By Ray (Stowaway) Hudson
On my way home from a meeting the thoughts circulating in my disoriented cranium were concerned with the on-going heavy snowfall swirling around my car, while trying to remember how to reset my fancy watch to daylight savings time. I ask, what’s wrong with this picture?
Last week we set sail for warmer climates with the idea that a monster cruise-liner would be just the spring tonic I would need to help me transition from seasonal affective disorder to tropical effective made-to-order that only a cruise ship can dispense.
So in order to avoid going on as a passenger and being taken off as cargo at the end of the cruise, we’ll have another lesson of Cap’n Ray’s Seagoing Vocabulary.
First Cruise? Why not try the cruise to nowhere. A cruise to nowhere is a cruise where you will sail in open waters for one to three days without reaching a destination. Guests get the chance to experience the amenities of a cruise, including its casino. You bet! These are popular choices for family reunions, romantic getaways, bachelor or bachelorette parties, girlfriend retreats, and it’s an eyebrow raiser when you tell them where you went on that floating metropolis.
Stateroom with balcony: sounds spacious, but the word cabin is more appropriate. Never-the-less if you have the bucks you might get a balcony. If you can’t afford that maybe you could get a French balcony. Now that sure sounds romantique! Unfortunately it’s not a balcony at all. It’s a glass door or wall-to-wall window that opens to give you fresh air and the feel of a veranda, minus the veranda, tables and chairs. Then there’s the Interior Cabin with balcony. How’s that done? Pioneered by Royal Caribbean, a virtual balcony is offered in interior cabins on its newer ships. It’s a floor-to-ceiling 80-inch high-definition TV screen showing live views from the outside of the ship. No fresh air though!
Perhaps it’s just as well. We wouldn’t want to have the beauty rest upset, like the lady on a Mediterranean cruise who complained about the sea being too loud, claiming it had prevented her from having a decent night’s sleep during her holiday on-board. She also suggested that the cabins be “better sound-proofed against the sounds of the sea.” Oh and one more thing… the engine was also too loud!
Weighing the Anchor: No, not a diet thing, nor do they need to check its weight every time the captain wants to move. It means simply to pull up the anchor so we can leave! BTW they weigh between 60 and 100 tons (the anchor not the buffet busters).
Why is the ship is referred to as a she. Superstitious boat-owners, typically and historically male, named their vessels after significant women in their lives — wives, sweethearts, mothers, goddesses (but I repeat myself), as well as mortal women of national or historical significance, thereby bestowing a benevolent (or feisty) feminine spirit on the vessels that would carry seafarers across treacherous oceans.
Gangway: it’s a ramp or stairway but not reserved for the local gang members to board the ship. In a more mundane explanation it’s just the ramp that allows passengers and crew members to get on and off the ship. But just before the ship is about to leave for another destination, watch the gang of passengers scramble and stampede aboard, laden with souvenirs.
Lido deck The open pool deck on a cruise ship, typically the top deck. The word lido is an Italian for “beach” which is interesting since many lido decks on the big ships are as much as ten to twenty stories above the water. Some beach!
Zodiac It’s not the ship’s astrologer. They gave that up in the 14th century or so. It’s actually a brand of inflatable boats that are especially popular on luxury ships and expedition cruises and used as tenders. For those people afraid of them, chicken tenders.
So I hope this helps as you cast-off and go to sea. Have a good time, forget about the winter. Be kind to the crew unlike the woman on a ‘Celebrity Cruises’ ship who asked the travel agent for a full refund, because she didn’t see any celebrities on board and therefore the company was guilty of “false advertising.” Then there was the first-time cruise passenger who blamed the captain for not warning him that he could get seasick, and asked for a schedule of cruises in which he wouldn’t get seasick. Can you say Gravol? Happy sailing me hardies!