House Rules

15 Jun

Here comes another Sea Day! And it’s Mediterranean Night, so the guests dress up in white, and we get another opportunity to harass them into taking pictures. Once again we walk our rounds during the dinner sessions, and shoot couples and singles, so that tomorrow, maybe, we may sell loads of happy memories. Tonight’s dinner portraits actually come with a mindful twist that should have the passengers jumping for joy, but will undoubtedly be exploited for quite the opposite mood change.

Tomorrow the swimming hotel guests will find a voucher in their cabin that entitles them to one free photo from the Mediterranean Dinner. That’s one €10-photo print per person; a gracious gift that is actually spelled out in most of our passengers’ travel details, yet still bestows a warm feeling of cheap luxury in most of them. At least in those passengers who take that photo.

Obviously, a significant portion of our guests is already sick and tired of cruise photos, and signals us with hand, feet, and swiftly drawn firearms that they do not wish to be present on any more cruise photos until the four speed boats of the apocalypse draw their corpses away. Thus, we do not shoot them. Still, they turn up the day after, wishing to procure their free photo. Again and again, we have to explain to them that one cannot receive a free photo from the Mediterranean Night, if one did not allow a photo to be taken during the Mediterranean Night. They then whine and protest for several minutes, after which they stomp away in frustration, chanting that they won’t ever book a trip with ABC Cruises again. And indeed, with some of these folks it takes up to ten months until they are spotted at the counter of the photo gallery once more, demanding to receive the free photo that they did not allow to be shot in the first place.

Life aboard the ABC RypMeOff is grand

Life aboard the ABC RypMeOff is grand,and so are the prices.

Some of these pedantic pessimists go through great lengths of explanation, swearing that we did not actually come around during their appointed dinner time. That is why we now have to shoot the table numbers that are propped up in the center of each and every table in the restaurant. Just so we can prove to them passengers that they are full of horse manure, and have no right to occupy our precious time with nagging commentary and requests. If we shot your table number, it means we were there, and you were not.

And our time is valuable indeed. Especially in nights when I walk the photo gallery, looking for picture thieves. Since management is not watching the gallery closely, we can actually have one fifteen-minute break every few hours, instead of once per evening, as is common in the mobile photo studios. That is plenty of time to find a bathroom, sit down on a comfortable toilet seat for ten minutes, and solve funky mind puzzles on my smart phone. Alternatively, I could sit on one of the service stairs, but the environment is much less grand, and also bears the risk that some manager might spot me, and report me for carrying a phone during my shift. Rule breaks like this one do not result in disciplinary action, but often enough they do conclude in a long conversation during the nightly manager meeting. As I mentioned before, personal time is valuable aboard the ABC RypMeOff, so we have learned to avoid obvious rule breaks.

Almost every positive crew experience aboard the ABC RypMeOff involves a workaround, featuring obvious rule transgressions and/or inconveniences. But that’s just how it goes out, here on the North Sea. The rules are shit, so we create our own ones.

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