Last weekend, I was lucky enough to board the Bruise Cruise Festival, which was a non-stop fun tornado that brought together nine rock bands and 400 eager young vacationers on a giant Bahamas-bound cruise ship in what one straitlaced observer dubbed a “bikini hipster convention.”
The weekend culminated in a wonderfully incongruous performance by garage rock heroes The Black Lips at smelly spring break chain bar Señor Frog’s (as seen on Girls Gone Wild). But it wasn’t all strawberry daiquiris in take-home souvenir cups and creative towel animals. Some revelers fell victim to hidden pitfalls like crippling sunburns, depressing waterslide failures, and drunken tourists who bring their kids to the bar and try to fight you if you smoke too close to them. Despite these minor bugaboos, though, the festival should come back even stronger next year, so it’s with this in mind that I present you with some important dos and don’ts of partying on international waters.
(Awesome drawings by Debbie Allen (click to enlarge). Photos by Jamie Peck)
Do: Leave your hollowed out coke tampon at home.
Up until the very day we left, we received emails admonishing us with statements like, “Miami is one of the most serious ports there is,” “our group is going to draw a lot of attention,” and, “seriously, the port of Miami has the highest security in the country.” Do your nerves a favor and don’t even think about it. The good news is that there will always be people dumber than you aboard, so you can happily partake of their butt drugs on board if you are so inclined.
There are also copious substances for sale in the Bahamas, but you’ll need to venture to the sketchy part of the island if you want them. The one exception to this is marijuana, which about three different hustlers offered to sell me as soon as I set foot on the path down to the beach. This may enhance your snorkeling experience.
It also bears mentioning that Señor Frog’s is a hotbed for drug-carrying sketchballs, so watch out. For instance, a shifty Spanish girl offered to sell my friend some GHB. “Isn’t that a date rape drug?” he replied, at which point she got nervous and ran away.
Don’t: Be afraid to smuggle in booze.
Drinks onboard a cruise ship are expensive. And, unlike drugs, the consequences for smuggling alcohol are basically nil. Even if they do catch you, Carnival will give your booze back at the end, so you literally have nothing to lose. Long after the bars had closed Sunday night, some guy was giving everyone vodka out of a bottle in his shorts by the pool, winning many friends in the process. We even learned his little drinking song and sang it with him. Wouldn’t you like to be as popular as Vodka Shorts?
Don’t: Opt to add a vodka floater to your Bacardi 151/creme de cacao/banana liqueur cocktail for just $2.50 more.
My, um, friend did this and ended up nearly puking all over someone’s keytar. While we’re on the subject, don’t feel like you have to drink like a freshman sorority pledge just because you’re on vacation. If you normally like Jack and Coke, drink Jack and Coke. Your seasick stomach will thank you.
Don’t: Be on a diet.
I was surprised to find the dinner entrees were on the small side — aren’t international cruises all about stuffing your face like a real American? Until I realized they were encouraging everyone to order two. I watched with disbelief as one especially determined girl housed prime rib, lobster tail, and two shrimp cocktails in one sitting, followed by some “chocolate melting cake.” Food is included in your pre-paid ticket, so the more you eat, the better value you’re getting! If you get full, try eating some fruit and waiting a little while. And don’t worry about feeling gross afterwards; the waiters will continue to call you “Princess” no matter how much gravy you have on your face, ensuring you’ll feel fancy as a queen in your Juicy Couture sweatsuit. This is a safe space for gluttony.