HOW TO DEAL WITH ANNOYING PEOPLE ON A CRUISE- A USER’S GUIDE

Never allow an evil entity to rock your dream boat

Never allow an evil entity to rock your dream boat

There’s always one, isn’t there? That special, drooling, demonic entity that can suck all the joy out of a room simply by walking into it. The kind of eminence grise that even rabid piranha will swim away from in maddened droves.

I’m not suggesting for one moment that they are more prevalent at sea than on dry land. But wherever encountered, the negative energy radiating from these walking near death experiences can do more than just rain on your sunshine; they could, in fact, ruin your holiday completely.

So, best not to let them then, eh?

‘How does one accomplish such a feat, without resorting to the expense of an assassin?’ I hear you cry. It is, indeed, a terrible expense. For a start, you’ve got to pay for an extra cabin for your hitman/woman of choice. But you don’t have to go to such drastic measures. Just refer to the simple list below.

ALWAYS CARRY A CRUCIFIX

It may well be that some of the more terrible creatures only emerge at night, presumably because they spend the day hanging upside down from a coat hangar in their wardrobes. These are the ones that never order room service or a turn down of any kind. They never use the drawers in their rooms, for fear of coming into contact with a bible.

You might see them gorging on what you might first take to be a Bloody Mary. In actual fact, it’s probably the strained and purified blood of six young virgins. Don’t be fooled.

Just carry a small crucifix, but remember that it might set off the metal detectors when coming back on to the ship from dry land. Might be best just to carry a clump of garlic bread then, and hope for the best.

PACK AN ELECTRIC CATTLE PROD

A small, elegant solution for dealing with people who cut in line, or for deterring the satanic, snot sucking little savages that insist on cannonballing into the adults only hot tubs. Application is deft and easy and leaves no marks. And remember; on a cruise ship carrying three thousand passengers, an overly amplified band and an out of control tannoy announcer, no-one will hear one or two little screams. Highly recommended.

BRING YOUR OWN PLANK

Touch my chocolate and you'll die screaming. Fact.

Touch my chocolate and you’ll die screaming. Fact.

By this, I am not inferring that you bring a semi literate quarter wit as a travelling companion. Though God knows, some do. No. I mean, bring an actual wooden plank, and carry it everywhere with you. That way, when someone is really annoying you, you can simply put your plank out over the railing, and put your tormentor on the plank. Apply your electric cattle prod to a tender part of their anatomy. It’s one quick splash, some very happy sharks, and you can go back to your Margarita in peace. Nicely done.

Helpful hint; a large wooden plank on a cruise ship can be somewhat conspicuous. Perhaps cunningly conceal yours under a beach towel?

ALWAYS CARRY A LARGE BOOK

A great one for sea days. Keep open a wary eye for the horror of your days as he/she/it patrols the deck like a mosquito looking for a target. At the moment of approach, open the book at any page and fall into it as though you are devouring it. Feign an attempt at rapt, studied concentration and, hopefully, your grey eminence will simply not disturb you.

Helpful hint: make sure you are not ‘reading’ the book upside down.

Second helpful hint; make sure it’s not a book by Katie Price, or that Kerry Katatonic. Otherwise, you will see swarms of people part like the Red Sea as you pass them.

If only cruise ships did dungeons...

If only cruise ships did dungeons…

WEAR A MILEY CYRUS/ONE DIRECTION T-SHIRT

See the general comments above. No-one in their right, left or, indeed, centre mind will approach you if you wear this kind of thing. You’d get more social interaction if you put on a swastika armband and goose stepped to the gala buffet.

So; there you have it. I hope these simple, quite elementary steps help to smooth out the course of your cruise. But always remember, dear reader; true evil never really dies- it just changes it’s frock and applies fresh lipstick.

Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

FOUR THINGS ABOUT CRUISING THAT MAKE ME GO ‘WTF’….

Please, Mommie Dearest; if it says 'Adults Only' pool, that's exactly what it means

Please, Mommie Dearest; if it says ‘Adults Only’ pool, that’s exactly what it means

On average, I’d argue that most cruises and sea voyages are 99 per cent fun, one per cent minor annoyances. I know  a lot of that comes down to individual preferences and/or tolerance levels; we’re not all wired to the same standard. We react in different ways and styles to what we perceive as anything that rains on our parade.

And so, just to throw this out there, here’s a handful of things that leave me wondering the proverbial ‘wtf’….

1) Untrained staff

One night before dinner on a cruise, I asked my stewardess- a lovely, sweet girl- if she would open the champagne in my room and put it out on the balcony for later.

I return to find that she has, indeed, done just that. Silver ice bucket, white cloth, gleaming glasses…. and a corkscrew bottle opener, placed by the bucket on the table outside.

I had to smile; the poor girl had not been shown how to open champagne. Incredible. She had done what she thought to be the next best thing.

Not a huge deal, and funny in it’s own way. Certainly not her fault that she hadn’t been trained to do something so simple. But it is the fault of the hotel manager.

Memo to hotel managers; please ensure that your staff are trained to perform the simplest and most basic tasks. It makes life better for everyone.

2) Kids in adult only pools/hot tubs

Gah! The bane of my existence. There I am, wonderfully par boiled in a gorgeously bubbling hot tub somewhere warm when… bam!  Junior and his/her little friends decide now is a great time to come and cannon ball into the adults only Jacuzzi.  Yep, the one sporting the big sign- written in English- that says ADULTS ONLY.

Worst of all, mummy is sitting on a sun lounger a few feet away, completely ignoring the signs. Every so often, she might mumble a weak-as-water ‘calm down, Stephanie’ to her charming child. Sorry. My mojo has already been spoiled, because you think rules only exist for little people. Not your little people, naturally.

And cruise staff who just ignore this make my blood boil. Why have rules if you’re not going to enforce them? It’s chocolate fireguard syndrome.

Please, mother dear. Show some consideration. Don’t make me bring my electric cattle prod. I hate the singe of charred flesh in the morning.

3)  Constant tannoy sales pitches

A bit of cool, mellow, late night jazz needs no extra sound track, thanks

A bit of cool, mellow, late night jazz needs no extra sound track, thanks

Dear Cruise Director; these really do put the ‘annoy’ in ‘Tannoy’. It is truly thoughtful of you to interrupt my sleep at three in the morning to remind me that there will be naked dwarf throwing at sunrise on the lido. But allow me to let you in on a little secret; I’ve already read about it in the programme, thank you.

Most adults on cruises- and I stress ‘most’- are capable of reading and deciding what they want to do during their time on board. Constant tannoy reminders seem to presuppose that we are all either illiterate, or in the deathly grip of advanced Alzheimer’s. Well, after a week of being bombarded with this verbal dross fest, dementia begins to look more and more appealing. I know you have sales targets to meet, but please- tone it down at little? Thank you.

4) Passengers shouting in music venues

Dear loud fellow passenger: this one is for you.

When I go to a music venue late at night, it’s usually with the hope of hearing some cool, classy jazz over an artfully crafted martini or two. I don’t go there to hear your tequila fuelled, boom box level of inane verbosity, kindly sharing your wonderful experiences ashore in Hooters that day. In short, have some consideration for those around you.

Else, next morning,  when you emerge from the boggy lair that constitutes your cabin and you shamble up to the buffet feeling like death warmed up, I may be obliged to take it upon myself to start reading out the full daily programme, line by line, in a very loud voice. Before the tannoy gets there first. Point made?

These are just a few of the things that raise my blood pressure like a Saturn Five cleared for take off. Misunderstandings are a fact of life; they happen. But simple, common courtesy? It’s not rocket science now, is it?

GUILT FREE INDULGENCE AT SEA: A ‘HOW TO’ GUIDE…..

Dedication to a craft is everything...

Dedication to a craft is everything…

While the very essence of a cruise is surely about pleasure and indulgence, it is surprising just how shy and retiring many people can be when it means to coming forward, and maybe asking for that second tempting dessert, for example.

Similarly, even if two of the main courses on offer look equally alluring, how many people actually do speak up, and ask to try maybe a little of both? Maybe because you are largely eating with strangers, you might not want them to label you as Mr or Mrs. Greedy?

A simple word of advice, if I may? Get past it.

Those people whose baleful stares and potentially waspish opinions you fear did not pay for your trip. You did. Odds are, you’ll never see any of them again in any event. The key to enjoying any travel experience to the absolute maximum lies in doing what is best and most rewarding for you.

And, if you need a further shot of encouragement, pray consider this:

Are you going to be writing about your trip? Well, whether you are considering authorship of a review or even a blog- one much like this- then you really, really need to do some very deep and intensive research.

Your table awaits....

Your table awaits….

So yes, you will have to indulge in that wonderfully obscene breakfast spread out on your balcony, I’m afraid. And yes, you might have to try a couple of different venues for a buffet lunch in one day. Think you can’t handle that gut busting ice cream? Shape up, soldier!

Some poor crew member has laboured long and damned hard to prepare all that food for you. Every single member of staff wants you to enjoy yourself to the maximum. How can you even think of letting them down?

Can you imagine the sadness and tears on their poor little faces, and all because you couldn’t raise your game, and stretch to putting sprinkles on your ice cream? How heartless can you be? It isn’t all about you, you know…

The same applies to the noble art of cocktail testing. You have a solemn duty to rate the ability of the various bars and bartenders in pursuance of their craft. And it’s not as if you are doing it for your own personal, selfish gain. You are doing research for your article; a labour of love in which you share the benefits of your knowledge for the information and illumination of others.

If that kind of selfless dedication is not deserving of a chocolate martini by way of a reward, then I really don’t know what is.

Anyone who thinks that the constant routine of a modern cruise ship is about relaxation is living in a dream world. Our days are a constant procession from breakfast buffet to hot tub, pre lunch cocktails, lunch buffet, shopping, a little gambling, and maybe some sunbathing.

All that research can be exhausting. Take a seat....

All that research can be exhausting. Take a seat….

We must make time for afternoon tea and five o’clock cocktails, some sauna and/or gym time and, before you know it, it’s time to get ready for dinner. Cruising; it’s just one damned thing after another, if the truth be told.

But if you are going to do it, then best to do it right. And if you put on a little weight, what of it?

If you have to be hoisted ashore at journey’s end…. well, that’s why passenger ships have cranes. And if your bed starts whimpering the moment that you open the door, just flip the mattress and show it who is actually the boss.

But seriously; try, indulge, and above all, enjoy. It isn’t called ‘the good life’ for nothing. Bon voyage!