Our waiter at the Radisson buffet breakfast was a laid back guy with fluffy surfer hair and a speech pattern reminiscent of Crush the Sea Turtle. I’m sure that if I’d had asked him to “hit me with some fresh squeezed, brah”, he would have high fived me as he poured the OJ. Un-ironically.
|Hey, no hurling on the shell, dude, ok? Just waxed it.|
We were nervous boarding the 11:30 hotel-to-port shuttle van, because it was full of retirees still buzzing from their breakfast mimosas, without a Sea Monkey in sight. Friendly and inquisitive, they asked us about all these young nerdy types with JoCo badges who’d taken over the hotel. We went with “we’re all here to hang out with a ton of other people who love lots of the same stuff we love, and also to hear some great music by this JoCo guy and his friends.” They mostly nodded politely.
I learned many things in my first hour on board the Freedom of the Seas. First, I learned that the ship was huuuuuuge. Fifteen decks, three swimming pools, a casino, a mini-golf course, and a three-story dining room, all to accommodate the four thousand or so guests who’d be spending a week on board.
|The Promenade is 4 stories high. ON A BOAT.|
During the safety drill, I learned that I should run to the dining room if the ship’s alarm sounds, presumably because the acoustics are good there for me to enjoy the band playing as we’re dragged to the ocean floor. Then I learned that I am pretty good at making my own swirly ice cream cone from a self-serve soft-serve machine. While eating that ice cream by the pool, I learned that one can very effectively Move It Move It while wearing a hippo suit.
|Fellas… fellas… has your hippo got the butt?|
As we pulled away from Port Canaveral, the week’s JoCoCruiseCraziness festivities began. We gathered in Studio B, standing on the covered-up ice rink, and drank and mingled and reconnected with friends from the previous year’s cruise while hoping that our sea legs would come in. Later, Jonathan Coulton took the stage with his band for the first show of the cruise and rocked a room full of nerds into a happy frenzy. We danced, pretended to be zombies, clapped and sang along to the whole thing at the tops of our lungs. I hope it doesn’t bother the performers when we all sing along with their songs, because we can’t seem to help ourselves. I’d like to believe they’re flattered rather than annoyed, and I’d be sad to hear otherwise.When the show was over, a bunch of us who still had voices left moved to one of the lounges for some Karaoke. And really, it’s this sort of event that makes these JoCo Cruises so much fun. We are all so wonderful and talented. Yes, the official famous performers are great, and that’s a big part of why all of us booked the trip, but the interaction between the Sea Monkeys is incredible to experience. Wil Wheaton encourages people to “get excited and make things”, and nowhere will you find this advice taken to heart more than in a group of Sea Monkeys. Geeks naturally want to share what they enjoy, and the cruise is a warm, welcoming environment for anyone who is ready to step outside of their comfort zone and start sharing their gifts and enthusiasm with the world. The Karaoke was good. Very good. There was some amazing talent in the house. And even when the talent couldn’t quite match the enthusiasm, we still cheered and clapped and encouraged each other. We joined in when someone forgot the tune and lost their place. The singing went on till 1am, and that was only the first day.For so many of us, these cruises are fulfilling in a creative way. And that’s not a load of crap.