Cruise ships are fascinating places. Where else do five thousand people get together on a single form of transportation, ride around from one island to the next, all the while eating and drinking themselves into a coma served with a side of sunburn. After ten cruises on the high seas, I've come to learn that most of the entertainment onboard doesn't come from the lousy shows, comedians, or the casino, but instead from our fellow passengers. Wait in enough lines for the Midnight Buffet and you'll eventually have plenty of head scratching content to write a best selling novel, or maybe a travel blog post. Such as...
Going on now up on the Lido Deck.
Quick...without using Google, can you tell me what a Lido is? Don't worry, before I started writing this article I couldn't either. Apparently, Lido is an English word for a pool deck, but here in America we just call it, well, a pool deck. And despite their being built in Scandinavia, registered in Panama, navigated by Italians, and mostly staffed by Fillipinos, nearly every cruise ship on the planet has a Lido deck, apparently thanks to the Brits.
|Apparently this is a Lido.|
I need a snack. What time does the cheeseburger bar open?
Never mind a donut or a bag of chips, on a cruise ship the buffet is always open so snacks quickly become a meal. The 3pm cheeseburger is the second best thing about a cruise only behind all you can eat - or aren't too embarrassed to order - lobster on formal night. Translation: Make sure there's a free notch in your belt before getting onboard.
|A giant bowl of Paella to feed the masses.|
First up is the hairy chest contest, followed by Extreme Bingo.
After a week of trying to keep a few thousand guests occupied, cruise ships eventually start scraping the bottom of the barrel of good ideas for activities. Though I would win in dominating fashion, I have never once taken part in the hairy chest contest, and I'm usually left wondering why I cruise every time I witness one. Of course, MJ doesn't share the same feeling of disdain for Bingo.
|MJ with all of her losing cards.|
Aww man...we already got the Elephant.
Half the fun of returning to the stateroom each night is guessing which towel animal will be on our bed. By the end of the week the cabin steward has usually exhausted his towel sculpting talents and starts repeating creatures, only this time they're adorned with your pair of sunglasses.
|We named him Dumbo.|
We go to Nassau tomorrow and The Bahamas the next day.
This was one of those rare times where I kept my mouth shut and didn't freely interject my 2 cents. I might be a geek who reads maps for fun, but I don't expect everyone to be a walking Rand McNally. I take issue, however, when they start passing down inaccurate information to the next generation. Sadly, this lady's 12 year old son might go on forever thinking Nassau and The Bahamas are two different places.
|Nassau = The Bahamas|
I'll have the crab cake, the shrimp cocktail, the Caesar salad, the lobster bisque, the Filet Mignon with a side of Bearnaise, and two lobster tails. Oh, and is there any of the smoked salmon from last night back there?
What? Don't judge.
|And I'll take my chocolate covered strawberries on the balcony, thank you.|
Will the following guests please check-in at the Guest Relations Desk.
About half an hour before the ship is to depart a port these announcements will start coming over the PA system. The list usually starts at about 20 names, and gets shorter and shorter as the last stragglers which were unaccounted for stumble back onboard. These are often the folks who went to Senor Frogs, had one too many yards, and managed to hold up the departure of a billion dollar cruise ship. Easily the most entertaining part of any cruise is watching the plight of dock runners.
What do you mean the bar doesn't open until 9am?
What? Again...don't judge.
|Wait...this doesn't open till 9 either?|
Welcome to karaoke. First up is MJ singing...
If you hear this one, run for the hills! Or in this case, the lifeboats.
|Sing it MJ!|
When you squeeze a large amount of people into a confined space for days on end, you're bound to run across a few things that make you go hmmm. Chances are that after about day 3, you also might find yourself saying things far outside of character. My advice is to embrace it and don't be afraid to let the couple at the next table hear you order four entrees. Besides, based on the number of commercials for cruise lines featuring dads doing the limbo, I'm pretty sure embracing the out of character is exactly what they want you to do.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to buy my wife something pretty.
Enjoy Your Stay