OUR SHIP BROKEN DOWN, AWAITING PARTS IN HAVANA
While awaiting parts for our broken down cruise ship in Havana Harbour for two days in late February, I became privy to some shady scary secret plans that the cruise lines plan on putting to use in early 2011. Due to tough economic conditions, some questionable high tech marketing will be used to help increase sagging alcohol sales right after nappy hour.
As strange as it may sound, the real market potential lies with the lady cruisers who spend 3 hours each afternoon resting, reading Oprah's recommended romances, and working on their hair and wardrobe for the evening. The latest cruise publication, Cruising, Snoozing, and Boozing reports that "the reading and nap (nappy hour) is estimated to be from 2 to 3, with the 'it's so me look' being worked on in all stateroom mirrors from approximately 3:10 to 5 PM". The 10 minutes in between is normally used for a shower. 5 PM is the first dinner seating, for which all the ladies strain primping to look as if they were going to walk down the red carpet at the Academy Awards. At least that's the way I see it.
I learned the details of the sinister scheme while sitting at the bar at 3:45 one day hoping for an earlier than the normal 5 o'clock arrival of my Queen. Just a handful of guys sitting at the bar doing man things: looking at their drinks, counting the waves, talking to themselves, and being sports guys in a Neanderthal tongue using hand gestures and grunts to get important points across. Without notice, a young off duty lower grade ships officer quietly seated himself next to me, offering to buy me a drink.
While Billy Joel droned on in back ground, "man what are you doing here?" , the young officer looked at me and said, "man what are you doing here, eh?" which was pretty creative for a Canadian. I told him that I had to get out of the stateroom everyday about this time to get away from the whine of the hairdryer and the scent of all sorts of chemical agents. He paused and then he told me that we shared a common problem, but for different reasons.
Straight faced he looked at me, then peered around to see if anyone was watching. He went on, "early next year, the cruise lines will be using technology from the 1950's to turn the lady cruiser glued to the glass in the stateroom in the afternoon into a a female revenue producing drinking machine". "1950's technology?", I guffawed. "you've missed the boat for 50 years+!!". He looked around again. He whispered two spooky words, "Subliminal images". I broke into a sweat.
Continuing on he laid out the cunning plan, "Just listen, every mirror in the stateroom -- the big one in the bathroom, the full length mirror outside the bathroom, and the one over the desk will have receivers behind the glass remotely controlled by a master sending device hidden away on the ship. Starting at 3 PM sharp, emotionally charged words and phrases will be rapidly flashed across the mirrors which will be seen only by the ladies subconscious mind. Woman words like: stunning, I love you, red wine, perfect, ravishing, he's waiting for me, i love my hair, jewels, my dress is perfect, dancing, beautiful, me, my, I etc. We know we can play on her emotions. She'll get ready quickly and rush down to meet you for a drink, hopefully two before dinner seating". All I could visualize was the Queen coming down dressed to the 9's to impress all the other Queens, running our bar tab well beyond the cost of the cruise itself.
He continued on, " Hell Will, that is your name right"? "Even if we don't get her down to meet you in less than 2 hours, odds are 70-30 that she will feel so good about herself immediately after looking into the mirror that she'll call room service and order a carafe of wine or something." I thought knowing her she'd order room service, finish half of what she got, and still get to the bar early to have that drink or two. I anguished that we might have to cancel out of our para sailing shore excursion across the shark infested waters of Bit Butt Cove on St. Whomevers.
I was dizzy. Perhaps he had spiked my club soda. As I listened further, I bit down on my swizzle stick so hard I bit my tongue and winced, "At the same time, all of the TV sets are set to operate on only one music station entitled female friendly favorites. For us guys the songs suck, but the women will get in the grove: Mama Mia, The Way you Look Tonight, Man I Feel Like a Woman, Lady in Red, I Feel Pretty, You are so Beautiful. Great female drinking songs! Her emotions will be super sized! She'll want to be with you! She'll want to drink! They'll all want to drink! Wine sales will be off the chart! They'll make us money".
Truth be told, I admired this guy. He was a marketing marvel using dinosaur technology. I was envious. I complimented him on his insight of how females are motivated. I still don't know how to do it after being married for 38 years and having raised three daughters in her mirror image.
We swapped some more stories when about 4:45, the Captain announced that the broken ship was ready to sail. He also stated loudly, "due to the convergence of you women using the elevators, please show some restraint. Just be nice and take your turn". The volume level was ramped up to the max as if they were panicking, racing for their lifeboats, "please ladies show some restraint!" He had just enough time to rush through those caring words in German, French, Italian, Spanish , Russian, and a handful of other foreign tongues when I saw my Queen, looking ravishing, gliding gracefully into the crowd.
"Nice looking lady, eh", acknowledged the Canuck who's name I never got. "No doot eh, guess she's worth the wait", mocked I in Canadian speak. "Too bad she didn't get here an hour back so you would have had more time together and she could have had a couple of those $20 per glass chardonnays", he smirked, "we'll get your money next year thanks to our superior technology".
I shot back as quickly as I could as he started to walk away, "you have as much chance with that as you do as winning the gold in men's hockey at the Olympics".