Welcome Aboard Steve's Cruise Lines

"I'd like to welcome everyone to Steve's Cruise Lines. I am your skipper, Captain Steve. I promise this will be a truly memorable experience for all of you, and … yes, madam?"

"Excuse me, but when we signed up for a dream cruise we expected to see a, you know, cruise ship. If you don't mind me asking, where's the boat?"

"That's a very good question, and I'm delighted you asked it. On the beach to your right, or should I say, starboard, you'll see our handsome auxiliary fleet, which will provide excell …"

"You're joking, right? Tell me this is all a silly prank, and any minute a big liner will pull up to the pier and carry us off for a week of elegant dining, world-class entertainment and romantic getaways in exotic ports …"

"The lady's right! You don't expect us to get in those tiny – what are they, anyway, some kind of canoes?"

"This is crazy!"

"I want my money back!"

"I'm calling my lawyer!"

"Hold on, settle down everybody. Now, as all of you are doubtlessly aware, Carnival Cruise Line's Triumph encountered difficulties in the Gulf of Mexico the other day and was forced to ground all its liners while authorities inspected the rest of the fleet. If you take a close look at the travel contracts you signed when you booked your cruise, Carnival reserves the right to substitute ships and itineraries in the event of unforeseen contingencies. An engine fire certainly constitutes an unforeseen contingency. Carnival realizes how much you've been looking forward to your vacations, so rather than postponing your voyage and refunding your money the company decided to made arrangements with Steve's Cruise lines to provide an exciting alternative to the cruise ship experience."

"In kayaks?!"

"That's right, sir. I could tell that you are a man with an extensive seafaring background, which will make your voyage with Steve's Cruise Lines all the more rewarding. Now, as I started to say, there are a few items we need to go over before embarkation. First of all, can I see a show of hands, how many of you know how to execute an Eskimo roll or a high brace? … I see … Anybody familiar with the basic forward stroke? … All right, let's back up – has any one actually been in a kayak? … Really? Hmm, well, there's really not much to learn. Hop in, start paddling – boom, you're a kayaker. Of course, we'll need to practice a few open-water rescue drills and wet exits, but I assure you mastering those skills is no more challenging than, say, rappelling down a cliff or traversing a glacier. Yes, madam, another question?"

"What about food? Carnival promised unlimited, round-the-clock access to international cuisine?"

"And Steve's Cruise Lines offers comparable fare, also available 24-7. You'll notice dry bags next to the kayaks. Each one contains five pounds of Brazil nuts, a quart of Israeli hummus, three pounds of Chinese noodles, a wheel of Jarlsberg cheese and a six-pack of Guinness. You don't get any more international than THAT!"

"What about sleeping quarters? We signed up for upper-deck staterooms!"

"The hammocks now stowed in your forward hatches can be hung as high as you like once we get to a campground in port."

"I was reading about that engine fire on the Triumph before we arrived here. It knocked out the air conditioning, the lights, the TOILETS…"

"Yes, but you won't encounter any of those difficulties with Steve's Cruise Lines. We rely only on fresh, natural air to keep our passengers comfortable, and I can assure you the sea breezes will keep you cool during the day, especially considering it's the middle of February. As for illumination, I personally changed the batteries on each of your headlamps only yesterday. As for your last concern, each of your survival kits contains a copy of a wonderfully informative manual, whose title I have modified slightly to avoid unnecessary offense: 'How to Poop at Sea.'"

"Are you saying we'll have to …"

"Trust me, sir, it's not as objectionable as you might imagine. And you'll certainly be better off than those poor passengers aboard the Triumph who had to put up with backed-up commodes."

"What about the promised entertainment?"

"You shall have it! Right next to the aforementioned volume on personal sanitation needs is another book, 'America's Favorite Sea Chanteys.' In fact, let's start right now: 'As I was a-walking down Paradise Street. Way! Hey! Blow the man down! A pretty young damsel I chanced for to meet … EVERYBODY JOIN IN … Give me some time, to blow the … Hey! Where's everybody going? Come on, let's get those PFDs and spray skirts on! Pick out your kayaks – first ones get the boats with seat cushions! It'll be fun! Way better than the ordeal suffered by those miserable wretches floating helplessly on a crippled liner for five days! You'll be captains of your own destiny! Everybody sing along: 'Fifteen men on a dead man's chest. Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum! Drink to the devil and be done with the rest! Yo-ho-ho and a …'"

Reader Comments

MORE BLOGS

What Snow and Ice? The Maple Sap Is Running!

Every year about this time, after having spent the past few months shoveling tons of snow from the driveway, lugging tons of firewood from the shed, getting out of bed dozens of times at 3 a.m. to stoke the stove, hauling countless buckets of...

Finally! A Worthy Snowstorm -- Maybe Even a Bombogenesis!

Just when we winter worshipers had resigned ourselves to another snowless season, and only a day after the temperature climbed ridiculously into the 60s, our prayers have been answered not just by an ordinary storm but by a meteorological...

Animal Tracks in the Snow: They All Tell a Story

If you thought most forest animals hibernated in winter, or at least slept through the night, take a stroll through the woods the morning after a snowfall.

What Does the Fox Say? Yip-yip-yip! Chance Encounters With Creatures Great and Small

While I lugged logs from the woodshed the other morning a yip-yip-yip! pierced the still air. First reaction: Did the neighbors get a dog? No, they were out of town for a few days. Yip-yip-yip!

Ringling Bros., SeaWorld and the Columbus Zoo: Pitfalls of Keeping Elephants, Orcas and Gorillas in Captivity

Large, wild animals belong in the wild, not in a circus, aquarium or zoo – a point reinforced by events involving three prominent, unrelated institutions in the last couple weeks.

Our Debt of Gratitude to President Obama, the Environmentalist-in-Chief

As we prepare to inaugurate a president who has repeatedly called climate change a "hoax," appointed as Environmental Protection Agency administrator an Oklahoma attorney general who is suing that agency, named the CEO of ExxonMobil as secretary...

Call of the Wild: A Clash Over Cellphones in The Great Outdoors

"Yeah, I’m standing on the summit now! … The view is incredible – I can’t believe I’m getting a signal up here!"

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Plunging into Icy Fishers Island Sound at the Annual New Year's Day Run-Swim

Look, I’m not going to lie: While some longtime participants in one of southeastern Connecticut’s most enduring, challenging and madcap traditions insist that plunging into icy water after a run on Jan. 1 is a refreshing and...

No Such Thing as Too Much Fun: A Great 2016; Hopes for an Even Better 2017

When it comes to adventurous fun my philosophy has always been too much is never enough, so when I look back at the highlights of the past 12 months, as I typically do when the calendar is about to flip, I can honestly say that 2016 was a...

Hey, Has Anybody Else Noticed It's Gotten A Little Chilly?

I guess I first realized the temperature had dropped a few degrees when I went out for a 5-mile run this morning and noticed that my eyelids had started to freeze shut, which loyal readers will recognize as Level IV on the Fagin Frigidity Index,...

Granola Munchers Vs. Snickers Gobblers: Conflict Over Plans for a Hotel on New Hampshire's Mount Washington

The first time friends and I trudged up New Hampshire’s Mount Washington in winter the frozen peak might as well have been Antarctica – hurricane-force winds and blinding snow battered us, the only climbers that day atop the highest...

How to Build a Stone Wall in 14,863 Easy Steps

I realized long ago that you’re never really finished building a stone wall, even after you’ve dragged and hefted into place what seemed like the final boulder, exhaled mightily and stepped back to admire your work.

Just in Time for the Holidays: Fagin's Annual Gift Catalogue for the Discerning Outdoorsman and Outdoorswoman

How often does this happen to you: You’re merrily tearing through the woods in your four-wheeler and come to what looks like a shallow stream but turns out to be a deep, water-filled ditch, so your beloved machine sinks like a stone beneath...