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Cruise Columnist
Cruise Stories

by Alan Walker

Some time ago on CompuServe's cruise forum, we asked members to contribute items about "funny" or "touching" things that had happened to them on a cruise. Here's a selection of them (author's names have been omitted to protect the innocent):

LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION

A group of us on a cruise last year enjoyed meeting Tommy, a bartender from Beijing, who asked us to help him with his English and to teach him some American slang. Among other things, we taught him "diddly-squat".

A few days later, we arrived at the bar in time to see Tommy in action with his new slang. A lone passenger was sitting at Tommy's bar, and after getting his customer the requested drink, Tommy proudly said to the passenger "You don't know Dudley Squash". The passenger looked a little stunned, and after the longest pause, he said "No, I don't".

You can imagine the reaction of Tommy's teachers.

THE NAME OF THE GAME

There are two couples with whom we have been on three cruises. The husbands are brothers named, for the sake of the story, Smith. Both brothers are J. Smith. The two wives are both Mary Smith, one being Mary Ellen and the other being Mary Helen.

I have never seen this cause a problem for a ship, but on two of the cruises we went on with them, the similarity of names was too much for airline computers. The computers just seemed to assume these were duplicate reservations.

Both times when we would arrive at the airport, even though these folks had four tickets among them and confirmed reservations, the airline, whatever it was, would have in their computers reservations for only one J. Smith and one M. Smith. In a streak of luck such as I have never seen, on both occasions the plane had enough seats to get all four of them on board.

MISSISSIPPI MISS

In 1993, I happened to be cruising onboard the ss Norway the week they were holding the "Miss Tropic Isle" beauty contest. I fought the urge to run screaming off the ship as I walked up the gangway behind -- er, well -- a number of similarly-clad and similarly-shaped behinds of the contestants.

Needless to say, this contest and its participants created some interesting times onboard for those of us who haven't seen a size one since we were tiny tots and whose assets aren't comprised of man-made materials.

During one of the "contestant parades", where each young lady had to say her name and where she was from, one petite young thing got up to the mike and in a sweet little Southern drawl said, "My name is Peggy Sue Beauregard and I'm from...". After a moment's hesitation, she looked down at the sash across her chest and said, "Mississippi".

TAHITI BOTTOMLESS

A group of eight of us from a Tahitian cruise ship decided to have dinner at the mountain top restaurant in Papeete, Tahiti. We got carried away with the time -- we were so enjoying the view and the company. We had missed the last bus (truck) down the mountain. "No problem" our young French waiter says. There would be one more bus - whenever it decided to come. There is no concept of time there. He suggested we go down to the pool on the mountainside and he would serve dessert and coffee there. He said we could go swimming in the pool. I looked at him and motioned across my chest "no bikini". He smiled and said "no problem". We forgot this is a French possession.

We had a few drinks -- so we went to the pool - lit only by the moonlight. The guys stripped and jumped into the pool and had a great time -- until the restaurant turned on the pool light at which time the four naked guys swimming in the pool caught the attention of the lone woman diner sitting above them looking down. She called the waiter and next thing we knew, he came running down yelling "Messieur, Messieur, Pantaloons, Pantaloons!" We were a bit upset because he had said we didn't need suits. But he again said, "No problem" and handed the guys cloth napkins, motioning for them to put them around their private parts!! A night we'll remember always. And the beautiful islands of French Polynesia.

ENGLISH EXPERIMENT

Another Tahiti story! All true. A group of us from the cruise ship stayed on Papeete after the cruise for a few days. We had all won bottles of champagne from the games we played so we decided one night to bring them all by the pool and imbibe. We were emptying our second bottle when we noticed a private party at the other end of the pool deck with official looking people in uniforms.

The prime minister of France was visiting with all the dignitaries. We were getting a little loud. When we popped the third bottle, we thought we would be arrested after a couple of guards glared our way (must have sounded like gunfire). After we got a little louder, a very proper looking French officer came over, looked at us very seriously and experimented with his English. He said: "Messieurs, please speak slowly." Meaning softly. We giggled and in unison replied: "O h ................. k....a.......y..." as slowly as we could.

SHIP'S MENU

A number of years ago we were on a cruise from Bangkok to Bombay. Our first Indian port of call was a town on an island which shall remain nameless. The most charitable way to describe the port would be "a former landfill site" without the word "former". It was an uncomfortably humid day, and we trudged back to the ship, removing garbage from our feet, and feeling quite dispirited.

At dinner that night the chef, in honor of our itinerary, created a special menu entitled "The Mystery of India". As printed, however, it came out "The Misery of India". We treasure that menu.

UNDERWEAR AND FALSE TEETH

We cruised on the Majesty and enjoyed a funny game. It was an "adult" sort of thing and I'm sure it won't sound as funny as it really was.

The entire group was divided into teams and the object of the game was to simply bring down the items called for - as quick as possible. Our team won. Some things asked for:

A man to bring down a bra. Well, one young woman that was in our group had her bra off and in my hand in about one second flat - I really admire something like that and was proud to run down the aisle with it. They asked for false teeth. But they couldn't be your own. So, as with the bra, an older man had his false teeth out of his mouth and into my hand in less than two seconds. Nuff said?

PRESS "UP" FOR "DOWN"

On our first cruise ever (Big Red Boat's StarShip Atlantic) we left the dining room and walked to the elevator to go up the several decks to our cabin. We could see from the elevators light display that the car was several decks above us.

Someone pressed the UP button and we waited for the elevator to come. Suddenly a women yelled at the person who hit the UP button. "The elevator is above us stupid!" she said, "You need to hit the DOWN button to make it come here." As soon as she hit the down button we turned and took the stairs. I hesitate to tell more because someone might recognize themselves!

OUT TO SEA

We were on the Star Princess about 20 miles off the Oregon coast when an elderly lady came up to my wife and said "Is the scarf-tying in this building or another building?"

RECEIPTS, RECEIPTS

This was the first time we took a cruise outside the USA, and came back thru Customs. We purchased a cocktail ring in St. Thomas and I made sure to wear it and keep the receipt in a bag of receipts in my purse. Since we declared the ring, we were pulled over and they asked to see my purse. Just my willingness to give it to them must have indicated my honesty, since they did not even look in it.

I gave them the ring receipt. They asked if we bought anything else. I didn't know any better so I said nothing but little souvenirs and gave them my bag of receipts. The guy's eyes lit up! A whole bag of receipts -- we got 'em now. As he pulled out each crumpled receipt and look at it, he says, "What are all these receipts from?" "Drinks on the ship, I replied" since I saved every one of them. He gave me a dirty look and said "Get out of here."

A BACKWARD EXPERIENCE

Crystal Cruise Line is perfect, well, almost perfect. When we reboarded the Crystal Symphony from the shore launch in Bali, the red carpet with the embroidered ship's name and the Crystal logo had been unrolled backwards and this was a source of much consternation. Had we boarded a Russian ship, the "ynohpmyS latsyrC" anchored nearby?

A CRASHING EXPERIENCE

We were on the Dolphin IslandBreeze cruise from NY to Halifax. Our first port was Newport, RI. The four women at our table who were traveling together decided to rent motor scooters, even though three of them had never ridden before. It seems at one point one of them was trying to signal, the newbies got confused and they all ended up crashing into each other.

Three of them had bruises, and one ended up on crutches. Some nice guy stopped by and helped them get to the local hospital, etc. However, by the time all this was done the ship had already departed for our next port, Portland, ME.

They spent the night in Newport and then rented a car and drove up to Portland in time to catch the ship as we docked up there. The previous night when they didn't come to dinner, the other couple and us at the table couldn't understand why, and thought maybe they got sick. Little did we know.

That night in Portland they came limping into the dining room and told us of their misadventures. Their number one concern was did they miss the lobster dinner!!! Nope! Naturally they were the talk of the cruise from that point on, and the lady on crutches said she thinks everyone on board stopped to ask her about what happened.

TELLING T-SHIRT

On our first cruise, we stopped at a couple of sites in the Virgin Islands and my wife soon got tired of me telling people that I brought her there to see if I could get her recycled. But as we were strolling down the street in St. Thomas, I spotted this obviously pregnant woman wearing a T- Shirt emblazoned with "I AM A VIRGIN" across the front. As we passed her, I turned around to see on the back, "THIS IS AN OLD SHIRT".

CONDIMENT REQUEST

On our last American Hawaii cruise, we had an experience that shows that humor is not dead. The Constitution slowly backed out of her berth at the Aloha Tower. Just as she was halting her backward progress, a large motor yacht came up alongside and blew its horn several times. One of the Constitution's officers (probably the captain) stepped out on the bridge wing and looked down at the yacht. The captain of the yacht, using a loud hailer, shouted up:

"Pardon me, but do you have any Grey Poupon?"

Everyone along the rails who heard the exchange almost lost control laughing!

BROCHURE COST

This story is actually about the very start of a cruise experience that hasn't taken place yet!

One day, just before Christmas, last year, I was walking up the main drag of my home city, heading towards a theatre so I could order tickets for the Christmas Pantomime. My daughter desperately needed pictures of Morocco for a French school project. As I was passing a travel agency, I thought perhaps I could get a brochure from them with pictures of Morocco. But when I got inside, I lacked the chutzpah to just ask..... What's that expression -- oh the tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive.....

I said to the very nice travel agent that I was looking at several options for a family trip over March break -- Las Vegas, Morocco (I thought I'd slip it in the middle...) and a cruise. Actually, we had had no plans to go on a cruise at all -- my husband wanted to visit the Civil War battlefields in the States.

The travel agent immediately said " Morocco -- why ever Morocco !" - so much for slipping it in the middle. She then said the space would be tight on a cruise, and perhaps she should check for cabin space right away before discussing the particulars with me.

Before I knew it, she had reserved two cabins on a Princess western Caribbean cruise, leaving March 8th. It was a little awkward at that time to tell her all I had really wanted was a brochure, so I listened. It sounded great !! I left the agency with a video tape to show my family. We ended up confirming our bookings a week later, and am I looking forward to it!!! But what an expensive brochure on Morocco!!

YOU DUMMY

Ten minutes before the first formal dinner on our Seaward cruise, my friend realized that he didn't pack his ties. He called the purser's office and was told that he would not be admitted to the dining room without a tie. They suggested that he buy one in the gift shop.... but to hurry because it would close in a few minutes.

He came back to the cabin about 15 minutes later .. with a tie, but with a strange look on his face. He said the gift shop was closed by the time he got there. He would not say where he got the tie. I couldn't figure out why he wouldn't tell me where he got it ... and why he looked so funny every time I asked.

After dinner we went to the show and I found out where he got his tie - - - and so did everyone else. The ventriloquist's dummy started pointing at my friend and shouting "that man has my tie! That man stole my tie. Make him give me back my tie". He did this repeatedly throughout the performance - much to the horror of my friend and the delight of the audience (and me).

It seems that on his way back from the closed gift shop, my friend met a cruise staff member and explained his problem. This young man (the ventriloquist) took my friend to his room and pulled a tie off one of the dummies (he had several). The dummy started yelling right then and didn't stop until the tie was returned after the second formal night.

TOUCHING TALENT NIGHT

They were having the all-ship talent night and we just had some incredible talent aboard this ship among the passengers. However the best act, which by the way had everyone in tears, was a woman who approached the stage with another woman standing next to her. She explained that this was her husband's birthday and she wanted to sing "My Hero" to him.

As the music started to play, the OTHER woman began to sing the song while the first woman lovingly looked at her husband and began to interpret the song in sign language to him. She was incredibly graceful and expressive. Her husband was deaf.


My thanks to all those CompuServe members who contributed these items -
you know who you are!

Line

Alan WalkerOriginally from Australia, Alan has for some time been permanently settled in Vancouver where he is a practicing Attorney. He has been a SeaLetter columnist, reviewer and our resident humorist for some time now.

To find all of Alan's SeaLetter columns, featured and humorous articles, and cruise and port reviews, use the SeaLetter Search Engine entering "Alan Walker" as your search phrase.

Alan is also a member of the Cruise Staff of the CompuServe UK Travel Forum. Alan loves email, and can be reached at: Alan@sealetter.com.


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