March 14, 2011


One of the reasons the people we met were so dull is the cruise attracts the lamest of the lame by its very nature. We only stopped three times and it seemed like half the passengers didn”€™t even get off. The few that disembarked barely made it past the Disney-owned jewelry shops at port.

Our first stop was St. Maarten, and we leapt off the boat the second it hit the dock. A taxi brought us to a fantastic kid-friendly beach called Le Galion and we spent the day windsurfing, drinking cheap beer, and devouring delicious hamburgers as the kids built sandcastles with gigantic smiles on their faces. Everyone there was sociable and funny despite having to master three languages and a half-dozen different cultures. Leaving them behind and going back to Mickey’s Boat felt like heading to the Jacob Javits Center for an Angry In-Laws Convention.


Anyone who thinks an 83,000-ton boat is too big to rock hasn”€™t seen King Neptune’s muscles. Walking around this overpriced Marriott of the Sea took a good two days getting used to, and it takes just as long to figure out the street isn”€™t moving when you get back on terra firma.

To sleep, I pretended I was a tycoon nestled in the cabin of my private jet and it was a particularly turbulent flight. I found out later my wife was convincing herself she was a baby being swung back and forth in a giant cradle.


The boats provide no private babysitters and anyone under four simply doesn”€™t belong there. My wife and I only got one date where we could be alone together; otherwise, one of us would wander alone around empty, overpriced bars while the other quietly watched limited television back in the cabin as the kids slept.

I guess if your kids were 8 and 11, this might still work for you. You can give them a key to the room and they go to various workshops and clubhouses and even labs and then you meet them at dinner later to discuss your very separate days. This sounds great if you love sunbathing and hate your offspring, but who likes skin cancer that much, and are there still sixth-graders who give a shit about Mickey Mouse?


We tried hard to keep things cheery and never let the kids know this wasn”€™t our cup of tea, but when it came time to eat, we couldn”€™t help frowning.

You can”€™t be too snobby about food when kids are involved, and it’s hard for the chef to feel inspired when half the dishes he makes are “€œyucky”€ no matter what.

But watching the kids eat hot dogs every day and cheese pizza every night gets depressing. The food feels like a fancy night at Denny’s. The Third World waiters seem to be following strict orders to waste dumpsters full of food. They don”€™t act satisfied until every person at the table has plates piled to the ceiling.

When we told one waiter our kids could share one of Mickey’s gigantic breakfast trays, he acted as if we”€™d told him to walk the plank. When I ordered a simple bowl of corn flakes he almost grabbed a pirate sword and committed hara-kiri there at our table. Sorry, Souch-Pak-Ma, but I don”€™t get a decadent rush from throwing food in the garbage. Oh, and can you leave, please? I”€™m not interested in quirky banter for the entire duration of our meal and it’s none of your business what my hobbies are (actual question). 


Yeah, you heard me. Fuck him and the mustache he rode in on. Some bitter faux-aristocrat cartoonist with a Europe fetish gets obsessed with a bunch of depressing fables from hundreds of years ago and we have to buy his merch for the next few hundred years? All the women in his stories sound like something out of a George Eliot novel. If they”€™re not physically abused they”€™re locked in a castle somewhere because they”€™re too pretty or their fathers were rich and the odds are very high they”€™re going to die.

I”€™ll take an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba over some bitch who murders children because she wasn”€™t invited to a party. What were we thinking?

I”€™ll give the cruise this much: The shows were great. They managed to find comedians who could make both my daughter and me laugh, which I didn”€™t think was possible. The Peter Pan musical looks like everything Broadway’s Spider-Man is trying to achieve, and the Pirate Party ends with everyone dancing on the top deck with July 4th-quality fireworks. Those were fun, but that’s twenty minutes a day. What do you do with the other 1,420?

If you”€™re an unadventurous, antisocial, sexless Christian…if you love sunbathing but hate swimming and don”€™t really care what you eat…if you”€™re a wealthy teetotaler with kids between eight and twelve…if you”€™re all these things combined, you might enjoy yourself.

Otherwise, to get the Disney experience, just aim a leaf-blower at your bank account while staring at pictures of fat people.



Sign Up to Receive Our Latest Updates!