Life gets hectic for all of us, regardless of the different lifestyles we lead. So what do people like to do when a break is needed? Usually plan a vacation of sorts; whether one does it solo or with friends and family, it is a personal choice. Vacations can mean down time for the average work person, but it can also mean taking a designated trip to someplace exotic or just a place one always wanted to visit. Every idea is different among every individual. For me, I needed a break from winter, a change of scenery, quiet days so-to-speak, while calming thoughts and grounding my soul is what I search for; that is what vacation means to me.

Cruise ships are one great way to vacation; they offer all-inclusive packages for everyone. There’s endless food, entertainment, on board shopping, games, movies and on shore excursions to places of different cultures; it’s a great way to see many places for a lesser price; at least that’s what is use to be like. On my most recent cruise (Celebrity Cruise), it was anything but those things I mentioned here; clearly it was the most disappointing cruise I’ve ever experienced. There was a lack of entertainment, the food was nearly the same every single day, some of their employees had clashing issues among each other (they complained, argued among each other in public places), and some of the ports were definitely not up to par or safe for that matter. The on board shopping was terrible; if I want to go to the mall I can easily buy ‘Chico’s’ clothing, so why would I want to see that on the ship? They use to carry items you couldn’t get anywhere else; boutique and specialty items are a thing of the past apparently. This particular ship had renovations done two years ago, and what a mistake this was. The disco they once had was now turned into a conference center! Seriously…I couldn’t believe it. The pool area…they stuck a bridge in the middle of it, dividing it in two, so there was no swimming; it was just for sitting in. The staterooms were changed a bit, expanding on the bathrooms and downsizing the closets. The beds are a tad shorter, so this makes me wonder if they didn’t add a stateroom or two on each deck. The disappointments are too numerous to mention, but it took the cake when I ordered ‘ham’ for breakfast and got spam instead.

The people on this particular cruise had an ‘air’ about them. I took assigned seating for dinner; this gives you a chance to meet new people and possibly make new friends; it can be a wonderful experience. That’s not what happened here; in fact…I didn’t go back after 4 or 5 nights (I can’t remember). Conversations were a bit awkward, as most people were of the ‘Elite” class, and saw themselves as just that. During one of the last conversations at this table, normal folk (like me and most others) were referred to as ‘Commoners’. All I could think about now was the poor people that perished on the Titanic; those left below because it was according to status on the ship. It’s true…even these people talked about their status and how they needed to disembark before the cattle call. I sat there in silence with my mother in disbelief. Our hearts were broken and we never returned to the dining room; besides…the food had much to be desired. I ordered chicken and mashed potatoes; chicken was a flat patty and potatoes…well, it was such a tiny dollop on my plate I didn’t realize it was the potato. This was a far cry from cruises from our past experiences. The band they had on the ship wasn’t so good either; however, in the port of Mexico at the Hard Rock, the band was ten times better than the ship, not to mention the waiter ‘Juan’. This young gentleman loves rock n roll so much that he’s learning guitar and dresses up as Brett Michaels when he’s not waiting on tables. This was the highlight of this trip; thanks to Juan and the Hard Rock!

This particular vacation did me good in the sense that I got to ‘Power Down’ from all electronic devices; and though years ago ships didn’t offer internet, they certainly do today for a hefty price, including the new Apple Store they put on this ship; A total disappointment for me. There wasn’t a day gone by that you didn’t see people’s heads buried in their phones or I pads. I’m not sure why people feel the need to always be online. This was one vacation I liked the least, and won’t be looking for another cruise for quite some time; but when I do…I will have many questions to ask before ever booking again.

As for what a vacation means for every individual…that’s a variable question today. I believe that people need to get ‘old school’ again and engage face to face with one another, while keeping minds and hearts open. You might have more status points and money than others, but we are all equally human and should be treated that way. I will never forget being referred to as a commoner; that is what my vacation left me with.

Make it a great vacation.