Landlubbers, it’s time to venture out of your comfort zone


Let’s start with this I hate boats. I hate boats of all sizes – little boats and huge boats, often referred to as yachts or cruise ships. They’re boring, you can’t go anywhere, you’re totally trapped by all of that sloshing water. Oh, and I get wicked seasick, as in really sick.                                                        

So, that being said, I just went on a cruise on a very big, extremely enormous ship that has the capacity to “house” 4,000 guests (there were 3,829 on board, plus about 1,700 staff).

Sounds meshugga, right? Believe me, this would never have happened if it weren’t for my beloved second cousin, Eric, and his amazingly accomplished girlfriend, Ree, who greatly complimented me by insisting that I go on this trip with them and Ree’s family of grown, highly accomplished children, mates and nieces.

So once I got over myself and my preconceived notions of what a cruise is – how sick I’ll get, all people do is eat and drink too much, blah, blah, blah – I decided to take the plunge (cute, no?) and go!

(Full disclosure necessitates my admitting at this point that I actually have been on most of the river cruises in Europe, and loved them, with their much smaller boats, as in about 150-200 guests, lovely clientele and the very calm waters of those gorgeous rivers. They’re very different in a million ways from the gigantic “real” cruise ships.)

So, I went with low expectations – often a very good thing. But my generally negative attitude changed from the get-go when I attended an outstanding fine art auction as one of my first activities. Three of the paintings that were for sale sold for $73,000, $4,900 and $29,000! Were these the “cruise people” that I had stereotyped? This really helped me bury my snobby opinions!

Nevertheless, and despite excellent day trips to Honduras, Belize and a couple of interesting, historic cities in Mexico, cruises are pretty much all about the chow. But aren’t all trips and vacays about food? (Am I seriously asking a mostly Jewish readership that question?) Cruises, however, focus on food on steroids!

I am a self-proclaimed gourmet eater and, when the spirit moves me, a gourmet cook – and I found the chow onboard to be very passable, and at time excellent.

Every day, 15,000 meals must be prepared and kept hot, fresh and delicious. At a most informative and interesting presentation by the ship’s top three kahunas, it was revealed that every week they go through over 58,000 eggs, 60,000+ pounds of veggies and 55,000 pounds of meat, among a zillion other items of comparably impressive quantities. Not to mention 58,000 bottles of beer and seemingly unlimited hard booze.

This “city” on the waves even has its own recycling department, right down to a crushing machine that efficiently takes care of those sucked-dry beer bottles. The various statistics are mind-blowing, and this isn’t even a mega cruise ship like the Wonder of the Seas, which carries about 7,000 passengers and 2,300 crew!

So, think outside the box and venture out of your comfort zone. Life is so short. Stop living with preconceived ideas and too many restrictions that impede your living to the fullest. Tell your intrusive ego to shut up, go away and let you really live. Do something different and you’ll never live with regrets.

Vince Lombardi, one of the greatest coaches of all time, made the phrase “Leave no regrets” famous. I have found that you regret things that you didn’t do more than the things you did.

So, something doesn’t work out great. So what! Remember Vince and reread the quote above.

Live fully with gusto! Live every blessed day! Go on the cruise! You may even like it – or love it, as … here it comes … I did!

BARBARA KENERSON wrote investment and financial articles for Jewish Rhode Island for years and is now, at various times, grappling with, hating and loving retirement. Reach her at

Barbara Kenerson, retirement, cruise