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The Big Nude Boat 2015 – Ship Life

valentine I couldn’t shake the feeling I was in the wrong place yesterday. When I took a seat in the auditorium, I was waiting for the slideshow honoring Bare Necessities’ 25th year in the nude recreation travel business. I was ready for shots of big hair, mullets and maybe Bare Necessities co-owner Tom Tiemann sporting a full head of hair. Instead, performers dressed as Leia from “Star Wars,” Lara Croft and the Julia Roberts’ character from “Pretty Woman” strut about as the band plays the Roy Orbison tune.

And yet, it’s not until acrobats take the stage that I realize this isn’t the slideshow at all, but a completely different showcase—a fun enough surprise.

But this is ship life. You can plan only so much, then serendipity steps in.

Today alone, the ship’s daily agenda lists 86 scheduled activities—22 of which are put on by Bare Necessities presenters. So, it’s forgivable that I’d to end up in the wrong place at least once (although technically, I was at an event honoring a company’s 25 years — it just happened to honor Celebrity Cruises, also with an anniversary in 2015).

thalassotherapySometimes timing works out better than you could anticipate.

Tonight, I accepted a Valentine’s Day dinner invite to the 6:30 p.m. seating; normally, I dine at 8:30. Post meal, I wandered, making a point to walk through the corridor of balloons that has become the atrium’s grand staircase. It’s a huge undertaking: The Bare Necessities team has tied hundreds of Mylar hearts throughout the entire space, creating a one-day art installation honoring love. Even if you’re someone who normally dismisses the holiday, it’d be hard not to be moved by the effort—and the beauty. There’s just something striking about being amid so much glittering red and pink.

Eventually, I reached the ship’s indoor solarium and heated thalassotherapy pool. During the day, it’s a happening spot. Now, in between suppers, only a few couples relax in the water. It’s quiet. Serene. Utterly perfect for this moment.

chocolate I only pause between dipping in the hot tub and warm pool when I realize it’s time for the night’s dessert finale: a chocolate extravaganza. I dry off, making my way to the pool grille just as cupid and another lovely cherub begin mingling with the crowd, spreading luck and love.

Two chocolate mousses and a plate of chocolate-fountain-drenched cake and fruit, I start to wonder. How it is that at the mention of chocolate, I can manage to get the particulars right?

As I pad back to my stateroom, I’m still mulling over having missed the silver anniversary slideshow when I bump into Bare Necessities manager Kat Whitmire. She assures me the show will air on an in-room TV channel before the end of the cruise. I smile — there’s still plenty of time for nostalgia and 80s hair after all.

Photo credits: Eric Gose, Michael Cooney, Jack Gescheit