Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cruise: Day 5 - No sunrise over Honduras

Sure, it’s been doing it for eons without me, and is very likely to continue doing so long after I have returned to the earthly elements from which I came. Still, with as much importance as I had placed on meeting the sun every morning this week, I would have hoped it would wait for me. I was late, though, due to an Ambien Oversleep.

For this I blame Carnival Cruise Lines. In their hyperactively schizophrenic (schizofrantic? schizofrenetic?) pursuit of every.last.penny, they provided an 11 pm until “whenever” deck party last night for their late risers. Where? On the Lido, of course, which is essentially our cabin’s roof. It was just before midnight when I decided that the THUMP THUMP THUMPADEE BUMP THUMP pause THUMP THUMP THUMPADEE BUMP THUMP pause THUMP…. wasn’t the only problem, although it was by no means the least of the problems. Nor was it the screeching WHOOOOP - WHOOOOP of the insanely vocal portion of the crowd. No, the last straw was the dancing on the steel deck. It was the rhythmic bone shaking WHOOMPS from dozens of people jumping up and down in synchronicity that broke this camel‘s back.

It was that most of all that drove me to unhappy memories of life at THE Ohio $tate University. I was considered an untraditional student, a term that mostly meant I was a little older than the norm and tool a lot of night classes because I was working full time to pay for the tuition. I was untraditional in another sense too, and I suppose I am considered untraditional today for the same reason: I am a morning person. One weekend a month I had to get up at 0500 for Air National Guard duty, a time that is routine for me now but seemed awfully, awfully early back then. That made no difference at all to the late-risers that lived upstairs. Their weekend parties would often still be going on when I was getting ready to go to drill. These were raucous parties, and many were the times that I had to re-hang pictures that had fallen from my walls from the vibrations coming from above. Those occasions were either biblical or satanic, depending on your point of view.

You can guess mine.

If one were to try to find the most blatantly discriminated against identity group in America today, one would soon come upon the morning people. Carnival is simply one of millions that discriminate against us. Ask yourself this: what do you think would happen if a few hundred of us got up at 6:00 am and went up to the Lido deck and started making the kind of racket those folks were making last night? Can you imagine the outcry? Heh, that’s nothing. More instructive would be to consider what they would universally say: “You must be crazy!!” Respond that you think they are the crazy ones for screaming and banging around well past a reasonable hour and they look at you as if they believe you should be in an asylum. And probably accentuate the point with a mighty WHOOP-WHOOP.

This is a long way of saying that I finally gave up and swallowed an Ambien. That kept me knocked out until well after room service had attempted to deliver the cruise director’s morning tea. And, as mentioned, after the sun had risen without me.

Sometime yesterday after a relaxing day at the pool and a good lunch/dinner, the cruise director blurted out a question that I know has been nagging her. “Knowing what you know now, would you go on another cruise?”

I demurred.

“Ask me later.”

The last time I answered one of her casual questions without truly thinking through the ramifications was when she surveyed my intentions and desires about getting a puppy. I took that as a statement of her wish to bring a new family member into the house and being one who likes to keep his spouse happy and enjoys the thrill of the hunt, I took the bit in my teeth and tirelessly pursued the finding and adoption for a new puppy for her.

The ornery little thing is now openly referred to as my puppy, and misdeeds of same whisked away with “Well, you wanted another dog!”

How I became the instigator in that whole thing is still a mystery to me.

I do know that I love that little bastard, though. So I guess it’s okay. I’ll take the credit and the blame. He’s going to be pissed next week when I get his cocky little ass neutered, though. I’m blaming the missus for that.

So, like I said: I demurred. I’ll have to think about it before taking another cruise. There are oh so many things to like, but there are also things that I don’t like. The “don’t likes” are small and petty, but as such they nag at me even more because they are so unnecessary. For example, we can eat as much as we like. I routinely order two appetizers at dinner, and the cruise director ordered two entrees when she couldn’t decided between prime rib and lobster tail. The buffet lines are open all day, and pizza is available 24 hours a day. Room service will also deliver 24 hours a day. There is no additional charge for any of that.

Contrast this to our experience at Grand Cayman. As we were leaving the ship, a Carnival employee was at the door handing out water bottles. It can be hot in Cayman, and I thought that this was just an instance of Carnival looking out for the health of their customers.

A charge of $2.24 was put on my ship credit card for a 16oz. bottle of water.

That’s not only tawdry and tacky, but counter-productive. How many of those do you think they sell on the second shore? The third? Once people figure out what they’re paying for the water, they’ll either do without or bring their own. In other words, the revenue opportunity was transient, but the memory of the ham handedness will linger.

It may end up costing Carnival my business. There are other cruise lines to try.

For the moment, I’m still quite content. I’ll reflect back on the cruise as a whole later. For now, it’s enough to sit on my personal veranda watching the coast of Honduras slide by as we make our approach to Roatan Island.

Where I will NOT buy water, and hope that there is no shopping to be done. Relaxing with a book is my plan for the day. Can I get a WHOOP-WHOOP? What? It’s too early? Are you crazy???

1 comment:

  1. Royal Caribbean does the same with the shore water. After five cruises, I'm fed up to here [hand over head] with all the nickel and dime-ing. Next stop...all-inclusive island resort (with booze included).