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September 2013

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Sailing the Seven Seas Aboard NCL’s Norwegian Sigh. Uh, I Mean Sky


This past weekend I embarked upon an epic journey, a harrowing voyage that would seemingly take me to the ends of the earth, on a quest as vast in its mythic proportions as the search for the Lost Ark itself…

Trying to find a friggin place to sit in the ship’s Garden Café during meal times, which on board this tub translates to 24/7!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. So pop some Dramamines and swab your Poop Decks, because we’re about to hit a rough patch, the kind that’s immune to penicillin, if you get my drift. Get it? Ocean? Drift?

The cruise to Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau, Bahamas started innocently enough, but then again, I’m sure Stalin and Mussolini did, too. We were amongst the first to board by noon, already wearing our bathing suits beneath our clothes, and hurried Aft (that’s fancy ship talk for Back of the Bus) so we could soak in some rays poolside, and have a snack before the ravenous hoards descended upon us, prior to setting sail at 5pm.

Side Note: I’m not sure why they use such a romantic and poetic term as Setting Sail to describe the rumble of gas turbine and diesel-electric engines and propellers utilized to move approximately 71,500 tons through the ocean. I’m not talking about the weight of the ship here, but rather Mr. & Mrs. Stay Puft Marshmallow, already wedged into their lounge chairs and on their 200th biscuit. Well, at least they were dipping them into cottage cheese—oh, my mistake…it was cellulite.

You see, Norwegian Cruise Lines employs what they call Freestyle cruising. In a nutshell, it means passengers can eat as if food is going out of style (i.e. Chugging pancake syrup, IVs filled with hamburgers and hot dogs, French Fry shakes, etc.). I even spied a couple of people stuffing desserts into colostomy bags, you know, just in case they got the munchies between the time they left the trough and arrived at the watering hole.

This Freestyle policy obviously extends to fashion as well (Yeah, I’m talking to you, Sir Sasquatch, wearing the neon purple banana hammock, while puffing on a cigar the size of the ship’s smokestack). Free for All, would probably be more of an apt term, except of course when you get your bill at the end with all the added charges and gratuities, but I’m digressing again.

Things began to take a turn for the iceberg when the live music started up, performed, ironically, by the group, the Ironics. I guess they got their name based on the fact that this is what zombies, aka the Walking Dead, would sound like if they decided to form a band and perform “Live.” We were treated to such peppy, party-hearty numbers as Imagine, Let it Be, My Heart Will Go On, and Nearer, My God to Thee. Gentlemen, it has been an honor playing with you, indeed. Needless to say, I needed Colonics, just to get Ironics, out of my system for the rest of the cruise. But if you need someone to perform at a funeral or a Will Reading gig, I’d definitely recommend them.

Then, we struck the iceberg. That’s right. The bane of my shipboard existence made her first appearance, the clang of her South African accented voice deafening to my ears. I can still hear it echoing in my mind, digging into my brain like rusty ice picks. The Cruise Director from Hell herself, Miss Apartheid 1991…CANDI!!!!!!

That’s right, Candi, as in too much rots your teeth. Short for Candida, the yeastlike fungi which causes athlete’s foot, vaginitis, thrush, and a host of other infections.

 Now perhaps it sounds like I’m being a tad too harsh here. But how else am I supposed to react when I’m awakened at 5:00am, morning after morning, by Candi’s incessant prattling on the intercom system, telling me Wut a lov-lie day it’s gonna be and asking, Are you gonna PAH-TEE Hahd? Now at first I was like, “Well, I guess now that you woke me up after only three hours sleep, I really do have to use the Potty hard.”

By the way, what good is a Do Not Disturb sign on your door when Candi can just intrude on your sleep any time she chooses and molest your ears? It’s soooo violating!

After roasting in the sun for a few hours, I checked our radiation levels on my handy iPhone Geiger Counter App. Satisfied we were just above the red line, we decided to shower and change and consult the itinerary for the rest of the evening’s festivities. Hmmm. It was going to be a very tough decision: A Seminar on Detox & Weight Loss in the Aerobic Room ,  Free Liquor and Rum Cake Tasting at the Gift Shop (Hah! Now THAT’S Ironic!), and Violin Melodies with Lydia at Captain Cook’s. We were torn. How dare you, NCL, to stress us out with such a difficult choice! Ultimately, we opted on the Friends of Dorothy meeting at the Atrium.

Now in case you’re wondering who Friends of Dorothy are, here’s a hint: They’re not the Scarecrow, the Tin Man or the Cowardly Lion (though I think I spotted those three fighting their way through the buffet line earlier, that is, until The Stay Pufts thought the trio were on the menu and proceeded to eat them).

Psssst! Friends of Dorothy is code for GLBTXYZPDQLMNOP (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Xylophone, etc.) and it’s discretely placed on the itinerary next to the full page rainbow flag and the “We’re Here, We’re Queer, and We’re Hungry” slogan. But don’t tell anyone I let you in on the secret or my membership will be revoked and I’ll have to return the nifty toaster 4G cellular tablet I received when I was indoctrinated.

There are also other secret groups listed on the itinerary, right under unsuspecting eyes. There’s the Friends of BILL W (kind of a masochistic, floating AA session which meets at one of the ship’s many bars), as well as Friends of Paula “My Left Arm’s Hurting, Ya’ll” Dean, where participants discover how even the furniture’s edible, as long as its fried and coated in grease and fat.

Anyway, we met a great bunch of people at the Friends of Dorothy meeting, but I promised I’d keep their identities confidential so I’ll use code names, lest their identities be exposed and their subversive activities be compromised.

First, there was Gilligan, a charming, fun, witty, event planner, determined to find his own S.S. Minnow to dock with.  

Next, Mary Ann and Ginger, an adorable, vivacious lesbian couple into spirituality and veganism—when they weren’t Dirty Dancing and pounding down the booze.

I guess that would make Yours Truly The Professor, for my sharp wit and vast knowledge (cough) and my travel companion, The Skipper, because he likes to crack the whip.

Completing The Friends of Dorothy were The Howells, Thurston and Lovey, who spent much of their time at the Sky Casino observing the drunken antics of the steerage class.

There were also Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, but they seemed to tire of us after that first meeting. So you might say, the group lost its wood.

The remainder of us Dorotheans quickly bonded, spending hours plotting how we were going to convert everyone on Earth, and discussing such scintillating topics as Towel Animal Folding, which really creeped me out, especially because of the eerie punch-hole-residue eyes. Every time we’d go back to our cabin, you never knew what kind of critter Housekeeping would have set up on your bed. I swear we got Charlie Sheen once.

Meeting up with our new friends was a Godsend—or, just a Send, if you’re like Ginger, and an atheist. Our adventures entailed discovering the wonders of the ships multi-themed bars, which included A Tribute to Divas, All Request DJ Power Hour, Country Hits, 70’s Groove Dance Party, South Beach Rave Party, Late Night Party Zone, etc.

Sounds like fun, right? And NCL has made it really convenient for you by condensing all these themes into ONE bar. That’s right. You heard me. ONE BAR.

Drum roll, please…

DAZZLES! That’s its name. It’s like the big bang, the Creation of the Universe. The Holy Grail. It’s the quintessential bar, of which all bars have descended from. It’s the magnetic north of the Norwegian Sky. You lose your itinerary? Not a problem. Just make your way on down to DAZZLES. Everything happens there! And the themes are conveniently scheduled at fifteen minute intervals, so in the span of an hour, you can get your disco, country, rock, and ballroom dancing groove on.

On Day 2, we attended the White Hot Dance Party poolside, which was lots of fun and dancing, until Candi swooped in, on Industrial-Sized wings, no less, like an escaped Lane Bryant Christmas Angel. First, she pumped her fists in the air, shouting over and over again, “PAH-TEE! PAH-TEE!” Then, it felt like a Special Needs Disco party, with Candi, parroting every lyric, lest we forget to “Raise our hands in the air” or “Shake it!” It was so thoughtful of her to explain it to us. Like Simon Says for Dummies. I kept hoping a tropical storm wind would strike and whisk her away, but the only way those thighs were going up in the air was with a lot more alcohol and a not-too-picky date.

On Day 3, the final night of the cruise, The Friends of Dorothy participated in the Adult Quest Game Show. Basically, the audience is split into numbered teams, and the two geek emcees take turns asking for each team to produce an item on their list or perform a task that’s intended to be provocative and elicit drunken giggles, i.e. show your bra, your thong, have girls make out with other girls (which of course the hosts and the audience loved) and, shock of all shocks, guys make out with other guys, (which of course the hosts had to remind us we’d been warned of the shocking nature of the show and hoped we wouldn’t need therapy). Ah, I just love homophobic double standards, don’t you? Maybe I’ll suggest for the next cruise, they add a find-someone-of-another-race-and-make-out-with-them challenge. That would be a hoot! That is, if it’s not too detrimental to the emotional well-being of gluttonous and promiscuous drunks. Snap!

Despite some relatively minor irritations (cough…Candi…cough), we had a great time, and meeting Gilligan, Mary Ann, Ginger, Thurston, and Lovey was well worth it! You guys rock! I look forward to becoming lifelong friends—just don’t forget to buy my book! ;-)

Now you will excuse me, there’s a certain Cruise Director I need to prank call. See how she likes being woken up out of a sound sleep.

Are you ready to PAH-TEE, HAHD, BITCH???”


Comments

you always make me feel like i'm actually with u on these excursions! wanna look for the portal to dazzles here in s florida?

A three (Hour) day tour to a deserted island....

Professor;

Lovey Howell here. I am fascinated at how you have been able to characterize our little group. Your blog is great and you had us laughing out loud. Right about now, I am wishing I were off to Dazzles for 15 minutes of something. It was great to meet you guys and we look forward to your book!

See you at the Casino Dahling!

Re: A three (Hour) day tour to a deserted island....

Thanks, Lovey!

But you just revealed your secret identity to my readers! LOL

Glad you enjoyed the blog!

I miss DAZZLES, too. But not Candddiiiiii!!!! ;-)