Six words I never imagined me being able to say, certainly not until well after my 70th birthday, but that I am now about to commit to the Internet and for the whole world to see; I have been on a cruise.

According to what I had read, heard, perceived and otherwise known, I was not going to enjoy a cruise. It is how old, lazy, fat people go on holiday, people who aren’t interested in seeing cities, people who don’t want to come in to contact with foreign cultures, people who want to smoke and play slot machines and get really drunk at tax free prices.

According to Lovisa there was going to be unlimited food and it was going to be hot. I was sold.

We spent 18 hours on a bus from Washington to get down to Cape Canaveral. This was something of an experience in itself. The further south you go down the coast, the fatter, smellier, poorer and weirder the people get. It’s a really good way to see how the greatest country in the world is such a socio-economic fuck up.

As soon as we arrived though, we were surrounded by over-fed, white, opulence; the American Dream. Actually it was the Carnival Dream, our home for the next 7 days.

This boat’s interior was one of the most gaudy, hideous things I’ve ever seen, much less stayed in. This is the Dream Atrium that greets you when you step aboard.

I was in Tokyo 6 months ago and New York a week before, and yet in 10 seconds on this ship I must have doubled my intake of fluorescent light for the year. To your average newly retired, obese Floridian however, this was a moment to savour, an opportunity to take in the beauty and magnificence of the boat, to admire its fixtures and fittings and above all else, to showcase what seems to be a national aversion to style and good taste.

Lovisa and I wasted no time with platitudes about the gold plated lift mechanisms and instead made our way to the lunch buffet.

Over the next few days, we dropped anchor in The Bahamas, St Thomas in The Virgin Islands and St Maarten. As I had assumed, many hundreds of enthusiastic drinkers and gamblers stayed on board, but what I hadn’t realised was the enormous benefit that this was to have to the ever so slightly more adventurous; the beaches were empty. Hundreds of meters of picture perfect white sand and turquoise water to be enjoyed by the two of us, and a very few other vaguely intrepid cruisers. (A quick note here on the verb ‘to cruise.’ It is very common for people, at least on this particular trip, to be regular cruise ship holidayers, and it is also very common for them to want to tell you all about how much they love cruise ships holidays. Therefore it is not uncommon to hear middle aged, right-wing, christian men saying things like “yeah, I’ve been cruising for 30 years,” or “sure, I’m a regular cruiser,” or “I’m pretty sure the reason my first wife left me was because I was so obsessed with cruising all the time!”)

While I wouldn’t now consider myself a fully fledged cruise convert, I certainly enjoyed the Caribbean, I bloody loved the food, all of which was fantastic and non-stop, and I got more sunburnt than I knew it was possible to be and moaned about it for 3 days. That is to say, the weather was marvellous. We also got an extra day at sea thrown in so that we could sail around the hurricane currently battering the east coast of America which we didn’t want to be drowned by. Not all bad then.