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In praise of vast: Bermuda cruise on the NCL ‘Breakaway’


The NCL Breakaway is a true work of art. Absolutely huge and launched in May this year it has commenced sailing out of New York to Bermuda and back. It has 16 levels, has 27 dining options and prepares 25,000 meals a day . On any one day there were over one hundred activities on offer.

It is a brilliantly designed, floating fun palace and uses every which way to separate you from your money. It has been designed to reflect New York on water and this is perhaps why only two lone Brits ( Sue and I ) were on board with 3500 New Yorkers and their 1500 kids.

Manic, rowdy, frenzied, deranged, loud, doesn’t come close. Trust me, the Pope could have been on board and no-one would have noticed or cared. We have never heard so many people talk like Danny de Vito in one gathering, and the men were just as bad.

On embarkation, the first thing most people do is to make their way to their cabins to relax and have a look around. This is a big mistake. The first thing you should do is to visit the Captain. What you are looking for is an upright citizen of Nordic birth, names like Albert (strong as a bear), Germund (defender of man ) or even an Eskil ( vessel of God). What you don’t want to find is that the Captains name is Fabio, Mario or Lorenzo. No, what you want is a Germund . A Germund does not beach on the rocks or jump in one of the lifeboats at the first sign of a chip pan fire.

Having found that our Captains name was Sven ( good enough) we found our cabin and discovered that the lifeboat drill was in 30 mins and that we must make our way to the muster station.

The drill was a revelation. I genuinely felt that all our fellow passengers (remember all New Yorkers) thought they had been invited to a Billy Joel Farewell concert. Everyone was in high spirits and shouting as much as they could. All that was missing were the paper hats and the net of balloons. Someone got up on a box and started talking about putting something over their head and tying it around their waist. No-one was at all interested, everyone was waiting for Billy Joel. Lifejackets could have fallen from the skies and knocked everyone out and no-one would have had the slightest idea of what they were.

Sue and I went back to our cabin to rethink this one. Should we shelter in our cabin all week and watch the TV or put our best foot forward and join the mayhem.

Obviously from what we had just witnessed it was no good going to the muster station in an emergency. This was the way to certain death from suffocation. Having watched Titanic thirty times I know that the way to salvation is to wait until the ship sinks and then take your chance with the propellers. Let’s face it Titanic showed a 50% survival rate with this option, acceptable in the circumstances and a much more exciting way to finish the trip.

Yes I know there has been no gratuitous sex and violence yet but I am assuming you are still awake. Please be patient.

At 5pm we felt a bit peckish so we made our way to the Garden Restaurant, a Self Service restaurant the size of outer London. In front of us in the queue we could see what looked like three hippos talking to each other. They were moving in a northerly direction at about three miles an hour. Closer inspection however showed them to be large Americans visiting the buffet.

Now these lovely people were seriously large. They all had legs the width of Sequoia trees and backsides the size of Texas. These backsides could have represented the USA at both national and international level should the need ever arise. Sue and I once had the pleasure on a previous cruise of sitting at the table with a serving US Marine. He was approx three feet across the shoulder and when it came to ordering dessert he ordered all seven desserts to be bought to the table at the same time.

The afternoon passed peacefully and at 6pm we were seated for dinner. Everything was hi-tec. The waiters had face mikes and ear pieces and we thought that either the President was close by or the waiters were unsure of where everything was because the layout was so new to everyone. I have another idea. My view is that the waiters had the mikes and earpieces so that they would be aware of any outbreak of dieting. This would have been calamitous for all. Such an outbreak, if not spotted quickly would reduce the profits of the on-board sponsors, LaVazza, Coke Cola, Mc D’s etc thus reducing Company profits, throwing people out of work and endangering the whole US economic recovery.

The following day we were signed up for a tour around the island which we were looking forward to. Our Minibus arrived and Sue and I got in together with 15 other New Yorkers. We had only been travelling about 20 mins down some winding roads when we turned a corner and saw two very bored cows looking at us over a fence. The New Yorkers went frantic…..”Oh my Gosh” “Orsome”, “Did you see that Martha” and “Amaaaaaazing” were just some of the comments made. My immediate thought……you’ve guessed it…….. These guys are seriously gullible.

When a chicken crossed the road a mile further on it was again met with cries of amazement and texts back to the Bronx. Call me an opportunist but I saw my chance. I immediately dived off the coach picked up the chicken and for the next 30 mins charged the passengers $10 a time to have their own picture taken with a Koala! I was quite happy with the initiative I had shown but was disappointed that I hadn’t got together with the driver earlier and arranged for him to stop at the cows and organise a photo session with the only wild giraffes on the island! I must admit that I was beginning to think that some of the passengers on this bus wouldn’t have been able to find their own backside given an extra pair of hands and a torch. It was clear that the only chicken or beef they had ever seen was inside a bun.

Yes I know, no sex or violence yet… more patience please.

Two days later we were on board deck when the author overheard two ladies talking about the possibility of some friend or other three times removed seeing the possibility of a whale somewhere over on the left. (God help us).

I quietly leant towards the lady and said that yes it had been known for whales to live in the sea but the best time to see them was at night. I recommended that she should come out on deck at midnight with a cup of coffee and wait for one to appear on the horizon. She would see things a lot better if she learnt over the rail at the back. It’s funny but I never did see that lady again and I will have it on my conscience for the rest of my life.

Sue and I were both invited to a couple of champagne parties to meet the Captain etc. I think we were only invited as a novelty act but we will turn up for anything that’s free. As many of you will know you all stand around talking and of course as Sue and I were the only ones without revolvers in our back pocket we were asked where we came from. Naturally we said Windsor, England, at which time the whole room put their drinks down and came up to talk. Fingers were snapped and before we knew it we were knee deep in trays of caviar vol-au vents and champagne.

Now here experienced hands know what to do. When you meet Americans it’s no use saying you come from Biggleswade, even if you do. Their eyes glaze over and you might as well come from an alternative planet. According to every lovely American, all people from the UK live in London and if you live in London you must know the Queen. What an opportunity. Sue has now nearly been knocked down twice by the Queen whilst we were walking in Windsor Great Park and I have passed Kate in the street. As far as these passengers were concerned this was the nearest they were going to get to royalty that night. It would have been so easy for Sue to start telling everyone about how she babysat Prince George every Tuesday night and how we all went to the Castle regularly for family parties, BBQ’s etc but you know Sue is not like that. Dear oh dear, Sue and I collapsed in bed at around 2am suffering from canapes fatigue.

To our knowledge only two fights took place on the ship between rival New York Street gangs. Both were between arch rivals I. P. Freeley and Mustapha Slash and his gang. It was confined to the main dining room and consisted of nothing more sinister than the throwing of bread rolls across the tables.

Sue and I were only awoken by gunfire twice during the night, one shot shattered the chandelier in the bathroom and the other passed harmlessly over the bed head. Mercifully the Captain reported that, seasonally adjusted, stabbings were down on the previous cruise with only three being reported throughout the whole trip. All of those injured had been seen at the buffet recovering.

To summarise, did we enjoy ourselves with 4.000 plus semi dysfunctional Americans? You bet we did. Rather this than being on board with 4000 Brits moaning about how many 99p shops they had in their town.

What did we think of Bermuda?…. it is simply magical and the prettiest island we have ever visited, prettier than Hawaii and the South Sea Islands. Pastel coloured houses, crystal clear waters and wonderful sunshine. Everything of beauty in one place.

Before I finish I feel I must apologise for the lack of sex and violence which was promised. As to the sex I just didn’t feel up to it and as to the violence the US publishers didn’t like the idea of three of their own being thrown over the side, (what else can you do when they play baseball all night outside your bedroom ) so I had to drop the whole idea. I’m sorry.

“STOP PRESS –STOP PRESS – STOP PRESS- STOP PRESS

I have been told by my publishers that I can give you a little insight into my next best seller……

Plot involves this entrepreneur going to East Africa and bringing back two elephants which he calls Mumbo and Jumbo. He puts them in this field in Bermuda, dresses them up in collar and tie, teaches them to sing and dance and to do the pole vault. They are such a hit with the American tourists passing by that when he hears that the new NCL ship Getaway, out next year, is looking for a new Entertainments Director he gets them to apply for the position. Of course when they get to see them, the NCL Management in Miami do not realise that Mumbo and Jumbo are Elephants because they have ties on. This is a story of how they get on at interview, who are they competing against and which one is successful in getting the job. Order your advance copy now. Only those on suitable medication should apply.

Note from the author:

Hi Fan(s)

This is a very humble and heartfelt “thanks” to all my fans who have helped me over the past month. I will be forever grateful.

Since the early draft release of “Breakaway to Bermuda” (you will remember circulation was restricted to the rich and well heeled) tributes have been pouring in. Joan has obviously been reading her copy on a water-proof ipad in the shower as she says that she “couldn’t stop wetting herself” reading it. My best friend Derek said that he “was up all night and couldn’t put it down” but I have told him that what he does in his personal life is no concern of ours. More humble tributes are as follows.

The Pope – “humour of biblical proportions”

Jimmy Carter – “this is worth more than a bag of peanuts”

Bruce Willis – “it’s hard not to die laughing reading this”

New York FD – “this authors work should be a blazing success”

Barak Obama – “would love to laugh but have to put it before Congress first”.

And then there was the call from Oprah who wanted an interview next Wednesday. I told her I was tied up as Wednesday morning I had to go to the Windsor Food Bank. This is a charitable organisation set up by the Royal Borough of Windsor to look after the hungry, sad and mad residents of the Borough and those with an income of less than £100,000 a month and with property worth less than £3.5 million.

I qualify on every count so each Wednesday I dress up like Roy Cropper, leave my flies undone, dab a little spittle around my mouth and join the queue. Of course there are the usual down and out suspects you find in any town, those with Personal Shoppers in attendance, people wearing Victoria Beckham and shoes by Jimmy Choo etc. Anyway, eventually I get to the front of the queue and the Lord Lieutenant hands me my hamper and a bottle of wine. I look around and there are now ranks of taxis in front of me waiting to take the less fortunate of us home but as I live only five mins walk away from the Castle I don’t mind the exercise.

I must say that I wouldn’t normally put myself through all this, especially when it’s cold but Sue does like the Foie Gras, and Oscietra Caviar followed by a spoonful of Truffle Honey and Champagne Jelly.

At this point I do wish to say another word or two about Pam and John who are struggling to make the cut as to who are the lucky ones to receive this drivel. Pam, you know that it is only that huge donation you made to the O.N.O. Foundation** that keeps you in the game but I appreciate it nevertheless. This is a Foundation that I have believed in all of my life and remains very close to my wallet.

Well, you will be very pleased to know that the author is now going on a long well-earned holiday but will be back next year when work will start on my new book. This as readers of “Breakaway” know, concerns Mumbo and Jumbo applying for the vacancy for Entertainment Director on board NCL’s new ship “Getaway”. All contributions would be welcome but must be in by end of Aug to meet the Christmas publication deadline. I have decided to give it a Shakespearian feel and call it “The Two Elephants of Bermuda “.

** The O.N.O. Foundation is a non-registered charitable truss and stands for “Orson’s Night Out”. It endeavours to be hugely profitable and is part of a larger group of charities owned by the author which include “ Can we find the Lost Shepherds of Detroit” and “ Save the Toxteth Rainforests “

Have a happy Christmas everyone and hope to see you at a bookstore near you soon.

Note about the author ( written by a great friend )

Orson is a bright new author who will be welcomed into the literary ranks. He is well retarded in the UK ( oops typo.. should read “regarded” ) and his books attract considerable attention from those who have read Janet and John and wish to move up in life.

Orson is an Oxford scholar and started to come to the Worlds’ attention as Syd Snot from the Blown Noses, a Stone Roses tribute band.

However disillusionment started to set in and he began a Masters Degree in Parrot Cage Cleaning at Oxford University. However, two years into the course disaster struck. The University suffered a bout of bird flu and all the birds were killed along with half of the students. Orson always a chirpy soul was distraught and his mind turned to writing.

His first book was an acknowledged sensation. Entitled “The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves“, it was an immediate best seller in Russia, China, North Korea and the Central African Republic of Theydontlikeitupem. Whilst writing Orson has continued to show interest in ornithology and perhaps this could be the reason why he has chosen Russell Crowe to be the lead in the film of the same name.

Note.

This small insight into what might be possible with the authors’ second book is only being sent to friends and colleagues who are considered to be intelligent, honest and truly good citizens. A preference is also being shown to those who have answered the authors’ previous begging letters in a positive way. Pam and John you are getting a copy as well because although you don’t satisfy the qualifying standard above we like you anyway.

Warning

The author is naturally reluctant to promote the quality of this new book any further but it is known that it will contain liberal sprinklings of sex and shenanigans on every page and will not be suitable for bedtime reading.

Complete copies of the book will be published by Mustapha Pee, Publishers. Cost £14 50 incl postage.

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