“We just thought it was some sort of mall, or complex social experiment gone horribly wrong,” says Brenda Kettler, resident of Kelowna, BC, reliving her recent unintentional voyage onboard the Steaming Pile Of The Seas, Carnival Cruises newly launched flagship receptacle.
“But then the thing blew its horn and started moving, and we realized we were trapped for days of all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-shop, all-you-can-gawk-at-the-human-animal, all-you-can-have-an-existential-crisis at sea. And that was when we panicked.”
She says it took the vessel nearly a week to turn around, and that the captain had to bring the large ship into five separate ports to ask for directions. But eventually, overslept and overfed, they arrived back in Miami, where the entire fiasco had begun. There a team of emergency workers assisted in loading the passengers onto their conveyor belts back to reality.
And the Kettlers weren’t alone. Nearly 750 other passengers woke up on the second day of the scheduled seven day cruise, and reported feeling like they’d had spring rolls, pasta, sushi, donuts, lobster, rice pudding, pizza, and devilled eggs for dinner. For their part, Carnival Cruises has denied any wrongdoing, and says the issue appears to stem from those guests have eaten all of those things, and a good deal more, for dinner.
But Mr. and Mrs. Kettler say that while they may have over-indulged, they did so purely for survival, after they found themselves trapped in a floating box of consumption with no escape, and rapidly outgrowing their assigned lifejackets.
“It happens all the time,” says Jim O’Connor, head of Shoppers Without Borders, a purely-for-profit group of cruise ship enthusiasts, based in the Bahamas. “People wander onboard looking for a bathroom, get lost in one of the four hundred identical decks, and before they know it they’re underway wondering if this is all there is to life.”
For their part, the couple from Kelowna are just relieved to be back onshore.
“Poor John,” Brenda says, gesturing to her husband, whose orange all-you-can-drink wristband has almost disappeared into pink wrists swollen from the excesses. “He has a cubicle at work, so when we found ourselves sleeping in one, he just went into assignment-mode; staring out the window a lot, doing a little online shopping, checking the sports scores, and waiting for someone to tell him it’s time to go home.”