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

How To Build An Adirondack Chair Out Of Skis In 14,387 Easy Steps

Many people I know share my passion for outdoor recreation but I also have a little secret: Between rounds of kayaking, hiking, gardening, wood-splitting and other activities I also savor the simple act of lounging quietly on a sunny day in a...

A Comedy – And Nearly A Tragedy – Of Errors On Maine's Saddleback Mountain: In The Age Of Cellphones, A Failure To Communicate

A refreshing breeze cooled me despite a blazing late-afternoon sun as I scrambled up the final rocky slope to the 4,121-foot summit of Maine’s Saddleback Mountain earlier this week, but I paused for only a moment to gaze at the glorious,...

Gardening Is Simple! Just Stick Stuff In The Ground And Voila! A Cornucopia Of Fresh Veggies! (Right)

Anyone who has ever attempted to grow vegetables soon realizes it is a true labor of love, with particular emphasis on the labor.

An Explorer’s Guide To The Great Indoors: Hotels Designed For ‘Adventurers’

During decades of traipsing through the wilderness I’ve slept, or attempted to sleep, in every conceivable indoor and outdoor quarters: in freshly dug snow caves; alongside bug-infested swamps; during thunderstorms with no tent; in the...

Alligators, Gorillas, Bears, Snakes, Even Cows: Danger Lurks Where You Least Expect It

The awful story this week about a 2-year-old boy who witnesses said was pulled by an alligator into a lagoon near a Walt Disney World hotel in Orlando, Florida and later found dead serves as a reminder that danger lurks even in "The...

This Bud’s For You: The Unofficial King Of Beer Litter

While kayaking the other morning I spotted a small, dark object poking above the lake surface 100 yards or so ahead, and I was pretty sure it was the head of a turtle until I drew closer and realized the sad truth: just another beer...

Chaotic Fun At The Essex River Race

Shortly before the start of the late-great Rose Arts Road Race several years ago, a 10.47-mile running competition over the hills of Norwich considered one of New England’s toughest courses, my friend Bob and I decided to jog a couple miles...

Tom And Steve’s Excellent Adventures In The Northwest Part III: Kayaking Off The Oregon Coast And Columbia River Gorge; Hiking On Mount Saint Helens

Propelled by the sound of crashing surf, my son Tom and I scrambled over a low dune and then gazed in awe.

A Connecticut Yankee In The Northwest Part II: A Cross-Country Ski Adventure, Of Sorts, At Oregon's Crater Lake

Lugging back-country skis and poles on our shoulders, my son Tom and I trudged along the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway at Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park, searching for a section of road that had not been plowed.

A Connecticut Yankee In The Northwest: Stunning Views, Adventures On Land And Water (Part I)

As I clambered toward the crest of the Mist Trail in California’s Yosemite National Park a couple weeks ago, spray from the thunderous Nevada Fall washed over me, but I was already soaked, with sweat, after gaining nearly 2,000 feet of...

Vacations From Hell: At Least They’re Memorable

Just between us, don’t you hate it when friends or coworkers post photos on Facebook of awesome journeys to exotic destinations – or if they’re really old-school, send postcards depicting glorious sunsets, sparkling lakes,...