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I generally am not a fan of cruises, truth be told.

Cruise ships generally feel to me like floating hotels with overpriced shopping malls attached. I've never been much for shopping malls; the appeal, so obvious to any 14-year-old girl, is totally lost on me. I do rather like hotels, and I'm more than a little fond of getting up to all sorts of serious hanky-panky in them of the type that gets the staff talking, but sharing a stateroom with my sister rather than a partner puts the kibosh on that.

Having said that, modern cruise ships are awe-inspiring structures. They're big. Really, really big. I mean, it's hard not to be impressed by the bigness of the size of them. They're big and they're massive and they're driven by power plants that probably produce more energy than all the industrial machinery of, say, the year 1800 combined.

While we were pulling out of Copenhagen, I couldn't help but wonder what the world balance of power would look like if this thing were suddenly transported backward in time to, say, 1770 or so. It'd be an impregnable floating nation-state!

Well, until it ran out of fuel, anyway. And yes, this is the kind of thing I think about. All the time.

So we set sail on our impregnable-steel-nation-state-cum-floating-hotel-and-gift-shop straight into a storm front that was impressive and spectacular in the way only storm fronts over the Baltic can be.

I quite like dramatic thunderstorms. Especially when i can stay indoors and watch.

A few hours later, as we were passing through the tail end of the storm, the sky got SERIOUSLY dramatic. If I were of a more religious bent, this sight probably would have turned my mind to thoughts of God's promise to Noah that if he decides to kill me and everyone else in the world, he'll do it by burning me alive or burying me in rubble or something like that, rather than drowning me, in his infinite mercy.

My stateroom was on the Deck 13 of the ship. Or, rather, my stateroom was on what would have been Deck 13 except that there wasn't a Deck 13; the deck numbers jumped straight from 12 to 14 in a transparent attempt to throw the Universal Forces of Malign Evil off the scent, or something.

Now, I'm not quite sure how that works, exactly. I have a couple of working hypotheses, though. One of them is that the Universal Forces of Malign Evil aren't too bright:

Captain Malevolent: This is it! We're on the thirteenth deck. Now, my minions, the hour of our ascendence is at hand! Begin opening the warm, moist, suspiciously vaginal Portal to Hell, like in that one movie!

Demonic Underling: Um, sir, we're on the fourteenth deck.

Captain Malevolent: What?! How can this be? Quickly, back to the elevator! We will open the Suspiciously Vaginal Portal to Hell one level down!

The FORCES OF EVIL get into the SHIP'S ELEVATOR and go down ONE FLOOR

Captain Malevolent: Now then, hear me, my minions! The time of our ascendency is at hand! Begin opening the--

Demonic Underling: Sir, this is the twelfth floor.

Captain Malevolent: What is going on here? We can only wreak evil on the thirteenth floor! Everyone knows this! How can we have been flummoxed so easily? Curse you, clever human elevator-button-markers! Curse you!

My other hypothesis is that the sorts of people who believe in superstitions about the number 13 generally can't count.

The day after leaving port, while I was poking around on the ship wishing for something to do that didn't involve gambling, buying stuff, eating, or portals to Hell, I watched the moon come up through the ship's rigging. Apparently, even modern ships have rigging, if I understand the meaning of the word "rigging" correctly.

I also ended up having to do some work. I do have to say, though, that if you have to work, there are worse places you can do it from than here:

Take that, corporate CEOs! My office view is better than yours! Now take your $100,000,000 salaries and your corporate jets and...err...

...give them to me, if you don't mind. I'd really like that.


( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 5th, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC)
I personally think the 13th floor is much like platform 9 3/4... Maybe only those in the Harry Potter universe can access it....
Oct. 5th, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC)
They are indeed floating hotels. To the point where Holland America Line breaks down ship accounting into two portions 'Marine Hotel' and 'Deck and Engine'. =)
Oct. 5th, 2010 07:38 pm (UTC)
*daydreams about Captain Malevolent and fisting*
Oct. 19th, 2010 09:46 pm (UTC)
Now you're just teasing me!
Oct. 5th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
The chairman.
Ten years ago, we were given a guided tour of the QE2 by friends of my mum when it docked within travelling distance of my house.

The Captain was away and I was allowed to sit in his chair, and normally passengers are banned from entering the bridge. I've even got a photo somewhere to prove it.
Oct. 5th, 2010 08:37 pm (UTC)
"Well, until it ran out of fuel, anyway."

Clearly, you need to take a nuclear cruise ship.
Oct. 19th, 2010 09:47 pm (UTC)
Now THAT is a most excellent idea. A nuclear-powered cruise ship. Reduce your carbon footprint while you cruise in style on the all-new SS Hyman Rickover!

I would TOTALLY take that cruise.
Oct. 5th, 2010 08:59 pm (UTC)
I've been on one cruise. It was... ...not exactly a great thing/experience, totally due to company. It was just enough to let me know that I could totally catch the cruising bug. It's pretty cheap*, it's fun, and it's unconnected/only as connected as you want to be. In short? Awesome. :)

Bad part? I also think the company you keep is the biggest factor to if you have fun. That's what did mine in, at least. The boat/cruise/etc itself? AWESOME.

* I don't shop, I don't really gamble--though to be fair I could see making a few hours of it with a set limit just because, and I don't even really drink--I got one of those unlimited drink cards and went through their juices like nothing doing. :)
Oct. 19th, 2010 09:48 pm (UTC)
I can see myself having a lot more fun in different company, 'tis true. Though if the company is good enough, eventually you reach a point where it doesn't much matter where you are. Well, assuming you're not in a North Korean slave labor camp or something.
Oct. 5th, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC)
Never done a cruise, but for that sky I'd consider it. Fab photos!
Oct. 5th, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC)
Double rainbow all the way!
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 19th, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC)
Um...not being any of those things?
Oct. 5th, 2010 10:56 pm (UTC)
The largest ship I've ever been on was 380,000dwt... but it wasn't a liner, it was a Crude Oil Carrier.
Oct. 19th, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC)
Wow. That's rather a serious bit of oceangoing equipment there. What are the accommodations like?
Oct. 19th, 2010 10:22 pm (UTC)
Being a slow ocean going vessel, the crew are onboard for months at a time, so the accomodation isn't as bad as you might expect for a working vessel... but it's also pretty spartan. The bed was comfortable; the food was great.

Fortunately I was only onboard for 5 days (they were offloading at LOOP; I was installing a network of Unix systems) so didn't get find it too bad :-)
Oct. 5th, 2010 10:58 pm (UTC)
there is no 13 on some cruise ships. it's a very old superstition.
Oct. 6th, 2010 12:49 am (UTC)
They're big. Really, really big.
Really big? As in, "you just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is" big? ;)

My other hypothesis is that the sorts of people who believe in superstitions about the number 13 generally can't count
Perhaps they only work in elevator factories. *snicker*
Oct. 6th, 2010 04:29 am (UTC)
I think of cruise ships as R&R Battlestar.

Plus, I love the upholstery.
Oct. 6th, 2010 05:16 am (UTC)
The rainbows - Omigod, what does it all MEAN???
Oct. 6th, 2010 07:03 pm (UTC)
ahoy the boat!
it seems someone put your relationship-map-thingy up on reddit without giving you credit or a source.

thought you'd want to know.

Oct. 6th, 2010 08:19 pm (UTC)
I like to taunt people on the 14th floor in places where 13 is skipped, telling them that they're really on the 13th floor and no malnumbering can change that. Then again, my 13th birthday was on Friday the 13th, so I consider 13 my lucky number and it annoys me when it's skipped.
Oct. 7th, 2010 02:35 am (UTC)
I have been on only one cruise; and I couldn't stop thinking about how amazing it is that we have shipyards that produce such amazing large vehicles whose sole function is to drive around in circles...for pleasure.

Big ships for trade (moving stuff from point A to B), that is just reasonable. Moving thousands of people around from place to place, just to come back to the port of origin?

I'm amazed and delighted that we live in such a civilization. I'll be more amazed when it is sustainable, but still.
Oct. 12th, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
BTW, you do know that these ships do more than move people around, right? That the income generated from tourism is HUGE?
Oct. 11th, 2010 03:40 pm (UTC)
And these ships throw out more food in one week than your average inner city population sees in a day! (or some silly figure like that...liberals are always coming up with these, kind of like when Gore claimed the oceans were going to rise 6 meters...dip.)
Which ship was it?
Oct. 19th, 2010 09:50 pm (UTC)
The Star Princess, one of the newer ships run by Princess Cruise Lines.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )