Welcome to the first-ever edition of Creative Day! The first order of business for Creative Day is helping me come up with a better name. After reading this first article you can feel free to suggest any and all names and maybe I will choose one. You are also free to suggest a name without having read anything I have written, but that kinds of seems like a cheap, dickish move, so maybe not.
Creative Day from this point on is going to be a weekly article where I write about whatever crosses my mind in the moments before my hands gently embrace the keyboard before me. One week I might make up a top ten list for the greatest of the Doctor’s companions, while the following week I’ll post up some fan fiction for Mass Effect that puked its way into my brain. Ooh, maybe I should name the column Brain Pukes. Would you read a weekly column called Brain Pukes? How about Brain Vomit Maybe I should stop thinking about this before I actually vomit seeing as I now appear to have an aptitude for sea sickness.
That brings me to what is likely going to be my first edition for this new thing: Cruises. Just as a point of understanding, when I say cruises I don’t mean those dinky little day-long booze cruises your parent’s go on because they’re sick of looking at your face; I mean the 5, 7, or even longer cruises done on huge Titanic-esque boats operated by Royal Caribbean, Princess, and many more.
You may be asking yourself: “Josh, what in the flying and/or walking fuck does going on a cruise have to do with a nerd culture website like yours?” Well to answer you question you malignant tit, if you were lying out on a balcony of a cruise ship looking out over the beautiful snow-covered mountain greenery of Alaska you would probably want to write something about it as well. So suck it up and read something about a topic that might be outside your normal comfort zone for once.
Actually, I’m not going to write that much on Alaska itself, but instead focus on my complete hatred of Norwegian Cruise Lines. It’s only Day 3 of my first journey on an NCL boat and I’m already filled with complete hatred, wow that’s impressive. With Carnival it took at least until Day 5 to become this repulsed, then again THAT was only my first cruise, back when I was but a wee lad o’ 15 years; now I’m on what I believe is cruise #11 and am fastish-approaching 27 years of age. Well that and Carnival didn’t dress the beds in our cabin in cum-stained sheets, for that we had to provide our own, but more on that in a minute.
As stated, I have been on my fair share of family cruises over the last 12 years and while that doesn’t make me an expert, it certainly gives me a degree of knowledge of their inner, outer, and mostly upside-down workings that most might not be aware of. For instance, if you put me on most any Royal Caribbean cruise ship I can probably find my way around it without a map within half an hour of being on board. I probably can also find any of the so-called “secret” places by the end of the first day. Secret places in this sense are the spots that the average guest won’t even be aware of. For some this might be the Titanic (think “I’m flying!”, not “Iceberg right ahead!”) bow of the ship where the slope of the ship cabin’s exterior creates an intense wind-tunnel effect, which at night is both terrifying and beautiful. Maybe you’re trying to find an out-of-the-way public, but not arrestably public place to hookup with your girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, husband, or complete stranger; well both Navigator of the Seas and the RCCL cruise from my 21st birthday, whose name I can’t remember, had several options. Cruises are a fun beast, but as I get older and farther removed from my last cruise I’m beginning to wonder what it was that first captivated me.
At 15 cruises were a new, almost magical world with amazing things to be explored. Of course at 15 the only exploration I hoped to do was of the female form, preferably that whole chesticle region. As time went on I grew to love many aspects of the cruising world from playing early morning bingo to dancing and drinking in the ship’s various clubs and lounges. It was on a New Years cruise back in 2002 or so that I discovered a passion for Karaoke. Well, not so much a passion, but an intense desire to sing Bohemian Rhapsody with anyone else who happened to be on stage singing it. The first time I ever saw my girlfriend, now my wife, completely hammered was on my 21st birthday cruise a whole 6 years ago. There was even the fun of the cruise my family went on after I graduated high school that ended with a 2 hour interrogation by the FBI. (Seriously, not a joke.) These are all cherished memories of years long gone and that includes even the last one.
Now as I approach my 27th birthday I am once again on a cruise; my second Alaskan cruise in fact. This time we’re celebrating my dad’s boyfriend’s birthday, as well as my wife and my 1st wedding anniversary. This brings us back to the earlier cum-stain comment I made. If you checked into any hotel in the world, went to your room for the first time, unrolled the blankets and found the sheets covered in semen stains and half-inch to full inch holes, what would you do? Don’t answer yet. How about if you then looked up and discovered several chunks of snot, likely from the previous occupants, stuck to the ceiling? Maybe you then journeyed into the bathroom to find a couple of interesting looking brown stains along the door to the toilet. Now there is no way short of sticking your nose up against them to find out if they are in fact what you believe them to be, but still they are there. What do you do now? Well this was the situation for us on Day 1 of the Alaskan cruise we are currently enjoying aboard the Norwegian Jewel. Now just know that we didn’t find all of these issues immediately, but they were noticed throughout the first day.
Well, after over an hour of reception and housekeeping calls we finally managed to get downgraded from holey, cum encrusted sheets up to non-holed, coffee-stained sheets which are certainly an improvement. Since my wife freaked out and cleaned up the snot and brown grime herself housekeeping has decided that the problem was solved. Maybe we’ll fight with them some more, but probably not since it has begun to lose it’s entertainment value.
Speaking of entertainment value, last night we took in the Sunday night dancing/singing spectacular that the cruise has dubbed “Band on the Run”. The premise, assuming there was one, was that the singers and dancers were all performing in a 1970s club dubbed Club Band on the Run; clever, right? Well no it’s not clever seeing as the first song they did was “Come Sail Away” by Styx and we’re on a fucking boat. Seriously why not name the show and fake club “Come Sail Away”? A little too on the nose for Norwegian Cruise Lines would be my guess. Anyways, the show was abysmal at best and only became enjoyable when I was alerted to the incredibly spastic, outstandingly gorgeous red-headed dancer on the stage. This woman had absolutely no concept on how to move her body with anything approaching grace or rhythm. At first it was hilarious, but as the ever-growing and offensive to all five senses cavalcade of fail continued on it became apparent that this lovely woman of red was in fact the evening’s main entertainment. I mean this not as a sly jab at her and there is no hidden or sarcastic commentary meant by this. This dancer was absolutely fabulous and entertaining beyond belief, even when she nearly fell off the stage twice. Had it not been for her I might have taken notice of the fact that most of the singers microphones continued cutting out or that they chose a 12-year-old with a still crackling, puberty-ridden voice to portray Freddy FUCKING Mercury.
All that aside, it makes me wonder whether cruise ship shows have always been this terrible and in my younger years I was just oblivious or if NCL just employs a special level of disaffected amateurs the likes of which America’s Got Talent and American Idol have never seen. Seriously, they did a rock/pop song and dance show on a cruise ship without “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” by Meatloaf? For shame Norwegian Cruise Lines, for shame! Still maybe tonight’s hypnotist will be something I can
masturbate to enjoy without fear.
Still, I’m not upset with this cruise. Semen aside I knew what I was getting myself into when we booked this trip and am not disappointed. I am deeply saddened that I didn’t get to cover the Phoenix Comic-Con or my idol Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist taping in Phoenix last week, but that is life and sometimes it happens in inconvenient ways. Had I missed this cruise I would most certainly have missed quite possible the best steak I have had in my life from the ship’s Japanese restaurant: Teppanyaki. The restaurant is a standard place of the Benihana’s of the world, but here the chef’s actual trained at some point in how to deal with an audience and how to be entertaining. Plus the food was damned amazing to a degree nobody was expecting.
You can follow me on Twitter if you would like to here more commentary on my cruising experience this week. As my phone gets signal I’m sure I’ll have plenty more rants to fall into. One thing is for certain, I will never travel with Norwegian Cruise Lines again.