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I'd like to thank Tina Fey for scaring the daylights out of me on my recent cruise in the Caribbean. And no, to my knowledge, she wasn't there. Allow me to explain.

For my own entertainment, I packed her memoir, Bossypants, in my carry-on, and read it while waiting in airports and while lying by the pool on the cruise ship. I packed it because (a) I had already started it; (b) it was the paperback, so I figured I could donate it to the ship's library when done and not have to cart it home; and (c) it was funny, and therefore good "beach" reading. Right? Well, sure. Mostly.

Until, that is, I reached the chapter entitled "My Honeymoon, or A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again." Turns out that she and her (then airline-phobic) husband had taken a cruise to Bermuda after their wedding, and that one the way back to the U.S., there had been a fire on board the ship.

In the book, Tina recalls the announcement of the fire. "Bravo, bravo, bravo," it began, with an announcement of the fire's location on the ship. The announcement doesn't mention "fire", by the way, just "bravo". A later announcement from the cruise director told Tina and her shipmates to head to their muster stations, and eventually they were told that there had been a fire, but it had been extinguished.

Much later in the chapter, she relates a conversation she had after her return home with her friend James, who had been an entertainer on cruise ships in the past. James is quite upset to hear about the announcement. As Tina writes, "Bravo is serious. The more times they say it, the more serious it is. The most times they ever say it is four times, and if they say it four times, it means you're going down to your watery grave." Ms Fey follows this revelation with other interesting cruise ship info, like that it's the entertainers who always man the lifeboats, something my sweetheart and I had noticed at our muster station during the obligatory life boat drill, conducted before we set sail. One of our guys (who was obviously stoned, by the way) had the word "musician" on his nametag, and turned out to be in the orchestra. Another turned out to be one of the dancers in the production shows. The barky guy in charge of the muster station must have been in charge of lights or sound or something.

As Tina Fey explained, the entertainers are in charge of lifeboats because everyone else on the ship has other duties to attend to. Such as putting out fires, I suppose. Also, according to Ms Fey, each lifeboat has a gun in it, and whichever entertainer is the lifeboat captain has been instructed to shoot any troublemakers. *The More You Know*

While Tina Fey occasionally trades in hyperbole in her book for humorous reasons, I didn't get the sense that these pieces of information were false or incorrect. In fact, our lifeboat folks were all entertainers, which seemed to bolster things.

This explains why I nearly had a conniption on the fifth morning of our cruise, while we were docked at St. Lucia, when the chimes rang and the announcement came over. "Bravo, bravo, bravo... Deck Zero, Starboard Side. Bravo, bravo, bravo."

I banged on the bathroom door and urged my sweetheart to hustle, appalled and not more than a little concerned about the announcement, although hey - at least we were in port. It wasn't until after the announcer repeated the "Bravo, bravo, bravo" announcement that the phrase "This is a drill for all crew members" was added.

At that point, I let out the breath I hadn't realized I'd been holding and relaxed about the need to get off the ship in a hurry. Although for the remainder of the cruise, I was very careful not to piss off any of the entertainers, just in case the lifeboats ended up deployed before we got back to San Juan.





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