Sunday, August 03, 2008


If you have ever embarked on a leisurely cruise, you know that within the first couple of hours you must participate in a “lifeboat drill!”

For me, the drill is just another thing that keeps me anxious until it’s over. This anxiety was first brought on by my wife’s absence on our first cruise.

While boarding, she was handed a “free makeover” ticket, and told that she must go to some lounge at 3PM to ensure an appointment during the cruise. The time was just one hour before the mandatory “lifeboat muster,” which left me at 3:55 PM pacing our cabin, my life vest on, sweating, wondering where the hell she was!

Then suddenly the captain sounded the alarm and begins the announcement to report to your “Lifeboat Station,” the number of which is posted on the back of your cabin door! Still no Judy!

Finally, after the corridors are almost empty of scrambling passengers, all decked out in their blaze orange floatation devices, I see her casually wondering along the hall toward me. Where have you been? Would you please hurry?!

Judy, nor any of the Dragons, ever gets in a hurry…it’s all about them and everyone else can just wait until they’re ready to play any of life’s games! So that’s where my anxiety over “lifeboat drills” was born.

So, on this trip to Alaska, we stood ready, in our rooms with our vests on, mine untied, since it wouldn’t reach around me, waiting for the dreaded signal. At least she’s learned to help squelch my anxious attacks by not wondering off just prior to the planned drill.

With the signal and the announcement blaring, we shuffled out through the little door and into the already crowded hallway, and followed the crowd down and out on the lifeboat deck, all the time looking for our proper station.

Once at the station, under the lifeboat hanging from above, we get into line and look outward toward our “lifeboat captain”, who incidentally happened to be one of the primary chefs by day!

I don’t remember this guy’s name, but even if I did it would be blurred by the nickname Neena hung on him.

He stood in front of the large group, maybe a 100 of us, and began to call off the room numbers for accountability with his heavy Asian accent, “Ceerow foree-sevan?

Someone shouted, “Here!

I soon realized he was calling room numbers, but I could not understand what “ceerow” was! Would he call out “ceerow one-forty-seven” when he came to our room number?

Well into the roll call we finally realized he was calling out the room numbers in 3-digits to conform to the roster sheet, and putting a zero in front of the double-digit numbers! From that point on during the cruise, when one of us saw him, they shouted, “There’s Ceerow!”

Ceerow would just look up at us puzzled and smile!


BRUNO said...

Well, if the jacket wouldn't fit around YOU, then I certainly would need at least TWO of 'em to lace-together as ONE full-one!

Or maybe I could just wrap it around my HEAD, and hope that at least IT would float...!

Michele said...

We had more fun during the drill that I think is allowed!! *L* Somehow you just know if it was for real, no one would be waiting to get in the boat! They all better learn to follow me, cuz I'd be first in! *G*

catscratch said...

I always have a blast during the drills. Then again I make a mockery of everything and have usually been drinking by that time.

Mushy said...

Oh, we'd had drinks by then too.

I forgot to tell about the 2-year old that laid down on the deck...we thought he had passed out!

Jose said...

Wow, you just brought back memories from two years ago when we took our 25th Wedding Anniversary cruise. All my family keeps asking when are we planning another one.

Suldog said...

Do they inspect you, to see if the jacket fits? Seems to me that would be a useful thing to find out, before they stuff you into a lifeboat!

Louise said...

Funny! I hate those drills. And I wish when on them everyone would shut up so they could get them over with faster!

Shrinky said...

Aww, priceless! (Smile)

I used to have huge anxiety attacks every time we disembarked to below decks to find out car when the ferry docked in England. When the kids were younger, they would easily get swallowed up in the crush, and with hubby striding ahead, I lived in terror of losing him as I rounded up the kids. I have no sense of direction and would never have found my way back to the car by myself.

I never did lose him, but my heart rate was always near bursting point by the time I caught up. I'm sure he did it on purpose!

Les Becker said...

That's hilarious! I must say that I had him figured out as far as what "ceerow" meant from the first appearance of it in your story, though.

Glad you didn't drown - next time demand a life jacket that fits, please.

Becky said...

I haven't been on a cruise ship yet,so I haven't had to go through one of those drills. Fortunately, you didn't wind up needing him to explain any "real" life-saving instructions :)

Akelamalu said...

That was a fun post! I remember the lifeboat drill from the cruise we did, it bothered me that there looked to be too many people for too few lifeboats!

Congrats on being 'Post of the Day' at Authorblog. :)

Mushy said...

Oh, I didn't know...thanks David!

Been too busy lately to make many rounds.

~Fathairybastard~ said...

Man, in all the trips I did with the Navy they never did any of those drills. During the first gulf war they handed out gas masks and showed us how to use them but I never got to play with a life jacket. I feel cheated somehow, but it wouldn't be anywhere near as fun without a dragon there to share the moment with.