Carnival Spirit: Notes on Such-and-So

Now we'll pluck out some miscellany:

Mike couldn't find toast on Carnival Spirit this time. Weird.

In addition to the killer headaches I brought with me, I developed a fluttery eye twitch for the whole cruise that beat on the bongos like Mark Knopfler's chimpanzee. Oh, and it was invisible, so I would feel it hopping up and down, but Mike couldn't see a thing. At the other end, my feet swelled up to where some of my shoes didn't fit. ("Oh, that happens when you travel," said my doc, later. "What, even when you don't fly or sit still for long periods?") But, know what? So sick of talking about being sick. (For April Fool's I should've changed the banned to "FAT and/or SICK: a two-topic blog!")

Related, in "such a fool and fool-me-twice," once again I missed the Austin Powers Dance Class because I went to the theatre instead of the Lido Deck. Learn to read, woman.

Kindle-love/Kindle-hate: Plenty of Kindle users on the cruise, including a big DX sighting by the pool with an older gentleman, but the Kindle users themselves? Not so friendly. I think the Kindle demographic has slipped from "enthusiastic convert" to "people who just want to read and wish you'd go away." Me, I'm of the opinion that if someone is reading in a very public space, you're allowed to make one meaningful comment if something about their reading is obvious (device or cover).

So, if I'm walking past you to take a seat a trivia, which you are also there for, I'm allowed to point at your Kindle and say, "Aren't they great?" And you must be civil and smile and/or nod and/or gush, depending on whether you'd like to be left alone or like to swap a hallelujah, just like if I saw your book cover, noticed it was the latest Terry Pratchett, and said, "Isn't Pratchett great?" Especially if I'm continuing to move, so there's no risk of being trapped into conversation.

One woman brought her Kindle to the lounge for the Super Duper Trivia game, then sat apart from everyone and read. The man who noted her Kindle with the excitement of one who has heard of such things and would like to know more got only a huffy "yes" in response to his question about whether she was liking it. No. You're not allowed to do that, not when you inexplicably bring your Kindle to a crowded, noisy room. People! Pft.

As I wrote on my phone, "Sometimes a travel diary is just a report of slights."

Someone wore a baseball cap to the steakhouse. I don't get that, but then I'm the one who posted this photo to Cruise Critic as soon as we were back, figuring it would end all the "Are jeans allowed in the MDR?" threads. It didn't. (Note: the steakhouse is more upscale than the MDR.)

Nouveau Steakhouse - Jeans Allowed

I don't mind nice jeans. I do mind baseball caps. We all have our lines.

Tide Stain Sticks totally work.

Shout outs: Ryta from Russia who had to put up with our asking to be no, not at that table, no, not at the next table, yes, please, at this table, where the chairs don't have arms. Maximo from Peru, the waiter who was so nice and always so concerned. Our other head waiter, Ramona from Romania, who was feisty and fun, and very informative about ordering Indian meals. Oh, and Ruwan from Sri Lanka, the assistant maitre d' who went around greeting people and always took an interest in our dining experience, especially after we ordered the Indian meals, and who waved to us when on deck.

We never saw Desi, the actual maitre d', except when she was performing. She seemed nice, but Carnival needs to stop confusing people by offering pre-paid gratuities, but then surprising everyone on the last night with a special envelope for the maitre d', implying that if you don't tip, you were unsatisfied. I know the maitre d' works hard, and we definitely tip if they do something special just for us, like get us a table for two at John Heald's request, but again - pre-paid gratuities. It's confusing and feels scammy, and it's not fair to the maitre d' to have this all be so poorly explained.

The first night of dinner, the lights in the Dining Room went out. I couldn't have been the only one thinking, "Oh crap! We're not the new Splendor!" A second later, they were back on. Everyone just kept eating - no explanation.

So, every jewelry sale can get announced twice, but a theatre full of people are left waiting without word for a half hour due to a "misprint" in the Fun Times. The official answer later was that they were short-staffed.

As the cruise went on, and this happened two more times, some people speculated that the "short staffing" was a result of Pip's girlfriend being on board that week. Later, some people we'd hung out with now and then during the week (and who seemed trustworthy) told a tale of riding in a taxi in Mazatlan (which are like golf carts in the tourist zone), only to look over and see Pip and his girlfriend in a taxi in the next lane. Pip saw them, was clearly "completely drunk," and - as his taxi sped off - stuck his ass out the side of the taxi and mooned them.

Pip was an odd one, anyway. One-on-one, he seemed like a nice guy. On stage? Well, I don't mind a snarky persona at all, but on a cruise ship I feel that it needs to be more of an "us versus the world" than "me versus the lot of you, our guests," the latter being Pip's stance. As Mike put it at one point, "No one but Pip is allowed to be funny." So, when we'd go to something Pip was hosting, the laughing and joking among passengers seemed to end so he could be the main man, whereas Nathan and Chantal would joke with people while doing their own bits.

Motown Trivia: Okay, some may think it's wrong to laugh, but when one young white guy beats a group of ten black people who are singing along to the songs during Motown Trivia, that's funny.

Perhaps next time I can yak on about the disco dance class and the guest talent show...

02 April 2011 |


 We built a house. 

 Rabbits tolerate us. 

  We play modern board games.  

 I hunt the dead.