"I live on a fucking island. Islands hold no fascination for me. I already have all the ocean I ever want to see outside my window. Stop calling me..." -- The Overlord
The above was a portion of an irate rant to the assholes at a certain cruise ship line who keep calling my house trying to get me on board one of their floating monstrosities.
The Overlord detests cruise ships.
This is because he once, stupidly, took one of these excursions, because vagina. The vagina in question wouldn't shut the fuck up about wanting to go on a cruise -- all her friends did, you know -- and she wanted to have a similar experience so that she wouldn't feel left out at the weekly box-wine-and-bitch session, and because, she said, it would be fun.
That should have been the first indication -- someone who had never been on a cruise suggesting that the experience would be fun (like, how the fuck do you know?) -- that this was a bad idea.
But, The Overlord, being younger and thus very partial to vagina (and, admittedly, not very selective about it at the time. Case in point. I'll get to this a little later) said yes in anticipation of the Blowjob of Sincere Gratitude this was expected to produce.
Needless to say, said (oral) expression of thankfulness did not disappoint.
That should have been my second indication this was a bad idea.
When it comes to the Wimmen in His Life, The Overlord had two, distinct phases that he had passed through.
The first phase was "fuck everything that either offered or was willing (but no fat chicks)".
The second was "fuck everything that either offered or was willing (but no fat chicks), but more than once if you could tolerate her presence for more than a few hours".
In between, there were periods of "getting serious" with any particular female, often lasting years, but then the alcohol and poor judgment would kick back in and it was time to resume the quest to spread his seed hither and yon.
At the time, The Overlord was 37. The "woman" in question was 20. Yeah, really bad idea. You don't want to know the backstory.
They're all cute until they speak the magic words:
"Buy me something?"
So, a-cruisin' we went.
The planned vacation started off badly. If we're going to go on a cruise, she thought out loud, she was going to have to have something to wear.
"Okay, Sweetie, I'll get you some new clothes", he responded, and off they went to Manhattan to visit some place named "Burberry's" which I had never heard of (being a straight male). I promise you that now it's indelibly burned into my brain.
Three hours of holding her purse and few thousand bucks later, we went off to have a nice lunch. She excused herself to go to the ladies room and didn't return for about 15 minutes, whereupon she informed me her sister had called her on the cell, wanted to meet up, and could she please go because they hadn't seen each other in some time.
I assented, but then insisted I get the Burberry's bag back...which I then took back to the store for a refund, which pissed her off no end, to judge from the protests behind me. I've just booked a cruise and bought you a new wardrobe, Snookums, and you have the incredibly poor taste to want to blow me off now?
(This was a lesson learned during the "fuck 'em all" phase: how to spot the golddiggers who have weaponized vaginas).
I didn't speak to her for week, no matter how many times she called my house, my cell or my office. Then she appeared on the front doorstep, a mass of tears. She FINALLY understood what she had done, how insulting it was, and we're still going on the cruise, right?
And so it was that we left the pier in Manhattan for a promised "adventure on the high seas", destination the worst fucking spot on Planet Earth, which is to say, The Caribbean.
It is difficult to say which particular part of this godforsaken gaggle of pimples on the planet is the Absolute Worst, because, frankly, after about 12 minutes they all look, sound, and smell -- especially smell -- the same.
So, here's my takeaway from a single cruise (one was enough):
First, the ship.
The Ship is essentially a giant floating toilet bowl. When one stops to consider there are close to 4,000 passengers aboard, and several hundred crew, it should not be surprising that urine and feces are everywhere. And even if the ship is clean and the plumbing up to scratch, that's 4,000 people -- plus crew -- a significant number of whose hygiene habits probably leave much to be desired, if one can judge such by sight (and I can).
You may not see or smell the urine and feces, but they're everywhere. Elevator buttons, doorknobs, just about any vertical or horizontal surface that one may put their hands upon. You have 5,000 people trapped for an extended period on this tub, and there's no place else for them to go, and so you're trapped with their germs, bacteria, and whatnot, as well.
Your "stateroom" (I'm guessing the state is Rhode Island?) that's supposed to be "luxurious and extremely comfortable" comes straight from IKEA or some other industrial furniture company that exists solely to figure out a means of squeezing a Queen-sized bed into the smallest possible space. "Bed" is a generous term, as what it truly is is a pad, not even a proper mattress, and when you stop to consider what most people come on cruises to do -- get drunk with, and often get laid by, complete strangers -- you'd be extraordinarily fortunate if your "bed" was changed or even cleaned sometime in the last five years.
All of it in the most-horrendous color scheme you've ever seen. It's as if they let a color-blind homosexual on peyote pick it all out. If seasickness or over-indulgence at the bar doesn't make you ill, the extraordinarily bright pastels and aggressive shades of orange will.
Then there is the smallest bathroom you've ever seen that wasn't on an airplane, with strict instructions about water usage (and water recycling) posted on the wall.
Next, we get to the food.
You are promised a "gourmet experience" 24 hours a day, and all you can eat (but mostly drink), too.
The Overlord, having spent an inordinate amount of time inside Corporate Dining Rooms could, even then and even plastered, spot what I privately refer to as "Wall Street Catering Hall" fare from the poopdeck (and I mean, literally, poopdeck, as during the cruise someone did, indeed, take a dump on the fantail).
It is impossible to serve "gourmet" anything to 5,000 people a day, three meals a day, and snacks 24/7, not to mention room service, without some form of industrial process being applied to the operation.
This is essentially "upscale" Cafeteria Food. "Upscale" in the sense that your tuna fish sandwich is advertised as "Fresh-caught Bonito", which is native to the North Atlantic and Indian Oceans so it may have been "fresh-caught" a few months ago before they put it in a can, and your "Cornish Game Hen" is the sort of stuff one imagines you can buy in a pouch from COSTCO.
(As an aside, COSTCO does, indeed, sell "Chicken in a Can", and it's very tasty, but this wasn't).
Which brings you to the booze. All you can drink, and if, like The Overlord, you were a functioning alcoholic, that means all fucking day. You discover the "good stuff" is pretty much gone by Day Three, and you're forever pulling little paper umbrellas and "garnishes" you never asked for nor wanted from your (watered-down) drinks.
And, naturally, since everyone is drinking like a fish (but not the "fresh-caught Bonito" kind), we come to the part of the whole food-and-beverage part of the trip that will put you off your food-and- beverages.
Which is to say, vomit.
Copious amounts of it. Most of it spouting from people very much like The Vagina, which is to say, very young ladies (it's almost always the ladies) who have no conception of just how much is too much, and who are generally seasick on top of being alcohol poisoned..
When added to the general atmosphere of the floating toilet bowl and the bed drenched in other people's sexual fluids, it can seriously put you off eating. Particularly when one of the lasses takes a technicolor yawn into a stiff ocean breeze and you just happen to be passing through the stream when it happens.
So, you can't wait to get the fuck off of this gigantic hospital-white insane asylum, and enjoy Terra Firma.
Until you reach your "destinations", of course.
As I've said earlier, they all blur into the same place: hot sun (I like my air conditioning), blinding white sand beaches (I hate sand, and beaches, too, for that matter), and the exotic smells of the finest shantytowns and open cesspits to be found anywhere.
They all have the same industries -- diarrhea, AIDS and/or Chlamydia, rape and/or murder of tourists, and straw hats.
Because you just can't get that quality straw in America.
Kitchy tchotchkes emblazoned with the name of a Third-World shithole. An endless parade of street urchins following you around trying to force you to buy flowers, or Coke-bottle jewelry, or to adopt them and bring them to civilization, all of it intended to get you to part with American dollars every second you're ashore.
The local restaurants with "authentic cuisine and atmosphere" are factories for listeria and botulism (the number of food poisoning cases once back aboard the ship can be astounding), serving bad food at super-inflated prices, served by smiling ignoramuses who are secretly plotting to rob you on your way back to the ship. All against the backdrop of thunderstorms and that fucktarded Calypso music that wearies the ear after but a few minutes.
Repeat this experience four or five times over the course of the next six days.
It doesn't matter how good the sex from The Vagina was, I would never do this again. She, of course, had a wonderful time, and considering she was either hammered or having multiple orgasms every day, she should have.
Do I really have to mention what passes for "entertainment"? No wonder the new ships all have amusement parks on them, now.
I guess the cruise industry took a beating these last two years, given the Chinese Plague, and they must be desperate for bookings. So desperate that they have apparently dug very deep into the archives to track down and harass someone who took a cruise 18 years ago in an attempt to get him to repeat the whole, sordid performance.
So desperate that you're getting four to five calls a day from six to eleven cruise lines all wanting to sell you "the experience of a lifetime".
Well, I've had that experience. It was only slightly better than 9/11, which I've also experienced and would almost choose to repeat if the alternative was another cruise "adventure".
So, my answer is a firm "no". Thank you, and don't call back.
Except they do. All weekend long. It's worse than those calls from "Microsoft Tech Support" in Bangalore, when "Phil" with the Hindu accent rings you up to let you know that your Windows 95 system "alerted them" to a "serious security problem", and you laugh and curse his mother out before hanging up.