Cruising Toward Home

If you’ve never been on a cruise let me clue you in to one thing that’s constantly going on–they’re selling stuff! If it’s not drinks it’s photos. If it’s not photos it’s artwork of questionable value.

The Atlantic’s smooth again and passing beneath my balcony on the Carnival Glory. The sun is out too after a zero visibility start. Life is good today. Reality arrives tommorrow. We’ll be docked by 7:00 AM and off the ship by 9:30! Vacation cruises end quickly.

If you’ve never been on a cruise let me clue you in to one thing that’s constantly going on–they’re selling stuff! If it’s not drinks it’s photos. If it’s not photos it’s artwork of questionable value. They’re always hustling to make another buck. And, of course, they run a casino in a world where conventional regulation doesn’t really exist.

Speaking of the casino, thank you fellow poker players. I either played well, was lucky, or played with people who aren’t very good at the game. Maybe all three. Does it matter?

Our contribution to this secondary Carnival business model (maybe their primary business model) was buying two tours. In Saint John we went with photographer Lance Timmons and had a great time. Today we accompanied Sophie (though it’s really Zsofia from Hungary) on the “Behind the Fun Tour.” We went ‘backstage’ on the ship.

Pretty clever these cruise operators. They’ve taken something that costs them approximately zero and sold it as a high ticket item. It was worth the price!

We met in the Black and White Library on Deck 4 at 9:00 AM. Sophie brief us before we were wanded by a security guard who’d be nearby through the high security zones.

Clicky was specifically excluded! I wish I could have taken my camera but for ‘security reasons’ none were allowed and this rule (and no cell phones) was strictly enforced.

We criss crossed the entire ship going backstage in the theater then down to the lower decks where passengers aren’t normally welcome. Below Deck 1 is Deck 0–on the water line. Below it were Decks A & B. We went there.

We visited kitchens and storeroom, chillers and freezers. The officer in charge of the laundry showed us the machine that automatically folded towels, sheets and the linen napkins used in every restaurant. There were dining rooms for staff and crew and officers… and higher officers… and the captain.

In each kitchen we were met by a chef who took time to explain what was going on and what went on. This was not a Disneyfied tour. This was for people who were curious.

Let me stop here and let you know this tour was very reassuring. The ship is spotless. Everything is in its place. The crew was scurrying hurriedly but organized and orderly.

We headed to engine control room (the engine room itself is off limits) where the Chief Engineer waited and spoke to us. This was like being in the Pentagon. We waited to be buzzed in through an interlocked door. The security guard nervously counted heads.

The Chief Engineer stood before a wall covered with digital schematics of all the ship’s systems. He is in charge of power. It’s power to go, but also power to light and convert salt water to drinking water. This is a complex system of systems many intertwined and interdependent.

Later we headed to the bridge–much larger than you’d expect. It’s an expansive area on Deck 8 actually wider than the ship! Though junior officers were supervising and the ship was moving under automated control the captain was there. It was he who spoke to us and answered our questions. Like the chief engineer the captain gave well thought out and detailed answers.

Just in case you’re curious (and one person on the tour was) it would taken 5:56 in calm seas for the ship to stop moving if the power failed at top speed! That means coasting around two miles. Even if thrown into full reverse the ship would need seven full lengths (over a mile) to come to a halt. This is a behemoth on the water.

We enjoyed the tour. Like I said it wasn’t cheap, but the cruise line didn’t hold back. Fair bargain.

We got a hat, an intricately carved bar of soap (we’d seen one of the chefs carving it) and a few other tschokes. Oh–and photos taken by the ship’s photographer.

There was a chocolate buffet this afternoon. We went. Please? Access to food has never been a cruise concern and it certainly wasn’t this time.

This will be my last post before Connecticut. Over the next few days I’ll be adding more photos. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

One thought on “Cruising Toward Home”

  1. We did the same tour, was it not the best? Zsophia was our tour guide too, she was so much fun.. Glad you took part in it — I thought it was one of the best things I have done yet.

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