Okay, well maybe not everything, but as the Everything I Know series is so immensely popular with the dozen people that I have shown it to, I thought the best thing to do would be to extend it to other vacations. I’m sure sooner or later I’ll come up with a good list. For now:
1. When your badge says “American Guard”, at least try to learn English.
I know, I know: America has no official language. If it did, it would be German, but I digress. When you are working in an American port, where a majority of the people coming through will speak a combination of English or Spanish (hey, its Miami, I know I’m a minority here), at least try to learn one of them. And what is the “American Guard” anyway? The cruise terminal version of the TSA? They aren’t TSA agents, they aren’t coast guard or customs agents. I guess “American Guard” is more appropriate than “Bob’s Security Service”. At least “American Guard” sounds official, like they might have the ability to TASER you or perform a body cavity search if you get rowdy.
2. Directions are optional, compliance is Mandatory.
Upon approaching the terminal for the first time in a while (last time I came here, getting on the internet required a phone line, there was no Facebook, MySpace wasn’t popular yet, and I didn’t own a cell phone), I was surprised at both the upgrades and the lack of instructions. We go in the wrong way and have to wrap around, because the signs telling you where to go are way past the first turnoff. Then we walk up to the gate and the first security guy says “why didn’t you check your bags?” Ummm…because no one told us too. We were on our own from the time we got off I-95. One of the porters (see last post about tipping) quickly saw dollar signs and helped us out.
Everyone kept asking us for a boarding pass. Boarding pass? I have a receipt. There was no boarding pass on my printout. They scanned us and let us on anyway, our receipt matched our passports. Don’t try to make it sound more official than it is.
3. Bringing your drink to the muster station drill is a really douchy move.
Delay your alcoholism for at least the first hour or two. I know you’ve parked the car and can quit worrying about getting that third DUI, but seriously, wait until the lifeboat drill is over. It’s the worst thing about a cruise, standing on the deck in the heat crowded together for thirty minutes or more while they tell us how not to die when the boat sinks. But thankfully you don’t have to wear the life jackets any more.
4. Wearing your bikini and wrap to the terminal seems kind of slutty.
Sure, you’ve been hitting the gym hard and avoiding things like food for months. And we’re all going on a glorious Caribbean vacation together… but wait until you’re on the boat by the pool. I wouldn’t get on Alaska Airlines in Los Angeles wearing a parka. Give it some time before you show your ass and boobs to everyone.
5. If you push your baby around the ship in a stroller, you are a lazy asshole.
Look, I understand bringing the stroller from the car to the boat. That can be a long walk. I understand if you need it on shore excursions, too. But the boat is 930 feet long. How damn hard is it to tote your offspring around? Touch the little bastard sometime, he’ll appreciate it later.
6. People will cheat like hell for a two dollar plastic ship trophy.
People like me. Damnit I’ve been on four cruises now and have yet to win a gold plastic cruise ship trophy. They do trivia several times a day and I wasn’t about to leave empty handed this trip, especially when our only real competition already won once.
7. Shopping after having rum punch is a bad idea.
I’ve shopped intoxicated a few times. The last time I had a Kidney stone, and had taken Loricet. Loricet is about the only thing that will get me inside a Target store without complaint. I hate Target. But give me half a Loricet and I’m right in there looking for the Target Dog. Give me a whole one, and I’m likely to think I can see the Target Dog. I’m a cheap date, evidently. But give me a solo cup with rum punch (especially after a hot day in the sun) and I’m ready to shop the seaside vendors in St. Thomas and buy my kid some overpriced turtle jewelry.
8. Don’t drink rum punch after a hot day in the sun when there is a 30 minute boat ride from St. John back to St. Thomas.
I have this on again-off again health issue that my wife thinks is a gall bladder problem. My last run of tests came up negative. However – here’s the thing: Eating certain combinations of foods can sometimes cause me a terrible agonizing pain, usually curable with milk and Pepcid chewables, but will subside on their own after thirty minutes or so. Example: McDonalds sausage biscuit and coke – Always a bad idea. Margarita and Fajitas – maybe. Rum punch – more likely than not. Greasy or high acid foods tend to aggravate it. So after a hot day in the sun with only some water, soursap juice, and vanilla cream cookies to eat, I drank my little cup of rum punch somewhat too quickly on the ferry as it left St. John. Within five minutes I felt like I was going to die. I spent the trip curled up on the seats in agony, and then went downstairs to the bathroom, where I wished I would throw up. No dice. I kept spitting up saliva and bile, but never tossed my cookies. So, no more rum punch On A Boat!
9. Some people have no concept of elevator etiquette.
Look, it’s simple. When the doors open, stand to one side. Let the people on the elevator get off. Then get on. There are a lot of people who crowd the door, and jam their way in as soon as it opens. Same goes for buses. Door opens, let people off.
10. You don’t have assigned seats on tour buses for the day.
Get on the bus, grab a seat. This human need to make a nest is insane. Why do we do this? Even with all our supposed cultural development over the last 5000 years or so, we still want to claim our little territory and defend it, wherever we go. Our tour bus was three quarters full. Plenty of empty seats. People would get off and leave little trinkets on the seat showing “this seat is mine”. The more stops we made, the worse it got. Really strange.
11. When the show says “adults only”, go ahead and bring your kids.
You’re just asking for it. One of the trivia questions: “When do you think Hugh Hefner lost his virginity?” this little kid in front of me turns to his dad and says “what’s a virginity?” You asked for it by ignoring the warning, doofus.
12. Thin sun dress while wearing a thong, still in style.
This one needs no further explanation.
13. There is no need to supervise children. It’s a ship, what could happen?
Let them enjoy the run of the vessel, stay up as late as they want, and run screaming down the corridor at full volume clomping along like a pack of horses, at near midnight on the stateroom deck. Screw everyone else.
14. Be brave and wear a real thong.
Maybe you couldn’t find one at walmart where you bought your bikini. Maybe you weren’t sure you wanted to try showing your entire butt in public. That’s fine. But you don’t get to change your mind and pull your regular bikini bottom up the crack of your butt to make a thong, because it gets all bunched up and and funny looking, and really obvious. So don’t try it. Oh how I wish I had a picture…I found it much more difficult to take “people of the cruise ship” photos, than “people of Disney world” photos, if only because we are trapped on here with people and may see them over and over.
15. Elegant Night is not synonymous with Skank it Up Night.
Elegant means nice, conservative, church-like clothes (yeah I know – I don’t go to church, but thanks to organized torture when I was a kid, I know what you’re supposed to wear. Hell, watch a soap opera around xmass, they’ll show you how to dress. 364 episodes of the year they will be lying, cheating, drinking, and adulterating, but come Christmas they’re all about church and the family, a lot like some real church people). Put on something you would wear to an upscale dinner party. Elegant is definitely not your lowest cut, shortest hem dress with boobs and ass cheeks hanging out. If you can rock that look when appropriate: bravo! But – that shouldn’t be your formal dinner wear. There are plenty of dance club opportunities on ship for you to slut it up, eating should be a bit more reserved. On the other hand, elegant night means just that. Look, I hate wearing formal clothes like everyone else. Shirts, ties, suit coats… Ugh. It all sucks and I can’t wait to get out of it. But elegant night means Dress Up, if only for an hour so you can be uncomfortable eating your pork steak. But for Invisible Sky Man’s sake…don’t show up in shorts, Crocs, and and your favorite sports team t-shirt. Personally I don’t think they should let people in the dining room like that, but that’s just me.