In a few week’s time, I’ll be packing my bags for an ocean voyage to the kiddie-filled sands of Castaway Cay. Not being an experienced cruiser, I decided to spend this month taking advice from the movies. What to pack? What to drink? What, exactly, is a Lido Deck? To get me started, I’m turning to my movie fairy godmother Doris Day. She tends to have the answers to most of life’s dilemmas, and I found a lot of great tips in her delightful debut role in Michael Curtiz’s Romance on the High Seas (Disc/Download).
Tip No. 1: Nobody dresses the first night out.
Apparently, cruisers wear business casual instead of formal on their first trip to the dining room. Poor Doris, posing as a rich society lady as part of this crazy woman’s attempt to catch her husband cheating, is excited to get doll’d up, and makes the major faux pas of wearing a GORGEOUS ice blue silk gown on her first night at sea. This would send anybody else running back to their stateroom, but not Doris. She just pastes on a smile and walks confidently up to the maître d’ because goddamn it, she looks great, and she’s hungry. Except… she missed her seating time. People might not dress in their finest, but they show up when they’re supposed to.
Tip No. 2: You can make a meal out of pretzels and potato chips.
Turns out, the bar is the place to be on a cruise ship. Not only is it quiet and practically empty during the dinner hour, but bartenders will bring you snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. And if you’re lucky, a nightclub singer with the voice of an angel will appear out of nowhere to sing a melancholy tune.
Tip No. 3: Always overtip
This is just a great rule no matter where you are, land or sea. The society woman who hired Doris might be suffering from an extreme case of paranoia, but she’s still a class act. She makes sure to provide Doris with plenty of cash to tip the boat crew; after all, she wouldn’t want word to spread that she’s cheap. The horror!
Tip No. 4: If you’re distressed, just walk into any bar and tell the server you want to get higher than a kite.
These are not words I ever expected to hear coming out of Doris Day’s mouth, but I applaud the way she advocates for herself. Pretending to be someone she’s not while falling in love with the private investigator hired to trap her is difficult enough, but then her bandleader beau from New York boards the ship at the next port of call! I really can’t blame her for wanting to check out for a night.
Speaking of ports of call, this ship visits some really exciting places. Cuba and Rio are great stops, but Trinidad looks like a lot of fun too! Let’s toast Doris’s Caribbean adventure with Giuseppe González’s recipe for a Trinidad Sour.
1 1/2 oz Angostura Bitters
1/2 oz Rye Whiskey
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Orgeat
Combine bitters, whiskey, lemon juice, and orgeat in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Although I’m not sure the Disney Wish will give me the same opportunities for cocktails and couture I’d find on other voyages, I can still take a page out of Doris’s book and make this trip something memorable. She doesn’t board the ship with intentions to find love or a gig in the lounge, but somehow she pulls off both. So I guess I’ll leave it here with Tip No. 5: Keep an open mind. Cheers!