The most notable about time in an ocean voyage is that it is so purely relative. What a fragment is in space, a moment is in time.
We sailed in the lightness of an autumn early evening—the sky a fresh roceate, the sea quiet, calm, the ship ploughed into open seas, a shade of vivid indigo as the horizon narrowed and widened, dipped and rose. The moon was illuminating the decks with its whiteness, like a distant voice, the sea hushed, almost to a sigh, in a rhythmic exhalation as though it were asleep outside the gate of sound. Oh! The elegance of nature, the wonder of space.
It was a Sunday night. Everywhere, people came in long rows, some of them singing their heads, feeling light with strong drink. Tequila was flowing, said to come from cactus, except that they didn’t remove the needles. Beer was abound, Corona, Heinneken and we’re all drinks, it made people smart. Citing it even made “Bud… weiser.”
You’re on the water and you’re sea sick. The waves rocking you in their hammock back and forth, up and down. At first, it was a sweet cradling motion, until you start feeling you have a hang over as big as Mount Everest.
You tried pure will power to not get sea sick. But nothing helped as your inside turned round and round, losing all your sense of balance, flooding all your senses. Nothing worked. The sea made a sport out of you. Mark that as your first evening, meant to start with unadulterated fun.
Still, there’s nothing like a good cruise that provides entertainment, solace, humor (a respite from the hurry scurry of the everyday routine), the element of surprise (you meet person of the moment who live for the moment). The effect is cumulative, minor characters and minor entertainment little pathos—fun that made Tolstoy weep.
Who knows if romance is in the air. There will always be opportunities and importance of a moment in a single event, or connection. It teems with indigenous life, in a pace of living that is accumulated. You see life as a server of swift impressions rather than a coherent whole life seems richer, without its breadth and depth you see it multiplying with little impressions. You walk and settle on a chair around the deck. You reflect for a moment. Then an excruciatingly handsome face flash by. You’re “crushed” for a moment, someone jostled you, you’re angry for a moment, someone smiles at you, you’re glad for a moment.
Such are the daily feelings inside a ship, unlike the lingering precious, ductile feeling in your routine. A cruise provides a sure “escape.” You see life’s unconscious symbols just as conscious symbols kill it. There’s freshness, spontaneity and surprise. The very soul of a cruise are slices of life that do not make life itself. The bits and color put together that do not make a pictures, or a dissonance make music—just spectacular meanderings that are briefly glimpsed. There is no beginning nor end—simply viewing of life in passing it could be grand or drab to grab.
The interview with Captain Pierluigi Lanaro was a conversation transposed into written dialogue if not monologues provoked by questions and opinions—with the value of the richest remark. Everything he said, whether funny or diplomatic, came from a true Italian gentleman. He is the most important person in the ship and cannot be expected to fraternize with passengers and crew. The Captain’s Elegant Ball, is the only time you see him, surrounded by his crew, his cordon sanitaire. People look at him in that old world elegance and dignity—respect, no selfies.
He has been with Carnival Imagination for twenty years, sailed with 60 million passengers, served with inspired dishes, washed down with litters of wine—celebrating folks gay abandon—unlimited.
He said when you’re that confined, then you see everything. Each trip brings new experience, everything in the ship is “too” something. Nothing is routine. his gift was sureness of instinct. His ability to focus on people in order to illuminate a sense of openness on larger issue—a whim of wit warmed by reserve of his patrician upbringing—but in a more tranquil vein.
To this day, 20 years with the ship with such astonishing rectitude without counting the cost—simply because it has never occurred to him to do anything else—has exceeded dreadful expecations in the life span of a ship’s stewardship, relying on his own moral compass. He has answered every question from who’s the most difficult passengers, to the most delightful one.
His most harrowing experience speaks of pride, about his crew, their preparedness to anything and everything. In this floating carnival with passenger floating in tequila, celebrating almost in frightening abandon, good cheer and good wishes are the only cautionary talk.
His diverse plate included future cruises where people do not need to do homework before coming to a cruise where everything spells gaiety and is yours for the taking.
His 20 years have given him soaring memories.