Welp, for starters there has been some disciplinary action taken on some of our crew members. Don't worry, it's nothing serious... and it's nothing that I've been caught doing. Lets start with the following picture:
What you are looking at is a 10 second exposure taken of the ship's bow... sometime around eleven at night. Steve and I were walking back from another exemplary production of Rock This Town, when we were greeted by Krazi, one of our Youth Counselors. Krazi, whose real name is Kathleen (I suppose) and all the other YC's have nick names that they give themselves so that the kids have something fun to refer to them as. There's also Crayon, Avalanche, Leprechaun, Murple, Care Bear... as long as the first letter matches the first letter of their real name, you see. I only say this because all of us here have no problem calling them by their nick name, as opposed to their real name. At some points, a flash of stupidity washes over me as I refer to an adult as “murple.” You feel even worse when you reflect back on the months you've spent doing so without feeling stupid. The best is when you're referring to them while talking to someone else, and they also call them by their nick name, when they're not even there. All of a sudden I want velcro shoes. Anyway, back to the picture...
So, we had a brand new YC join us this week; I mean first contract brand new. So, the other YC's decided a little hazing was in order. Around ships, or at least cruise ships, one such method is referred to as “Fog Watch.” The process of fog watch is always a little different each time, but essentially what the chosen person does is stand at the bow of the ship and watches for fog. Sometimes they have a walkie talkie to the bridge, other times a cow bell has been used. In this instance, she was told to wave her flash lights in a circle while everything was all clear, and in a square pattern when fog was approaching. The funny thing about this is that she was told to do so while facing the bridge. In case you didn't realize it, if you're facing the bridge, you ain't looking in the right direction for on coming fog.
In any case, the green YC was doing as she was told, wagging her flashlights in the air. In case this seems a little unbelievable, the planning party actually had it printed up on the official schedule, and gave her a life jacket to wear while on duty. So, she is hard at work with her flashlights for about five minutes or so when security walks up. Here's the part of the plan that didn't get thought through. Unfortunately, no one informed Sven, our Chief Security Officer, or any of his crew about the prank. This always helps... So out comes security, and their kinda pissed.... why? Because our new YC was wearing a life vest, taken from a crew public area, and using it during what was not an emergency situation. No kidding, it's a pretty big deal.
So, the security officer is writing down names and reading the name tags. Picture these stoic security guards, some of them from the Nepalese army, filling out a report that crew members Avalanche, Crayon, and Leprechaun misused emergency equipment. That's even funnier than the whole fog watch prank. The outcome? Those three got written up (the new YC was let off the hook for being gullible), and they are also no longer allowed to wear name tags with stupid words on them. Break one dish...
Just a few days before that, some of the Shore Excursion fellas were having a hall party. Someone gets the bright idea to get out a permanent marker and write on the door to the room. Everyone gets in on the fun... some even utilize... uh... Greek humor shall we say, enough to ensure a fertile crop next season. Outcome? More written warnings. I'm not positive, but I think it's a three strikes and you're out kind of deal. As for me? I've been staying out of trouble's reach... however tonight I've planned a prank during Sea Legs... more on that later. Oh, and in case you were wondering, this is what fog looks like...
Bermuda is still Bermudiful (and I cringe when I say that... Unbelizeable has a better ring to it, but just doesn't apply here). My routine of getting up, going to the beach, and returning to the ship was altered slightly during our twelfth outing when Elyse, a good friend of Steven's from NYC, came down for a visit. It was certainly a break from the norm, as just dining in the Sports Bar and falling asleep at St. Catherine's beach wasn't gonna cut it for this cruise.
Day one involved renting some jet skis and tearing around St. George's Island. Everyone had a great time, and I was only asked once not to spray water on other jet skis by running at them and quickly turning around. I don't see why that's so dangerous, but I guess the people who own the jet skis think otherwise. Then it was more lying on the beach and swimming in the ocean.
Day two we went to Tobacco Bay for some snorkeling. By the time we made it there, the people who rent out the snorkels had already left for the day, so we spent our afternoon standing still on some rocks for several minutes until the fish swam to us. Then we would look down at the water in complete awe. That's some poor man's snorkeling right there. That evening was spent enjoying pitchers of Rum Swizzles at the Swizzle Inn.
Finally, on day three we swam with the dolphins... no kidding.
We took a ferry from St. George's over the the Dockyards, which is basically going from the easternmost point of Bermuda to the westernmost point. That's a half hour ferry ride friends... this place is small. Anyway, we get there and make our reservations... In case you believe in reincarnation, come back as a dolphin. Anytime you need to make a reservation to do something, bring your pocketbook. You don't make a reservation to visit the lions at the zoo. You don't need a reservation to see the tigers or bears either. But the dolphins are a funny bunch. Now I know why they're always smiling.
Anyway, our dolphin “experience” was forty five minutes of literally swimming with them in a large holding area. Our dolphin trainer had them swim along side and under us, then had them come up to us and do tricks like spin in a circle and splash us with water. You can't help but make the “aww” face when all this is happening. But I promise you if these things didn't have that permanent grin slapped on their face, and instead looked something more like, say, Abraham Lincoln or Wanda Sykes... you wouldn't be so quick to kiss it on it's nose. But, fortunately for them, they don't look like dead presidents or comedians with attitude, so you do so and say “aww...”
Seriously though, if Abraham Lincoln swam up to you and made a clicking noise through his blow hole, then expected you to kiss him on his nose, you'd tell him to go to hell. Wanda Sykes too, but only because she was the voice of an apple in a series of Applebee's commercials. Apples, if allowed to talk, should not sound like Wanda Sykes... now if they had a cute lisp like Drew Barrymore...
Also, while we were visiting dignitaries at The Dockyards, we stopped at a large statue of Neptune. Since Steve and I were about to perform Fountains in a couple of days, we all figured that some practice was in order, and our ol' buddy Neppy was happy to oblige.
The final morning of Bermuda was spent playing in St. Catherine's fortress, ironically right next to St. Catherine's beach. It was a fortress all right, with fortifications and cannons.
Back on the ship in time for the sail away, we made it out of the cut successfully... everything seemed to be normal on the ship... until the power went out.
Now, this sounds a lot worse than it actually was, but it still sounds pretty ominous when it occurs on a cruise ship. But instead of it happening under the shroud of night, it was during lunch time. Hallways were partially lit, elevators stopped working, but on deck the music continued to play. The Captain came on the PA to let us know that the problem would be fixed shortly, and that the engines are not affected by this problem. Still, I noticed that we weren't going very fast, in case we had to go back to Bermuda for a part.
The pax handled the power outage well. I walked around the ship to investigate, and found that even though there was zero light in the shops, the Duty Free Liquor was still flying off the shelves. Actually, all the shops were pretty well packed, since they had been closed while in port. Lights or not, they've gotta have that perfume at unbelievable prices never found on land. Most of the pissed off pax could be found walking the flights of stairs, staring at the open elevators that were unresponsive to repeated button pressing and huffing. Finally, after about an hour, the lights came back on, and things went back to normal. With a little over three months left in her service to NCL, it remains to be seen just where the duct tape will give out next. Below is some video of the lights out... compelling and rich.
So, as you can see, life on board still has its moments. In a half an hour I'll go on stage and sing my Sammy Davis revue. Been doing that every week for about a month now... One night I was flanked with bingo before and after my show. They left the machines up on either side of the stage so they can get back to sales once I was done. During my show, a curious woman walked down the aisle and over to the machine, just looking it over and reading what the signs had to say. I was on stage, about five feet away, singing “Ain't That A Kick In The Head.” I don't think she even noticed I was there. Bottom line... Bingo is king here, everything else is just little details.
Anyway, I gotta scram... keep those E mails coming!
Keep on Livin' The Dream,
Michael Lamendola (With Steve and Elyse after a night of Country Gold)