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 The best family vacation ever?

To many of you reading this, this is probably old news. But to any of you who have never been on a cruise before, can I share a little story with you?

I just got back from what was the most incredible family vacation I have ever been on… A cruise to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta via Holland America Cruise Line. Wow!!!

But first, let me give thanks, where thanks is due. You see, I have the best  In-Laws in the world. They paid for my wife, her brother and sisters, their spouses and all their grandkids, (over 30 people in all) to go on this cruise with them!!!

Now, I’ve heard from many people over the years how great cruises are. But the biggest reason I heard for their greatness was…The Food!!

Food… Non-stop food… Everything you can imagine…24 hours a day!!

Frankly, this never rung my bell. All I could think of was having to starve myself for two weeks prior to boarding, because the food was going to be everywhere… Inescapable ...Beckoning and haunting me until I relented and fed my face for the 12th time that day!

Now, granted, you could certainly do that if you wanted! Imagine tasting virtually every culinary delight from around the world without leaving the ship…A friend of mine told me, before I left, “Remember, there are no calories on birthdays and cruises!”

But after a weeks worth of chanting “NO, I AM NOT HUNGRY” in every language I could muster, including, subliminal, I boarded the ship. Lo and  behold…Was I surprised!!!!

Oh, everyone was right…The food was unbelievable!!!! In fact, I bet the food that was uneaten and thrown away could’ve fed a third world nation for a month!

But what surprised me was how many other things were going on all at once that could distract you from even thinking about eating! (It is also noteworthy that all of those cruise-a-holics never once mentioned the near state of the art gym that was on board with free aerobics sessions !)

So, here we are, on this whole new world onto itself, with tons of things to explore and all day to do it.

Everyday, they print out an iterary and put it in your “Mail basket” outside your door, with all the events for the day.

Do you want a: Manicure?...Pedicure?…Massage?  How ‘bout a Facial; Steam Bath; or Makeover?

Casino with Slots or Cards? How about a Bingo game that will win you a cruise?

World Class Art Auctions interest you? Or just sitting in a library with Classical Music playing while you read a novel you’ve always wanted to.

That’s just the beginning…For the kids, there is a whole separate area with Staff that has activities lined up to keep the kids having so much fun they don’t miss Mom and Dad.

There’s a Pool for kids and a Pool for Adults only.

There’s a Sports Deck for volleyball and basketball or just a deck to worship the sun god, with a complimentary ocean breeze.

Ever want to learn how to make bath towels look like elephants and swans? You can! 

And we haven’t even talked about the ports of call!…But frankly, I think I want to do another cruise and forget about the ports of call and just stay on the boat because I missed so many things! (Do you think I could win some points at home if I could make hanging monkeys out of towels?)

Folks, we haven’t scratched the surface.

One night my wife and kids went to a Dessert Extravaganza. Don’t ask me what it is, but my kids said there was an Eiffel tower made out of Chocolate and a Fountain that spewed chocolate over your favorite strawberry or banana! 

I am guessing that my wife is with me today only because they closed down the exhibit, carried her back to the room and gave her extra chocolate pieces to ease her withdrawals.

Then, there is the invisible Cabin Stewards. I’m sure they exist. I’m just not sure where they hide.

When you get up in the morning and go to breakfast, they sneak into your room and straighten it out and make the bed.

Then you come back, mid day for a nap, and leave again…Yep, you guessed it, when you return the rooms all made up. Now you leave for dinner and return and the bed is pulled back, with a chocolate on the pillow and the next day’s itinerary…I’m not certain, but I think I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night and came back and the bed was made!!!

But the funnest part for me was the on board entertainment.

There is every kind of music you could want. A sing-along-piano bar; a Dance bar; a String quartet; and a different Las Vegas style show every night!  You would pay a minimum of $30/ per person in Vegas to see this type of act. And it’s all free!!

But no one warned me about the karaoke bar!!!

My sweetie and I were wandering around one night and stumbled into this.

I have never sung at a karaoke bar before. But what the heck…we’re on vacation…Right? Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Horsey!! Let’s not go over that ledge! That’s a different story for another campfire.  J

So, a week later, I’m still having to force myself to get back into reality. But I think I’m convinced that our next family vacation will be another Cruise. (A neighbor and good friend of mine has been on 9 of them! Can anyone out there top that?)

Heck, when you think about a regular vacation:

Hotel rooms; meals 3 times a day at restaurants; Cabs; Entertainment for the whole family; Sitters to watch the kids while the parents go out to a show; Gourmet food, as much as you want, whenever you want; 5 Star Service…You’ll never  match the value that a Cruise offers.

After over 20 years of living in Arizona, I wouldn’t live anywhere else, with it’s open spaces, desert sunsets and Western Heritage.

But I realized that, every now and then, you have to nourish  the other side of your soul with water. And cruising out on that big blue ocean was just the ticket.

So board the horses, hang up the saddles and hit the High Seas…


Sergio E. Horcos


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