Cruise ship for rednecks

Oct 13th
Posted by shambo  as Culture, Travel, Vacations

Cruise ship for rednecks

Let me say this about that.

Once the sole domain of the wealthy, cruise ship vacations are now as popular with the middle class as a trip to DisneyWorld.  Cruise ships have long since migrated from the stately, dreamy-paced life on-board, with it’s black tie dining, champagne brunches and string quartet chamber music.  Today’s cruise ship lines have discovered that the farther down the socio-economic ladder they go, the more money they make and the more basic the clientele’s entertainment needs become.

Enter water-slides, basketball courts, pool tables, video games, climbing walls, bungee-jumping, karaoke, bingo games and casinos …. things that would make the refined passengers of the original ‘Queen Elizabeth’ cruise ship  gasp.  There are teen clubs, disco clubs, wine tasting bars, martini bars, coffee bars, ice cream bars, pizza bars, poker clubs, book clubs, and continual lectures on what stuff you can buy and where you can buy it.

In other words, if you are a redneck and…    don’t get out of the trailer much – it’s heaven.

The staff of the modern cruise ship has had to adapt to this new type of passenger.  They don’t wear tuxedos – they wear Hawaiian shirts.  They don’t drink martinis – they drink Jagermeister shots.  They don’t play bridge – they play Texas Hold’um.  They don’t eat squab – they eat ribs.  They don’t waltz – they two-step. 

 And – they damn sure don’t speak the Queen’s English.  They also seem to say anything that pops into their tiny little brains.

I was invited to have dinner at the captain’s table on a recent cruise through Latin America.  After all eight of the guests were seated, the captain arrived, introduced himself, and asked where each of his guests were from.  During this small talk, the waiter arrived to take drink orders.  An older gentleman informed us he was from Canada and asked the waiter if he had any Canadian beer aboard. 

Waiter:  “Yes sir, we have Molson, Labatt, and Moosehead.”

Canadian:  “Thank you, I’ll have a Moosehead.”

The next guy to introduce himself was a redneck who informed the Captain that he was from West Virginia.  Not schooled in the fine art of polite conversation, he told us that the Canadian gentleman reminded him of a joke.

West Virginia redneck:  “Do ya’ll know the difference between Virginia and West Virginia?  In Virginia, Moosehead is a beer – in West Virginia it’s a misdemeanor.”

A lot of these new brand of folks are on their first cruise and ask all manner of questions of the staff – many of them bordering on ludicrous.  Cruise ship staff are very professional and have adapted to this barrage of stupid questions, and sometimes add a little spice in their response, just for fun.

I was taking a walk on the Promenade Deck one morning when I passed a middle-aged woman sitting in a lounge chair, wearing her life vest.  Obviously terrified of the ocean, she stopped a passing ship’s officer and asked him in which direction was the nearest land.  The officer pointed straight down and said:  “About one mile, ma’am.”

Cruising through the Bahama Islands, cruise ships have to maintain diligence as they navigate through narrow channels.  Often, this requires the ships to pass very close to some of the smaller and lightly populated ‘out islands’.  On one occasion, our ship passed within a few hundred yards of a small island as we made our way to Nassau.  A young Bahamian man walked out from the palm trees, dressed in only a pair of shorts and waived at the ship.  A couple from Arkansas called a ships officer over and asked who the man was.  The officer, obviously used to these types of questions answered:  “I really don’t know.  We have passed this island every two weeks for the last four years, and every time we pass, this guy runs out on the beach and screams and waves like crazy.” 

And, that’s all I have to say about that.




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