The Ship

woo fancy

One of the first things you do on the ship is to visit your muster station. During this time, the people responsible for your life tell you what your responsibilities are in case of an emergency. Fortunately, the extent of your responsibilities are 1. show up with your life vest. 2. shut up.

That’s all you need to know. The rest is somebody else’s job. If you haven’t read it, Tina Fey’s account (Bossypants)of terror on a cruise ship is about the funniest thing to read on the subject. It’s also the worst thing to read when you’re actually on a cruise ship. I had read it before, but I was foolish enough to think it would make a great reread for the boat.

Anyway, we visited our muster station and I tried to listen seriously. They are talking about life and death, after all. Such as what to do when the buzzer sounds – go to the muster station– and what to do when they tell you to go down the stairs – go down the stairs – and how to put on your life vest – like a normal vest, but with a belt.

It wasn’t too complicated. I amused myself by being exceedingly literal. On the life vest video, it explained that the vests included a whistle and a light to use to attract attention. I irreverently wondered what would happen in I put the life vest on immediately, and used the whistle and light to attract attention throughout the trip. 

*whistle!* I need a drink! 
*flash flash* Can you help me put on more sunscreen?
*whistle!* It is very hot and I would like you to fan me.

I was unable to actually try it out, though, because Fernie thought it wouldn’t be a good idea. It might work for a while, but after people realized that getting me a new margarita wasn’t an emergency, it might backfire and guarantee me a place on the first ship home.

The second thing you should do on the ship is buy the souvenir drink glass. 
It’s actually plastic.
Once you have the souvenir drink glass (it comes with the ‘drink of the day’ in it) ordering a drink is easy as pie. You just wave your glass in the direction of a guy with an apron. They can be anywhere on the ship. *wave-wave* and poof, there’s a guy to ask what you want. You just say, “Whatever goes in here today,” and hold out your glass. The waiter guy promptly brings you your tasty drink. You drink it all and keep your glass to have it refilled tomorrow – or later – with whatever tasty drink is tomorrow’s drink of the day! It’s a great system. 

Once you get your drink glass, you will look like me. Happy and stupid.

On the day before my birthday, which was the last day of the trip, I had four drinks. I counted them because that’s important. Starting at noon, I had a free drink. My free drink came as a coupon on the bottom of one of the many sheets of paper I received in my stateroom. It was because I was a repeat cruiser. I had been named a “VIP”, apparently because I took a cruise before and survived to take another. This coupon had to be used on this trip, and only in the main dining room during breakfast or lunch. I’d already missed breakfast, and I was determined to get my drink during lunch. I didn’t want to actually eat lunch. Just drink it.

I searched and searched for the right location to pick up my free drink. This required several trips across the ship. I went to the Northern Lights dining hall. It was closed. I went upstairs to the other Northern Lights dining hall. It was also closed. I went to the guest services and waved my little coupon in the air. “I’d like to know where to get this,” I asked. She examined the coupon and told me to go to the Southern Lights dining hall. To do this, I had to go up three floors, across the ship, and down three floors. In effect, I was on the same floor, but I was on it across the ship. I read the sign on the entrance. “Open seating for lunch at 12:00”. 

It was 11:00. I had an hour to wait. But wait I did. I was determined to get my free drink. I was going to get something free on this ship. I waited an hour, reading The Girl Who Played with Fire and occasionally getting out of my seat to check the clock on the other side of the hall. When the doors finally opened, I went inside and cheerfully requested a margarita. After ten minutes, my new best friend, the waiter, brought it to me. It was as good as I expected it to be. Even better, because it was ‘free’. 

Our stateroom wasn’t fancy fancy – it had no porthole, no balcony, no way to see out. But that’s okay, because that means that even if we slept till 9:00, no disruptive sunshine came through the glass and woke us up. It’s small but large enough. It’s really only to shower and sleep. And to be ridiculous in.

The first night we were there, we were pretty worn out from the drive. So we just laid around and watched whatever we could find on TV once we’d been mustered (if that’s a verb in that way). I fell asleep, exhausted, and woke up throughout the night. My legs were so cold! I was on a cruise in the middle of July that was not an Alaskan cruise and my legs were freezing! It was very cold.
This was all forgotten in the sunshine of the next day. It was not until the next evening, as I got ready for bed, that I realized again that our stateroom was freezing! “It’s really cold in here!” I told my hunny. “Really?” he said. “I’m fine.”

“Well,”I I said, “I’m not! It’s supercold.” I traded my tank top for a sweater I had fortunately brought, and my shorts were replaced with jeans. I lay in bed, with socks on, covered with blankets and shivered. “Brrr.” I said. My hunny continued to watch Kung Fu Panda 2 on TV. “Isn’t crazy how realistic the cartoons are now?” he asked. I stared at the screen and giggled convulsively. A crane and a tiger spoke with a giant panda as they tried to defeat some sort of bird in a battle with dragon cannons. “Ummm, no” I said, to be difficult. It was just SO COLD.

About half an hour later, I said, “You know, I’m surprised that there’s no way to control the air in here. It’s really cold.” 
“Oh!” said my hunny. “There is! It’s right there. The thermostat’s on the wall there.” I stared at him blankly. “You mean I’ve sat here for two hours shivering in the bed, covered with blankets and wearing a sweater because it’s too cold to sleep on a CARIBBEAN CRUISE AND IT’S BECAUSE YOU’VE GOT THE AIR ON?!”

He grinned sheepishly and adjusted the thermostat. “Yes,” he said, in a very small voice.

I slept better after that.

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