Pure Guilt…

I’ve been on cruise ships before – performing in various on-board bars and theatres in my time, but for Mrs H and our 4 boys – this summer’s holiday cruise was a first and I suspect not the last since it was such a roaring success – which it needed to be given how pricey it was.

And I don’t just mean the hit to my wallet because I discovered that cruising comes with a fair degree of guilt which accrues commensurate with the length of the holiday. We did just a week – the most I could afford – financially and emotionally.

Guilt because cruising is most definitely a first world pursuit – and particularly poignant now as we dotted to and fro European countries via an ocean in which migrants are drowning and the ones that make it to Europe’s shores are then banged up in camps. No such hardships for us though. Floating in opulence and then welcomed ashore at each port with open arms (and visa machines) we took in Pompeii, marveled at Pisa and strolled in to Cannes to gawp at people’s boats.

And further guilt because it seems that the entire population of the Philippines is on-board our boat and to serve and not to partake themselves – only adding to the sense of colonialism and western privilege.

But then comes the greatest guilt of all – based on the number of calories that the average person will consume on-board. Because as idyllic and as beautiful as the Mediterranean is, it seems that the real attraction to the cruise is the nosh.

“Oh, the leaning tower of Pisa. Yeah, for sure, it’s beautiful, no question but not as beautiful as the freaking buffet on deck 8 which is a shorter walk also…”

Food is definitely the main attraction – and people quite literally gorge themselves such that I can only imagine the levels of guilt that must come with a cruise that takes in the vast continent of Africa?

And for the cruise line company then – budgeting the all-inclusive price against the voracious appetites (greed) of certain patrons must be a tough call. I imagine that the margins are tight or more inappropriately perhaps, slim. Get a spread sheet wrong and I daresay that the-all-you-can-eat-buffet might even sink such a business?

But for the darned discrimination police, how dearly these companies would like to establish the girth of their patrons before they make their booking? But alas, a section – how fat are you – is never going to wash these days.

I guess the fairest way of selling such holidays is to weigh passengers as they get on-board for the first time and then again when they finally get off and then a calculation can be made. This would at least make the buffet die-hard think twice.

Food dominates and a plentiful and continuous supply creates an awful conundrum – namely, how to get hungry enough in time for the next freaking meal.

Goldfish are often criticized for being so stupid that given enough food, they will eat themselves to death.

And how are we any different? On board I saw people exactly like goldfish – even often favouring the same colour as they sleep off in the sun their breakfast, elevensies, lunch, brunch and then afternoon tea before their big evening meal…

And let’s not forget the midnight buffet – which I am proud to say that I only read about and never actually saw for myself.

But I didn’t go without though – and I finally got off the boat – heavier with pounds and guilt and more than a little skint because when it says all-inclusive…

With four boys I took a particularly painful hit on the arcades and rue the folly of my observation mid-holiday about how liberating it was to not have the kids constantly asking for cash.

Evidently, Guitar Hero was their personal favourite arcade game and was activated all week by nothing more than a swipe of a room key. How convenient and expensive as it turned out. For the money it cost me I would expect all of my boys to be at least able to play the sodding guitar and of course none of them can despite the fact that in years gone by, we bought them guitars, we paid for lessons and yet we allowed each of them to give up.

Something else to feel guilty about then to go with my extra pounds on my hips and my lack of pounds in my wallet – and timely so because the summer is over and its now back to work…


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