Best Weekend Getaway (2008)
Carnival Cruise Lines
We booked the last-minute cruise on a tequila-infused whim. But just as the credit card went through, the feeling of dread poured over us: OMG, the Vegas-style shows might be really cheesy! Grannies will surround us at the slot machines! Bartenders, holding us hostage on the ship, could get away with charging $20 a drink! We marched to the port as though it were a death camp. There, however, we saw that half the passengers were college girls in bikinis. Our jaded hearts defrosted when the lovely Romanian waitress brought us three desserts apiece. And we actually snorted with laughter when the on-board comedian did an entire set of jokes about snorkeling and beating his kids. If she'd had guts enough to enter, my sister would have won the Hairy Chest Contest, too. In addition to all that, the ship includes a water slide, a jogging track, a mini-golf course, and a gym. (Ever try yoga while a boat is rocking?) At press time, a two-day Bahamas getaway was going for $389. A five-day run to Jamaica and the Cayman Islands — with a window room — could be had for $479, what you'd otherwise pay in hotel costs alone. As we motored past Cuba, sitting in the hot tub while sipping piña coladas (only $5!), we admired our new luxury watches (bought duty-free!) and cursed ourselves for getting smoked at karaoke by those grannies.