Sunday, July 06, 2008

St. George's Dream Part Four - Drinking, Debauchery, and America's Independence

At the moment I am sitting in Lucky's, in between the shops and Dazzle's. It's the fourth of July, and we've been at sea for a few hours now. So what happens on the Norwegian Dream during America's Independence Day? Not a whole hell of a lot, really. Today is pretty much identical to the 4th I spent here back in 2005. On the common decks there are elementary school type decorations hanging amongst the other art work. Red and blue balloons adorn the brass banisters that flank the stairways on the stage (suspiciously, there are no white balloons). Some of our cruise staff are wearing hats a la Uncle Sam (and none of them are American, ha ha), and if anybody wants fireworks tonight, the best thing to do is close your eyes and rub them with your fists. Steve and I did sing the National Anthem this afternoon, after warming up with a rousing rehearsal of Sea Legs At Sea. Below you'll see what we were thinking about wearing while singing to the pax.

As you can see, almost any occasion calls for a little red dickey. All in all, it was your usual sea day on board the Norwegian Dream, with a pinch of patriotism. Add in the fact that we sailed away from one of the oldest British colonies that day, and you've made your daily quota for irony as well. In case you are feeling extra patriotic, here is a video of Steve and I singing:

So, what's been goin' on, huh? The usual. Not sure what that is? Go back and read parts One, Two, or Three. Not that I'm complaining... I get to go to the beach and chill as part of my work week. The singing part of my work week has actually fluctuated slightly, giving us more time at the beach. You'll recall that we do two performances of Rock This Town and Sea Legs At Sea (RTT and SLAS for those who love acronyms), and one of Country Gold (CG) since it falls on a port night. Well, last week Monique, our Hotel Director (HD), decided that we didn't need a CG show, so my 11 hour work week shrunk to 10. So, instead some of us went to Hamilton to hang out and see a movie. Sometimes we wonder just how we do it...

Speaking of Country Gold, here is the ugly truth.

Usually cowboys don't check their faces for shine while riding the dusty plains.

Tim, one of our comedians on board, still attends both Sea Legs shows, just to watch me descend the stairs while singing “Home Away From Home.” Before the show he is talking about my accident which happened “last cruise” (that means three cruises ago to you and I) to the pax in attendance, making sure that I get a healthy round of applause as I take my final step onto the stage. One night, I decided to sing the bulk of my song on the last step... the audience went wild, and I officially milked a song for the first time in my life.

Usually, after a CG show, the fellas all meet in the Shore Ex office and play a little poker. You'll recall that last time we spoke I mentioned that one of the shenanigans included Tim's insistence that he could eat a hamburger that was freshly wiped on Steve's ass. This time, the same boast was made, but missing was the hamburger. Once again our cruise director Fith found himself in the middle of a disgusting homo-erotic sandwich. Again, this is why I take my camera with me everywhere.

I also need to mention that Fith got his first royal flush that night, and was the first one that most of us had ever witnessed. Did I get a picture of that? Nah...

Also, this last cruise was the first time we had another of our Freestyle 2.0 parties. Entitled “Monte Carlo Night,” it's an event that takes place in the casino with well dressed crew mingling with the pax and special entertainment provided by our more talented crew members. When I think of the theme itself, Monte Carlo comes to mind, as it should, with it's famous casino that has been featured in countless movies. I've actually seen this place, from the outside. A Ferrari Enzo was parked outside, and I was nowhere near dressed up enough to see the inside. So, what is our version?

Three guys dressed in drag, lip syncing and dancing to “It's Raining Men.” The event as a whole was kind of disappointing. On paper, the Monte Carlo Night doesn't seem like a good fit for the Dream. Our casino's pretty small to begin with, and when you add in a DJ and try and squeeze in some “entertainment” in a tiny square of carpet surrounded by gaming tables, the room gets even smaller. The event started right after RTT, and what little room we had in the casino was packed with pax, all wondering what was going to happen. Cue the DJ, and every fifteen minutes another act would come on... unfortunately it's the same acts we have in our crew talent show... hip hop dancing, juggling bottles and shakers, Fith in drag... you know, all the stuff that a Monte Carlo night really isn't. Pax got tired of standing in what was becoming a very hot and stuffy casino and took off. The specialty drinks and champagne didn't move much, and unfortunately, the gamblers who would have been there anyway probably didn't care much.

Speaking of life on board, here's a lesson for you. Some time ago, I had found myself locked out of my room twice in the same week. How does that happen? Simply put, I close the door, it locks behind me, and then my feeble mind tells me that the key is still inside. When this happens, I go to reception and have them make me another one (we use those credit card type locks). Still, I don't want to be known as “that guy” so I took one of my three keys I had amassed and gave it to Steve, in case it ever happens again.

Skip ahead a month or so. We were in Hamilton, and I had gone to bed a little early, not interested in going clubbing at one of the two establishments across the street from the ship. I had just fallen asleep when I heard a loud knocking coming from my door. I figured that the cavalry had arrived from the now closed clubs, and no one was feeling any pain. Not in the mood to open the door, I rolled over and ignored it. The knocking stopped, and after a minute of quiet, I heard my door clicking open, followed by a drunk Steve jumping on my bed, cackling “Aren't you glad you gave me a key to your room?”

Since I knew that sleep at this point was going to be a futile effort, I pulled on a pair of jeans and joined my fellow cast members for a drink to celebrate the ringing in of the four o' clock hour. Of course, I am sure that many of you would assume at this point that the moral of the story here is to be careful about who you give your key to, but unfortunately it isn't. No, friends, the moral of this story is if you are drug out of bed to have a drink in a neighbors room with a bunch of your coworkers, wear a shirt... otherwise your dance captain will lick your nipple, as pictured below.

Upon further inspection of that picture, I believe that Allison, one of our Youth Counselors, is indeed biting her lip.

Speaking of our illustrious YC's, one night some of us JARS, YCs, and Cruise Staff were at Dazzles, enjoying a cocktail and conversation. At one point a couple of security guards came up to us and asked the YCs if they had seen a couple of teenagers, and showed them the print out of them from embarkation day. Allison and Ashley recognized them, but admitted they hadn't seen them in a while. So, the manhunt was on. The security guards left, and the YCs got up, started to leave, but then quickly came back to the table and downed their drinks. Smart thinking, and very STYLEish, wouldn't you agree?

As I am writing this blog, I am beginning to see a trend... so rather than fight it and tell you about the history of Bermuda (that wouldn't take to long, as I know practically nothing about it), I think I will focus more on the subject of drinking on the ship. Still, to be fair to my coworkers, we aren't the only ones on board who have lifted a bottle or highball. Take this gentleman for example.

This was taken several cruises ago. Certainly not the first passenger I've seen passed out at one of our many bars and lounges. But, you have to admire the skill it takes to be asleep and still hold, while precariously, your fifth of fifteenth glass of whatever in your hand as you doze. Of course, I am most proud of the fact that I am in the picture with him. How did that happen? Well, it would be rude of me to take a picture of one of our passed out paying guests, so I asked another guest (who was not passed out) to do it for me. STLYE 2.0 you better Belize it.

As I have mentioned, the drinking doesn't stop on the ship. It also occurs on catamarans. Our usual Tuesday night haunt has become quite popular amongst the crews of the Norwegian Dream and Norwegian Majesty. Crew start to arrive around eleven, and stay usually until three in the morning, or until the booze has all been drank, whichever comes first.

Since the stories would all sound the same, I think it would be best is to show you some pictures from some of those Tuesdays.

Here is Caroline, one of our dancers, accepting a tip after... dancing.

Here she is again... about two minutes after... no kidding.

Part of the trio that plays the pool deck. Funny thing, he's about that disgusting sober as well, which from what I gather is not most of the time.

Steve and Alton, our saxophone player.

Steve, taking the short walk back to the ship from the catamaran. Later he, Jason, and I order about three turkey sandwiches, two pizzas, a plate of cookies, and a glass of ice tea from room service.

And now a couple of pictures taken in Dazzles:

Steve has an idea:

Kamikaze shots.

Katie and friends, enjoying a quiet evening out.

Finally, proof that it's not just the JARs that take a leak. Here we are, walking towards the theatre for a little RTT, and up ahead I see water gushing out of the ceiling. A minute later, the front desk manager is barging into the two adjacent rooms that share the plumbing, and making sure nothing is floating inside. A wrench and wet dry vac later, and everything is under control. Our Dream is getting to where she needs some Depends udner garments.

Then there's the crew party held the night of July fourth. It didn't have a specific theme, nor did it really coincide with America's or Canada's Independence. It was just an excuse for the crew to get together and drink some beer and wine. The evening was a definite shot in the arm for morale, which has been strained around here since Freestyle 2.0 came around.

Here are Steve and I, doing our part to cap beer and pour wine.

After about half an hour of cappin' brew. Some folks like their beer six at a time, and since it was free, we were happy to oblige.

But I'd be lying if I said that cruise ship life is purely about drinking. No, it's about sex too. Oh no, not me... at least nothing I will write about here, but this story is just to good to keep from all of you. If you go back to my first entry, you'll learn about Victor, our dancer for Russia who has a weakness for undercooked bacon. Well, even though his heart may be congested with pig fat, it still has room for a little bit of love.

A little over a month ago Victor met a very nice girl, Filipino (and I'll get to why I mention her nationality in a second), who works in one of our restaurants. Literally days after they met I am being shown self portraits of the two of them necking all over Boston. Victor was very proud and happy of his new girlfriend. Well, I suppose when you bring two people together whose second language is English, and when the man doesn't speak much English to begin with, and the woman doesn't speak any Russian... well, you run out of things to talk about pretty quick.

Now, Victor doesn't have his own cabin... he shares with Jason, another of our dancers. Victor's girlfriend shares a cabin with three other girls, so neither one of them experience a whole lot of privacy in their lives. So, with a girl he can't speak too, Victor is left with the choice of either pissing three women off, or one man. Guess which one he chooses...

The first time Jason woke up to the sounds of... shall we say... “English as a second language” it was four in the morning. He has the bottom bunk in the room, and was bewildered by the rhythmic jostling of the bed above. Since we were in port, there was no reason for the ship to be moving at all. Then he started to hear the noises. I'll let that sink in for a moment... Not that Victor and his better half were learning English in the middle of the floor; the bunk beds have privacy curtains. So Jason, being quite complacent, decides that four in the morning is an excellent time to go to the gym. When he returned at five, Victor and company were still hard at work, learning English you see, so Jason grabbed his laptop and went out to check his E mail. Back at six, it seemed there was no end in sight, so Jason went and crashed in another cabin.

Since then, Jason has tried to meet Victor half way with a visitation allowance if you will, but Victor continues to have her over most every night. Plus, since she keeps some odd work hours, English class usually begins around four in the morning. Not wanting to be a teacher's aid, Jason has been forced to leave the room and find other places to sleep. Oh, and just so we're all clear here, the woman in this situation is aware of the third party in the room. Gross.

So, lets jump to the present. Victor, aware that he is totally pissing Jason off, but also in love, has asked Steven for his own cabin, so the English lessons can go on uninterrupted. Of course, with over two thousand pax busting the hull of the ship each week, there is no extra space, save for one of the lifeboats. So, finally, Steve had to bring our cruise director in to mitigate. And the outcome? This kills me...

Victor is allowed to have sex until midnight on nights that precede a show night, and until two in the morning on all other nights. Let me say this again... Our Cruise Director had to set a curfew on sex. Friends, you can't make this stuff up. Fith actually wrote out the schedule for Victor to refer to, in case there was any question to the day or time and how it pertained to his English classes. As I write this, I pray that it has not been thrown away, as I want so desperately to put a picture of it here. If the schedule still exists, you will see it below:

And, on that ridiculous note, I close this here blog. Y'all take it easy.

Keep on Livin' the Dream,

Michael Lamendola (With Fith and Steve outside of St. Catherine's Beach, Bermuda)


  1. Michael,

    You are the real deal my friend! I love the blog, it's like "Love Boat" meets "The Real World". When you get back to L.A., you need to pitch this to the suits dude. Love the pics, I'm kind of psyched that my right hand and the shot that I drank made it into the blog. Honestly, I'm not a blog reader, but this stuff has me. Ariannna Huffington can go blog herself....with you here, she can go have her youtubes tied....



  2. cuming all the way from london "party town", ontario... it wasn't ashley aka aqua who helped avalanche search for the missing teens..

    it was, without a doubt, the other half of cravalanche, crayon!!! if you're going to post blogs outlining our alcoholic tendencies... and trust us, they're just tendencies... for now... AT LEAST GET IT RIGHT

    also, failure to mention a certain paintbrush up your ass is just insulting to our reputation

    and ps, "cuming" was spelled that way on purpose. gigiddy. gigiddy goo. done. and done.