February 16, 2013

"A cruise ship’s passenger log is comprised entirely of the exact demographic that is least prepared for a cruise to go to pot."

"A cruise is a giant boat full of your mother-in-law. Your mother-in-law does not belong in the wild."

So writes Monica Hesse in the Washington Post, where I guess mother-in-law jokes are okay. (What is it, the 1950s?) Oddly, Hesse is also claiming to love cruises. And she prefaces her disparagement of older women with "I say fondly."

48 comments:

Mitchell the Bat said...

Statistically speaking, I should think few mothers-in-law qualify as the outdoorsy type.

AllenS said...

My only cruise was on this boat.

Showers were with heated sea water. Do you know that you can't create any soap bubbles with salt water? 17 days of misery. The urinals had handles on each side so you didn't fall over when peeing.

Mitchell the Bat said...

My mother-in-law drove off a cliff in my brand new Cadillac. I've never felt so conflicted.

Mary Beth said...

The people I've seen interviewed, who are complaining, are younger women, not what I would think of as mother-in-law age. Maybe the old ladies were too traumatized to speak to reporters.

Mitchell the Bat said...

We cruised the Mediterranean on our honeymoon.

It seemed as though ninty-five percent of the passengers were crotchety old ladies.

Probably a misperception, I thought at the time.

Mitchell the Bat said...

You had to laugh, seeing all the crotchety old ladies lined up to go ashore, with their orthopedic walking shoes and their bottled water.

God forbid they should die of thirst in Florence.

Oso Negro said...

So glad they towed the ship to Mobile. We didn't need 4,000 pissed-off stinky cruise ship passengers shambling about the streets of Galveston.

Shouting Thomas said...

Black churches are fond of group cruises. On my last two cruises, I encountered large groups of black Baptists and Pentecostals.

Mostly middle aged ladies, to be sure.

The shortage of black men in one of the groups created a problem at one karaoke session. The ladies were all set to do their Motown/Supremes dance routine and chorus to Papa Was a Rolling Stone, but they didn't have a male to sing the lead part. They drafted me and had to prompt me on the lyrics.

I did a pretty good job.

Kelly said...

My friend went on an Alaskan cruise, she said the majority were elderly.

The cruises I've been on the passengers ranged from their twenties to fifties with the occasional wheel chair bound Grandma thrown in. Lots of large families with children. Black people especially seem to like having family reunions on cruises.

Shouting Thomas said...

My Filipino/White extended family loves cruises for family vacations because the cruises provide something for everybody.

The kids can go do their thing at stuff they enjoy during the day. The adults go their way. Everybody gets together for dinner.

A lot of fun.

Mitchell the Bat said...

The ship was late, so we're finally seated for dinner with six old ladies and the waiter says that the first round of drinks is on the house.

The old ladies make murmuring sounds and exchange glances like they're terrified the waiter's setting them up and they'll get charged for their drinks.

Eventually, I decide to move things along by ordering a Macallan, for myself, and a Courvoisier for my bride, loudly.

No use. The old ladies still can't decide what to do.

The waiter comes back with our drinks. The old ladies each order a glass of white wine.

Sam L. said...

Sweeping statements...sweep up a lot of trash.

St. George said...

Imagine being with 5,000 morbidly obese and elderly people in a cafeteria line and spending your nights in a windowless cell.

That's what "cruising" is like.

Shouting Thomas said...

That's what "cruising" is like.

No, it isn't.

rhhardin said...

My student ship to France one summer.

The radio guy let me send some messages for him.

jimbino said...

Regarding "a ship's log is comprised entirely of the exact demographic ...."

It's past time to put "is comprised of" to rest. The whole comprises the parts. The parts are comprised in the whole. The whole is composed of its parts.

A cruise ship's log has little to do with the passenger list, which might more properly be termed a manifest.

Why do those who haven't mastered English write so much?

furious_a said...

Same with one of those day-trip gambling excursions to Reno, or a nursing home after a hurricane...so what?

My wife's mother-in-law is a former Army combat surgical nurse, Korean War. Besides electricians and plumbers just what that ship needed.

jimbino said...

Regarding "a ship's log is comprised entirely of the exact demographic ...."

It's past time to put "is comprised of" to rest. The whole comprises the parts. The parts are comprised in the whole. The whole is composed of its parts.

A cruise ship's log has little to do with the passenger list, which might more properly be termed a manifest.

Why do those who haven't mastered English write so much?

edutcher said...

This woman's idea of who goes on cruises comes from reruns of the "Love Boat".

Every cruise we've done, there were plenty of young people.

When we took the sons of The Blonde's youngest brother once, the younger boy (age 10) spent the time at sea lounging in the hot tub with a bevy of sweet young things about 20. Anytime they bumped into the rest of us, they'd ask, "Where's the guy from the hot tub?" .

furious_a said...

That's what "Indian casino bingo" is like.

There, fixed it for you.

Kelly said...

On a ship of 3000 passengers I'm sure there were some obese, it's America after all. But on the cruises I've taken I don't recall seeing any morbidly obese. Maybe they were hold up in their cabin using the twenty four hour room service?

Mumpsimus said...

@jimbino, 9:53

Amen, brother!

Mitchell the Bat said...

That was the first night. After that, the headwaiter took pity on us and gave us an assigned table for two.

Unfortunately, there was a husband and wife, in their early sixties, who sat at a two-top close enough for conversation and they thought they should be our friends.

He kept trying to give me life-lessons. On American Night, he ordered spaghetti and meatballs. He showed me his extra-special secret. You take your knife and fork and you cut it all up into little bitty pieces and then you can eat it with your spoon.

He was quite proud of himself.

I am not making this up.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

We cruised the Mediterranean on our honeymoon.

It seemed as though ninty-five percent of the passengers were crotchety old ladies.


My father, in his 80's sold their vacation home in Costa Rica a few years back. Since they love to travel and felt that they'd better do it now while they were still physically able, they take a lot of cruises and really enjoy the experiences. They have treated the family to a few as well.

Your perception is quite real.

As my father laughingly admits the ship's passengers comprise, ....the newly wed and the nearly dead

Except Christmas and Spring Break times when the ship is full of screaming kids and moronic college students. Avoid those times.

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...


For the most part (not all) cruising is for the "newly wed and almost dead."

Dust Bunny Queen said...

One of the best cruises that they took were those European River Boat Cruises. They really loved the Paris and the Rhine.

Not recommended NOW but said it was fantastic the Nile River cruise about 8 years ago. I always thought that would be great. To leisurely cruise down [or up, if that is the more correct term] the Nile River and imagine yourself in an Agatha Christie novel. Ah...the life. I would have to buy era appropriate clothing. Big white hats and airy linen dresses.

betamax3000 said...

I am reminded of Al Pacino in "Cruising". Lots of oars in the water.

mariner said...

jimbino,

Thank you.

Penny said...

Happen to know many, many frequent cruisers. Those that go on several cruises a year, and have booked another before the one the are on has ended.

These cruisers prosthelytize!

They never notice my lack of interest, my glazed over eyes, my attempts at changing the conversation. Nada!

I'd say they all got themselves a boatload of religious zeal.

Move over, or move in, Pat Robertson!

Ann Althouse said...

"The cruises I've been on the passengers ranged from their twenties to fifties with the occasional wheel chair bound Grandma thrown in."

Thrown in?!

I was picturing Klinghoffer!

Ann Althouse said...

"These cruisers prosthelytize!"

How about those cruises run by some ideological group like The National Review or The Nation? Imagine getting hoodwinked into one of those?

I'd consider doing that just for the purposes of blogging, but I'd want to be able to skulk around and not be known and I need to blog in real time and I don't like the stress of thinking about being identified or working at being completely unknowable.

edutcher said...

Dye your hair purple and put on some shades.

As for being stuck with a group, we were at Sandals once the same time as a group from Baaston - that particular twang they have is fingernails on a blackboard to me.

We went snorkeling a lot.

Chip S. said...

jimbino, I'm w/ you on the usage of "comprise", but I think it's one of those mistakes that will come to be generally accepted.

From Merriam-Webster online:

Although it has been in use since the late 18th century, sense 3 (the one used in the title of this post) is still attacked as wrong. Why it has been singled out is not clear, but until comparatively recent times it was found chiefly in scientific or technical writing rather than belles lettres. Our current evidence shows a slight shift in usage: sense 3 is somewhat more frequent in recent literary use than the earlier senses. You should be aware, however, that if you use sense 3 you may be subject to criticism for doing so, and you may want to choose a safer synonym such as compose or make up.

Shanna said...

Since they love to travel and felt that they'd better do it now while they were still physically able, they take a lot of cruises

After my grandmother retired, she and my grandfather took a ton of bus trips around the US.

A lot of people seem to like going on cruises as a family. I don't think my (extended) family could be convinced. We do reunions at the beach.

Shanna said...

One of the best cruises that they took were those European River Boat Cruises. They really loved the Paris and the Rhine.

My university has some alumni travel packages and one of them was cruising through a river in Russia. That one sounded amazing.

These cruisers prosthelytize!

Truth! And it's always 'there is so much food'. If that's what I wanted out of vacation I would just go to golden corral. Being trapped on a boat half of vacation sounds like a nightmare to me.

Joe said...

A friend just got back from an extended cruise with his family. He observed that most the passengers are lonely old "sad sacks" with nothing else to do. He said it was very depressing.

Lydia said...

Re "comprise", Oxford seems to have accepted it already -- under its 8th defintion for the word, there's this:

To constitute, make up, compose. e.g., 1969, N. Perrin Dr. Bowdler's Legacy (1970) i. 20. As to who comprised this new reading public, Jeffrey guessed in 1812 that there were 20,000 upper-class readers in Great Britain.

To be composed of, to consist of. e.g., 1970, Nature 27 June 1206/2. Internally, the chloroplast is comprised of a system of flattened membrane sacs.

Mumpsimus said...

Well, better a living language than a dead one, I guess. But it still makes me grit my teeth.

jimbino said...

Well, here I am in Brazil, where we still have the sense to differentiate "compor" from "cumprir." I imagine it's the same in Latin, Italian, French, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Romansh and Romanian. Why Amnerikans continue to abuse their language remains a mystery to me.

Baron Zemo said...

Most cruises do skew to the older crowd but that can work to your advantage.

They all rush to the first sitting so you have the pool and the hot tub to yourself which works out much better than a vacation at a resort that is full of kids running around and peeing. Just sayn'

The Godfather said...

If you're not old yet, you will be one day -- if you're lucky. So don't make fun of the fogies.

I've been on five cruises in the last 20 years (ages late-40's to late-60's), and enjoyed them all. You do have to pick your cruise line. I prefer the lines that cater to the older crowd to those that draw the younger (middle-aged mostly) Andy Capp (blue-collar, heavy drinking, loud) set. But that's me.

When we took a cruise on Holland America through the Panama Canal (a life-long dream of mine), one of our fellow passengers was a former Panama Canal pilot, who volunteered to do a narration as we went through the locks. He made us understand the skill that it takes to guide a huge vessel through a passage that provides about 6" of space on each side.

No tanks said...

"where I guess mother-in-law jokes are okay" geez... uptight Zippy.

Baron Zemo said...

Some people are jealous of mother-in-laws because they will never get to be one.

Take Joan Rivers for example.

Clyde said...

"I say fondly" must be the new "with all due respect." If you ever hear that one, you'll immediately hear something disrespectful to someone afterward.

Kirk Parker said...

DBQ,

"European River Boat Cruises."

Now those boats look like something on a more human (and humane!) scale. Some friends recently took a cruise to SW Alaska on a boat that had about 20 passengers. Awesome (as long as you like your tour-mates!)

William R. Hamblen said...

"How about those cruises run by some ideological group like The National Review or The Nation? Imagine getting hoodwinked into one of those?"

Usually those sort of groups book only a fraction of the places and they won't let you into the seminars unless you're one of their paying customers. I have mo idea how the paying customers act outside of the seminars. Never been to one of those cruises or even close to one.

LCB said...

My wife and I have been on two Royal Caribbean cruises. The age demographics seemed to run mostly from the 30's to the 60's, with a lot of children and grandchildren.

A cruise is what you make of it. If all you want to do is eat and drink...more power to yah. But there are plenty of things to do for all ages and lifestyles. Our last ship had a 1/2 size basketball court and a 1.5 mile running track, a huge gym, a small lap pool, etc.

The ports-of-call are where the real action is: beaches, scuba, snorkeling, 4 wheeling, horseback riding, zip lining in the jungle, etc. Oh...and shopping if that's your thing.

You can veg out on a cruise...or wear yourself out. My wife and I made our cruise in to a happy medium...

We also use it to "test" places to see if we'd like to go back for a few days. Freeport...no! Grand Caymon and Cozumel...yes.

LCB said...

Oh...my last cruise also had a scuba class to get an international scuba certificate. The test was in the ocean at Cozumel.

I wanted to do it...but the wife didn't...and it took 12 hours of training. Not good to be away for 12 hours on an anniversary cruise. :-)