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, simply relaxing on a deckchair watching the ocean go by, or enjoying the many activities on board ship. Life is never boring on a cruise ship.

This brings me to a favorite pastime of mine, people watching.

Piazza Perspective

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 a bar on an upper deck one afternoon I watched a human drama unfold in the Piazza. A man sitting together with two 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 turned his chair completely around with his back to his female companions in frustration. The ladies kept chatting behind him.

I quickly order 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. This should curry some favor from the ladies? 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 one of the waiters, 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. The man had his back turned to the table in disgust as the two women were back chatting to each other, totally oblivious to his presence.