Three more questions and the world’s oldest profession.

Thanks EVERYONE for all the great comments. I just wanted to start a Blog as a little hobby and it is turning into something really quite amazing and enjoyable.

Please keep commenting! For those of you who want to just ask a quick question that might not be worth a whole Blog for others to read I made myself a new email. Feel free to ask your quick questions to the following and I will send you a reply as soon as I can:

If you think your question might have value for others then ask it as a comment and I’ll “blog on” about it. Also don’t worry. I’m an IT guy. I hate spammers and email list collectors. Your address is safe with me and will be deleted right after I reply.

My Blog topic today is taken from three comments. The first comment made me laugh. A woman was worried that she might leave the cabin in a messy state and be resented by the cabin steward. This sounded so much like my wife I had to laugh. My wife is the kind of person who cleans before the maid arrives as well! But honestly, no, you’re on vacation and you should try your best to enjoy yourself. If you really feel better cleaning your own cabin go ahead but the steward will still come in and sanitize and etc. And I had never thought about it before but I don’t recall ever hearing a steward complain about a messy cabin, except of course those outrageous incidents. Sometimes you get a particularly “interesting” set of teenagers or even adults who try and imitate rock stars on a bender. But that is rare and even a family with multiple children can not mess up a room enough to upset your steward. They are very professional. Even MY three, three year olds and my eight year old could not faze a room steward. They have seen it ALL before. Even those little accidents that happen like your child wetting the bed or being sick, or you being sick in bad weather, please don’t be embarrassed about it. In fact if you’re on a Princess ship and you’re sick. We prefer you not do anything. Just call the desk. There are special teams to take care of everything and no one will resent you or frown on you. You’re not the first and not the last and you should never feel ashamed or embarrassed about it.

Another person asked me if crew have multiple jobs, because it was obvious that some jobs don’t take all day long. That is exactly correct. Some crew are busier than others, and some days are busier than others. But it all evens out because everyone gets those “little extra” duties. For example, I might have a particularly huge work load one day and also want to clean out one of my storage lockers because it is messy (messy things are against the rules on ships. Everything MUST be neat and tidy and audited because it’s safer that way. It’s all about safety). If I don’t have time I can go and ask for some help and I might get an Accommodation Attendant, or a Shop Staff, or a Buffet Steward. I might get anyone who is not busy that day to help me. When something needs doing there is ALWAYS someone in a crew of nine hundred who is not particularly busy and can help out. We’re all getting paid by the month after all! ;0)

I am going to leave you today with one short story I was reminded of yesterday (long blog today!). Someone asked me if I have ever been lost in a strange place. Yes I have. Many times in fact!

Once while doing the Mediterranean (of course!) a good friend of mine and I decided that when the ship ( the Grand Princess ) was next in NAPLES Italy, we would get on the train and go to Pompeii for the day. I had always dreamed of seeing Pompeii. I mean just imagining what happened there, and how the town was preserved right down to the body casts gave me shivers. We had stopped in NAPLES so many times and never taken this opportunity so we arranged our time off together and when NAPLES came we were off the ship first thing and headed for the local train station.

The NAPLES train station was not to much of a challenge to navigate, it was hot out, really hot, and the trains are not air conditioned so there was a bit of sweat and sticky shorts syndrome going on, but all in all it was not a bad ride lasting about an hour or so (the train stops right outside the gates of Pompeii, which is a bit historically ironic somehow I think).

As we entered the gates to the ancient city we stopped and bought our maps like everyone else, a couple more bottles of water (did I mention it was HOT?) and headed into the city. We had purchased one of those “self guided” tour maps, but mistakenly bought the Italian version. No, neither of us was expert in the language.

Not to be thwarted by our mistake we boldly marched on. We saw so many interesting things; I mean the place vibrates with some type of feeling, I am certain it is haunted by the spirits of the people who were there. It was very odd for us because we didn’t expect it to be so BIG yet we seemed to be alone. We hardly saw anyone else. The city itself is so perfectly preserved and so well excavated that you’re walking down the same streets and sidewalks that people walked down two thousand years before. We walked past store fronts, and houses, and courtyards, and market places, and gladiator barracks; all standing as they were two thousand years ago. We walked and walked, down avenues and past endless artifacts and then…hey…wait a minute! Haven’t we seen that before?

You all know the feeling, suddenly realizing you HAVE seen that before. We did what every good Cub Scout does, and we tried to retrace our steps, but…. had we walked up that stone street or THAT stone street? The ancient Roman street signs are still easy to read, but it did us no good. We thought we would just hook up to the end of a guided tour as it went by but... hold on a tick…where ARE all the guided tours?

As I have said it was HOT. We were dragging our feet from sixty minutes or more of wandering in the beating sun and decided to take a break. We went inside of a little ancient shop we were next to. Everything is made of stone and marble and earth and so inside this little shop was nice and cool. It was so strange taking refuge from the elements in a store owned by some merchant two thousand years before. His little podium where he stood was still in place. The side rooms and the large stone double beds where they would lay their mattresses, silks and furs were still in place…WAIT a minute. Beds? We looked around a little more and realized we had taken refuge in a two thousand year old brothel. All along the wall were ancient painting depicting various sex acts. Men would come in and if they didn’t speak the local language they would just point at what they wanted, pay the man at the podium and … transaction completed. (There are frescos also depicting women patrons to the brothel, so both sexes visited the Lupanare!)

We had a good laugh that day. We were convinced we would never get out of Pompeii and would be found dead from dehydration in the ancient brothel. Luckily we gave it one more try and ended up finding our own way out by climbing over a hill, walking up a road and going through a neighboring mans backyard garden. We managed to make the train and get to the ship a little late, but nothing to serious.

My advice to you; if you do the Mediterranean cruise, go to Pompeii from Naples. But get a map you can read.

I tried to upload some picutres for you but blogger just was not letting me for some reason. Great Pompeii picture site at:
9 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks for clearing up the gratuity issues. I have always felt the same that them money should go to those who helped me. I never thought about the behind the scenes people. Very good point. What did they do before automatic gratuities? Did they pool and divide? I love your blog. Lots of good info. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    You've been at sea too long my friend. Livorno is the port for Florence, not Naples.

  3. Oh my WORD! Your right! I was getting my Med ports all mixed up. We were docked in NAPLES itself where we dock in town, Livorno is the next stop where you must bus to Florence! ;0) I have corrected so as not to confuse anyone else! Thanks for the catch!!!

  4. cheri Says:

    Thanks so much for a great site. You're bookmarked for sure!

    FYI - Found out about you from a favorable review and link from a Cruise Critic poster.

    Our first cruise ever was on the on the Grand Princess last month and loved it. I'm addicted! Can't get too much info. I'm so glad we made the right decision and kept the auto-tips on and just supplemented to our waiters, and steward.

    Don't let the Oscars (grouches)get you down! Some people just live sad, miserable lives!!!!!! PLEASE keep writing.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    As an advid cruiser I am loving your blog. Keep up the great work

  6. TorontoTL Says:

    Hi there, thanks so much for taking the time to post your blog. I love cruising and in particular have loved all of my cruises with Princess. They seem to have so many wonderful people working on their ships. I hope you are all treated well by the company. I cringe everytime I see a passenger being rude to one of the crew members. I really hope that type of thing doesn't happen too often.

  7. Psee Says:

    Wow, very nice blog! :-)

    Would love to know the ins and outs of IT management on Princess ships. If you have any insights on upcoming technology as far conectivity (cell phones, wireless, etc.) keep us posted.

    Keep up the great work!

  8. Anonymous Says:

    I am thoroughly enjoying this blog! I also found out about it through the cruise critic web site. We'll be sailing with Princess for the first time next week and spending 2 weeks in Italy next summer, so I have been very interested in many of the places and topics you are writing about. Thank you so much for taking the time to write. The creativity and humor in your writing is very enjoyable!

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Your Cruise ship life article is an incredibly well written,fascinating,truthful one! I know,I am married to a retired sea captain and having travelled all over the world with him on his shipI am very familiar with ship's life.You should submit this great article to a travel magazine or newspapers. My husband enjoyed reading it tremendously! Great job! Are sure you are not a writer? You should be.

Post a Comment

HI. Thanks for leaving a comment! If you want to contact me you can email me at (sbmclean at gmail dot com). Cheers!