For shut-ins, there’s a TV channel on board that shows the view from the bow 24/7. I assume it's for people who are too lazy to leave their rooms, or honeymooners. It makes you think the cruise line got their HBO cut off, and decided to show this instead.
After we left the gorgeous fjord, we were treated to some less-then spectacular scenery: The ship’s Hairy Chest contest.
I have no idea where this odd tradition started, but it’s a regular feature on Cruiseship Lines. Usually it consists of 6-8 muscular guys strutting their stuff in front of the crowd, while ladies cheer them on.
On previous cruises I've taken the volunteers were muscular young guys. On this trip, however, there apparently weren't any. As a result the Hairy Chest Contest looked more like a Belly-Bucking competition. It was made even more comical by the fact that the first 3 guys who volunteered were named Harry, Dick, and Randy.
This not-so-sightly competition was followed by an ice carving demonstration. They hauled a huge block of ice on deck, and one bright passenger immediately asked, "Do you use real ice for these? Or is it just water made to look like ice?"
Afterwards I wanted to relax in the hot tub. The one by the covered pool was overloaded with kids, so I went to the one in the spa. There’s an area with deck chairs next to it, and, for no obvious reason, a statue of a butt.
(No, I have no idea what the electronic gadget is. Maybe some sort of digital prostate examining device)
While I was soaking a young couple came in playing "pass the toddler" back and forth. They told me that they'd taken this cruise specifically to celebrate the child's 1st birthday, because they wanted to do something he'd remember. They'd read about how kids don’t remember their first B-days, and so they wanted to do something unforgettable. Their reasoning was that by doing something like an Alaskan cruise (as opposed to a cake with candles in the yard) that he’d definitely remember his first birthday.
I smiled and listened politely. They were O-SO special.
Afterwards I got into the elevator, and was joined by a couple from Germany. Mrs. German looked me over. I'm dripping wet, with a soaked towel and T-shirt over my shoulders. She says something in German, and her husband smiles, then looks at me and says "She says you smell like a pool".
On the way to dinner I passed through a lounge, where a Filipino bartender was setting up for the night. I was treated to him doing an enthusiastic version of “Hello Dolly”. I wanted to applaud. I respect people who, like me, have no vocal talent whatsoever, but still belt them out with enthusiasm.
There's always one person on every cruise who's determined to lose weight on the ship, and try to make everyone around them feel guilty about it (a lady last year brought a freaking scale on the ship). At dinner, between random beeping from the kids' Gameboys and my parents' vitamin watch, I saw the featured one on the Smorgasbord.
This lady in her 40's was sitting across the aisle from us, in a group of girlfriends. As these types always do, she felt the need to tell her companions how much fat, salt, and calories were in their dishes (I'll be surprised if she isn't swimming back to Seattle in a day or two).
Of course, all of us are ordering excellent food, brought by our wonderful waitstaff. So what did this babe do?
She had her own food, from the PutridSystem diet plan. Cardboard bread! Taste-free treats! Mystery pasta!
She'd whip these miniature, pleasure-free, semi-edible items from her bag with great drama, and loudly read the nutritional contents (such as they may be) to her friends and anyone else who could hear, happily comparing them to whatever her friends were eating.
I have nothing against healthy eating and losing weight. I recommend it to my patients, and sometimes even make half-hearted attempts at it myself (Lipitor, take me away!). But the ship's menu does feature several healthy options. Even if you don't want them, I don't understand why you feel that makes you superior to others, or have to try and make them feel like shit.
One nice feature this ship has is a guy named Ram, who’s the dining room magician. He has a great sleight-of-hand, and is just awesome for entertainment and at keeping kids distracted while dinner is coming. He hasn’t, however, thus far been able to make Miss PutridSystem disappear. Maybe if I tip him...
My kids are having a hard time accepting that Cruiseship Lines, as a cost saving measure, has stopped the "Meet the Captain" party with dancing. Since it involved free drinks I liked it too. Marie sees it as a great time to show off her pseudo-convulsive dance moves to an adoring audience, and to drag me down with her in the process. We won’t win any contests, but do have fun. And isn't that what Summer vacations are for?