Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Night Owl

It's 2:19 AM EST as I start this, a blog post which is officially an update of ship life and unofficially something I can do after drinking whiskey and deciding to do laundry. Liquor and chores. It worked for the pioneers. Wheeeeee.

Most everyone except night staff (housekeeping, wait staff, engineers, etc.) are sleeping. Some passengers are still kicking, refusing to go to sleep, but for the most part, all's quiet on the western front.

In comparison to the controlled tumult of the daytime activity that grips a fully-functioning cruise ship, business after hours can be startling in it's subdued, almost respectful quiet. Our cabin is located starboard side/forward, or at the right and on the front. The ship vibrates a bit from rumble of the diesel engines. The ocean gives you a jolt and a bounce every so often, but for the most part is a steady rocking hand, with occasional waves jumping up and slapping our porthole. Yes, we have a porthole. Yo ho yo ho.

So, what do you do on a cruise ship at two in the morning?

One thing is sleep. Sleeping on the ship is no problem for some, impossible for others. Either you're out as soon as your head hits the pillow, or you're up all night from the motion of the ship and watching Bollywood movies on the crew channel. This is something I discovered when I thought coffee and peanut M&M's would make a cracking dinner. I was wired for sound and ended watching an Indian movie about a woman impersonating a man to play in the most important cricket match of the season. Series. Time frame. Whatever it's called. The point is it was riveting, a bizarre Rudy/Juwanna Mann hybrid that had me glued to the screen. My understanding of cricket as a game is non-existent, so I had no idea what was going on, who was winning, why things were being hit where. All I knew is that the woman with the beard NEEDED to win, and that, from the acting and editing, everything that was happening was very important. I think she won. I'm not sure. Regardless, RIVETING. That's one thing you can do if you can't sleep.

You can also go to The Blue Lagoon, the restaurant on the ship that stays open 24 hours a day, and has supplied countless chicken sandwichs to the Second City cast after shows. They have the same 8 things on the menu every night, a tiny diner without the fluorescent lighting and blue eye-shadow. The staff doesn't call you "honey" or bum cigarettes off you, but they do bring you grub and considering the hour, are sweet as the lemon meringue usually rotating on a carousel under a heat lamp.

The crew has the Crew Bar, which usually opens around 8 and closes, well, now. Business picks up as shifts end and people buzz in for a quick one before they hit the rack. Just before closing time is usually the most crowded. There's a DJ, sometimes live music or karaoke. There are two X-Boxes that are always, always always in use. There's a pool table, which is serious business, so I avoid it completely. No one is going to mistake me for Fast Eddie Felson, so I leave it to the professionals. If you want to be impressed, watch a crew member who worked a 12 hour shift sink the 9 ball in the corner pocket on a moving ship while holding a Corona. If you want to get mad, watch me break feebly then try to sink anything without putting my stick through the felt. There's also a foosball table, which I refuse to play because apparently it's a violation of etiquette to spin the handles super-fast, which is patently ridiculous. If you're not supposed to do that, why make them spin in the first place, I ask you. No one ever answers.

Those who work dress the ship up for the daylight. Outside areas are power-washed. The swimming pools and hot tubs are drained, cleaned and filled again. Room service hustles food to whoever calls. The main crew hallway, off of which our cabin is situated, is vacuumed and touched up for tomorrows traffic, which will be heavy, as we are at sea and all hands are engaged in the act of entertainment.

The crew sleeps. Comedians do laundry. The ship sails back to New York.

Night time on the Jewel.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The People In Our Neighborhood....

So basically we live in a floating circus....

We have Jugglers, Magicians, Fire eaters, and contortionists as our neighbors.

In this post we are about to inroduce you to just a few of the wonderful people who we having been living with these past 3 months.

Meet JP... Jean-Pierre Parent.

He is the comedy magician on the ship and he is as wonderful as he is short. Yes, that was a backhanded way of saying this little man has so much talent packed into his 5' nothing frame that you can't help but love the little guy.

Carisa and JP host "Dancing with The Jewel Stars" together and Kevin and JP drink together...

This little guy is always a good time. If you don't already have one - We suggest getting a magician as a friend as soon as you can!

Next up: Meet Stephanie.
This little firecracker is our Personal Trainer on the ship.

She is the one that makes us pay for our food sins. She runs the yoga, spin, pilates, and all other sort of classes.

Stephanie makes us hurt.
Next: Meet Kim.
Kim is the Port and Shopping Consultant on the Ship.

If you ever need diamonds, watches, liquor, a small child, ANYTHING... YOU ASK KIM!

Kim knows where to get it cheaper, quicker and better then anyone else.

She also has a love for all things fancy - which makes her way out of our friendship league...

...but her love for all things alcoholic puts us in her good graces.

And those are just a few of the magical people in our neighborhood. Stay tuned next time to say Hello to some Kittens and meet a man who lives off vodka and sweats glitter.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Hey! We went to Epcot!

We're excited! Carisa's excited! I'm excited too! Trust me.

Epcot is a magical passageway to different times and cultures. You can go to Mexico. Forget seeing actual Mayan ruins in Honduras. See one interns built in Southern Florida.

Or a Viking hall in Norway! Remember Vikings? Now you can live just like one, except with deodorant and, you know, laws against stealing your wife and lighting you on fire.

You can also travel to......SPACE!!!! OOOOOOOOooooooohhh! These are the actual helmets they used on Apollo 11. You can buy them at the gift shop.

After space, go to Germany with John and Andy.

Then France with me and John. They have beer. We know, because we found some.

Hey, you like art? They got all kinds of art in France. John and Carisa just made some.

Then, they took an old-timey picture of it. Carisa's got the phosphorus burns to prove it! Bully!

Right next to France? Morocco.

Then, of course, England. We got confused about the capacity of these things.

John saw a princess and Freaked. Out.

On the way out, Carisa and Andy picked up some mouse ears. Proof that we toured the world.

Yes indeed. Proof.

Carisa looking adorable.

Me looking like Boba Fett.


Monday, June 7, 2010

New York With Lauree and Marc

As you well know every week you port in New York. The ship disgorges it's old passengers and scarfs down a brand new batch, as it becomes increasingly clear that I should eat lunch before I write these. While all the passenger switching is happening, the crew sneaks off and wanders about the Breezy Banana. Sometimes we are joined by family. This weekend...that happened.

When we met up with Marc and Lauree! Woohoo! In town from Bawlmer (or Baltimore, if you're some college fancyboy) we spent the day with them in Manhattan.

This is Marc checking a map while Lauree looks around Rockefeller Center, but we're getting ahead of ourselves.

Carisa and Lauree at Eatery NYC, an awesome breakfast spot in Hell's Kitchen. If you told someone in Hell's Kitchen around 1982 that there would be a kick-ass, high-end eatery named Eatery in the neighborhood, they would have laughed in your face. Then they'd probably beat you with a tire iron and dump you in front of the Javits Centre, since things like that seemed to happen every 6 minutes in Hell's Kitchen back then. If you were surprised, that was your fault. It's called Hell's Kitchen, for pete's sake. Thankfully it's 2010, and we had a beatings-free breakfast.

Carisa got this. It's French Toast with ice cream on it.

This was for the table, Macaroni and Cheese with onions.

I had this, Kobe Beef Sliders with french fries. I get french fries for breakfast I'm adventurous. I really have to move on before I start chewing on my computer.

After Eatery we walked through Manhattan over to Rockefeller Center. Here's Radio City, where they keep the Rockettes.

And NBC Studios, where they keep TV. We decided since we were here, to go up to the observation deck.

Carisa and Lauree, tickets in hand. Three elevators later we were at the Top of the Rock.

And this was the view! Come on! That's the city south of Rockfeller Center.

And here's the view North. The big patch of grass in the middle is Central Park.

This guy...he loves maps!

Carisa and me, top of the world.

Where's the Empire State Building? I can't....I can't find it.

Carisa can't find it either, no matter how much she stares into the metal owl.

Oh. There it is. Next to the 100-foot blonde girl.

One more because it's a landmark.

After the Rock we went down to 6th avenue where the street was blocked off for a fare. I'm sure drivers were thrilled. You can't tell from this picture, but seconds later, I'd be wearing a different hat. Anything can happen in the Big City. We walked around here for a while, but pretty soon it was time to head back to the ship, so we hoofed it back to the Kitchen and parted ways with Marc and Lauree.

Look! There they go! They'll be back in the blog in about a month, when they cruise with us on the Jewel. We guarantee three arrests while they're out.

Until next time.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

More Inside the Jewel

"You posted pictures of the ship?" Carisa said. "What a great idea!"

Well, that's settled. Here's more intra-ship fantasia. I just woke up.

Last night, on our way up the crew elevator to dinner. Note the nametag. It says Kevin Sciretta: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Represent.

"Meet, Greet, Repeat." I think that was also the slogan of the 1993 Bulls.

This is where we perform the big show every week. Holds a little over 1000 spectators. Now I know how Roman gladiators felt, except without all the slavery, lion attacks, and having to kill people I just met. In fact, I rescind my previous statement.

Me, surprised, at the entrance of Fizz Bar, the karaoke lounge. I go here and imagine my friends from Chicago screaming their favorite songs after 12 beers. They've got "Proud Mary" and "Don't Stop Believing", guys. I'm not saying. I'm just saying.

Chin Chin's! Asian cuisine in three parts: Teppanyaki (think Benihana, but you're, you know, in the ocean.), the Sushi Bar (self-explanatory) and Chin Chin's (Dishes from all over the continent, including Mongolian Hot Pot, which is apparently fondue with meat and oil, so, there's no excuse why I haven't gone.) I always order crispy wontons, then yell at other people for not ordering it. I've been told to stop doing that. The yelling part. I will NEVER stop ordering the wontons.

Aerial view of piano lounge in Bar City. Bar City: Official Candidate for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Ceiling above Chin Chin's, Bar City. Bar City: Sister City to Bangkok, Shrevport and East Lansing.

Mama Ocean.

Carisa and her first and only love.

There's more to the ship, but if we put all those pictures in, you wouldn't come back, would you?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Inside the Jewel

Hey have we showed you the inside of the ship yet? No?! What the crap! Let's fix that with some intra-ship photography.

This is the ship, in case you forgot what it looked like from the other posts.

Deck 12. Two pools, one for kids and one for adults. The kids pool is the one with the water slide, so I think they clearly win the "Who Has a Better Pool" contest. There are 5 hot tubs, two attached to the kids pool, two attached to the adult pool and one in a secret corner for very tiny baby children. Kids are bananas for hot tubs. This is a fact.

Deck 7, where you can circle the ship on the walkway. This encircles the karaoke bar, the second floor of the theatre, the atrium/lobby, the Galleria Gift Shop/Duty Free Store, internet cafe and, Art Auction Gallery and Photo Gallery. That means inside you can sing a song, see a show, chill, buy jewelry/cigarettes, check your e-mail, bid on art and find the pictures of your family from when you boarded the ship. Again, that's on the inside. On the outside, you walk and play shuffleboard.

The Garden Cafe. Also Deck 12, this is the buffet dining room. They have, I'm guessing conservatively, 900 different types of food, and all the coffee you can drink. I spend a lot of time here, then stand outside the gym and cry. It's a good workout.

Bar City, Deck 6. Home of three different bars and two restaurants, Deck 6 is where you find a lot of folks at night while we're at sea, usually drinking before or after meals or shows. It's also set up as a lounge for the musicians on the ship. We have two pianists, Nathaniel and Fabrizio, a guitar trio called Los Amigos and a solo guitar player named Angel. I may sound biased as a fellow entertainer, but they are all dumb-stupid talented. Nathaniel and Fabrizio know, conservatively, 7,000 songs. Los Amigos has a guitarist that can solo during a Pink Floyd song with a highball glass and Angel, on top of also knowing 7,00 songs, even played the theme to Super Mario Bros. on his guitar for us, because he knows our cast is a bag of nerds. I personally celebrated this feat of musicianship like he hit a walk-off home run in the playoffs, which I think was more frightening then flattering. Everyone else agreed.

The Backyard.

The ship at sunset in Nassau.

More pics of the inside of the Jewel coming soon.