Friday, November 9, 2018

Crown Princess Sea Day

The ship has finally calmed down this afternoon after some rough times. I heard from our crew member buddy that the medical center has been packed with sick crew members. They've enjoyed a summer of smooth sailing and for many this is their first transatlantic in open waters. Several were worried about the ship movement and had to be reassured it was normal. They were dispersed a couple anti-nausea pills (some required injections) and sent on their way. Our buddy, after taking his meds and a nap, felt much better. Glad things have calmed down for all.

We found out from him that he was offered a promotion and asked for it to be delayed until after our cruise. Why? Because he knew two things:
1. We don’t eat in the dining room.
2. Even if we did, in his new position as junior waiter he wouldn’t be able to find time to talk to us because he would be so busy.
While I’m happy we are getting to see him and visit with him, and it makes me happy he was so looking forward to seeing us, it makes me a bit sad he (temporarily) passed on the opportunity.

It got me thinking. Why is it that we avoid the dining room? While we ask for a two-top, those are limited and sometimes we have to share a table with others. It’s at those tables where a hierarchy is formed and dominance established within the first few minutes of the conversation.

Let’s say we all start with 100 points. Let’s see how things go for us.

Passenger: Where are you from?
Us: Idaho.
We automatically lose 10 points because they assume we are potato farmers. (We aren’t.) Hubby and I both taught in rural farming communities and wouldn’t consider farmers less worthy than someone else, but this is a cruise ship and others do.

Passenger: Is this your first cruise?
Us: No.
No points lost.

Passenger: Do you cruise a lot?
Us: Sometimes we say yes or some or enough. But we lose another 10 points because the passenger goes on to tell us about how they’ve been on 16 cruises and they are elite and all the special privileges they get with Princess. Privileges they assume we don’t get. (How wrong they are.)

Passenger: How many cruises have you been on?
Us: Again, we usually say some or enough. We again lose another 5 points because since we don’t give out our number it is assumed we haven’t been cruising nearly as much as them.

Passenger: What do you do?
Us: This can go any number of ways. If we say we’re retired and they are retired, they tell us we are too young to be retired and lose 5 points. If we say we’re retired teachers we lose 10 points because we were teachers and they were something much more important than us. If we say retired and they are still working we also lose 10 points because they talk about how their business is just booming and how they can afford to go on any cruise they want.

Passenger: What kind of cabin do you have?
Us: Since we usually say inside, we lose 5 points because they are in a mini suite or suite or balcony. We lose 10 points if they tell us how they never stay in anything less than a mini suite.

Passenger: What’s your favorite cruise line?
Us: Princess. Lose 5 points because their favorite is an upper echelon cruise line we’ve never been able to afford.

Passenger: What’s your favorite cruise?
Us: We talk about how we love both Alaska and the Caribbean but it’s hard for us to choose a specific cruise. We lose another 10 points because we didn’t mention their favorite, whether it was South America or Asia or Australia or wherever.

Passenger: Have you done river cruising?
Us: No. Lose 5 points because they do river cruising and it is so much better than whatever the current cruise is that we are on.

Passenger: What are you doing in xyz port?
Us: We usually say we haven’t decided. We’ll probably wander town and get something to eat. Lose 5 points because we didn’t prebook an expensive private excursion.

Passenger: What’s your favorite part of cruising?
Us: We always say the crew. We realize we’ve lost 20 points when we see how they treat the waiters and junior waiters during the meal. We see how curt they can be to them when they didn’t receive the proper silverware, or the course timing was off, or the meat was undercooked. If they knew our relationship with the crew, how we treated them and how we spent time in port with them, we probably would lose even more points.

Passenger: What did you think of the comedian/show/musical group last night?
Us: We didn’t go. Lose 5 points because aren’t involved in the same activities they are.

And thus they are at the top and we are at the bottom. Repeat this on enough cruises and you get tired of always being the loser. So yeah, I’m good with the decision not to eat in the dining room.

We didn’t always skip the dining room. We always ate there and didn’t mind sharing tables. Didn’t even mind all the questions. But as we traveled more and it became clearer to us what the purpose of the conversation was, we started pulling back from going in there.  Ever so often we give the dining room another chance thinking the outcome will be different. And it never is. But here is the thing – we’re not at the bottom of the totem pole. Most times we are the one at the table with the most days or most cruises or most ports visited. While we will never be a winner of the I’m-more-important-than-you game, we are at peace with who we are. And with what we know. And with what we represent. And we aren’t going to give anyone the opportunity, through the standard cruiser questions, to put us at the bottom.

While many of those travelers at the table would most treasure their picture with the captain, we have another photo we most treasure. It is a blurry one taken many years ago on this very ship. It’s where our love of crew all began. Rushi, Neville, Sundar, Sid, and Victor represent why we cruise and who we hold dear. We've followed them from ship to ship, added in dozens more like them and have followed those new ones from ship to ship, and will keep booking cruises just to see them.

I’ll answer questions from them and others like them a hundred times over.
Our original gang. 
We'll have some extra sleep coming up tonight as we set the clocks back another hour and then we're off to Ponta Delgada tomorrow.