Unforgettable Cruise

by Sonic Purity

Boarding a Floating City

🎼 So be my guest
You’ve got nothing to lose
Won’t you let me take you on a
Sea Cruise? 🎼

The spectacularly-appointed Sapphire Prince assuredly dwarfed whatever cruise ship about which Huey “Piano” Smith and His Clowns sang in 1958, or for that matter the vastly more familiar 1959 major hit single with Frankie Ford doing the vocal over the identical instrumental and sound effect track. It was the latter version singing to about-to-be vacationing Leigh Down through her earbuds as she boarded the ship at her home port of San Diego, California. Adrenalin pumping from high excitement, she continued her way up the gangway.

The ship looked ever-more impressive the closer to, and finally onto, it she got. 1370 cabins holding up to Two-Thousand-Beast-Number passengers as Leigh sillily thought of it (2666 to the rest of us) plus well over one thousand crew and staff members, more decks than many lesser hotels had floors, redundant on-board water treatment each fit for supplying the needs of a small town, redundant high-tech propulsion, state-of-the-art facilities and accoutrements too numerous to enumerate—this was some serious maritime hardware!

Her pleasure with her chosen pleasure craft grew further upon meeting her Upper Promenade Deck stateroom. Plushly, beautifully, and tastefully appointed (especially since the ship’s most recent refresh just a year prior), the light, optically bright pastel wall finish and complimentarily-contrasting medium dark wood trim, panels, and accents—and indeed the entire stateroom—were well- and evenly-lit by lines and rings of energy-efficient soft white dimmable LED lighting. Shaped vaguely like neon tubing and unlike rope LED designs with their individual light dots, these LED tubes produced smooth, continuous, often indirect light, blending into the room well enough to become one with it, rather than discrete fixtures.

On the small side of medium in size, while able to sleep 3 by design, it was perfect for one person wanting some space without requiring extravagant amounts. She happily stowed her well-packed suitcases in the closet, then made a beeline to the one area of concern she’d had: how big was the shower door? {Big enough} she thought as she tried it, smiling from a combination of relief and the shower’s (and indeed the bathroom’s) innate glass with gold structural members and fittings beauty. While fitting through the shower door wasn’t any issue now, given how her life usually went and what she had in mind for this vacation cruise, it could have been later. The sink in the gray terrazzo countertop and toilet were equally well-appointed. Some of the fanciest staterooms had those newfangled bidet seats, with all kinds of cleaning and warming and other functions. Leigh was just as glad to have a conventional “dumb” toilet seat and toilet paper for their own sake, beyond saving money. No question: the bathroom would be fully up to the task for this leisurely-paced leisure cruise.

Upon finishing making use of the latter two bathroom fixtures, her next beeline was over to the bed, near the full wall-height exterior window/sliding door. She expected to be spending most of her time when in this stateroom on or in the bed, whether sleeping, enjoying the view, reading, or possibly even getting into some pleasure writing she’d long neglected. Gloriously sensually soft, plush, and welcoming, its materials gave it a slightly warm feel of the nature of some cloth materials, others of which can feel cold to the touch despite both being measurably at the same ambient temperature. Laying fully down atop it she thought, {This really is like floating on a cloud}.

The view out the full-wall picture window/door was gloriously free from visual restrictions, and with the day being a nice sunny San Diego late afternoon, glorious in general. Royal Prince Cruise Lines was very proud of the innovation they’d introduced on this series of ocean liners during the most recent extensive refresh: a small balcony-like area just outside each of these staterooms with a waist-height metal-side glass-front wall with its own door out onto the main Upper Promenade deck area ringing this deck level. The metal sides were equipped with sliding opaque privacy partitions (initially retracted) able to be adjusted by either of the visually adjoining staterooms, when one wanted a more traditional private balcony experience. Called the Balconette by Royal Prince, the name reminded her of a bra style for which she barely had enough boob flesh to justify. Leigh made sure to test the electric self-locking picture window glass door, both from its pushbutton opener on the inside and the key card mechanism on the outside. She was just as glad to have overhead cover at that moment, given the flock of seagulls noisily chirping as they flew by (definitely not singing any early 1980s Hair Band/Neuromantic songs, by any band).

The ship was still in port and would so remain for awhile as other cruisers continued to board, and Leigh had more of her stateroom to check out! Back inside, she found the couch entirely serviceable. Even if not as nice as hers at home in terms of plush comfort, it was undeniably cleaner! The nearby comfy chair was on the verge of claustrophobically snug, and of no matter to her given the couch and bed options. It was comfortable, and if a guest wound up visiting, they could likely sit there with no issue. The small desk and its chair were indeed several notches above motel perfunctory, even if not quite up to the level of the rest of the room in terms of elegance and comfort. Not a place she expected to spend any time, so no matter.

She spent some time reading a good bit of the voluminous information Royal Prince Cruise Lines provided regarding the many activities, amenities, services, and so on from which she could partake. {Ten restaurants?! Mmmmmm… thank goodness it’s dinner time soon. Four swimming pools?! Yikes!… Eight lounges doesn’t surprise me. Well} “hhhhhh” she sighed aloud, {might as well fine-tune myself and get ready for the muster drill, then after that head directly out to dinner}.

Experiencing the escalator ride after the reasonably brief and pleasantly painless muster drill down to the lower level of the expansive multi-deck-height Grand Promenade area looked and felt in every way to Leigh like a mash-up of going down a land-based upscale shopping mall escalator near the prime stores from its upper to lower level with descending into the main lobby of a well-appointed luxury hotel: open, spacious, vast, opulent.

The many disparate languages being spoken by those moving every which way around her—quite like a busy mall or hotel lobby, or even transit terminal—along with details of physical build and appearance caught her attention. {It’s like a mini-UN here} she mentally mused.

She made her way to Glissando, one of the higher-end restaurants on the ship. As part of the Pampered Gem package into which she’d bought, eating there was no extra charge for her, as it would be for those opting for standard fares. Thankfully, she was able to be seated right away.

Excellent acoustic treatments integral to the tasteful dark wood-forward decor made for a peaceful relatively quiet space for private at-table conversation, as well as dispersing the mellifluous notes of the beautiful and beautifully-dressed harpist’s large gold-colored harp evenly throughout the restaurant space such that it could be easily heard without being overbearing. Yes, this lithe brown-haired maiden in her white sequined full-length dress was running glissandos lovely enough to make angels weep.

{Goodness, I’m in one of my nicer outfits and I’m almost underdressed!} she thought on the walk over to her table, following the hostess’s tight, small ass, the likes of which she hadn’t had since she was 11, if then.

The young woman’s gracious smile and waving hand motion towards the linen-covered table exuded welcoming sincerity.

“Thank you” said Leigh, thinking as the woman left, {You’d be about the age of the daughter I’m glad I never had}.

“Good evening, Ms. Down” a tall square-jawed young man not much older than the hostess greeted her, his light brown eyes glittering from his toreador-like face framed by long jet black hair. His uniform informed her that he was her waiter, named Andrés per his black text on shiny gold name tag. “How are you this evening?” he asked as he set down a generously-large glass of water and basket of fresh, warm bread.

“Well, thank you. And you?”

“Delighted to be here, and to be of service. Tonight’s Sapphire Special is Braised Veal Bonavente. Our Explorer Special this evening is Sardine Poutine.”

Leigh couldn’t help grimacing slightly at the thought.

“Chef Lindgren assures me that its name was chosen more for purposes of alliteration than literal representation of its composition, other than it assuredly contains fresh premium sardines. He promises it will delight the palate, and few of us who’ve ever had the honor and privilege of partaking of his creations have ever found them less than delightful.”

“Seems like an unusual choice of fish.”

“Chef claims that sardines’ position low in the food chain makes it a far more healthful option in our modern world than nearly any other seafood outside of wild-caught Alaskan salmon, which we prefer to source once we’re much farther up the coast.”

“Fair enough. Being new on-board tonight, I’m going to need some time to peruse the menu before making my selection” {and hope that you’re on the menu}.

“Of course; please take your time” he smiled, just missing patting her hand with his gentle table touch before departing.

An inveterate foodie, Leigh was already feeling food lust arousal before even making it out of the appetizer listings. {Uuoooohh, I’m gonna love this cruise!}

Leigh was rarin’ to go the moment Andrés next returned to her table. “I’ll please start with the Tempura Wands and Crab Rangoon Moons, then look forward to the Porcine Suprema, and a side of Buffalo Coins.”

“Very good” he smiled, thinking {Your generous hips suggest to me I needn’t say anything about our generous portions.} “Beverage this evening?”

“A bottle of the 2017 Pearly Night merlot, please.”

“Excellent. Wine with the meal?”

“I’m ready now” she grinned.

Millions of people in the world, millions of opinions of all sorts. What to Andrés was Leigh’s generous right hip (the only one of hers he could see as she sat) tended to be little more than pleasantly curvaceous in the fatlovesex world, a.k.a. the fatosphere. Naturally even there opinions differed, with some in the community likely to apply the plumper label to her physique, others disagreeing that she’d reached that level of plushness.

{This is why I’m doing this cruise!} blissed-out Leigh thought, as she savored her current Crab Rangoon Moon moon-shaped dumpling, feeling wholly in the moment and mostly (apart from the dressy formality) in her element. {No one knows me, no one’s looking at me, no one’s judging me.}

Throughout the entirety of the meal, every bite of every dish made love to her taste buds, with every sip of wine caressing them.

Well over an hour later, vanquished plates, platters, and bowls disappeared into the hands of the busser, then into his pre-rinse/transport bucket.

The moment he rolled away, Andrés reappeared. “Dessert this evening?”

“Yes please. Please kindly explain why even a chef prone to alliteration would name a dessert Persnickety Snickerdoodles?”

“We do generally tend to think of the definition of persnickety as fussing over trivial, minor, possibly irrelevant details, I admit. There is however the definition of substances, materials, or ingredients requiring the utmost precision and care, which is how Chef Lindgren describes this dish’s titling.”

“I’ve made snickerdoodles at home before. The ingredients aren’t that fussy!” she objected.

“Ah, but the many nuanced ingredients setting Persnickety Snickerdoodles apart from those you and I and others we know have made put them in a separate category necessitating precise execution.”

Her very full stomach told Leigh to proceed with caution, perhaps even opt out of dessert. Her lusty taste buds told her otherwise. “I must know for myself what sets these Persnickety Snickerdoodles apart from the many good ones I’ve had and occasionally made over the years.”

“Very good.”

“Is a small pot of mint tea an option?”

“Absolutely. We have spearmint, peppermint, and blended mint non-caffeinated herbal infusions.”

“Spearmint please.”

{Nutmeg… candied lavender… honey… wowwww!}

Her mouth figuratively danced a jig at the joys of these amazing cookies, complimented exquisitely by the spearmint tea.

Very mildly disappointed that Andrés wasn’t on the menu in any capacity, Leigh bid him and Glissando goodnight. Her bright below-knee floral extravaganza-on-white dress had its work cut out for it containing her maxed-out belly. Other than tightness around that region from the 100% cotton dress’s lack of give, she felt comfortable on her way out of the restaurant.

On her way back through the still-busy Grand Promenade, Leigh played a solo game of identifying as many different languages as she could recognize. Monolingual herself, she nevertheless had sufficient familiarity with the characteristics of several of the world’s major languages to be able to identify them on sound, even if she could rarely understand more than an occasional word and not ever speak even that much.

Italian from the large group of about 23 apparently-Italians standing near the lobby seating area of the Grand Promenade was easy. One friendly gentleman amongst them briefly smiled and waved at her over the distance as she passed, upon seeing her apparently studying him/them.

German from a passing likely-German couple in a deep conversation with one another and seemingly in somewhat of a hurry was easy.

A group of 4 individuals sounding to her to be speaking Chinese on the brief occasions they spoke as they stood and looked between one another (possibly figuring something out together) incremented her count by one.

Gliding down the down escalator as she glid up the up escalator, Leigh thought she heard a couple looking to her like parents speaking to 4 younger people with them in an Asian language of which she was not certain. Hearing “kimchee” she guessed Korean.

A few steps away from the top of the escalators near the main elevators the characteristic serial monosyllabic staccato of Japanese caught her ear, confirmed with several repeated “Hi”s (themselves confirmations).

Hearing Spanish came as no surprise whatsoever, for a ship which most recently boarded no more than 15 miles from the Mexican border. Thing was, to Leigh’s ears the couple riding with her in the elevator seemed to be speaking another Spanish dialect. Which one, she had no idea.

“Beeauuutiful ship, yes?” the gentleman of the pair said to her.

Much as she was tempted to reply “Si. Muy linda”, her better wisdom kept her on the much safer path of sticking with “Yes, very much so.”

Each of Ernesto and Gloria Albiol introduced themselves to Leigh (and vice-versa) with hearty handshakes just before exiting the elevator on the Vista deck—one amongst the primarily-stateroom decks.

Leigh’s destination was the Sports deck. It was prime time for her to introduce herself to the Fitness Center: her essential travel companion on this journey. After all, it was her gym activity which routinely kept the flabbergasting flab off her body in her home life, along with occasional nature and/or beach walks when she could fit either of those into her schedule and away from crowds.

Through the floor-to-ceiling windows, it appeared well-equipped, with higher-end versions of the typical gear she knew so well from her local gyms over the years. Plenty of busy bodies dressed in a range of “please don’t look at me” through “please look at me” activewear were making good use of the facilities.

As acceptable as the Fitness Center was, and as much as she knew she really ought to return to her stateroom, change, and come back up and get in motion, the potent spell of the adjacent spa called to her. It wasn’t so much its very light, delicate, pleasant aroma as the promises which lay within which drew her longing attention. Beautifully appointed in well-lit shades of whites and pinks with subtle yellow and sky blue embellishments, it drew her in like a magnet.

{I’m goin’ in!}

“Good evening” the smiling woman of the two white-coated spa employees currently standing near the counter greeted her, with the gasp-worthy hunky gentleman next to her asking, “How may we benefit you tonight?”

{Friends With Benefits might work for me, once we get to know one another} Leigh brashly thought as she looked him over. “I’mmm… freshly boarded this afternoon and familiarizing myself with the ship’s amenities. I’m a Pampered Gem, uh, member, so I’m highly likely to want to partake of your services here.”

The range of services on display and enumerated by Gabi and Raphael (per their name tags) dazzled her.

“Middays, mid-afternoons, and evenings tend to be our busiest times,” noted Gabi near her presentation conclusion, “during which reservations are recommended.”

“We currently have one sauna and one massage table open” Raphael added.

“Who does the massages?”

As they’d been doing throughout their explanatory presentation, Gabi and Raphael took tag-team turns speaking. It was again Gabi’s turn, “At all times we’re open there is at least one female and one male massage therapist.”

“More during busier times, as now, with Humberto and Lydia currently assisting other cruisers.”

“So I could get a Thai massage from you right now, Raphael?”

“Absolutely” he smiled. “Soon as you’re signed in, we can get you going.”

The sensual delights of Raphael’s big, strong, skilled hands working her energy meridians from foot to head and, well away from her erogenous zones and societally-sanctioned private areas, skin to skin had what felt like buckets of stress and tension dissolving and melting away out of Leigh’s body.

Busy professional woman that she was, Leigh’s primary reason for the lack of loving, sensual hands at her ready beck and call in her life was a lack of time and inclination to date. Parts of her mind minimized or suppressed thoughts of additional factors in play. In a society warped to apparently agree that a woman’s value as an intimate lover rapidly declines with age, being 3 years shy of the most common retirement age benchmark put her so far out on the asymptote near zero value that the exact positioning wasn’t worth a moment’s quibble. She thought the “skunk” shock of brilliant white hair visible amongst her still-predominantly and still-naturally medium brown hair made her look more interesting and younger—which in a way, it did. Lines and other wear and tear elsewhere told a different story she’d rather not be told. What had always been with her was her plain appearance, especially her face. Neither ugly nor beautiful enough to draw attention, it had often been a beneficial attribute when she wanted to be ignored and left alone to enjoy her solitude, as at dinner this very night. It had historically proven less beneficial during the times she wished to draw positive, and especially amorous, attention to herself.

Counting back the number of years to the last time a man had intimately had his hands on her for any meaningful length of time made her feel queasy.

Raphael felt her body tensing up. “Doing alright, Ms. Down?”

“Yes, thank you.”

“I may have found a spot with some tension. Permission for me to ease back down then resume working up, to narrow in on it?”


“Stay in the moment and feel all there is to feel of the experience to the best of your ability, to get the most out of this.”

“Mmmmm… alright” she happily sighed.

From his training and experience, Raphael had a strong sense of what Ms. Down most needed: midsection tension release, especially between her lower buttocks and the small of her back. The time, place, and society within which they existed precluded his directly addressing this region with the necessary rigor. To a degree, so too did his lack of amorous interest in her, much as the professional in him wanted to help her body release what needed freeing.

Deeply skilled as he was, he worked around the limitations with aplomb.

Leigh Down left the massage session a satisfied, refreshed, deeply relaxed woman, all ready for a great night’s sleep in her amply-sized pillowy cloud-soft stateroom bed. So far on this first night, this pricey cruise left nothing to be desired.