Tag Archives: house rules

Breaking the cruise rules

19 May yellow fields in Invergordon, Scotland

“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!

CRUISE – Sea, Security, and Sale Day

2 May ABC RypMeOff

Just like yesterday my daily safety training does not actually happen. Maybe I missed some announcement, but there are three other crew members with me in the room, so I am certainly not the only one. As before I just wait out my thirty minutes, catching up on some of the much needed sleep. Every day I get to bed around 2 A.M., and I have to be back up by 8:30, or not get any breakfast. I don’t think I can do this long-term, especially since I have great trouble sleeping during the day. Oddly enough I can doze and nap very effectively whenever I sit in this training room. Maybe that’s a result of my first sleepy encounters with the incompetent Italian safety officer. I will try to come here more often; if only to quietly read a book, or nap off in my spare time. Man, I wish the chairs were more comfortable.

ABC RypMeOff - crew cabin

My shared cabin aboard the ABC RypMeOff

Back in my cabin I am granted approximately ten minutes of rest before a security lad knocks on the door, and loudly announces a room inspection. The immediate outlook actually excites me. Maybe this unannounced visit will spur my cabin mate Pancho to a tidier life, and reinforce the idea of not smoking in our bathroom. He might even receive a warning, for his pile of empty cigarette packs in the bathroom, next to the toilet bowl that likely still contains a rim of ash, a horrendous smell, and the butt of his last cigarette. Sadly, Pancho is called off his duty and back to the cabin before the inspector is allowed to make his round. Thus, he manages to flush the toilet before anyone sees anything.

So the security pal searches and scrutinizes, and once a minute morns the impossibility to perform a proper inspection with all the garbage lying around. It is quite entertaining to see him scramble through the disorganised dump that is our shared cabin, and exclaim his dismay about its troublesome appearance. He surely finds plenty of issues with the state of affairs, but they are all Pancho’s problems, so I can’t be bothered to comment. Without trouble he locates the empty cigarette boxes and beer bottles in the bathroom, and explains, once more, that neither alcohol nor nicotine are allowed to be consumed in the cabin.

That is pretty much it, though. The visit does not result in a warning (a collection of three of those leads to your termination of contract), or any other official announcement of his dismay. Apparently the blatant violation of policies regarding drug use and tidiness do not suffice as evidence of ignorance.

My shared non-smoking toilet aboard the cruise ship

The toilet in our shared smoking parlour (bathroom) usually smelled the way it looked.

Security Sam finds two items of concern, though. Pancho owns a set of very small plastic bags, and my own luggage contains a small stack of nitrile gloves. For the schooled mind of the cruise-trained inspector those items can only be utilised in one business – yes, we have ourselves a secret drug lab! Luckily we have been clever enough to hide it from investigating eyes, so even a thorough search of our private cubicle does not yield any traces of methamphetamines or other illegal substances. I’m not certain how we managed to hide our diabolic business for all these days, or how we acquire a steady stream of costumers among our weekly rotating line of passengers. But at least I finally can make use of that diabolic laugh that I have been practicing for these past years.

Oh, and it is the very last day of the cruise. Everybody in the department is in the shop, selling photos and illegal substances. Everyone but the two freshlings. Both of us stand alone and forgotten in our studios, void of any hint of photo-willing passengers. That ain’t surprising, considering that tomorrow the vast majority of passengers will leave the ship before we can even pin the new portraits to the wall! But the photographers shall roam where the manager demands it. And thus, we roam, and suffer our boredom in silence.