Friday, December 09, 2011

Romance of the Sea
I love the television commercials for cruises. Picture what is waiting for you aboard a cruise ship. We see a beautiful romantic young couple in evening wear, drinking champagne, personally served by a four star waiter from a silver tray. They dance to the music of a tuxedo clad string quartet all alone on the empty deck at the magic moment of sunset. 
Right.... All the elements are there. They have a deck, couples, musicians to play for you, waiters to serve you and sunset happens every night, but that's where the similarity to the television version ends.

Here is the reality of a young couple trying to have a romantic sunset dance on the deck of the average cruise ship.
Just getting to the deck is an adventure. Three thousand other passengers are also trying to get there. They mass migrate in wheel chairs, walkers, motorized scooters, with canes and dragging reluctant children. Our romantic couple has to adopt the pace off a three legged turtle or risk stepping on the corrective foot wear of seniors moving at the pace of a glacial flow.
The optimum viewing position for sunset is a limited area of the deck, and filled with large men wearing ill fitting sleeveless tee shirts that say things like "It's not a beer belly... it is a love bundle" with  saggy old Bermuda shorts and flip flops. These unshaven patriarchs are staring at digital camera screens trying to get their family positioned in a way that will not cover the view of sunset. Of course the flash picture over exposes the sunset so they have to take several more. Just when our romantic couple thinks it might be their turn in the sunset, the wife trades places with the beer-belly husband to get him in the picture. 
Our young couple looks very much out of place as they try to find even a square foot of unoccupied deck they can dance on. There they are in beautiful evening dress standing next to a 60 year old guy in a speedo and his wife in a not so opaque thy length cover up of yellow daisies. Several intoxicated younger women show off biker tattoos and loudly brag about how loaded they were when they got nipple piercings. But nonetheless our beautiful couple embraces and waits for the music to set the mood. 
A Jamaican steel drum band blasts out a reggae version of Stardust slightly out of tune. The couple can not find the beat.... the perfect sunset is gone... the ship lists a'starboard knocking the girl off her high heels and into the hairy arms of a lecherous waiter in a caribbean flowered shirt, spilling a tray of  Cabo Wabos,  the special rum drink of the day.
This may be somewhat of an exaggeration.  However, my version of events is just as close to the reality as the television depiction. What they do not indicate in the ads is... the bigger the ship the more passengers, the more passengers the longer the lines, the longer the lines the less freedom and an increase in wasted time.  A seven day cruise on a mega ship.... two of those days will be spent waiting in lines to experience the privacy and isolation you wanted. One day each way will be spent getting on and off the ship. (You know what it's like to board 150 people onto an airplane, try waiting on 3000 people to board with 9000 pieces of luggage) 
It will take you one day to find your way around the mega ship to get your bearings on where to enjoy yourself. If you take an excursion off the ship for a day to see someplace other than the ship there is another day..... your seven day cruise actually lasts  for 24 hours of actual enjoyment of the mega facilities. 
But what do I know this is only my 175th cruise.
As you were,


Roomie said...

Mandy and I loved your interpretation of the commercials and "first hand" experiences of some 175 times...I hate to read about all those old peeps as I hope I wouldn't be that on board...don't they have any dignity or self respect....I only remember a couple of college cruises to Nassau and didn't notice the oldies...but all the others you talk about are really scary...but the upside of all this is that you are aboard, and YOU ARE ONE CLASS ACT!!!!!
Love and carry on,

P. Grecian said...

Roomie's right. You ARE one class act. I look forward to your stories about your life and I admire you so much for your work ethic as well as your talent.