There are a few things that anyone contemplating a cruise must consider before saying “Bon Voyage.” The brochures make the thought of going on a modern day Titanic seem like one of life’s greatest decisions … It’s a no-brainer, right?
My wife and I went on an August cruise to Alaska’s Inside Passage. We had some great times but there were also things we hadn’t anticipated. First, we paid lots of U.S. currency to stay in a room half the size of a prison cell. Let’s just say that child protective services would intervene on the welfare of our children if we expected them to live in a bedroom this small. The bathrooms were even smaller. I had to back out of the shower and turn around and then back in just to be able to wash my other side. The ironic thing was the shower had a safety bar. What was this for? There’s no chance a person could fall in there, tilt maybe, but not fall.
Everyone raves about the food, which is good, but there’s only so much one person can eat. I think Nathan’s Hotdog Eating Champion Joey Chestnut would even yell, “No Mas!” The dining room is like being on a floating food buffet (with two major differences: the food is good and the people are dressed much nicer). I also thought it was ironic that most of the workers bringing wheelbarrows full of food were from third-world countries where their families were probably don’t have enough to eat.
The brochures also don’t warn you about the possibility of rough seas. Each morning the ship offers a forecast for the wave conditions which are classified as calm, wavelets, waves and rough waves. The last condition kind of counteracts the appeal of the all-you-can-eat food.
Then every time the ship docks into a port you’re encouraged to take an excursion. One of these trips offered to fly you to a glacier so you could walk on it. Boy, nothing that excites a Minnesotan more than paying an additional $500 to walk on a big piece of ice.
My wife and decided to take the “Goodtime Girls Walking Tour” in Skagway. It was an old mining town that had once run rampant with miners and brothels. The trip ended with us stopping at the home of some 70-and 80-year old ladies who worked in that specific trade. I figured that they would tell stories of days gone by, but turns out they were the world’s oldest exotic dancers. I guess they made some bad investments in the 1990s. Turns out Beanie Babies didn’t hold their value like everyone thought they would. I heard that if you did stay for the bloomer dance, then you were offered a 10 percent discount if you presented your AARP card.
We also went on a dog sledding tour, but that will be an entirely separate column. We did debate whether or not to go on a Whale Watching Tour. If I wanted to see whales, all I had to do was sit outside the buffet and watch fellow cruisers walk out, and I also wasn’t very excited about going from a large ship (that I was sick of sitting on) to a smaller boat, especially when I heard that they offer snacks like herring and kippered snacks. Wouldn’t that be considered whale bait? Is it really a good idea to anger Moby Dick when you’re in a watercraft half his size? I don’t think so.
If you do decide to go on a cruise after reading this, enjoy yourself, but also consider yourself warned.
Chad Filley is a local comedian. More information on his events can be found at www.chadfilley.com.