The first of eight observations on a recent Caribbean cruise, with apologies to Toby Keith.
We got winners, we got losers
Chain smokers and boozers
And we got yuppies, we got bikers
We got thirsty hitchhikers
And the girls next door dress up like movie stars
Hmm, hmm, hmm, I love this bar
– from I Love this Bar
We’ve been on board less than an hour and the fault lines of this small town that is about to be not just afloat but also ‘at sea’ are becoming apparent.
On our first cruise—the only Cruise Virgins in our small group—we are moving a little tentatively. In the time it’s taken us to get on board, our experienced cruising buddies have staked out a spot in a windy mezzanine bar to watch the initial kerfuffle of loading and the official ‘sail away’. Meanwhile, other experienced cruisers have staked out poolside loungers a level below and are already working on their tans, if such an inactive pastime can be characterized by such an active verb. Lacking access to their luggage, which won’t yet even have been delivered to their rooms, these folks must have worn swimsuits under their clothes this morning and just boarded, stripped, and plunked. Still others are digging into books, paper and electronic, under cover of shade.
Both Tanners and Burners are a relative oasis of calm in what seems to be a whole lot of intensity. With the PA announcement that rooms are accessible, the eight glass elevators backing onto the 12-storey central atrium are crammed with people heading to their rooms. What, the rooms won’t still be accessible in, say, 10 minutes? The cafeteria is also crammed. Going by the size of the helpings, it’s clear that some old hands believe that food will not be proffered again today (or tomorrow, for that matter). I hope they don’t know something I don’t know.