Spring Break, Coast Guard, and Goodbye Ft Lauderdale

Several pretty interesting things have been going on onboard lately. We did a three-day Bahamas cruise last week that was pretty much spring break, followed by a full coast guard inspection, and now we’re on our way to Los Angeles via the Panama Canal.

The last cruise was quite hilarious. The normal cliental here is fairly old, retirees and alike and we typically do cruises that are upwards of 8 days long. This past run was a three-day cruise to Nassau, which brought out a much more, shall we say…colorful bunch of guests. I’m guessing this cruise was rather inexpensive and it attracted mostly college-aged and slightly older people.


Normally, at the drill before the cruise, people wear shirts and don’t call me ‘bro,’ not the case for this cruise. By the break between the shows the first night, around 8 o’clock, many of the passengers were visibly drunk. One woman was lying on the floor outside of the door to my corridor grabbing at peoples ankles demanding to be let into her cabin. Someone else in her hallway was very obviously smoking weed in his or her cabin. Security intervened and cleaned up that neighborhood. There was a formal night, which was kind of a miss for this group. Apparently home-white basketball jerseys qualify as formalwear for South Florida coeds.

I don’t want to endlessly rip on these people, as the cruise was actually very fun, but these people were really funny sometimes. It was great to be around younger people and nice to see the disco and the bars actually in use at late hours.

In general, the shows were a bit more lively than usual. Most of this age group was able to stay awake in a dark theater past 7.00. Our guitarist, Greg, played a solo in the opening show that ended with him shredding with the guitar behind his head and it seemed pretty likely that panties would start landing on the stage. We played a couple of pool parties that were quite different in terms of scenery from the usual landscape. I saw some of the worst tattoos I’ve ever seen this cruise. It was so tacky and great.

We had one guest entertainer during this cruise, who was a finalist from the second season of American Idol. She put on a pretty good show but it was pretty obvious in rehearsal that she didn’t really understand what it is we do here. She said this was the first show that she had done by herself and she didn’t really seem up to our level of efficiency. It seems that there are more and more of these type of entertainers coming onboard, which is cool. I hope that they get more modern singers to come out; I just hope someone tells them to get charts and learn how to sing with a live band first!

On turnaround day after this cruise we had a full coast guard inspection. This has to be done annually for all ships sailing in US waters. Basically what happens is the coast guard comes onboard and watches a drill then walks around and asks some questions to various people. I’ve done a few of these but this one did seem a bit more thorough. I’m not sure if this enthusiasm for inspection was because of recent problems with Carnival and Costa ships or if they were just feeling ambitious that morning. For the weeks leading up to this inspection we’ve been having these mega drills where the captain, staff captain, and chief officer walk around and bark out questions like it’s the god-dammed navy. It’s really unpleasant and unproductive and it was very satisfying to see them walking around with the coast guard, visibly nervous and sweating heavily through their starchy white shirts. Anyway, we passed the inspection, because people here really do know what to do in an emergency.

Later that day we set sail from Ft Lauderdale, bound for Los Angeles. We’ll go to some places in Colombia, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Mexico, as well as go through the Panama Canal this cruise. For now we’re back to old people and lots of Germans. Right back in the wheelhouse!