travel

Signs Your Cruise Ship is actually a Pirate Ship

You may think you’ve signed on for a fantastic cruise in the Caribbean, but you may be in for the surprise of your life.

My wife and I recently booked a Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean and were shocked when, at the last minute, it was canceled. Whoever heard of a cruise being canceled where hundreds of thousands of dollars are at stake? In all fairness, the cruise company refunded our money along with some malarkey about renovations, but I think a whole lot more than that was going on. Just between you and me, and please don’t tell anyone this, because I don’t want it to get around, but I think it had a whole lot to do with pirates and less to do with making a ship looking good for a bunch of tourists, most of whom are half in the bag for seven straight days.

Think about it before you take another sip of your rum. Our ship was supposed to be travelling in the Caribbean. The Caribbean! The epicenter of piracy during the Golden Age of Piracy. I’ve studied this topic pretty intensely, so it’s hard to pull the wool over my eyes. Maybe an eyepatch but not wool. Let me put it this way. The spirit of Blackbeard and his kind is alive and well in the Caribbean. If you doubt that, you obviously haven’t been to a Jimmy Buffett concert or heard his song, A Pirate Looks at Forty.

At the risk of betraying my brothers under the black flag, I’m going to say no more. What I will do is give you a list of thirty signs that the next cruise ship you sign up for may not really be a cruise ship at all. You can do your homework, but sometimes that just isn’t enough. My wife and I know that firsthand.

  1. Your travel agent’s name is Black Bart Jr. or Black Sam Bellamy.
  2. Crew members refer to passengers as Scurvy Dogs.
  3. The navigator of the ship uses a treasure map instead of navigational equipment to set the ship’s course.
  4. All the crew members finish their sentences with, “Aarrrgh!”
  5. Pirates are constantly doing cannonballs in the swimming pool.
  6. Every itinerary ends up the same way. On a desert island with you and a shovel, digging for treasure while 50 pirates look on, sipping rum.
  7. Half the crew members have one leg. The other half wear an eye patch. And the other half have a hook. {And before ya go correctin’ me math, quit yer bellyachin’ because I gave ya an extra fifty percent. It’s the pirate way!)
  8. If you’re awakened every morning by the thunder of cannons, it’s a good bet you’re not on yer typical cruise ship.

 

  1. The black flag flying from the topmast is another good sign yer not gettin’ a normal cruise experience.
  2. When your ship pulls into a foreign port, instead of receiving a hearty welcome, everybody’s firing cannonballs at ya.
  3. No matter what drink you order at the bar, ye always get rum.
  4. The ship’s dress code is pirate-casual. For the uninformed of you, that’s wearing the same t-shirt you had on last month complete with stains from every dinner ya ate.
  5. Instead of presenting you with a menu, the head waiter wears a shirt with stains from all the meals of the last cruise. To order, all ya have to do is point to the appropriate glob.
  6. Your bed is a hammock stretched out next to 2,000 other hammocks.
  7. Bathroom facilities are at the very fore of the ship where a single seat with a round hole perches over the sea. Magazines are considered amenities so expect to pay extra.
  8. If you sign up for a deck activity and find yourself swabbing it, you need to have a little talk with yer travel agent.

 

  1. If ya still think yer on a pirate ship, see if ye have a Sail and Swipe card. If not, then yer going to have to pay with pieces-of-eight or doubloons. Lacking that, everything’s going to cost ya an arm or a leg.
  2. On the upside, every itinerary includes three visits to Port Royal, “the wickedest city on earth.” Tell ‘em Captain Morgan sent ya.
  3. Every night, it’s always the same movie, Pirates of the Caribbean.
  4. Normal cruise directors don’t wear a tricorn hat and wave a sword wildly at the passengers. Ya could complain, but it’s going to be a long swim back to port.
  5. Unlike real cruise ships where they’ll confiscate any rum you smuggle on board, a pirate crew will regale you as a hero.
  6. But be forewarned, mate. If you smuggle deodorant on board, expect to be clapped in chains.
  7. On a pirate ship, be prepared to swap omelets and bacon for grog and hardtack. That’s a dried piece of bread that’s had the life baked out of it. Any weevils that crawl out of it are complimentary.

 

  1. There is no art for sale on a pirate ship. But don’t be surprised if you find things in your luggage being auctioned off.
  2. Instead of attending mandatory muster where everyone is taught how to abandon ship in an emergency, passengers are taught how to dodge flying cannon balls.
  3. When you win a trivia game, you get a choice between a shot of rum and a little booty.
  4. Your beverage package consists of light rum, dark rum, and ale. In fact, it consists of anything except water. With all the disgusting things fish do in it, pirates aren’t taking any chances.
  5. There are no slot machines on board a pirate ship, but there are dice and card games run by dealers with a hook. But don’t try to cheat. The next hand that’s dealt might be yer own.
  6. Real cruise ships have deck chairs, so if you have to sit with 14 others on a Dead Man’s Chest, you’re probably not on the Celebrity or the Carnival.
  7. Finally, remember the galley doubles as the infirmary, and the cook moonlights as the ship’s doctor. And they don’t accept Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

That’s it, folks. If you’re planning a cruise in the near future. I suggest you pay close attention to this list. And if you talk to Black Bart, tell him the Uncommon Mariner sent you! Maybe I’ll be seeing ya out there on the high seas. And remember me motto: A little booty, a little rum, and me saucy wench make for a lot of fun.  Aarrrgggh!

                       Bill Hegerich

                      The Uncommon Mariner

 

What experience have you had with pirate ships or cruise ships? Go to https://billhegerichsr.wordpress.com/2019/02/26/signs-your-cruise-ship-is-actually-a-pirate-ship/ and tell me about it.

Summer Warning: Alligators

the hungry gator origin

Two-year-old Lane Graves died on June 14 at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa after being attacked by an alligator. When the gator lunged for him just after dark at the Seven Seas Lagoon section of the resort, his mother and father immediately jumped into the water to rescue him but were unable to free him from the alligator’s jaws. His body was recovered the next afternoon fully intact.

Like the ten plus toddlers who have died because they were left in cars since the start of the summer season, Lane’s death is a horrific tragedy. Nothing will fill the void that the parents of these children are experiencing. The most we can do is learn from their deaths.

It may surprise you that alligator deaths are somewhat rare. Since records have been kept in 1947, there have been only 24 deaths. In perspective that’s one death every three years. When that person is a loved one the statistics are outrageous.

A week before Baby Graves’ tragic death, an alligator was discovered with a man’s body in its mouth in Lake Hunter in Lakeland, Florida.

Last year two deaths involving alligators were reported in Florida though only one was officially blamed on an alligator. One involved a 22-year old man whose body was found in a pond in Brevard County, Florida. A month before that, a 62-year old man died while snorkeling at Blue Spring State Park near Orange City, Florida. Because no one witnessed the actual attack, it may not have been added to the death toll. That’s not comforting.

Last summer a man in Orange County Texas in his late twenties died after ignoring posted signs warning of alligators in the area. One of the last things he did before lunging into the water was taunt a nearby alligator.

Whether you’re a mariner on the high seas or the occasional tourist, if you travel long enough and wide enough, you’re likely going to find yourself in a land where gators and crocodiles are abundant. It could be a trip to Florida, or a cruise to some tropical island.

Avoid water and swimming at night. Alligators come out to feed from dawn to dusk. That’s not to say, you won’t be attacked during the day if you swim in a pond alligators inhabit. Use common sense.

Alligators feed on small animals, birds, and turtles. They’re not particularly interested in adult humans. They’re way too big. Children and pets are the size of the creatures they hunt so take precautions to safeguard them. With splashing, even adults submerged in water look more like a meal to a ravenous gator.

Crouching or kneeling before an alligator is something only a moron would do. Let me tell you a story about Lester. There was this photographer who thought it was pretty cool to get in the face of an alligator so he could take his picture. Evidently Lester never heard of using a longer lens to bring him up closer. When he squatted down, Lester was signing his own death warrant. All the gator had to do was execute it. You see, when Lester knelt, he made two fatal mistakes with one motion. He made himself smaller by crouching, and he put his body in a mechanical disadvantage. With one swift lunge, that gator would have had Lester’s camera and his neck crushed in the vice of his jaws before he even pressed the shutter. The gator let Lester live that day, but given his lack of common sense, my money is on the gator next time round, who has a brain no bigger than a walnut but evidently bigger than Lester’s.  Continue reading →