A Cruise to Discovery Ch. 01byGlennH©
Barb and I had been married over 30 years. There were no children at home anymore so it was just the two of us and our pets. We had been drifting along getting further and further apart. She had her volunteer things and I had my sporting events which I enjoyed with my friends as she wasn't interested at all. Our dwindling sex life was just a symptom of our marriage. It wasn't just that she was sexually conservative; she blamed her absolute lack of desire or interest on her hormonal imbalances. Tests had shown among other things a very low level of testosterone. Either way, she was simply unwilling unless I absolutely demanded sex, how romantic. I just figured it was her lack of interest in me. I also wondered if there was someone else in one of her volunteer organizations.
It was getting late in the year which meant the weather in the Pacific Northwest was getting cold, wet, and windy. I suggested we take a vacation together to somewhere warm and sunny. This would give us some time away from it all to focus on each other and our relationship. As we discussed it, she brought up how she had always wanted to go on a cruise. As we looked on the internet together, she actually showed some interest bordering on excitement. I figured we should do it right if we were going to do it as this may be the only cruise we ever go on. So, we looked at cruises in sunny places on first class ships for cruises without children or irresponsible drunk young people. We found a 10 day cruise in the Bahamas in early December. In that it was during the school year, it was less likely for children to be on board. A 10 day cruise would be out of the price range for most young people, at least the kind who would make trouble.
Booking the cruise became quite a spending adventure. Our usual spending habits were fairly conservative. Starting with the cruise and the room we chose, this grew and blossomed into quite an event. As this might be the only cruise we ever went on, we wanted an outside room with a balcony looking out over the ocean. Then, of course, we needed airline tickets to Orlando. We decided to fly out two days early to ensure we and all of our luggage actually got there prior to the ship sailing. In December, you never know about airports, bad weather, cancellations, lost luggage, etc. So, now we needed a room in Orlando before the cruise. We found a place near the port, which would pick us up from the airport on arrival and deliver us to the ship terminal on departure day. Next, I found out we just had to have new luggage; silly me. Then of course, we needed new clothes mostly for her. There were three nights of formal dinning and she just didn't have anything appropriate to wear. How could I possibly expect her to wear the same thing over and over again? We also booked several excursions on some of the islands we would be visiting. I was able to arrange for a house sitter who would come in often enough to be able to also take care of our pets.
All of this was adding up to quite a sum. Throughout it all, Barb kept promising me it would all be worth it. To me, this meant sex, great sex, and lots of it. Oh, I had my fantasies going in full gear. Caribbean beaches with blues skies and clear waters would only be more alluring when I got Barb topless on those beaches. What I really wanted was Barb fully nude in the sun on the beach, but hell, even I knew better than that. Oh and the wild sex we would have back on board in our cozy room with a balcony overlooking the ocean. With a little internet research, I found out the islands we were visiting had "strict no nudity laws". Somehow, this did not add up with all I had heard about the Bahamas. Barb told me she wouldn't go topless even if it was legal. Even if it was clear around the world with people we would never see again, she doesn't do "that kind of thing". Still, I was hopeful.
As the time got closer and closer to leave, I had hoped we would start being more sexually active and open to each other to get some momentum started for our big vacation. The truth was, we were both extremely busy trying to get our work loads arranged so we could be gone for the little over two weeks. Just push and push a little more so we can finally let down and relax. We were both working overtime and had even less time than usual for each other. By the time we were both home together, we were so tired and stressed, even I wasn't in the mood. When I was in the mood, she wasn't.
I love my wife and no means no. It also usually means I get a lot less sex than I would like. With me being ready for sex a lot more often than Barb, it promotes her to the "Queen of Sex". She is the dictator who decides if we have sex, when, where and just what is actually going to happen and not happen. Have you ever noticed hotel / motel sex is so much better than at home? I couldn't wait to get away. It had to get better than this. The time finally came and we were all packed. We got to the airport ahead of time with all of our documents, money, tickets, and luggage. You would have thought we were on our way to another planet.
Finally, we were sitting on the airplane for the first leg of our trip. I looked over at Barb with the biggest smile I could muster. I am sure she could read in my expression all of the hopes, fantasies, and expectations I had spinning in my head. What I saw was that look on her face. You know that look; the one which says. "Oh my God, now I am alone with him and I'm going to be attacked relentlessly. I promised and now he expects me to deliver. What am I going to do?" The flight was long on the crowded airplane full of coughing people and poor service. We made our connecting flight and arrived in Orlando only an hour late. All of our luggage also arrived. We got to the hotel and checked into our room. We were exhausted, dirty, and muggy. With enough luggage crowding the small room to clothe an army, Barb needed something out of almost every bag. After our showers, she explained in detail how this was not the time to get romantic. She was tired, on the verge of one of her headaches, and just wanted to sleep.
Barb was up first in the morning and quickly popped into the shower. The Orlando humidity had already taken its toll since last night. She demanded I take one too. By the time I got out of the shower, she had already dressed and gone to breakfast. When I met her in the dinning room, she explained her not waiting for me because she was trying to avert the headache she was about to get by getting some food and coffee. Following breakfast found her lying on our bed in a t-shirt and shorts with a cold wet towel over her face. After closing the drapes and turning on some soft music, I left her there. This was not the way I had planned to spend this day in Orlando. I knew Barb likes massages and sometimes it helps her headaches as much or more than her pills. I decided to get some massage oil and the few things we had already discovered we had forgotten. Can you believe? With all that crap, we had actually forgotten something.
It was a two mile hike from the hotel near the port to the nearest shopping center. I eventually found the massage oil and other items. I also bought a nice bottle of wine, some sandwiches, and some fresh southern barbeque meals. We would at least eat well. When I returned, I found Barb in her one piece swimsuit lying on a shaded lounger next to the pool in the hotel courtyard. I offered her a massage. She opted for something to eat. By evening, Barb was complaining of stomach cramps. The barbeque had not set well. This was not going to be my time either.
The next morning started just like the one before. I found Barb in the dinning room eating her breakfast. As soon as we were back in the room, we had to hurry to get our luggage to the hotel lobby in preparation for the jaunt to the ship terminal. As soon as the hotel was notified which pier and terminal our ship was located at, we and several other couples loaded all our gear into a large van with a trailer and took off. We arrived at the terminal by 10:30 well in advance of the 11:00 beginning of the boarding process. We did not actually step onto the ship until 1:45. But hey, we were there on time on target on task. Finally, this was it; the big vacation.
We were on board all right, but, we couldn't actually go to our room until 4:30. So, we stored our carry on luggage in a checked area and began to explore the ship. I had my digital camera and lots of memory cards. I planned to get lots of pictures of everything. We wanted to remember this vacation as we may never go on another cruise. It was easy to see we were among the youngest on board. With me at 58 and Barb at 54, I had not expected this. Many of the other voyagers were talking about this being their 10th or 20th cruise, and they were so surprised this was our first. We were definitely among an older more affluent crowd. I was undaunted as we were paying our way and had absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Looking back on it, I think Barb was impressed maybe even starry eyed.
We were sitting at a table by the inside pool on the main deck. Barb had ordered a bottle of wine to celebrate. I left Barb there for a bit to find a bathroom which took longer than one would expect. By the time I got back to the table, Barb was sitting there with another couple. Barry was an engineer with an international company currently stationed in South Africa. His wife of 10 years, Jean who was much younger than him, about our age, had met him in Brazil when he was there on one of his assignments. What made all of this so strange is Barb is not at all outgoing. She prefers to be quite private and almost invisible in public. It turns out with everyone held out of their rooms; tables inside out of the hot muggy weather were a premium. They had simply asked Barb if it would be ok to share our table. To show their gratitude, they ordered another bottle of wine for the table.
It was strange to watch Barb during the conversation. Barry was so full of himself talking about how he went here and there and did this and that. The whole time Barb was transfixed on him. I was trying to figure this out but I am a light drinker. Even the little bit of wine I had consumed had me somewhat buzzed. I also can not hide anything as absolutely everything shows on my face and that's when I'm sober. I looked over at Jean and was shocked to see her watching me watching Barb focused on Barry. She could tell I was confused and, to tell the truth, a little jealous. The smirk on her face really pissed me off. Her look changed to one of concern. Soon, the announcement came allowing everyone access to their cabins. Barry and Jean thanked us again for sharing our table. As they left, Barb was all over herself being gracious. She was almost bubbly. I retrieved our checked luggage and we headed for our cabin.
We were finally alone in our cabin at last. Alone was right. All of our tickets for our excursions were in an envelope on the table but only two of our bags had made it to our room so far, both of them Barb's. She wanted to clean up a bit and change for dinner. I was all for her taking her clothes off, even quite willing to help her. There was so much to see and do and she was excited to see it and do it. Barb just couldn't be "bothered". There would be time for "that" later. I washed my hands and face and combed my hair. I wore what I had on as if I had a choice. While I was getting ready, Barb started putting her stuff away. You know, there isn't much room in those small cabins. I don't know where she thought I was going to put my stuff when it showed up. Dinner was great but the portions were small. There was food somewhere on board all of the time. I did not go hungry. After some more exploring and picture taking, we ended up back in our cabin. Barb was not happy about my questions concerning Barry. Tonight wasn't going to be my night either.
That first night trying to sleep on a rolling boat was miserable for me. Barb slept like a log; snoring off and on. I was frustrated and upset. I was still confused and wondering what was the deal with Barb being so focused on Barry. I was hoping this trip would have her focusing her attention on me.
Day One: At Sea
I made it a point to be the first one up and into the shower that morning. As Barb finished her shower, I went into the bathroom and pulled her out onto the bed. She was unhappy as she was still wet. She was unhappy the curtains were open. We were going to miss breakfast. She was just getting her wind up when I told her to shut up. There wasn't anyone out there for a hundred miles. I had been put off enough. This WAS going to happen and right now. If she kept yapping, I was going to get my camera out. She just laid there while I took her. No, it wasn't romantic. It hadn't been in a long time. But, I was hard and it felt good to come inside of her instead of in my hand for a change. I had waited too long for this and I wanted it to last longer. It didn't as all too soon, I came. It wasn't as good as it was when she used to give herself to me and participated in it. But, I was taking what I could get.
Breakfast was very quiet. The food was good. After we ate, she changed into her one piece swim suit and went to the main pool to sit in a lounger in the sun and read one of the books she brought with her. I had gone with her to get some sun also. I knew I didn't dare interrupt her train of thought while she was lost in her book. It wasn't long before I got bored with that. So, I pulled my shorts and t-shirt on over my suit and began to wander the ship again.
One of the things I needed to take care of was the double booking of our first excursion. It was a tour of the island with several stops at local points of interest and our first introduction to island rum punch served on the beach. They had booked me for two people and her for two people also. I eventually found the ship's office and cancelled two of our reservations. Then, I was off to explore some more. As I roamed around the ship, I found out the top deck wasn't really the top deck. There was a Teak wood track which went all the way around the upper deck and looked down into the main deck swimming pool area when the roof was rolled back during good weather like that day. I was able to look down and see Barb reclining with her book on her lounger. There were benches on both sides of the deck so you could sit in the open air and sunshine while you looked out across the sea. Toward the back of that deck was a staircase which went up to a partial deck above. It had not been advertised in the online brochure about the ship. This turned out to be a clothing optional area where only adults could go. It was clothing optional but if you didn't get with the program fairly quickly, you were asked to leave by the staff. This was not an area for lookylews. With the brief glimpse I had, I saw a few women both topless and fully nude with the men there being fully nude. As one would expect, there were more men than women. I had been so surprised I had just stood there. But, it had been long enough to get asked to leave. I did not take any pictures and they were quite unhappy I even had my camera with me. I made my way back to poolside to check in with Barb.
Guess who was there with Barb. Jean was in a revealing two piece floral print swimsuit lying out next to Barb with Barry sitting sideways on the other side of her facing them. As I approached, the animated conversation between Barb and Barry halted. Apparently, HE could interrupt her precious book. The comment I had overheard as I approached was about Barb not getting as much sun as Jean with the difference in swimsuits. I asked what was up. I was told they were just catching some sun and getting acquainted. I had bought Barb a sexy two piece swimsuit for our trip. I had had to pack it in my luggage as she wasn't going to even bring it. Why bother? She certainly "wasn't going to wear anything like that in public".
Barb didn't ever just "get acquainted" with anyone. She didn't share her personal stuff until she had known someone for awhile. Here she was acting like they were long lost close friends. I noticed the empty margarita glass on the table next to Barb's lounger and wondered if it was her first. The other thing I kept noticing was Jean's suit. How in the hell did they find enough cloth to put whole flowers on that thing? My analytical mind was at work. When they put the blossoms in the right places and the stems went certain ways it sort of worked. My close observation of Jean's suit did not escape Jean. When I came back to reality and my eyes met hers, she gave a little wiggle with her whole body. All the right things moved in just the right way. Barb noticed that and turned following Jean's gaze to look at me. By then, I had turned away to pull another lounger over closer to the group. I may be a man but I am not completely stupid. There we were, three loungers huddled close together with the fourth sort of off to one side.
Soon, it was time for lunch. The women both put their cover ups on to leave the pool area. The ship required cover ups over swimwear going to and from the pools. We just HAD to go to lunch together. Once again, I got to listen to Barry going on with the same self serving song just another several verses. I got to watch Barb once again staring at him with complete fascination. She was simply lost in rapture. I would have thought she would have learned something after our "discussion" the night before. I guess NOT. Barry was certainly aware he had her absolute undivided attention. He began to make large arm movements and broaden his chest as he boasted on and on.
By the time lunch was over and we could escape to our room, I was looking forward to some time together and maybe a way to smooth things over from that morning. I was wondering just why I had to smooth things over after sex anyway. Barb changed into her exercise clothes to get to a yoga class she had signed up for. Off she went in a huff. I went to the small outdoor pool at the back of the ship on the same deck as the main pool. The first day at sea was crossing the open water to get to the islands. The ship was pushing to make the schedule. With the water a little rough to boot, the ship was lunging into the waves. By my calculation, this was bringing the bow up about 25 degrees from level. Lunch was not setting well. I knew it wasn't just the ship on the water causing it.
When I got back to the room, Barb was there sitting out on the balcony reading a book. I went out and tried to start a conversation. She didn't want to be bothered. She had been enjoying the peacefulness of the sea, the breeze, and the sun before I had shown up. I went inside to leave her alone until it was time to get ready for dinner.
I am sure they slowed the ship down to serve dinner. They didn't want passengers with food all over them. The food was great. I learned you can order more than one dinner if you aren't getting enough in one meal. It really was ok. I didn't have to choose between the steak and the fish. Or, I could have two of either one. There were some pretty large people there who were really putting it away. They were getting their AND my money's worth out of this cruise.
The ship had an entertainment group on board who put on two shows of one kind or another every night of the cruise. I chose to go to the early show while Barb opted for staying in the room and reading her book. After the show, I went to a small room off the library to see a movie I had always wanted to watch, "The Bucket List". After the movie, I went back to the cabin to find Barb conveniently already in bed "asleep". Maybe she was and maybe she wasn't. I didn't feel like taking the risk to find out.
Day Two: Our First Island
Having moved out of the open sea, the ship's movement wasn't so exaggerated. We got up, got ready, and moved on to breakfast as smoothly as the old married couple we were. Each knew what needed to be done next. Even in the small cabin, each moved just so and put the next thing in the right place so efficiently. We got to breakfast on schedule. The food was great. With smoother sailing, the good food tasted better and felt like it was going to stay there.