“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 it 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. Here a team of emergency workers assisted in loading the passengers onto conveyor belts back to reality.
“Happens all the time,” says Jim O’Connor, head of Shoppers Without Borders, a purely-for-profit consumers group 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 Kettlers 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 works in a cubicle at his job, so when we found ourselves sleeping in one, he just went into work-mode; staring out the window a lot, doing a little online shopping, checking the sports scores, and waiting for someone to tell him its time to go home.”