

 

I’m a mom of 6 and have taken one solo cruise bc I just needed a break. I had so many people day the oddest things (not all were kind either) to me when they found out about my travel plans...

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Mom of six?

 

[bows deeply]

 

You have my respect. I only have the one.

 

I have never encountered a disrespectful or odd comment about sailing solo, so that surprises me.

 

Ok, I'm on board for this too. If sarcasm is the lowest form of witt, then I have no issues with going really low, even if I have to dig a hole.

Yes, you do like sarcasm. Your posts are some of my favorites.

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Enjoying so far!

I hope you keep enjoying. No pressure.

[bites lip]

I'm reading whatever you post today because I leave on Allure tomorrow. I usually sail solo so I hope I didn't make a mistake inviting a friend to join me on this casino comped cruise. I guess the next 7 days will determine whether we are still friends!!!

Ooh, you're going to love her. The beauty about The Beast is that there are so many places to escape to.

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THE FLUFF STUFF

 

“If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never tried before.”

--Steven Wright

 

But let’s go back…back to a time when I was just Platinum [patooey!], life was simple, and I had no idea what to expect from a week on the Allure. Ah, the innocence…

 

[dreamy harp music and rolling white fog]

 

I am 47, but look 29. If I had a dollar for every time someone said, “You’re FORTY-SEVEN? You look twenty-nine!” well, I wouldn’t have anything. But I know you’re all thinking that. It’s that moment you reveal your age when you’re expecting unrestrained shock: a raised eyebrow, gaping mouth, a sudden coughing fit, followed by “You have GOT to be kidding me!” I’m still waiting. I wish people would stop holding back their emotions.

 

[Author’s note: When my 10yo read that paragraph, he told me that I look more like 50 than 29. So wonder no more why I went solo on this cruise, people.]

 

I’m also at the age when I start assuming that people I meet are younger than me. I’m not sure when that happened, but I don’t dig it. Even though I look 29, I am confident that most are under rather than over me, chronologically speaking. Maybe it’s when I started calling young people “whippersnappers” and waving my cane at them. For example, I was playing Movie Theme Trivia at the Schooner Bar with a couple of said whippersnappers and Adam, the host, played the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey. I look over at the couple to see if they are going to write down the answer and I am met with blank expressions. Like…they had NO CLUE. I said, “You guys honestly never heard of this? You know how sad that makes me?” I scribble the answer with my liver-spotted hand and then pass the pencil back while mumbling something about back in my day.

 

Ah crap. I digressed again. I guess by now you’re wondering if I’m ever going to actually talk about the Allure. I’m kinda wondering that too.

 

I think I left off with stringed music and billowing smoke. But not the kind of smoke you have to inhale when walking through or next to the damn Casino. My designated dining room was THE GRANDE, which is on the same floor as THE CASINO. So every evening I walked into a wall of stench on my way into the dining room which clung to my nostril hairs like boogers to a finger. Smoke-saturated nostrils really bring a delicate balance to the richness of the escargot and prime rib, n’est-ce pas?

 

[Twists waxed moustache and adjusts beret]

 

Did I mention I was the queen of digression? Where was I going with this stream of consciousness? What am I even writing about? Ah yes, The Beast. I seriously need to focus.

 

Irma can suck it. She caused devastation, death, and destruction throughout the Caribbean and Florida, and, more importantly, she cancelled my hotel reservation at the Hyatt Pier 66. The cancellation came just a few days before the trip, so I had to scramble to find alternative accommodations. Fortunately, the Best Western Oceanside Inn had a room for me. And just like the Doobie Brothers are arguably better with Michael McDonald than without, we also all know that the Hyatt Pier is a much nicer hotel than the Best Western. But the Best Western, in all its Michael McDonald-esque deficiency, has a very nice staff. Location isn’t bad. Turn right and you walk to the beach. Turn left and you find packs of scurrying iguanas, which, to a Michigander, is about the coolest thing ever. About a mile down Iguana Avenue is the drawbridge that overlooks Port Everglades. The Harmony, Beast’s slightly girthier younger sister, was parked at the port. Yes, I said parked. You nautical purists can suck it too.

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Best Western Oceanside: we ain't the Hyatt Pier.

I watched Harmony and some Carnival ship sail away before turning around and heading back to Oceanside Inn, thanking Florida for growing alligator-sized iguanas for my personal entertainment.

23319440_1719552154730419_5037369489810996283_n.jpg?oh=af20ec32fecd11327ca9cb84443a01b0&oe=5A9CC6E3

Harmony giving me a teaser for tomorrow.

My friend Wendy was waiting at the hotel bar. She lives in Fort Lauderdale now, but we went to high school together back in Michigan. She looks 29 too. She is wearing short-shorts that show off her long thin legs, a tank that shows off her enormous cleavage, and Wonder Woman underwear. Don’task me how I know that. I ran upstairs to wash my pits and throw on fresh clothes. What I lack in breast size, I make up for in sparkling personality. I take my sass and freshly washed pits downstairs to drag Wendy away from the ogling bartender.

 

This is where things get blurry. I remember going to some craft beer place and downing a couple hefeweizens before we went out to dinner and downed a shot or two of Fireball (beer before liquor…). After that, we hit a Place That Shall Not Be Named. My goodness, this is starting to sound pretty un-family friendly. I swear I’m far more responsible than this back home. Wendy is a terrible influence. Not to disappoint you, but this behavior is in no way a foreshadowing of things to come on the Allure. I drank more in one night with Wendy than I did all week on the ship. Okay, that’s not true. But close.

15253366_1358442404174731_7279606266180638205_n.jpg?oh=52e8cd1ec1772d1518d46efb87a87a12&oe=5AAA30A3

Me and Ms. Bad Influence. You may note some physical differences.

The next morning I drank a pre-purchased bottle of Gatorade. This is not my first rodeo with Ms. Bad Influence. And don’t get me started about the LAST pre-cruise evening I had with Wendy. It involved many shots of Patron, a nonworking cell phone, and plenty of memory gaps. Uh oh, I feel another digression coming on…

 

[dreamy harp music and rolling white fog]

 

In the days of high-topped sneakers, “Keep On Trucking” bumper stickers, and free love (December 2016 to be exact), I flew to Fort Lauderdale for five solo nights on the Independence. Being the seasoned cruiser that I was (after all, I was PLATINUM, people! [patooey!]), I knew that flying the day before sail away is the only way to start a cruise vacation. My buddy Wendy had just moved into town, so she was excited to meet up with a dear friend (46, but who looked 28). She had a full evening of activities planned for us. Most of which included alcohol. It started with fish tacos on the beach. Then we started hitting bar after bar after bar and downing shot after shot of Patron. That’s when the gaps happen. I do remember she wanted to take me to a Place That Shall Not Be Named. In the lobby of said Place, I open my purse to get money for the cover. My cell phone drops onto the floor and the back of the phone pops off. I pick it up, put the back cover on, and slip it back in my purse, thinking nothing of it.

 

I won’t bore you with the details of what happened inside this fine establishment. It isn’t relevant to the story, anyway. But I may have contracted an infection from the Place. Dirty toilets, you understand.

 

After the evening antics, we are Ubered back to my hotel to crash, Wendy being too drunk to want to Uber herself back home. When I put my head on the pillow, the room began to dance in a graceful slow circle around my body. Like a circle of sheep were hand-in-hand, dancing around me so quickly that the room itself began to spin. I had to put my foot on the floor to stop it.

 

In the morning, I feel less than awesome. I get up to check my phone for messages. But it won’t turn on, even though it was plugged in all night. Then I notice that the phone is abnormally light. I pop open the back and see a big square hole. “Wendy,” I ask, waking Ms. Bad Influence from her own alcohol-induced slumber. “What do you suppose goes in this hole back here? And why won’t my phone turn on?” Wendy, being as clueless and hungover as I was, just stared silently.

 

You know how those stupid florescent lightbulbs take about seven minutes to get to full brightness after you turn them on? Well, that was my brain this particular morning. The synapses kept sparking but didn’t fire anything up in my brain. Like someone trying to light a cigarette on a windy day. I keep mixing my metaphors. Sorry about that. Anyway, the light bulb finally reached its brightness and the lighter finally lit the cigarette and I said in my eureka moment, “Oh God…that was the battery that fell out.” Wendy continued to stare, her own synapsis misfiring this morning.

 

So now I not only have to get ready for a cruise, I have to find a battery for this ancient phone. Meanwhile, the contents of my stomach are threatening to return to its entry point. After we were Ubered back to Wendy’s place, we threw my stuff into her car and drove to CVS, where a large bottle of Gatorade (my favorite hangover cure) was waiting. Then she took me to Verizon.

 

I grabbed the first available Verizon dude by the collar and said, “You gotta help me. I’m about to get on a cruise ship by myself and this phone is my only link to the outside world.” Verizon dude pops open the back, studies it for exactly 3.4 seconds, hands it back, and says, “You’re screwed.” Or something like that. He said that my phone was so old (how old was it?) that they didn’t sell these batteries anymore. But not to worry. Batteries and Bulbs was around the corner and that they should have what I need.

 

“Around the corner” wasn’t exactly accurate, but we did find the store. I ran inside, grabbed the kid behind the counter by the collar, and said, “You gotta help me. I’m about to get on a cruise ship by myself and this phone is my only link to the outside world.” Battery boy pops open the back, studies it for a second, then types into the computer.

 

Wait for it…wait for it…

 

“I’m sorry, but we don’t carry that particular battery at this store. But we may have it in our Miami store.”

 

MAY??? I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. And vomit swirling around my stomach. I just stared at the man-boy with large, watery eyes and silently begged for help. And a bucket.

 

“Hold on,” Battery Man-Boy says suddenly, and walks over to the batteries to his right. He studies them before selecting one on the bottom shelf. He walks back over to the counter and pops the battery out of its packaging. Then he tries slipping that bad boy into the empty space at the back of my phone. No luck. It’s close, but the thing won’t fit. Then he pulls out a box cutter. He holds it up, looks me directly in the eyes, and says, “Don’t ever do this.” And proceeds to cut the ends off of three sides of the battery. He puts the battery back into the hole, and while it just about fits, it still isn’t going in. He is not discouraged. He wiggled and pressed and jammed. I expected him to body-slam himself onto the counter to get it to fit. Then I saw my camera screen flash on and I about screamed. And vomited. But the battery still wouldn’t go in all the way. Screen was on, a connection was made, but one end of the battery was sticking up. So he reaches behind the counter and brings out some special tape and tapes the snot out of that battery onto the back of my phone. I mean, that battery isn’t going anywhere. After all the taping, he slowly slides the phone back to me, screen-side down, and says, “Try not to handle it a lot.”

 

“It’s my PHONE,” I say. “I’m going to handle it more than I handle myself, if you know what I mean.” Maybe I didn’t really say that. But I was tempted to jump across the counter and physically reward him for his personalized service. Instead I verbally thanked Battery Man-Boy a thousand times and happily paid for the battery. Of course, now the back cover won’t fit because there is a battery sticking up on one end of the giant square hole. But it worked. And that’s all that mattered. It looked like a backwoods hillbilly makeshift doohickey, and not one of them newfangled fancy phones that look pretty and have back covers and all work and stuff. I was asked, “What the hell happened to your phone?” all week.

 

I get back to the car and I would have told Wendy why I was in the battery store so long, but she was busy on the phone, trying to cancel a credit card that was stolen last night somewhere between the hotel and the Place That Shall Not Be Named.

 

Yep, it was that kind of night.

Up next: DAY 1 – HOW TO LOSE A CRAZY, AXE-WIELDING JACK NICHOLSON

Edited by hucifer

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Oh I'm so following this review!! Thank you in advance for the rest!

Why, thank you Ethel. Hope you stick with it. Is that a pic of you standing on the Flowrider? Impressive!

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Why, thank you Ethel. Hope you stick with it. Is that a pic of you standing on the Flowrider? Impressive!

 

Thank you, and it is.. a brief shining moment of standing before I crashed into the .. what's under that stream of water anyway? Mat? Trampoline? The bedding I wish that Royal would put on the beds instead of the boards they must use under the mattress cover instead of padding?

 

I am a flowrider addict, and now that I think about it it must have to do with the amount of time I spend lying down on the very comfortable surface as the water pushes me up the hill to the drain at the top. It's like a shower and a nap, all at once. Very refreshing. Strongly recommended!

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Looks like I’m number ten on the followers list. Best review I’ve read. Although I’m slightly biased, being a fellow Michigander and all. Looking forward to the rest of the story.

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Thank you, and it is.. a brief shining moment of standing before I crashed into the .. what's under that stream of water anyway? Mat? Trampoline? The bedding I wish that Royal would put on the beds instead of the boards they must use under the mattress cover instead of padding?

 

I am a flowrider addict, and now that I think about it it must have to do with the amount of time I spend lying down on the very comfortable surface as the water pushes me up the hill to the drain at the top. It's like a shower and a nap, all at once. Very refreshing. Strongly recommended!

Guess I've been missing the opportunity for a nap/shower hybrid this whole time. So if you're an addict, surely you can stand longer than a moment by now?

 

I don't have an issue with the Royal beds. I sleep very well on them.

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Looks like I’m number ten on the followers list. Best review I’ve read. Although I’m slightly biased, being a fellow Michigander and all. Looking forward to the rest of the story.

Hey Tillie, my Michigan friend. I'll take such a great compliment, regardless of the reason.

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Guess I've been missing the opportunity for a nap/shower hybrid this whole time. So if you're an addict, surely you can stand longer than a moment by now?

 

I don't have an issue with the Royal beds. I sleep very well on them.

 

I suppose I do occasionally stay up for a longer run these days.. it's a lot of fun.

(ignore the voice over from my very kind and enthusiastic friend).

 

Please don't let me distract you from your review.. I"m eager for the rest!

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I cruise solo, thus the title. As a single mom, this is my respite. It is my own schedule and agenda. I don’t have to put up with the boy’s whining, eye-rolling, or misbehavior for a whole glorious week. Let’s leave that to the adults. Throughout the week I will get a lot of “You’re vacationing ALONE?” It’s weird for people. And that question is usually followed by one of two reactions: either they are impressed that someone would travel solo (“You are so brave!”), or they are jealous of the opportunity to have all that time to yourself (“You are so lucky!”). Sometimes I get both reactions from the same person (“I wish I had the nerve to leave my husband for a week.”), which is often followed with an eyeroll and a nod toward said husband.

 

 

 

I travel solo too and get exactly the same types of (unsolicited) comments - only from women, tho.

Sad that in this day in age, so many women still lack confidence to go it alone, and subsequently, lack the opportunity to have the entire closet and tiny cabin all to one's self!

Nevermind the ability to make all one's own decisions!

But you get it... so I look forward to the rest of the review.

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I suppose I do occasionally stay up for a longer run these days.. it's a lot of fun.
(ignore the voice over from my very kind and enthusiastic friend).

 

Please don't let me distract you from your review.. I"m eager for the rest!

WOW! Super impressive flowriding skills, woman! Your friend's commentary made me laugh.

 

I travel solo too and get exactly the same types of (unsolicited) comments - only from women, tho.

Sad that in this day in age, so many women still lack confidence to go it alone, and subsequently, lack the opportunity to have the entire closet and tiny cabin all to one's self!

Nevermind the ability to make all one's own decisions!

But you get it... so I look forward to the rest of the review.

Oh, I LOVE having the cabin all to myself. LOVE having the shower all to myself. LOVE playing my music, setting my own agenda, etc. etc. Cruising solo is da bomb and very, very empowering.

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Oh, I LOVE having the cabin all to myself. LOVE having the shower all to myself. LOVE playing my music, setting my own agenda, etc. etc. Cruising solo is da bomb and very, very empowering.

 

Possibly THAT is why you sleep well, bed quality notwithstanding. Nobody stressing you out, whining, demanding their own agenda, throwing up, (well nobody except yourself).

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