Breaking the cruise rules

19 May

“No-one is allowed to carry food or drink in hallways.” That message is posted every ten metres along the crew corridors, and is reinforced by our manager at least once a week. However, it creates a mysterious conundrum: if neither food nor drink are allowed to be carried through the hallways, how do they ever reach the cabin?

yellow fields in Invergordon, Scotland

One of my friends once bought a bread in port, and was not allowed to take it aboard. He stood in front of security, and ate the entire bread in one go.

The only acceptable way of transporting beverages and food items aboard the ABC RypMeOff is in sealed bottles and other containers. Said containers are to be carried in closed bags, which is why half of the crew constantly has a paper dangling from their arm, if they are moving between shifts. Those are the rules aboard our swimming hotel. So, whatever, let’s just pretend we are all too incompetent to carry a bottle of water without spilling its content over our guests.

Similarly, food is only allowed to exist in your cabin, if it is sealed. The masters mean “sealed by its maker”, so once you open a package of biscuits, you better finish them all. That would put all the weightwatchers aboard into deep trouble, if the cruise meals were not making them fat and unhappy already.

Fruits and vegetables are not allowed to visit our cabins at all. Again, those are the rules of society. Because some people keep mouldy peaches until fruit flies darken the sky, the rest of us are not allowed to store fruits at all. Every day I feel a bit more constrained by the plethora of rules aboard this vessel. A frustrating majority of those regulations are attempts to overcompensate for sleights of previous crew members. Filipinos and Asians in particular used to brew hot curry in their cabin, and toss the leftovers under the bunk bed. And because they had no concept of hygiene we now have to suffer that silly no-food rule, regardless of how inedible some of the mess food actually is.

Breakfast buffet for cruise crew

We wouldn’t need to bunker food, if the meals in the mess were tasty or healthy. Unfortunately they are neither.

Today the company added a novelty item to our lunch buffet in the Staff Mess: the green banana. Now, everyone knows that the perfectly ripe banana is brown like the average inmate of a US prison. But since such degree of ripeness requires the investment of time, and since ABC Cruises rarely spends any of that on its crew, I don’t expect to find ripe bananas aboard this vessel. But these green sticks are really taking the piss. I saw one of the crew members trying their teeth on it, and after initial struggle over the tough peel, and resentment over the stale-tasting interior he actually managed to consume it with a straight face. His taste buds have probably been sufficiently dulled by the amply supplied green apples that the company graced us with in these past weeks.

Once more I am happy that my dress pants have relatively deep pockets, which allows me to store two green bananas on the left, and a few bread roles on the right. Nobody else really seems to care about the ABC Code of Law, so I don’t see why I should. Back in my cabin the bananas go into the cupboard, where they will fester for a week. Room inspections are usually announced one week in advance, so in case of an emergency I would have enough warning to hide the green sticks somewhere in the common area. And thus I eat bread, and catch up on my writing. Yes, in my cabin. Take that, ABC Cruises!

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