Any links to artists' performances in my posts go to YouTube videos taken during the cruise, so you get to see them as I saw them. From those videos, you can click through to more footage and experience nearly the whole cruise through amateur video! Warning: some of the videos may have some swearing in them. I personally think that adds to the fun. :)
The Bahamas are definitely worth the effort of dragging yourself out of bed at 6:30am. The ship anchored off Half Moon Cay while we enjoyed our room-service breakfast, and we were on one of the first tender boats out to the tiny private island owned by the cruise line. I freely admit that I was leaning over the side of the tender for the last half of the trip, pointing and exclaiming at the blueness of the water like a five-year-old. My husband tolerated this very well.
We'd planned a snorkeling adventure, but the weather turned windy and the decision was made to cancel the excursion for safety reasons. A choppy sea and shallow coral reefs make for painful snorkeling. Instead, we lounged on comfy chairs and read our books, and ventured out into the water to cool off and poke at the translucent pointy fishes that came all the way up to swim around our knees. Lesson learned: fish are frightened by poking.
I loved the Bahamas. I'm not typically a beachy person, preferring to vacation in big cities with history and museums and fabulous food. But this place was too beautiful not to have an effect on me. The sand was so soft, the views were so beautiful, and I could have stayed there for days enjoying the sound of the ocean and the wind in the palm trees. The only big downside was that the sun was so hot. Hotter than we realized. Despite multiple applications of SPF-50 waterproof sunscreen, and retreats under our rented sun-shade, we both burned a lot.
Dear Holland America Line: Please consider that a vibrantly minty shower gel may not be the wisest choice on a cruise ship where people are returning from the beaches with bright red and tender epidermises.
The concert set for the evening was Paul and Storm and Chris Collingwood, from the band Fountains of Wayne. I'd only vaguely heard of the band before, and I thought Mr. Collingwood performed admirably. Probably the only reason I wasn't more blown away by his performance was that he was stuck following Paul and Storm, who had already blown me the hell away with their concentrated awesomeness.
I don't even know how to describe Paul and Storm. My husband has been a fan of theirs for a very long time, and he's played me a few of their songs in the past, which I know I enjoyed, but I never took the final fateful step to complete fanhood. That has changed. I'm a Paul and Storm groupie now, following their blog, their music, and their podcasts. Not only are they talented and creative singers and songwriters, they're flipping hysterical onstage, bantering and responding to audience shout-outs. As much as this cruise was nominally Jonathan Coulton's event, I can't imagine it having been anywhere near this much fun without Paul and Storm as involved as they were, both behind the scenes and on the stage. During the shows, other Famous People tended to be invited onstage to perform with the Act of the Night, and it was great to see them all interacting and combining their talents to make fabulous music.
But wait! After all this, there was still more fun to be had. A late-night event was on the schedule. Some guy named Joseph Scrimshaw was going to stand on a stage and be funny at us. The show was in one of the ship's nightclubs, the Queen's Lounge, and there were only enough seats for maybe a hundred people, but that didn't stop three times that many Sea Monkeys from squeezing in there, taking up the floors and the aisles and being meaty fire hazards. Anyone who missed it had to hear from the rest of us all week just how awesome a show it was and how they totally should have been there. He pandered to the geeky crowd with bits about Dr Who, Star Wars movies as seen through the characters' Twitter feeds, Star Trek revisited as an Oregon Trail game, and it was all so funny that it became hard to breathe.
Best. Day. Ever.