True Stories From the High Seas
Throw Momma From the Ship
Most of the passengers on cruise ships are pretty cool. People take a cruise for one fundamental reason, to have fun. For this reason, they are pretty easy to get along with and even to have fun with. Everyone that works on ships will get the opportunity to meet some really great, interesting, friendly people. There are some people however, that can only have fun when they are being jerks. The following is my encounter with the two most obnoxious people I have ever met.
Cruise lines conduct bus tours at each port of call. One of the fringe benefits of working on cruise ships is the opportunity to escort these tours. In addition to the tour guide that comes with the bus, there is a crew member on each bus that serves as an escort. Their primary responsibilities are to help people get on and off the bus and count the passengers to ensure that everyone is back onboard after each stop. If there are problems, the escort helps out.
I was escorting a tour when there was a small problem. The tour itinerary was advertised as Palace-Lunch-Museum. The real world would not allow that so the itinerary was changed to Palace-Museum-Lunch. No big deal-right? WRONG.
Have you seen the movie "Throw Momma From the Train"? Imagine that woman's head (greasy hair, harsh face, loud voice, etc.) on a body shaped like a giant beachball with legs, dressed in a hot pink, skin-tight body suit. The husband looked like an okay guy but his looks were definitely deceiving.
I assembled all of the passengers (about 20) in the courtyard outside the Museum and announced the change in plan. I guess "Momma" was ready for her noon feeding because she sure didn't like the change. She and Mr. Momma both started hurling expletives at me in the most vulgar language imaginable. "I want a F*!#king refund! F*!#K this! F*!#K that! F*!#K you!"
What an embarrassing situation. The other passengers in the group were in a mild state of shock. People from another group were watching the show probably thinking how glad they were to not be in our group.
As I attempted to reason with the couple, they became more vocal. They just wanted to complain. I realized there was nothing I could do to appease them so I turned and lead the rest of the group into the museum. They then directed their insults to their fellow passengers. OOOPS, big mistake. Aside from safety issues, about the only thing that passengers are not allowed to do is to disturb other passengers.
There IS justice in the world. It seems that "Momma" and her husband had been a menace to the other passengers throughout the first half of the cruise. They had racked up numerous complaints so the Captain got involved. He attempted to discuss the situation with them and, in true form, they excoriated him with more of their favorite vulgarities and expletives.
The next morning the Captain went to their cabin, gave them a complete refund, air tickets home and two hours to leave the ship with a message to never come back. He threw "Momma" from the ship.
Don't Bring Your Monkey
Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, is a frequent stop for cruise ships sailing around South America. There is a great shopping center there. It's a giant concrete building full of colorful tiny shops that sell just about anything you can imagine, including monkeys. Actually, the street vendors outside sell the monkeys.
These Marmoset monkeys look like a cross between a spider monkey and a furry little kitten. They crawl on your shoulders and jump on your head. Who knows what kind of disease they would inflict if they bit you but nevertheless, they are popular purchases for tourists.
There have been reports of passengers and crew sneaking the monkeys on to cruise ships so that they can have a cute little pet in their cabin. What they intend to do with the monkey after the cruise is a mystery. They probably haven't thought that far in advance. They certainly haven't considered the consequences of transporting animals internationally. They, and the cruise line would get into a lot of trouble if they got caught transporting an illegal alien monkey.
So if you find yourself in Salvador and in love with one of these cute little kittenlike primates, don't bring it back to the ship. Two things are certain to happen. First, the monkey will perish from the air conditioning and second, you will be really embarrassed when the ship's plumber comes to your cabin to suck the hapless creature out of your toilet.
An Intimate Encounter With a Drunken Old Lady
I was helping out backstage one evening during one of the production shows. In case you don't know, these are the biggest stage productions conducted on board. Like a Las Vegas-style review show, there are singers and dancers, big costumes, stage props, the works.
We roped off a small hallway that entered the show room and the performers used it as a corridor to the dressing rooms. There was a staircase inside the roped off hallway and occasionally passengers would have to walk through the hallway to get to the staircase. One of the things that I was supposed to do was to not allow them to walk through while the singers and dancers were running to and from the dressing rooms and stage.
An elderly couple staggered through the hallway to the staircase at a convenient time. They weren't completely "three sheets to the wind" but they had a definite buzz on. They were laughing and having a good time, exactly what you're supposed to do on a cruise. They passed through the hallway and up the stairs safely and efficiently.
All of a sudden I heard squealing. I looked up the staircase. The man was at the top and the woman was about three steps behind. She had lost her balance and was leaning backward. One arm was desperately clinging to the handrail while the other was spinning around in a circle like an airplane propeller. It didn't look like she was going to make it so, with giant leaps, I headed up the stairs to catch her and stop her from falling backward down the staircase.
I did not make it on time. The woman lost her grip and fell backward toward me. I was able to catch her but we both went for a tumble. We rolled completely down the staircase and ended up lying on the floor in the hallway. The woman was sprawled out in a twisted position with her dress up over her head. She had sprained her knee. I was okay.
As fate would have it the musical number ended and in came the dancers, at top speed, headed for the dressing room. The first one slammed on the brakes to avoid stomping the injured lady and the rest crashed into her and into each other. There were costume feathers, sequins and G-strings flying everywhere.
The nurse came and took the lady to the ship's hospital in a wheelchair. She was treated for a sprain and was able to complete her cruise.
I thought the woman might call and thank me or at least put in a good word for me but I never heard from her, until the last day of the cruise.
The passengers were assembled in the public lounges waiting to disembark the ship. I saw the woman seated in a wheel chair waiting to leave so I approached her and asked how she was doing. I thought that maybe we could have a laugh over our intimate moment together. The only thing she said to me was,"Would you get me a glass of orange juice?"
Trapped in a Cabin
A woman phoned the reception desk. She was frantic. "I can't get out of my cabin." The receptionist was confused but concerned. He tried to calm the lady down and find out just exactly what the problem was.
"You can't get out of your cabin?" he asked. "Is the door jammed?" "No" she said, "there is no door!" The receptionist assured her that there was a door. "NO" she exclaimed. "There is the bathroom door, the closet door and one other door but it has a "Do Not Disturb" sign on it!"