Food, ridiculous food

By Mir
June 8, 2010

My father tried to warn me about the food. I mean, I know that eating is a central part of cruising, just from talking to people. But GOOD LORD. I expect my children to each be five pounds heavier at the end of the week. Which wouldn’t be such a bad thing, really, as both could really use a little meat on their bones.

I also find that the frugal side of me—knowing that all this food is already paid for—feels sort of like Hey, it’s kind of wasteful if we DON’T eat. And I realize that’s completely twisted, but there you go. So when the kids want ice cream at 10 in the morning and the machine is RIGHT THERE, well, why not.

Look, I worked REALLY HARD to lose some weight this year, so I’m trying to control myself. I’ve had dessert after dinner both nights so far, because I’m not made of STONE, but I’ve been good other than that. I stick to my South Beach-esque ways and eat lots of fruits and veggies and I’m good.

But the kids, well, it’s kind of crazy.

Let me put it to you this way: We made the mistake of going to the dining room (instead of the buffet) for breakfast yesterday morning. And Monkey got up on the wrong side of the cabin yesterday, if you know what I’m saying. I don’t know what it was; maybe he was still tired. Maybe he was a little seasick? Maybe he was just hungry. Or maybe he was just on his way to having a hard day (he did have kind of a hard day). I didn’t know, but the whiiiiiining about being hungry commenced almost immediately. Mind you, there are two things to remember here: 1) That we were awake and in our cabin for quite a while before we decided to head to breakfast, and there was NO COMPLAINING or even a hint of hunger prior to our departure, and 2) Monkey is a little old man-nerd trapped in a 10-year-old’s body.

So Chickadee just commented that she was kind of hungry as we stood there waiting for my parents to arrive. But Monkey staggered around, holding his midsection with his hands as though his intestines would fall to the floor if he let go, declaring in ever-louder tones that “MY STOMACH IS DIGESTING ITSELF! I CAN FEEL IT!” and such. Ahem. Eventually we went inside and got a table and just apologized to my folks about starting without them.

But then we had to decide what to get, order, and then wait. Monkey ordered a startling amount of food, and I thought to myself that there was just no possible way, but whatever. But as we waited he complained more and more, so when the waiter came by with a basketful of bread products, I let him have a croissant (thinking that would placate him). He scarfed it down. Then shortly after that, he was served his strawberry yogurt and a banana, and he ate all of that. The bread basket came around AGAIN and he was “still starving” so he got a muffin and ate THAT. And then his actual breakfast came—-french toast and bacon—and he ate all of that. And sucked down a glass of milk just for good measure.

“Was that good, hungry little caterpillar?” I asked him, once he finally pushed back from the last plate. “Are you full now?”

“I guess so,” he said. “I mean, it doesn’t look like there’s anything else to eat.” (Apparently he’s a natural-born cruiser.)

For the record, less than two hours later he and his sister fell face-first into a couple of dishes of soft serve. I’m just sayin’.

For lunch yesterday, Chickadee was served a bowl of pasta that I think may have been bigger than she was. I was just about to conclude that the goal onboard this ship is to put everyone who ISN’T gluten intolerant into a starchy carb coma, but then Monkey’s trout almondine arrived and it was literally a STACK of filets, easily three or four normal servings of fish. This time, neither of them finished.

At dinner, my fish-loving son had his first lobster tail. At least, I think he did. There was a blur of motion and a swirl of clarified butter and then him asking what I thought he should have for dessert. Meanwhile, my daughter was busy helping to feed and entertain her baby cousin, and inbetween those duties she pointedly removed all of the breading from her chili relleno before eating it. (I am not convinced it was made with a poblano pepper, by the way. Judging by the size, it may have been a watermelon relleno.)

Also hilarious to me is this whole “drink special of the day” thing the ship has going on. I’ve yet to drink anything other than water or coffee on board—coffee to make myself bearable to those around me, water because it’s been 90 degrees and 90% humidity since we boarded—but on the first day the drink specials being waved around by the staff were festive-looking pink slushy things in tall glasses. Whatever. Yesterday, though, the drink special came in a coconut… carved to look like a monkey’s head. Now, ignoring the obvious (which is WOW, THAT’S NOT CREEPY, DRINKING MONKEY BRAINS), the trays of monkey-head drinks also bore little signs that said “I’m also a coin bank! Take me home!” And this made me laugh uncontrollably, because on the one hand I really kind of wanted a monkey (for my Monkey!), but on the other, I turned to my, um, I guess she’s my stepsister-in-law (ha), and said, “I don’t know that I really packed in such a way so as to accommodate bringing home AN ENTIRE COCONUT. Did you? Is that… like… a cruise THING? ‘Save room for the coconut, honey!'”

She pointed out that she’d not thought of that, but that once they emptied their luggage of all the diapers Gerber would be wearing this week, she probably COULD bring home a coconut or twelve. I notice she didn’t actually order one, though. Possibly because she, too, feared that coconut monkey brains simply wouldn’t be all that refreshing?

Today we are heading out on a snorkeling excursion slated to last well past lunchtime, but which doesn’t appear to include food. I figure I have a 50/50 shot of everything the kids ate yesterday sustaining them for the trip. Just to hedge my bets, we ordered plenty of food at breakfast. And I’m going to go pad my bathing suit with granola bars before we leave. (Just another reason why it’s good to have a small chest.) (You’re welcome!)


  1. Megan

    I had a friend take her first cruise and report back that it was “basically ten days of eating punctuated by brief moments of sleep.” Sort of decided me against the whole cruising thing – but your talk of snorkeling definitely intrigues…

  2. Randi

    Not gonna say it – not gonna say it – okay, I have to. Remember that email conversation you and I had a few months ago about cruise food? Have to say it – I TOLD YOU SO :)

  3. liz


  4. Crisanne

    Padding your suit with granola bars…perfect!

  5. Amy-Go

    I have met you. You could eat your weight on that cruise and still be skinny. Order the Monkey brains and enjoy ’em!

    Sounds like y’all are having a great time – I’m admittedly jealous but glad for you!

  6. elz

    One of the reasons I fear cruises, I am powerless to resist the “All you can Eat! Buffets” and believe that I need to eat exactly what I’ve paid. It’s a sickness I tell you. Also, my oldest eats everything in sight for breakfast. Which is good, since she only nibbles at lunch.

  7. Melody

    Thanks so much for sharing your vacation with us. I am taking a grueling summer class, and your daily blog is like a refreshing ocean breeze :-)

  8. Nelson's Mama

    I’m not a big breakfast eater (got to have my coffee), so I order a pot of coffee and some toast or something and sit out on the balcony EVERY MORNING!

    I’m much nicer after my coffee and, you know, there are PEOPLE in the dining room. And they aren’t MY people ;)

  9. Beth R

    And the truly wonderful / horrible thing about cruise food? It’s GOOD food! Not a hint of industrial kitchen anywhere.

    Enjoy your snorkling trip and I hope you get to see even more cool underwater stuff than I did!

  10. Karate Mom

    I’m still kind of disappointed that you chose to go on this vacation yourself instead of sending me in your place.
    But, other than that, I’m glad you’re having a wonderful time, monkey brains and all!

  11. Jamie

    LOVED the food we had on our cruise years ago, too. Would love to do it again! Enjoy the gluttony – you can exercise it off next week! :)

  12. Aimee

    Hee! I would blame the salt air for the ravenous appetites. Somehow being near the ocean always makes me hungrier than I am normally.

    I’m with you on the Monkey-brains, though. Ew.

  13. Nancy R

    I think, for me, one of the biggest kill-joys of a family or group vacation is having to wait for other people so we can all eat breakfast together. Whenever possible, I eat something when I wake up (like I usually do at home) which makes it MUCH easier to wait for all those other “I just can’t eat first thing in the morning” people. Crazy nutjobs, that’s what they are – give me my food! ;o)

    I’m with Monkey, is what I’m saying. It’s never good when you can feel your stomach digesting itself – that can only lead to a case of the HANGRIES*. Let’s all agree to save the group dining for an evening dinner m’kay?

    *Maggie Mason’s term.

  14. JoAnne

    I think you might have just described my heaven.

  15. meghann

    Yeah, I agree with it being the salt air. We were just at the beach over the weekend, and I was starving the whole weekend. I’m not jealous of the cruise, because boats really aren’t my thing, but I am jealous of the food and the snorkeling!

  16. Lauren

    A friend tells me that on a cruise, you don’t eat until you’re full, you eat until you’re tired. Enjoy!

  17. Tracy

    There is nothing wrong with soft serve at 10 in the morning. And for monkey brains, why not, you are on vacation, right?

  18. Chuck

    You do make this cruise thing sound fun. I can get discounted travel industry rates, and there’s a port driving distance from where I live. Hmmm…I will think about trying one soon.

  19. Beth

    Ok, so my assistant now thinks that I’ve lost my mind because I was laughing so loud at a few points…such as Monkey’s first experience with lobster…my husband was like that on lobster night on our cruise (and it wasn’t his first experience with lobster!). Cruises are great! Hope you enjoy yours as much as we did…only maybe without the extra little souvenir of a baby —lol. :)

  20. kathy

    If you’re where I think you are, you got really lucky! It has been wicked windy the last week and it is finally calming down so you should have a great snorkel.

  21. Brigitte

    That’s all I’ve ever heard about cruises! That’s why I figure if I was ever roped into going on one, I wouldn’t worry about packing any foo-foo outfits for “formal” nights. I’d easily be too full from everything else that I could just skip it.

    I AM feeling a tad pouty that you’re not having the fancy drinks I ordered. ;-)

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