Cruising on the High Seas
BY Job Brother
April 02 2009 12:00 AM ET
Eric Himan, the hunky and gifted musician who was hired as Aquafest entertainment, proved to be the first of us to start showing signs of Internet withdrawal. Because it was cost-prohibitive to use the ship's pay-per-minute computers, none of us had gone online since we'd set sail. Tapping his fingers on the table in a staccato rhythm, he confessed he didn't know how long he could last.
I wanted to tease him for being so silly, but deep down I had the same anxiety. We were the Donner Party of the World Wide Web, and no one knew for sure how long we could survive before killing the ship's officers and pillaging their modems.
Days passed with little circumstance. My boyfriend, an avid sunbather, took advantage of each island's beaches, whereas I would try to break free from the artificial and commercial structures that grew around the ports, to discover a more authentic culture beyond.
As the cruise progressed I became more impressed with Aquafest while simultaneously growing frustrated with the cruise ship itself. The language barrier proved to be the greatest challenge, and led to situations that either made me laugh or cuss, depending on how many Manhattans I'd had.
A simple request to have delivered to our cabin a bowl of soup, a plate of rice, and two hard-boiled eggs resulted in a 40-minute wait, at which point a waiter brought us seven plates of rice! We took one plate and refused the rest, but that didn't stop the kitchen from sending another waiter five minutes later with seven bowls of soup and, true story, 14 hard-boiled eggs.
"Do they think we're a hospital children's ward?"
"I don't know, butâ€¦this soup tastes like creamy pee."