We Got Tanners, We Got Burners

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.

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12 Responses to We Got Tanners, We Got Burners

  1. Jim Robertson says:

    Well described !!!!

  2. Mike Saker says:

    Ship-board Terminology Score sheet: 1. on board ?– yup; 2. sail away? — slip and proceed; 3. rooms ?— cabins (but I’m sure they felt more like rooms); 4. luggage? — kit bags?; 5. PA system? — ship’s broadcast; 6. elevators? — must be a big ship, usually only reserved for airplanes and admirals, in that order! 7. 12-story atrium? — it is big!! 8. Virgins? — no comment. Trust it is/was enjoyable.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Mike – OK, I’ll give you the ‘cabins’ and ‘ship’s broadcast system’, but hold firm on the ‘sail away’ which I saw in print (on the invite to hang out on the Lawn Deck [so named for the lawn growing thereon] for appies and drinks during same). And yup, it was big!

  3. Alison says:

    I’m curious to hear more of your thoughts about cruising. I’ve avoided it so far, thinking it’s “not for me” – but who knows? I trust that we have some of the same sensibilities when it comes to travel. I know I loved the Alaska Marine Ferry – and it only had one very small elevator, reserved for those who couldn’t run up the two flights of stairs.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Alison – I had the same reservations, but quite enjoyed the experience. A lot depends on the destination, of course. I think smaller ships can offer a more personal experience, but I worry about the motion. I’ve gotten sick on whale-watching boats, so hesitate to get on a truly small cruiser for a week or more…

  4. Dave says:

    Well said – and you were not the only Cruise Virgins in the ‘hood this past February. Wendy & I also lost ours to Holland America and Panama (and Aruba, and Curaí§ao … amongst others) – it was wonderful! Where did your cruise go?

    Sounds like you had the same type of folk on your ship as we had on ours – wondered how they all managed to get into sun-gear almost instantaneously! Hope you continue your cruising reports as they are delightful to read and harken to some truths we experienced on our maiden voyage.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Dave – We had eight stops — St. Thomas, St. Martin/Maarten, St. Lucia, Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Aruba, Curacao — with Grenada, Aruba and Curacao being my favourites. A lot depends on what you do at each stop, of course – and if you take a tour, on the guide’s personality!

  5. Marv says:

    As your cruise-mates, we thought you guys did very well and enjoyed being your next door neighbours. Looking forward to seeing more of your impressions of the big ship and us fellow travelers. You forgot “gamblers” in your list of cruisers.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Marv – Well, likewise, I’m sure. Going solo would be an entirely Different Matter. As for the gamblers, I did try to work them in…

  6. Dave J says:

    Hi Isabel
    Since there now appears to be another Dave I have added a “J” to my moniker.

    Our one and only cruise was to years ago , also to the Caribbean. Nine hundred passengers, Holland America, considered small but enough for me.
    No more cruises but would like to try a river cruise in Europe sometime.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Dave J – Our travel agent told us that the river cruises are great for seeing more of the country (no long days of broad expanses of seawater), and are being driven by people who have cruised everywhere else available on salt water! Hard for me to imagine that many cruises…

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