What did I get myself into?! It’s official. Some time next year I will be boarding my first cruise. . . on the largest ship in the world! Oasis Harmony of the Sea is a monster of a “boat!”
I am not going to lie, I’m a bit nervous. I am not fond of the water. Call it “hearing aid conditioning. It was made abundantly clear to me as a child, electricity and water do not mix. While, I have on several occasions throughout my life have, encountered an alarming amount of water with my hearing aids on, I have never been “electrocuted.” Others who wear hearing aids, might point our that I can simply take out my hearing aids and enjoy the water . . . True, except growing up, I was also legally blind. To swim and bathe I would have to become truly deaf and blind . . . It effectively cut off any social activities. (So there was a period in my life, where I was the pudgy, pale-transparent chick with braces who wore hearing aids and glasses. Oh, yes, it was fabulous. I had boys crawling through fire to date me. *sarcasm*sarcasm*) My hearing-impaired older brother has never had vision problems and therefore swimming wasn’t too much of an issue. Also, unlike me, he inherited my mother’s Mexican tanning genes. He acquires a beeeeeaaaauuutiful coppery/cheery wood color when he’s out in the sun. As for me, I burn to a crisp.–Thanks Daddy.
So I have a serious aversion to the sun and water, why on earth am I going on a cruise?! Because my mother played the pity card. The death of her mother (my beloved Nana) back in November has her examining her own life. She would like for my immediate family to have one last family vacation together before I’m married off (*snort!* Like I have any prospects at the moment.) and my parents pass away. So I am going in part because of my mother’s wishes. I’m also going because I want to face my fear and just do it. Just freakin’ get over it and do it!
Even though I planned to go on a cruise in the future, preferably, to some place cold like Alaska or the South Pole, I hadn’t wanted to go on a “family friendly” cruise. Because . . . “children.” I wanted to go on the Cunard line. Do the whole transatlantic thing. Very Titanic without the tragic ending. I love the idea of formal nightly dinners and dances. Perhaps a nice river cruise instead of a transatlantic crossing, where I can see land on both sides. Not floating in the open ocean in a vessel with a 100 foot waterslide or zip-lining across the ship in flip-flops and tank top. So it’s not my ideal, but I’m doing it anyways! God, help me.
Prior to Harmony of the Seas, other ships have previously held the title of the largest passenger ship in the world. During the 1800s that honor went to the SS Great Eastern. (Surprised, it wasn’t the Titanic?). The Great Eastern, launched at the end of January in 1858, was measured at 692 feet long. Harmony of the Seas is not even TWO Great Eastern’s in length! Although much like the Titanic, the Great Eastern suffered on her maiden voyage via a boiler explosion. Over the next few years she caused her financers to go bankrupt trying to keep her afloat. Due to the expense of maintenance, the insides were not luxurious at all. The Great Eastern made a great immigrant ship, though. Soon after the American Civil war started the ship was disabled in a violent storm. The following year in 1863 she hit a rock in the New York harbor which ended her time as passenger transportation. She ended up laying cable for almost two decades and was scraped in 1889.
Back toward the end of January, beginning of February I slipped away for eight days. In a trip that was supposed to be my Honeymoon with the love of my life and new husband, turned into an eye-opening bonding trip with my older brother who is going through a divorce. Two deaf lovelorn siblings let loose in one of the most bedazzling German speaking cities; Vienna, Austria. You might have picked up on it in a few posts dealing specifically with Vienna and Austria during that time, here on 19th Century Modern. This trip was going to be quite the experience. Considering my brother and I, while once thick as thieves in childhood, drifted so far apart starting in high school, I was virtually vacationing with an adult stranger whom I love. . . in a strange way.