We Got Walkers, We Got Joggers. We Got Cursed Lollygaggers.

The second of eight observations on a recent Caribbean cruise.

Good news!  It is the morrow, food is still being proffered, and we are making headway on cataloguing our environment, even if we don’t entirely understand it yet.  One must not hope for too much, too quickly.

Implementing the ‘Begin as you really should continue’ principle, we have started the day with a walk on the 1/8 mile jogging track that is cleverly built into one of the sun decks.  Too cleverly, perhaps: some folks making a beeline from elevator to breakfast buffet are unaware that they are on a track, with predictable results.  Even for the actual exercisers, it’s clear that people are no smarter or more considerate afloat than on land—they merge into traffic at half-speed; they straggle in obliviously conversational twos and threes, blocking those who would edge between them and the lounge chairs tight to either side; they move out to pass others without the bother of shoulder-checking; they stop without warning.  Yikes!  It isn’t quite taking your life into your hands, but it’s a little sporty.

Yet with all its frustrations, it’s worth it.  After all, where else could I get some exercise in the great outdoors first thing in the morning?  As I hit my stride on a stretch of almost clear track, I swerve around the ship’s three Pool Butlers, methodically unstacking and rearranging the hundreds of poolside loungers from their overnight, locked-down configuration.

Note:  The structure of the first seven of these eight observations was inspired by Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar.

 

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8 Comments

  1. Sorry. I cannot imagine going on a cruise, Isabel, except to observe and confirm the maxim “Hell is Other People.” I am enjoying your posts, though, but better you than me. Are these other people Americans or Canadians or ?

    Have you read David Foster Wallace’s piece on the cruise he took?

    A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments is a 1997 collection of nonfiction writing by David Foster Wallace.

    In the title essay, originally published in Harper’s as “Shipping Out”, Wallace describes the excesses of his one-week trip in the Caribbean aboard the cruise ship MV Zenith, which he rechristens the Nadir. He is ironically displeased with the professional hospitality industry and the “fun” he should be having and explains how the indulgences of the cruise turn him into a spoiled brat, leading to overwhelming internal despair.

    Wallace uses footnotes extensively throughout the piece for various asides. Another essay in the same volume takes up the vulgarities and excesses of the Illinois State Fair.

    I bow to his brilliance and HATE that he committed suicide but he had debilitating depression/psychological problems all his life.

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Barbara – I’m not familiar with David Foster Wallace, but will check him out. Re the “fun” one should be having, when completing the customer survey at the end of the cruise, I was interested to see how few of the organized activities/categories we’d participated in.

  2. Jim taylor

    A great deal depends on the ship. Joan and I took a Panama Canal cruise on a Princess line, and encountered a number of people who make road rage look placid. We swore we would never take another cruise. But then we took an Alaska cruise on Silverseas, followed by a Caribbean cruise on the same line, and found the other passengers almost universally friendly. Even those on the jogging track were courteous and polite as they passed each other! I joined a couple who went for long walks on every island. We didn’t make any lifelong friendships, but we did have other couples with whom we could share the deeper (and more traumatic) experiences of our lives. What I think I’m trying to say is that some cruise lines — perhaps simply by their higher prices — tend to attract a different group of people.
    Jim

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Jim – That’s interesting. I’ve seen only a very little bit online of reviews of cruise lines by the ‘clientele’ factor. Worth looking into, obviously.

  3. Jim Robertson

    Hi Isabel:

    Your description again is right on, and well said as usual.

    I agree with Jim Taylor. The different cruise lines attract different types of people. But you were on one of the higher end lines and you get some inconsiderate fellow cruisers on those lines as well.

    Silver Seas is a notch above what you and we have been on.

    The mix of passengers, in my observation, varies as much with the cruise itinerary/length as the cruise line.

    We had the issues you had on Celebrity. A Princess ship we were on recently had a “walk-around deck” with very narrow sections and stairs. On Holland America ships the “walk around deck” is lower down and uniformly wide, but you still can get the odd “lolly-gager”, but for the most part people were considerate

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Jim R – What amazes me isn’t the rudeness as such, but the lack of awareness. (I myself am never unaware, of course.) I find it amusing that we’ve come another age & stage – our cohort are now comparing cruises – itineraries and lines – where we used to compare movies we’d seen…

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