Brit On The Water


Despite the protestations of The Special One, I’ve never quite been able to understand the point of a holidayvacation on board a cruise ship. The idea of being surrounded with 2000 people whose idea of a good time is spending their evening watching some underworked and slightly camp ‘entertainers’ perform The Birdie Song is enough to send me racing into the arms of a passing Somali pirate. I have a recurring nightmare about pulling out of port and realising that I have no escape from Nigel and Doris (and their hilarious stories of the time that Nigel accidentally washed his hair with mayonnaise).

No, the cruise is simply not for me.

Of course, like all the best over-the-top generalisations, my loathing of cruise liners has absolutely no basis in knowledge. I’ve never stepped on a boat of that size – indeed, I don’t think that I’d even seen one particularly close up until this weekend when we saw the Queen Mary 2 blocking out the sun in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Sadly, all that has now changed. I am now a cruise veteran.

To be fair, there seems to be a lot going in a cruise’s favour. I was admittedly working pretty much round-the-clock at a business conference, the swimming pools had been drained, and I barely went outside for three days. But nonetheless, I can see why some people would possibly get quite into the idea. The ship was enormous, with numerous restaurants, nightclubs, bars and even a casino – as well as a basketball court, a golf range and an art gallery among many other attractions. I’m sure that kids – if any had been allowed on the boat – would have been thoroughly entertained by a crack squad of children’s entertainers. And who can argue with a team of maids who turn your towels into elaborate sculptures of frogs, rabbits or dogs?

All in all then, pretty bearable. Apart from the music, that is.

Never before has such a collection of terrible tunesmithery been gathered together in one place. From the piano player on night one, to the ill-advised Chinese trio on day two, to the over-the-hill male and female combo on the final night, the entertainment was enough to have half of the conference delegates running for the lifeboats, and the rest desperately hoping that the boat was actually called the Titanic.

The first song I heard being played as I walked out on to the deck was – no word of a lie – Lady In Red. And it was downhill from there. Seasons In The Sun, Hello, Chiquitita, Everything I Do (I Do It For You), Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You – rarely can there have been a less enticing set of songs played for a group’s ‘listening’ ‘pleasure’.

The entertainers did have the good grace to look embarrassed, occasionally casting their eyes around the stunned onlookers to make sure that they didn’t know anybody.

At least I think they did. I’d jumped into the Atlantic by the time they played Wind Beneath My Wings.

11 thoughts on “Brit On The Water

  1. Silverback

    Hey you’ve just about mentioned everything on my mp3 playlist there !!!

    I love cruising and, if nothing else, see it as a great way to see lots of places that would take a fortune to see individually….like Caribbean Islands. The best one for that was a cruise to all the Hawaiian Islands as seeing them any other way would’ve seriously dented the old savings.

    My only problem with cruising is avoiding the food which is available 24/7.

  2. Cocktails

    What are the ‘Ents Directors’ on these cruises thinking? My cruise may have been non-stop Air Supply, but at least this is more uplifting than your selection. ‘Seasons in the Sun’!? Nothing like a song about dying to get you in the holiday mood…

  3. Apsidal

    Think positive, Dylan. If they’re going to ruin a song, better that it not be a song that you love!

  4. sarah playle

    My in-laws did a round trip on the QM2 to NY and back – all of the pictures I saw had at least one old soak displaying his medals…. (and thats not a euphamism for something else!)My in-laws (who are 70) loved the experience – but I don’t see the point myself. I am sure I would be hoping for pirates after the first day!

    And can I just say that Chiqitita is a classic!

  5. Almost American

    I have absolutely no interest in cruises as I hate boats. I suppose being on a shop that large might make me forget I was on a boat, especially if there was enough booze involved though.

    I just tagged you BTW, should you care to participate in a meme.

  6. xexpat

    may i recommend david foster wallace’s “a supposedly fun thing i’ll never do again”? given to me when i was forced on to the one and only cruise i have ever taken. it has it all spot on, down to the actual makeup demonstrations and specific magic tricks they had going on during our cruise. yuk. once was more than enough.

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