Column - Commentary
Come Aboard!!!By DAVE KIFFER
June 15, 2020
Even as we speak (well, as I type and you read), they are defining expectations, drawing up storyboards, convening focus groups, and planning charrettes with a single goal in mind.
No, not to make cruises safer.
That's gonna be a crap shoot no matter what they do. They still haven't been able to stop Legionnaire's Disease and N ovovirus from booking passage, so Corona Virus is gonna have to wait its turn for a bed in the infirmary with the rest of the hoi polloi.
The true single goal is to convince passengers that the cruises are safer.
To do so, they are instituting all manner of new policies and procedures in the hopes that the virus will be so busy reading and filling out paperwork it will miss the sailings.
Really, the only way to kill something like the Corona Virus is to appoint it to a hermetically sealed blue ribbon commission and force it write a mission statement. Studies have shown that no living organism can survive more than an hour or so in such a hopeless environment.
Of course, I have been thumbing through the cruise ships' new "corona" plans and I have to admit, I'm not sure if I can figure it out.
Seems like the major action is going to be ensuring everything is safe by requiring passengers to fill out a questionnaire that asks two questions:
1) You're aren't really sick, right?
2) How much money are you willing to spend on board above and beyond the basic cruise rates?
Of course, those questions are covered in so much verbiage and crisp graphic usage that it is difficult for me, a bear with very little brain, to sort it all out. Which is probably the whole idea.
So, I have contacted the world's most foremost authority on Onboard Cruise Ship Health, Dr, Adam Brinker. Dr. Brinker was the Chief Medical Officer on the Pacific Princess from 1977 to 1986, plus "reupping" for three hour long "specials" in 1986, 1987 and 1990.
Me: Dr. Brinker?
Brinker: You are aware that I am a fictional character on a television show from more than 40 years ago?
Me: Of course. But we live in an age where most of the population gets its medical information from memes that "Uncle Grumpy" reposts on Facebook.
Brinker: Point taken.
Me: Dr. Brinker, what are the specific steps that cruise lines are taking to convince the sailing public that it is now safe to sail.
Brinker: If I say this ship is safe to sail, then......ha ha, just a little Hollywood humor there. First off, we are cancelling the buffets.
Me: And what does that do?
Brinker (exasperated sigh): Well, for one thing it will be easier to social distance if all the passengers don't weight 300 pounds.
Brinker: Plus, if we cancel the buffets we can certainly boost the attendance at our new "speciality" restaurants on board like the Covidteria and the
Me: How does that improve onboard health and safety?
Brinker: Financial health is of the upmost concern to the cruise lines.
Me: I bet it is. So, can we talk for a few minutes about what the cruise lines are doing to make the ships "cleaner" and therefore less likely to have the Corona Virus on board?
Brinker: There won't be any Corona Virus on board the ships in the future.
Me: How can you possibly make that statement?
Brinker: Beginning, September 1, we will be officially changing the name of the Corona Virus to the Olympia Virus.
Me: Say what?
Brinker: Look, right now, we have something like 2 million cases of Corona beer sitting in a warehouse that we can't sell on our ships. The minute we stop talking about the (makes 'air quotes' with his hands) Corona Virus, we can move that product, pronto.
Me: But why Olympia?
Brinker: It's a dead beer, no one makes it anymore.
Me: That's not quite true, there's still a little bit brewed in California.
Brinker: Okay, okay, we'll call it Rainier Virus instead.
Me: They still make a little of that in Canada.
Brinker: You're missing the point. When was the last time you - or anyone you knew - had either one of those beers?
Me: Point taken. Okay, so changing the name is one thing, but what are you actually going to do to make the ships cleaner, to make them safer?
Brinker: We're gonna douse everyone three times a day with Hydrochloromegaspritzer.
Me: What's that?
Brinker: It's Hydrochloromegaspritzer.
Me: But what does it do?
Brinker: It kills viruses. And it leaves everyone smelling fresh, like all outdoors.
Me: It still sounds kinda unsafe. You know, all "chemical-ish." How do we know it's safe?
Brinker: It's totally safe. What's the main ingredient?
Me: I have no idea.
Brinker: What's the first thing mentioned? Hydro. The primary ingredient is water.
Me: I don't understand.
Brinker: It's like the food labels in grocery stores.
Brinker: The first thing they mention is the main ingredient. Therefore the only thing you need to know is that Hydrochloromegaspritzer starts with "hydro." First ingredient is water. So it is totally safe.
Me: Okay. None of that deadly high fructose corn syrup to worry about.
Brinker: Exactly. Hey, it's been great talking you, really. But I gotta go. We're distance filming a pilot that may get picked up and I need to run some lines.
Brinker: Yeah, it's called "Love Boat: The Wrath of Stubing." Merrill really gets to chew some scenery. We got good buzz it might be picked by Netflix of the Seas.
Dr. Brinker exits, looking very spry for a man of 103.
" Love, exciting and new"
" Come abooooorrrrrd
" We'll be spritzing you...."
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Dave Kiffer is a freelance
writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.