Saturday, November 20, 2010

Raw Hot Dog Fever-Part Deux

The Saga Continues....
As John is in the middle of this, the first of several hundred announcements that day, the lights all turned out—utter darkness.  A couple of seconds went by, then they came back on, and by the time John was done blabbing about the smoke, the lights went out for good.  I kid you not at the exact moment the lights disappeared, I was kicking my legs over the bed to go and take a shower—I never actually stood up, just got the legs over the edge.  So, needless to say, everybody on the boat at this time now has a big brown spot on their pants, with no way to clean it up!  This cruise couldn’t have been scripted better by the best Hollywood writer!  What a cruise! 

John got back on the intercom a few minutes later to tell people to get out of their cabins and go to the open air, of course that is if you were smelling smoke.  We didn’t smell smoke (we were in the front of the ship, and the fire was in the back), but with no lights, and our adrenaline pumping at full speed, what else were we going to do?  Try to go back to sleep?  I don’t think so!  So I grabbed my camera, and Emily and I were going to the open decks.  Emma and Madison were awake and standing in the hallway trying to get Jim and Jenn to come out with them, but they were on vacation, and you don’t mess with Mrs. Tasker’s sleep while she is on vacation let me tell you!  As I walked past their door I could hear Jenn saying “Aagghh, just leave me alone, I am trying to sleep!”
*All the crew in life jackets...but not the passengers??!! 

Emma and Madi decided to tag along with the cool adults to go and scope out the situation.  We went all over the upstairs area, deck #9, 10, 11.  The closer we got to the rear of the ship, the worse it smelled (I guess that makes sense with just about anything).  The two girls even followed us to the “Adult Only” area, and they were very hesitant to do so, we told them that this was a little different situation than normal, that nobody there really cared how old they were, and they were welcome to sit on the comfortable lounge chairs.  Of course they did get some dirty looks from some of the really old people who have never seen a kid before, because all they do is hang out in the exclusive “Adults Only” area.  We were as loud and obnoxious as we could be, just to make their stay a little more fun! 
**Our "evacuated" sign.  One thing you hope to never see on a cruise! 

 After about an hour Em and I decided to go back down and see what the rest of the family was doing.  To our amazement Jenn was out of bed and out in the main lounge area of the ship on deck #3, “Our cabin boy made us get out!  They said that we had to evacuate all of the rooms!  Aagghh!”  This was true.  Cruise Director John came over the intercom and told all of us to get out of the staterooms, we didn’t need to grab our life vest, but we needed to get out due to smoke.  It wasn’t very comforting though when we saw the entire crew in their life preservers and not one of the passengers!  Now I wish they at least would have made us try to put on our life jacket that previous day during the practice evacuation, that way I at least would have known where to find my life jacket!

**Sitting in the pitch black.  We had to use the strobe lights on the life jackets to see anything in our rooms.

While we were semi-comfortably sitting on the couch next to the piano in the main lounge, John kept saying things on the PA system like, “We still don’t know what the problem is, but nothing works, no water, no toilets, no lights, no…” you get the picture.  Nothing worked!  He also kept telling us that they were getting closer and closer to finding out what the problem was.  He would say over and over, “I repeat, there were no flames, it was a flameless fire, a ‘smoke’ fire.”  Right, that makes sense because smoke would completely knock out an entire ship’s electricity and engines!  “Whatever, John!  You ever heard the phrase, ‘Where there’s smoke, there’s fire!’” (That quote makes perfect sense now!).

**The Hoarders gone wild!

Have you ever seen that TV show called “Hoarders”?  That is what happened during meal times, starting with breakfast on Monday morning.  Cruise Director John told us that the crew was working on making some sandwiches for everybody (3500 passengers), and that the crew (1000+ more people to feed) was going to be passing them out.  He also said that for the time-being the sodas were free, at the bars.  Now, back to “Hoarders”, the sandwiches finally came, and people were grabbing as many as they could, “this might be the last time we get food on this boat!”  Yes, sandwiches were disappearing off of the trays as fast as they were brought down the stairs from the Lido Deck.  Then something funny happened, we got the sandwiches in hand—two pieces of white bread, with a piece of lettuce, and anything else that would fit between two pieces of bread: ham, or a tomato, or cheese, or corned beef, or my favorite, beets!  Yummy!

When Gary and Becky realized that this was the meal for the morning, they said, “No way!”  They were taking their chances at the Lido Deck!  They were going to try and steal something else, what else?—anything else!  45 minutes later, we are chowing down on a scrumptious sandwich, and here comes Gary with a tray full of fruits, cereal, and milk…wow, it actually worked!  “Where is Mom?” The answer to this question is generally, “I don’t know, she was right behind me.”  This time was not much different, but Gary replied in addition, “she went to find some cream cheese for her bagel.”  Reasonable I thought—who wants to eat a cream cheese-less bagel?  So, another 30 minutes pass, here comes Becky, and you can tell something is wrong by the look on her face.  10 paces from us, toting a tray practically overflowing with fruit, cereal, and a bagel, she says “How can they not have any cream cheese on this whole ship?”  She had gone on a mission, and she does not give up easily when she is determined, and she was determined!  Unfortunately, she was not successful locating the spread for her bagel.

**You have to watch this video!  It's so funny!

“They are going to have to do something for us.  This is not right!  They can’t keep us on this boat for much longer under these conditions!”  This was stated by the patriarch of the family at around 9:30am while we are still semi-“relaxing” by the piano.  Keep in mind, we had about 12 cans of Diet Coke and another 4 cans of Sprite Zero, amongst fruit out the wazoo, and 6 individual boxes of Cheerios and Froot Loops—Yeah we were struggling!

Seriously though, what do you do when not a single toilet on a cruise ship works?  The answer is easy: Just go, but don’t flush!  Boy did it get nasty!  We would be hanging out watching the pool—because the pumps weren’t working to get the water into the pool, which would have enabled us to get into the pool—and one of us would have to go.  We would then leave the comfort of the lounge chair to the public restroom right by the Lido Restaurant.  It probably would be best for me not to get too descriptive right here because the other 3499 passengers on the ship had the same idea, doing all of their business in the public restroom, and not their cabin—need I say more?  Just imagine…nasty! (Ask Emily if you want the REAL nasty, true details!)

Our good buddy John came back on the intercom to announce that lunch was to be in the Lido, and not to have everybody go at the same time, but try to spread it out.  “Spread it out?  Not when this might be my last meal ever!”  Again, everyone had this same thought process.  I kid you not that we waited a good 1 ½ -2 hours in line to get our beet sandwiches!  I will also like remind you to think of “Hoarders”.  Again, the closer you got to the front of the line,  the slower it would move, also like the lines at the very beginning of this non-vacation vacation, everyone was allowing anybody that was semi-related to them to just jump into line and get their food—“no problem, sure, why not?”

I need to mention at this point something else about feeding time—it seemed as if none of the crew was there to pick up the trays.  It was quite sad to see that on some of the trays, those “hoarders” who thought they were never going to see food again that grabbed 10 sandwiches each, decided half-way through their meal that they probably would see food again and decided to leave their sandwiches sitting on the tray.  Not having anyone there to clean them up, and no garbage cans to throw them away in, yes, these sandwiches began to rot, and soon the aroma of those lovely rotting sandwiches began to permeate the air.  So, in addition to the toilet overflow smell, we now had rotten sandwich thrown into the mix.  “Ugh, will this never end?”

Keep in mind that all of our meals were on the Lido Deck (deck #9) and we resided on deck #2, remember that there were no elevators, so the stairs were now dedicated for the use of everyone!  Old people in wheelchairs, walkers, scooters, etc included.  That also meant that the crew needed to use stairs to transport the food, dishes, and garbage.  It was great, the left side stair case was now permanently the crew’s “passing” chain (this literally became their “home” for the trip, they had little piles of food and trash next to them on every single stair!), and the other side was for us “spoiled” guests, thankfully we were not part of the crew.  These stair cases also became the natural line formation for all of us waiting to get our sandwiches from the Lido.  Are you getting the picture?  Stairs and sandwiches became our life, and if one person on that cruise gained weight, they had some secret stash of jelly beans, or Blow Pops! 
To be continued....


Johnson said...

Keep the story coming. Loved the video. This all sounds quite miserable and very disgusting. Hope they give you a suite on your free cruise.

Jen said...

Wow. Thank goodness for Jake's great journal writing. I want more!

The Fox Family said...

your killing me here! I thought it was just 2 parts...theres a third??? holy cow! My question is...if the power was out, how was the intercom system working?

Meredith said...

this is so hilarious. And, I loved the video. Oh how I miss the Jewkes clan! Especially Gary and Becky! :)

Jessica Sedgwick said...

Love the video--so Mom. Oh, and I'm glad you finally realized you were missing two little girls, but really didn't care one way or the other, even though one of them was my daughter! They can fend for themselves, right? Just kidding...I know they had a great time with you all :)

Ryan and Andrea said...

GREAT descriptive writing-thanks for the details, well for leaving some out!! The video is a classic! So sorry to hear you were actually on that cruise. I can't even imagine.