I love cruise ships. There’s something quite magical about sipping a mango tango while ogling the pool boys. In fact, there is really only one part of the cruise experience that I loath. It’s the lifeboat drill. And it is exhausting.
This particularly useless event happens just before your ship leaves its embarkation port. You are already at the bottom of your resources, having battled with the airline that lost your luggage, stood on the dock for two hours, been assigned to the wrong dinner seating and found that your shoes no longer fit very well once the heat exceeds 102 degrees F.
Sure, the life boat drill is the law. The captain swears that, during an emergency, the crew will be there to save your backside vs. their own. The rest of the passengers will maintain an orderly presence during a fire at sea or an iceberg collision or a nasty bout with the Kraken.
Uh-huh. You’ve just seen how everyone behaved when someone took cuts in line out on the dock.
The drill begins almost before you have found your way around the 179 square feet of your stateroom, much less located your muster station. You haven’t had time to finish your first mango tango before you’re expected to arrive for the drill with your life vest. If you think you can hide in your shower or on your balcony, give it up. That nice steward who greeted you like a long lost friend is a stoolie. He will come for you. You will be keel hauled.
If you are a lady of sturdy proportions, your life vest will stick virtually straight out over your chest, leaving no room for your extra chin. It isn’t known as a Mae West for nothing. Since the vest doesn’t bend easily, belting it down is going to cause a certain discomfort, but not quite so much as a mammogram; this is, after all, your vacation.
You now amble down to the muster deck; you will find it a novel experience to be unable to see your feet on the stairs. If you are lucky and your ship has a cavalier captain, you may only have to go sit in the casino and watch a demonstration on how to don the life vest that you have already donned. If your captain is a rule follower, you will be shepherded out onto the deck, jammed against all those strangers and allowed to stare at the itty-bitty lifeboat that is supposed to save your soul.
Again I say, uh-huh.
When the drill is over, you are asked to leave in an orderly fashion, not letting anyone trip over the straps of your vest. Someone easily could do just that because 2,000 people are ripping off vests as though they were infested with lice.
Now you join those same 2,000 on the elevators or stairs as you climb back to your cabin. You collapse on your bed hoping your luggage will arrive before the ship departs. But don’t think you’ll get to stay there for long.
Dinner is served.
Linda B. Myers is a founding member of Olympic Peninsula Authors and writer of such books as “Fun House Chronicles,” and the PI Bear Jacobs mystery series. Her newest novel, “Bear At Sea,” published in March, is now available at amazon.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook.com/lindabmyers.author.