The post-vacation transition from relaxation back to the rise-and-grind routine is usually a pretty tough one. At press time, it’s my first day “back to work” (working from home is such a godsend) after a 10-day cruise throughout the Caribbean. I boarded Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas with my family on Thursday, June 18 and spent the next week exploring: King’s Wharf, Bermuda … Philipsburg, St. Maarten … San Juan, Puerto Rico … and Labadee, Haiti. We kayaked. We snorkeled. We saw the sights. We swam. We sweat buckets on beautiful beaches. All while living on a floating oasis that offered an ice-skating rink, full-sized boxing ring, rock-climbing wall, surfing simulator, mini golf course, three pools, five hot tubs, and mouth-watering meal options that included a full daily buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a coffee café, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream parlor, cupcake shop, Johnny Rockets, sushi bar, 24-hour pizza, and a five-star formal dining room for dinner. (I’m actually working from home because I can’t see my feet anymore; I just roll from room to room.)
Needless to say, it was a wonderful escape … but it’s always nice to come home. I tend to return to reality with overwhelming wanderlust stowed away in my suitcase, so to help my travel hangover subside, I usually watch some movies that help me ease back into the real world. When I go to Disney World, I unwind with Disney movies. When I visit an island, movies that take place in Hawaii or Greece, usually. So since I just got off a 13-deck luxury ocean liner, I plan to indulge in some of my favorite flicks that take place on (or in) the high seas, such as:
Pirates of the Caribbean | 2003
Before Johnny Depp became Disney’s cash cow and Tim Burton’s play thing, he was a respected actor who chose his roles very carefully. The tip of the slippery slope he’s found himself on in recent years (in my opinion) was his very first portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow—which isn’t to say that I don’t love those movies, because I do, very much so. I just don’t like what it did to his career and that they couldn’t stop at just one excellent film. Regardless, the first is the best, as is usually the case, and I absolutely love watching it when I want to get into a nautical mood. Based on the popular Walt Disney World attraction, it’s a highly quotable swashbuckling adventure that I’ve practically memorized. Drink up, me hearties, yo ho!
Fool’s Gold | 2008
I love when lead co-stars team up together more than once (Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet) and when Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey (How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days) teamed up for a second time, it was for a movie that, for all intents and purposes, is just another sub-par rom-com, but it’s become one of my all-time favorite movies to watch during the summer. It takes place primarily in the Bahamas (posing as the Florida Keys) and, like Pirates, it’s basically just one big treasure hunt—and it’s so much fun to watch. It gives me the urge to move south and get Scuba-certified ASAP.
Poseidon | 2006
This is a terrible movie to watch before you board a ship. At least while you’re sailing through the Caribbean, you know that striking an iceberg is highly unlikely. But a rogue wave can strike at any time and being suspended upside-down underwater is a fairly terrifying situation. A re-boot of 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure, this film is an action-packed survival story from the moment that massive wave rears its ugly head.
Titanic | 1997
Because, I mean, come on. Tragic as it may be, it’s THE ship movie, isn’t it? Our dining room aboard the Liberty was modeled after the infamous vessel and “My Heart Will Go On” sometimes played during dinner … which was a little unsettling, come to think of it.
Captain Phillips | 2013
Based on the true story of “real” Somali pirates who hijacked an American cargo ship for the first time in two hundred years in 2009, it’s a harrowing glimpse of how helpless one can feel in the middle of the ocean. I adore Tom Hanks and his unflinching portrayal of a man simply trying to survive a traumatic experience brought tears to my eyes more than once. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance, but I think he deserved an Oscar.