Word of the day

I went on a cruise.

Cruisen. A voyage made in various directions, as of an armed vessel, for the protection of other vessels, or in search of an enemy; a sailing to and fro, as for exploration or for pleasure.

A cruise ship is like a luxury condominium that floats. It’s a baffling size. There are shops and restaurants, a theater, a spa, a casino, and two Starbucks. This ship even has a go cart track, but I didn’t fly across the country to drive in circles on a boat.

It’s heading to Bermuda, a barely there blip in the North Atlantic Ocean 600 miles off the coast of North Carolina. What would be a two hour flight from New York, takes two full days on the open sea. I am finally experiencing the true size of the Earth.

The ship’s weak internet releases my phone’s grip on me. I devour a novel from a deck chair in three-hour gulps. A waiter in white delivers the occasional peach daiquiri. He swipes my room key to confirm the transaction, but everything is “free.” By the closing pages, I’m three shades darker from the sun.

In the mornings a butler(!) delivers breakfast to our cabin’s ocean-facing balcony. At night, we eat fancy dinners and take in the entertainment. At one of the taverns, a bar band plays the entirety of Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, an album forged from breakup energy that never fails to jab me right in the esophagus.

Cruise, “sail to and fro or from place to place,” 1650s, from Dutch kruisen “to cross, sail to and fro,” from kruis “cross,” from Latin crux.

We make it to Bermuda and play a round of the world’s best mini golf (this is not hyperbole) and I win by five strokes.

We leave the island early for bad weather. Back on board, the ship sways dramatically giving me drunken footsteps. We wobble our way to a French restaurant for dinner, where chandeliers the size of Yugos are parked between the tables. Not above us, but among us.

Our appetizers arrive and the restaurant doors slam shut. A few of the servers scurry off stage. There is an emergency somewhere on ship. In a few moments, the cruise director takes to the intercom to issue a terse, but amiable, “There is absolutely nothing to worry about.” It’s not believable, but having ordered the dover sole, I must take him at his word.

The chandeliers jangle from the crashing waves, and no one looks bothered at all. To cruise is to move to and fro. There is absolutely nothing to worry about.