Imagine being on the Titanic looking out at the beautiful stars on the top deck of the ship. When I was thirteen years old I attended my first cruise. I traveled to Key West Florida and to Mexico. This was the first time I went anywhere with my entire family: my mother, my grandmother, my two uncles, and me! I was the youngest of all and was getting spoiled more than ever. When I first was given the news, my grandmother and mother sat me down and said, “Nena, would you like to go on a cruise?” I jumped off the bed with joy and ran to my room and began to start packing. They ran into my room and told me that we will not be going until next summer. At this time, the new school year was just beginning so I began to cry. My heart felt like it broke in a thousand pieces. All I could think was why would they be telling me this news so soon? So I was mad at them for the rest of the day. Later on in the week, I began to have a whole new outlook on when the cruise occurred. I marked my calendar everyday until the following summer arrived.
It was the big day! I woke up my mother and my grandmother at four in the morning. I jumped in the shower and had all my bags ready to go. I even made them coffee to get them awake. We met my uncles at the airport and sat on the shuttle. On the way to the gate I could not stay still or keep my mouth shut. I was gabbing on and on about how I could not wait to get to see the Cruise Ship. On the plane I sat next to my uncle and he began to tell me some of his stories about his last cruise trips. One story he said was when he went to Jamaica, he dreaded his hair and was partying all night long on the beach listening to the reggae music. He said that each of his trips contained memories that he would never forget. I began to think, this is my first cruise, and I will never forget this adventure and I had no clue what I was about to face.
We arrived at the airport in Florida and boarded the cruise ship. There were people all around the boat waving and screaming good wishes to their loved ones. I was so excited when we entered our room that we would be staying in; it had three beds in the room and animal sculptures made out of towels on the bed. The first event of the night was to go eat dinner in the formal dinning room. We all dressed up in our suits and dresses, and were on our way. We went to the main area of the boat and took pictures with the skyline outside the boat. It was such a beautiful sight.
The next day we were due to port in Key West, Florida. The main task we were to accomplish there was snorkeling! I thought it was going to be in an area close to shore, nope! We all board another boat with two other families. The tour guide explained to us the directions and safety precautions. I listened attentively but once he said, “Watch out for the baby sharks,” my ears stopped listening, and my thoughts went wild. What if I get eaten alive? What if I cut myself on accident and the sharks attack me? I felt like I was about to pass out and before I knew it, we were in the middle of the ocean. The clear, blue water under the beautiful, blue sky made the ocean water glisten like it was filled with glitter. It was another wonderful site that I could not resist. I lowered myself through the whole in the boat floor and floated a little ways away from the boat like everyone else. I put my face in the water and nearly jumped out of the water! It was so many different types of fish of all colors swimming around me. I was so frightened I could not even scream to my uncle who was two feet away from me. I began to think, it is okay Nena… everyone else is fine, you will be too. So I dipped my face into the water once more. It was so extravagant to see all the schools of fish swimming about their lives. They were all sizes, small, big, and bigger! I saw eels and swordfish, and this was with my own eyes! I felt like I accomplished one of my biggest fears, then I looked up. About ten feet away from me, my uncle was screaming, “Nena! Let’s Go!” Everyone started to board the boat without me! I was fuming with anger! I came on the boat and said to everyone,”How could you guys leave me.” They all looked around and began to laugh at me. On the way back to shore, all I could think about is the colorful fish swimming around my legs so peacefully. That night I slept like a baby, awaiting the next adventure I will conquer!
We arrive in Mexico next! I had never been out of the United States territory so I was extremely excited. We wanted to go to a few stores but we had to meet up with our tour guide, so we saved it for later. Our next adventure was to swim through this huge lake that went through caves. At first I thought it would nothing compared to snorkeling in the middle of the ocean, but again I thought wrong. One by one we stepped into the lake and I was the first to step behind the Mexican tour guide. Next thing I knew I was top of my uncle’s head! There was hundreds, no thousands of tiny fish rapidly swimming back and forth. He was trying to get me off his head but I was so scared. He put me down on land and I began to cry, screaming, “They are going to swim inside my bathing suit! I do not want to go!” Everyone started laughing at me again! I just sat there and began crying even harder. They began walking in the lake without me. Then as I sat there, people were walking by looking at me weird, so I ran inside the lake towards my family and the tour guide. I then was trying not to think of the fish banging against my legs and not look down. We walked through caves and were told ancient stories by the Mexican tour guide. We finally made it to the end and I ran out of the lake. I was so tired and hungry so we stopped at this Mexican food spot. Everything was in Spanish and everyone spoke in Spanish. My grandmother ordered the food and drinks. That day was the first time I drank real coconut milk out of a real coconut and the food was delicious.
On our way back to the ship, we went to the stores and shops. It was 8:56 when we looked at the time, four minutes until the ship departed! Me, my grandmother, and my mother started running and just made it into the ship! One of the boarding officers said, “You guys would have been some new Mexican residents,” and we all laughed. That night was going to be my last night on the wonderful cruise ship so I stayed up as late as I could and went to sleep with a smile on my face. I had wished the trip would never end. I spent so much time with my family, conquered so many fears, and faced so many adventures that I felt like a new person by the time we arrived back home in Queens, New York.
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