This last cruise has been a charter cruise from Stockholm to Copenhagen, with one extra stop in Russia, Estonia, Finland, and, oh yes, two more Stockholms thrown in. It isn’t on the official schedule, so if you wondered if my ship has dropped off the map this week – well, it kinda has.
“Why Stockholm? 3 Stockholms in one week, what business to these people have with Stockholm?” asked one guy in the office. You can imagine my answer which brought the house down. “A musician with a sense of humour at 9am, that’s a good one..” It wasn’t that funny, but hey, I’ll take it when I can.
Now who has chartered us for a whole week? These people are young, and of the top sales people in their field. Their company represents 7% of the world’s largest grossing industry. We were panicking, because we were told the average age would be about 30, as opposed to the usual 70 years old guest on a regular day. How to entertain them? What will they be like? We can’t even predict their moves. None of our songs are going to work..
We hired a guy to entertain the piano bar, a hired gun to keep the joint jumpin‘. It is a success. The room is packed full of screaming people. They are singing along and there is standing-room only.. The entertainer is delighted. “This company is fantastic!” he crows. Does everyone think this is the norm?
I am sitting in the office on the first day, and a lady comes rushing in. She seems to be in charge of the whole thing. “Please do not mention our Company’s pill-shaped acronym anywhere – not on paper, not on signs, and not on stage.” Michael Moore would have a field day if this celebration of record profits were to leak. Their pill-shaped acronym will remain anonymous.
It is nice to have young, good looking people around. It puts life into the place. Each crew member was immediately presented with a print out on their door, a friendly reminder of the entire details of “Seagoing Personnel Manual Chapter 16.8 – Fraternization With Guests”, which, considering their average age, isn’t usually a problem. This week, one friendly crewmember has already received a free ticket home.
Some of you were asking what happens when they kick a crew member off the ship. Don’t worry, it is highly illegal to just kick someone off a ship and then sail away. The ship is obligated to re-patriate that person, says international maritime laws. If they were still holding your pay, they could deduct you for the flight. That’s why it is always smart to withdraw your money whenever you can. Otherwise, they have to pay for you.
S went home for good, he left us to join a monastery for a little while, and I wish him peaceful stitching. Apparently joining a monastery isn’t too expensive, either. Roque also left us for good, for at 70 years of age he was 9 years over the age limit.. We will miss the Gaucho. We will see him in Montreal, though.
The new guys are here, and they will be fine replacements for those that went before them. The new S is an interesting character. Let’s call him J. There will be lots of stories about him in the future, I can just feel it. He proudly tells me about his debut CD, free jazz trombone and accordion, while the other musicians snicker in the background, and I try and keep a straight face. It sounds like a great project. And one for the kid’s stockings at christmas, laughs the Sax player, sending the Trumpet guy into hysterics.
The other new guy signed on, and they put him on deck three with a smelly waiter from some east european country. Apparently this guy’s feet really stink.
“What’s his name?” I ask. “Dimitri, or something?”
“Actually, yeah, that’s his name, seriously, I saw his name tag.”
I can’t believe that’s really his name, I think. “What’s your room number in case I have to contact you?” I say to the new musician.
Later on I am at the buffet, where an east european is being very friendly to me. “May I carry your tray?? We had a very nice conversation on the bus the other day” he says, “and if you want another very nice conversation, I’m in room 3328”