random reflections after my first cruise

1. Lighting is imperative to ambiance.  Upon entering and exiting the boat, people were generally friendly, but in a manner of business.  “Passport, please.”   “The life vest goes over your head (duh)” etc.  Once logistics were settled, the door closed the and ship took off, Hollywood lights dazzled and the disco started pumping.  Clearly this was crowd manipulation, and after a moment of cynicism, I was delighted to be on the receiving end.  The next three days were like a trance.

This brings me to number 2.

2. Music is imperative to ambiance.  There was music everywhere of all styles.  I love live music.  I even brought my infrequently used iPod in case I got homesick for my own tunes, but never even considered taking it out.  One morning I sat listening to a guy and his guitar covering the likes of Sting, the Beatles, Jack Johnson.  I am convinced I was the first passenger awake each morning and it was truly a vacation to sit there in my Carnival robe and pretend he wasn’t getting paid, he just wanted me to enjoy some acoustic melodies.  Also, we saw a Vegas-style show covering styles from many decades… heard subwoofers booming from dance clubs… relived the sounds of high school and college around the pool… passed a jazz club bopping on the boat… there was something for everyone (and this girl was loving it all).  Someone puts a lot of energy into the music on cruise ships, and I appreciated every note.

3. Nurses are among the most important and strongest decision-making members of our society.  They don’t take crap, nor should they.

4. Money.  I was wondering if the economy had hit this industry so hard to sell $199 three-day cruises.  That’s including all meals, free room service, on and on.  (Marle ordered a Reuben while getting ready for dinner.) Over the trip I learned that that figure is the tip of the iceberg for the undisciplined.  The internet cost money.  Pricey drinks also included gratuity (they declared what percent).  The cheapest spa treatment was almost as much as the ticket to get on the boat.  But instead of presenting your credit card, you present your room key.  That must mean we’re not spending actual dollars, right?!  What I learned is that the cruise makes more money once everyone is on than they did from selling the tickets.

5. Chocolate melting cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a cup of coffee is really, really good.

6. I can read 70 pages at one sitting when no one is interrupting me and there is nothing else I have to do.

7. Guys, if you’re ever invited to take part in a hairy-chest competition, don’t do it.  It’s kind of funny, but you look ridiculous and are the butt of the joke.

8. No one reads the Gideon’s Bible on the “Booze Cruise”.  Mine creacked open.

9. Dancing cures motion sickness, and is also beneficial to one’s health in general.

10. I can investment energy into the girlfriends around me, but I can’t always choose THE GIRLS.  If you have great ones, there is no better return than knowing and being known.  (And laughing your butt off.)

9 thoughts on “random reflections after my first cruise

  1. sharolyn

    Honestly, I went to have a great time, and not to be a music critic, so that surely didn’t hurt my opinions of the music. But, even when I think objectively, it was quite good. Here are two thoughts:

    -Perhaps they are snobby about the actual songs they were required to play … or…

    -Perhaps they were in their early 20s, or hadn’t heard the Mike Lee adage of “if you are playing music and earning a living, you are a success” (my translation).

    There was a jazz combo that was quite good. There was a tenor saxophonist who reminded me in appearance and sound like Lou Marini. I saw him later in the Vegas-style show and wondered if he was having fun, or doing it so he could play in the jazz combo later. The trumpet player at the Vegas show played very high and very in tune.

    We had a personal friend named Jon Day who was a trumpet player on a cruise ship for a year or so. He is a phenomenal musician. GREAT jazz pianist, and piano is his “second instrument”. You know, one of those people that makes the rest of us sick. :) He said he played because it payed well, and it was all money in the bank, since he paid no rent and meals were covered. He took SCUBA lessons in Barbados because he was there every Tuesday. And surrounded by beautiful women? Quite the life for a bachelor.

    This cruise line was a 7-month commitment, said our waiter, and I don’t think they let you go unless the situation is dire.

    As I type, I am wondering if there is a hierarchy among the boats. Perhaps the people you mentioned have a reason to be snobby! Carnival seems to run 22 boats, so I’m guessing there have to be some that are more coveted than others by musicians (based on any combination of music directors, destinations, size of boat, etc).

    Those are my two cents… or three or four!

  2. sharolyn

    Why, June, that would be the tiramisu martini. I can just imagine it asking me that question now: What’s your new favorite martini flavor? (Like, Who’s your daddy?)

  3. sharolyn

    Yes, and ME TOO!

    Mike, aren’t you glad you have me around to lower the IQ of your blog? You’re all “Obama and public affairs, theology and philosophy of music business” and Heidi and I are like, “Choocolatte Mmeeelting Caaake…”

  4. Heidi

    All of the political problems in the world could be solved if world leaders would sit down around a table and have some chocolate melting cake.

  5. sharolyn

    Excellent point, Heidi. We could be good friends. I learned this lesson from The Golden Girls (only substitute for cheesecake.)

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