I’ll admit it. David Foster Wallace’s "A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again" is one of the funniest, albeit most cynical, books ever written about the cruise industry. So when I read Benjamin Errett’s recent article in Canada’s National Post entitled "The Indignity of Weak Coffee – A Deeply Cynical Account of an Alaskan Cruise," I knew that I had found a kindred spirit.
Mr. Errett spends a week aboard Princess’ Sapphire Princess celebrating his Dad’s 60th birthday. Realizing that he is not Princess’ "target market" because he is 30 years too young and as many pounds too light, he creates his ’10 Wonderful Things About An Alaskan Cruise." A couple of highlights:
#3 "The portly fellow who walked into the gym with an olive-clogged martini in hand, surveyed the sweaty treadmillers and laughed aloud."
#4 "Watching fellow passengers pile their plates high with rashes of congealed bacon." He warns "don’t look at them. Grab a banana and get out . . . "
#8 "Lax smuggling policies . . . leading to the half-sad, half-funny sight of well-to-do Americans pouring Kahlua into empty 2-litre Pepsi bottles behind the port liquor store."
Some people like cruising. Others, like Mr. Errett, feel more like a "tourist herded into shops, sold piles of junk and ultimately having a Disney-like experience."
If Sartre is correct that "hell is other people," then a week aboard the Sapphire Princess sounds to me like a scene from "No Exit."
Photo of Sapphire Princess Barbara Bagnell (via National Post)
Photo of Sartre’s "No Exit" Lungstruck’s Flickr photostream