Hello again from Camp Newmar in charming Nappanee, Indiana. It’s been over four weeks since we arrived. Our rescheduled first year service date mercifully begins in sixteen days. Given the absence of recent RV adventures, I thought that it was time to re-open the vault and release a few stories from my pre-RVing days. Wait, that’s not really what happened. A friend from far away pestered me to do it. Either way, I hope that you enjoy these two quickish memories from different Royal Caribbean cruises. Anyway, this broke up a day of watching a whistlepig, aka groundhog, aka woodchuck playing in the field next to our rig.
Faux-Pas Numero Uno – About five years ago, we sailed aboard Royal Caribbean’s Independence Of The Seas with our close friends Greg and Denise. While Lynn and I cherish our alone time on cruises, occasionally we do travel with friends. Usually this is the perfect recipe for some of the best fun that we remember and sometimes don’t remember. One of the wild times on this voyage that I do remember, involved a good old fashioned misstep of sorts. Followed by an immediate sense of dread and peril. The original working title of this blog was going to be Dominatrix Horse Collar, but Lynn had the good sense to talk me out of it. Just between you and me, substitute that in your mind for the name of this blog as it’s funny and makes me laugh. Something I’d prefer to be doing these days. Just don’t mention it to Lynn.
So, when I say an old fashioned misstep, by Old Fashioned, I clearly mean the cocktail. The four of us must have been thirsty, as once the ship ran out of Woodford Reserve, they substituted with Makers Mark. Not that the four of us drank them out of Woodford….but we chipped in and did our fair share. A few days into the cruise, I was taken aback by the sight of a very tall, ruggedly-attractive woman dressed all in leather. All. In. Leather. More of the industrial variety, but leather it was. I suspect that she was at least six feet tall prior to stepping into her head-turning high heels. I must admit that I walked closer to peek for an Adam’s apple, but none was discovered. So, I’ll let it ride with the aforementioned description.
Our usual meet-up location with our buddies was at Boleros where, in uncanny and immediate fashion, Lorenzo would see any or all of the four of us approach and within seconds, grab four glasses, bourbon, ginger ale and Angostura bitters and cherries. Sure, over-the-top tipping was involved, but it was solely because he deserved it and not for his A-List celebrity treatment. It was wonderful and almost embarrassing. And…wonderful. Around the ship, I’d see this tall woman but we never had the opportunity to converse. Until day 5 on the final Formal Night. Lynn was looking smashing in a long dress and I wore a tuxedo and all the trimmings. We walked to the elevator in order to meet up with our friends at Lorenzo’s bar. The elevator door opened for us and there she was (aforementioned tall lady). She looked stunning in a high-collared, sleeveless full length gown.
“Good Evening”, I said as Lynn and I stepped onboard. A few moments later the elevator stopped at the fourth floor and I heard the lady say something to indicate that she was stepping off. The door opened….Lynn stepped out and feeling chivalrous, I remained inside the elevator, held the door and with a soon-to-dissipate smile, said to her, “After you!”. She stepped out in front of me, I reconnected with Lynn and apparently in our haste to get to Lorenzo, I neglected a key aspect of her evening’s attire. She never saw the train coming and I never saw the train in front of me. As we all walked quickly, my shiny size 12 patent leather shoes firmly clamped down on the long train of her dress and the high-necked dress grabbed her by the throat, stopping her in her tracks and almost flipped her backwards. She gurgled something obscene as my life flashed before my eyes. I thought that she was going to turn around and pummel with me with her pumps. Profuse apologies immediately occurred, as the blood filled my face and the blood started returning to her, north of her interestingly broad and defined shoulders. Lorenzo, make mine a double please!
Lynn and I still laugh ( me, nervously) about that moment. The last time I saw her, I was unusually in the disco facing Lynn, Greg and Denise. Lynn made a funny face, her eyes darted to my side and there she appeared in full-leather regalia. I immediately decided I had danced enough for the night.
Faux Pas Dos – In September 2008, Lynn and I boarded one of our many Royal Caribbean Mariner Of The Seas sailings out of Port Canaveral, Florida. Day two is the customary Formal Night and back in those days, we were all-in with respect to our formal attire. After ten cruises, we finally made Diamond Level. Besides free photos, a balcony discount and RCCL branded swag, we were able to attend their Evening Diamond Event. A fancy way of describing a three and a half hour open bar of perfectly mediocre liquor brands. As freshly-minted Diamond Level members in Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor loyalty program, we were excitedly enjoying the fruits of our labor…..err….OK….said more plainly…we were excitedly enjoying perfectly mediocre Beefeater gin and tonics in the Diamond Lounge. As we sat there in our cocktail dress and tuxedo, Lynn was obviously the hottest girl in the room and I was….well, along for the ride. Most of the Diamond Level folks were older than us, but all were decked out in their evening best. All……except this one guy. He was wearing a beautiful…..black….tuxedo?
Tuxedo T-shirt, that is. For the purpose of this story, let’s call him Roy. With my clip on bowtie straining the blood vessels in my neck, I leaned over to Lynn and say, “Look at THAT guy! Man, I dragged this tux all the way to Florida, endured these damn suspenders, shiny black shoes and a goofy cummerbund….and this guy throws a T-shirt over black pants and calls it a formal night look.” Over the next three hours, we slid empty cocktail glasses and side glances around aplenty until the event ended promptly at 8:00PM. We loved this Diamond Lounge and felt that we had “arrived”….but sheesh….we thought….you can get in here in a T-shirt on formal night?
Fast forward to the next day when during the late morning, Lynn and I attended an invite to Cruise Critic’s Meet & Mingle event. Cruise Critic is the most popular cruise-oriented discussion board on the internet and here we would connect and re-connect with other members that we’ve chatted with on-line and onboard prior cruises. During the Meet & Mingle, the Cruise Director would host (another free drink opportunity) and provide a glimpse of the week’s coming attractions. Often the cruise line would pass out some RCCL themed swag, including keychains, mousepads and the ever-elusive bottle of RCCL headache….I mean RCCL champagne. Later that evening, in the Diamond Lounge, Lynn started chatting with this sweet Okie couple who were currently living in Florida that she recognized from the Meet and Mingle. A few minutes later, I wandered into the conversation and we were chatting away for a bit when our discussion of all things cruising turned to the Diamond Lounge.
“Wow”, I said, with little understanding of what was about to occur. “We were in the Diamond Lounge last night too,” I said. “Did either of you happen to see that guy that showed up in a tuxedo T-shirt?” Silence……Awkward silence….Judy looked straight at me and said, “Jim, this is my husband Roy. He wore a tuxedo T-shirt last night.” More awkward silence followed by some rambling and incoherent (even more-so than is witnessed in my blogs) stammering. “Umm…it was a hell of a ballsy gesture…..Umm…Umm…” I would have excused myself by saying that I might have left my iron on in my cabin, except irons are not permitted onboard.
Hence a messy faux-pas. JudyBlu and Roy are our buddies to this day….she reads this blog….and I can’t wait to see her reply. Hopefully she’s laughing too much at the next part to focus on this part. Hi Judy. Please tell Roy that we said hello and I said I’m sorry.
***BONUS TIME*** By the way, if you are scoring at home….you’d be able to count more than twenty hyphenated words which reminds me of a story….one that happened soon after we moved to Charleston, South Carolina. At a neighbors’ house, Lynn and I chatted with two other couples and the wife of a fourth. As the Bud Lights, Amstel Lights and Gin & Tonics flowed late into the night, we were all talking about our home towns. When it was my turn to stick my foot into my mouth, I said, “We’re from Northampton, Massachusetts where one in four women have a hyphenated last name.” My wife’s new bestie looks me square in the eye and in deadpan fashion says, “Jim, one in four women at this TABLE has a hyphenated last name.” This is the OG of Faux Pas…I mean The Mother Of All Faux-Pas that has become an underlying current for more than seventeen years of the most wonderful friendship. I had apparently not realized / remembered that she used the maiden name – married name format. Whoopsie.
1,000 Points, Mr. T. I hope that you enjoyed your bacon, eggs and the blog you appropriately pestered me for.
My airplane. I win.
And, behold my stylish Tuxedo T Shirt! Cheers, Roy!
Lynn’s 2 cents – It was a little hard to read this since all cruising is “paused”. We should have been boarding a ship in Vancouver today for our 10th trip to Alaska. Total bummer. No other way to put it but, this virus sucks! On the other hand, it did bring back some super funny memories and reminded me that soon we will be sailing again.
I read about your adventures that have been put on hold for the Covid19 mess And our trip to Aruba for our anniversary and thought, maybe we can go to Ogunquit For a few days this summer! As I lay in bed thinking about that I start to think what restaurants have outdoor seating for eating! I guess we might put that on hold also! What a mess we are all in!
Hi Gail…Happy belated Mothers Day. No kidding on the mess that we are in. Today Lynn and I as well as her parents, Thoresens and another couple would have been sailing the inside passage with Ketchikan tomorrow. We too are so frustrated. Especially that Alaska is warmer than Indiana!
I especially loved the fish sticks on that cruise. Lol.
Well written blog Mr Zaik.
And as always I enjoy your stories.
Our stories and accompanying laughs were best on the back porch. That’s one of the things I miss most about the house and living in Charleston!
Love reading your story’s! Is there a book publishing in your future?
This IS the book. Honestly, the way this whole blog thing started was in our old hot tub. My best friend would hear road warrior stories and implore me to write a book. I’d laugh it off. Once we hit the road, I figured that this was the perfect opportunity to share some old crazy stories. Every one is true to the best of my memory and I’ve got a fair share lined up for the future.
Great Blog, I would love to be sitting at Lorenzo’s bar now enjoying a beverage. My favorite Lorenzo quote is “I make all my drinks with Love and Respect”.
Lorenzo was (next to Julie Bravo, the rig’s namesake) the BEST! He’d always stash a bottle for us and when we walked up, it was VIP treatment. Cheers, my fish stick hero!
Jim; I will always remember our “first” meeting of you and Lynn in the Diamond Lounge. I did not remember it being as funny as you remembered but that is what makes cruising so much fun. Meeting people that you will forever be friends with and others you hope to never see again. LOL Roy’s Tuxedo T-shirts have grown to about 10 or more. He did were his real Tuxedo on my 70th birthday cruise in 2015.
Hi Judy! Glad that you guys didn’t take offense to my crass comment about the tux shirt. With age comes wisdom!
I enjoyed your stories, Jim! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Kathy! Hope things are great on your end!