Who wants to sit in a cramped aeroplane for 12-14 hours on a flight surrounded by smelly, fidgety, noisy, bad tempered and outright weird passengers? Not any more. That’s why I’ve joined the cruise fanatics, the intelligent people who travel in comfort to their holiday destination.
Cruising to your destination port is a holiday in itself, relaxing on a deckchair watching the ocean go by, or enjoying the many activities on board. Life is never boring on a cruise ship.
This brings me to a favorite pastime of mine, people watching.
Ships on the Princess cruise line have a huge, open Piazza running between deck five through to deck seven, midship. Looking down from the bars on decks six and seven to the floor of the Piazza on deck five provides a never ending spectacle of lifestyle entertainment.
Lounge chairs on deck five of the Piazza are like hen’s teeth. People waiting for an empty chair would literally jump into your grave. It’s a comedy act watching any vacant chairs snapped up within seconds by new inhabitants. If there isn’t some entertainment happening at the time, it’s still a very pleasant place to have a coffee or a beer and a chat. Waiters hover like birds of prey.
Looking down from the bar on an upper deck one afternoon I watched a human drama unfold in the Piazza. A man sitting together with a couple of ladies was having a hell of a time getting any attention. The ladies treated him as though he wasn’t there and kept chatting among themselves. He tried getting a word in but was continually ignored. After ten minutes or so he gave up and swung his chair completely around in frustration with his back turned towards his female companions. The ladies kept chatting behind him oblivious to all around them.
I quickly ordered another Fat Yak and waited for the next enthralling chapter. But wait, the man seemed to have a plan. Thoroughly disgusted with being ignored, he called over a waiter and ordered a pot of tea. Brilliant. The man was attempting to gain favour by quenching the parched throats of his gossiping companions with a nice cup of tea. It wasn’t long before the waiter arrived back with a huge white teapot the size of a watering can.
Now the man was getting some attention as he poured everyone a cup of tea. A three-way conversation ensued, everyone chatting like budgerigars in a cage. All was good again. But the man wasn’t letting this advantage slip, and struck again while the iron was hot. He poured himself and the ladies a second cup of tea. He must have clued up the waiter, because with the second cup of tea a plate of cakes was brought to the table.
After enjoying another Fat Yak, I decided to check on the happy scene below before heading back to my cabin. Once again the man had his back turned to the table in disgust as the two women were back chatting to each other, totally oblivious of his presence.