If you've never been on a cruise ship vacation before, the first and most important thing you will need to know about it is that at no point during your trip will your cruise ship ever smell like shit, piss, vomit or — worse still — certain other, even more disgusting, philoprogenitive human bio-emissive effluvia, of which, I can assure you, plenty is produced in the course of the week-at-sea because many of the passengers on a typical cruise ship vacation are newlyweds and/or just basically always horny and looking for any opportunity to fuck in international waters, thereby ensuring the necessary by-production of much of the above-mentioned bio-emissive effluvia.
And I'm sure a lot of you are thinking, Well, that's pretty much a sine qua non for me when I go about picking my vacations — I just kinda expect that it won't involve my having to deal with a persistent shit-, piss- or vomit-smell. A-a-and furthermore any jizz I do encounter better be my own or my significant other's, and even that is iffy because I get these headaches sometimes and am just not in the mood and I'm SORRY if that leaves you "frustrated" and/or boner-laden but this is MY vacation TOO, you know, and maybe if you were just a smidge more romantic about it we wouldn't always have to HAVE this conversation and, anyway, why isn't cuddling ever good enough for you, if you really love me, and did you ever stop to think that maybe it's YOU who have the problem ... ?
Which, I would agree, is a pretty reasonable baseline vacation-picking-related expectation.
But when you're on a cruise ship, keep in mind that this is what you're dealing with:
[... C]ruise ships generate the following waste streams:
- Black Water (sewage): A typical cruise ship generates as much as 210,000 gallons during a one week voyage. ...
- Gray Water (shower, sink, and galley water): A typical cruise ship is estimated to generate up to one million gallons a week.
That, ye gods and little tadpoles, is a shitload of shit, piss, vomit and jizz1. And it all has to go somewhere. But unlike the shit, piss, vomit and jizz you (probably) produce in the private confines of your own personal home, the ship's waste is not immediately whisked away to some far-off waste treatment plant where shit-, piss-, vomit- and jizz-neutralizing experts are standing by to deal with it; it stays somewhere on the ship2 at least until the next port-of-call — or possibly till the end of the cruise. (I did not investigate this any further; feel free to do so on your next/first cruise.)
- Oily Bilge Water: Cruise ships are estimated to generate up to 25,000 gallons on a one week voyage. ...
And so if you think about it — which I freely admit I did not do until this, our fourth(?) cruise3 — this lack of a shit-smell is a pretty amazing feat. Because the Carnival Glory, which is the ship we cruised on, can hold up to 3,600 passengers4 (which is more than a "typical cruise ship" because the Glory is one big-ass ship) and many of them were of the Fat, Lazy, Demanding American variety, who looked as though they consumed roughly 15,000 calories per day when they weren't on a cruise vacation, and it's for damn sure they produced more than their fair share of shit, piss and vomit5 on this 5-day cruise. The Glory also carried over 1,150 crew — so, that's roughly one crew member for every three passengers — but most of them were thin and shapely and not-American and probably produced considerably less than one-third of the shit, piss, vomit and jizz that the passengers did.
I did not, in fact, intend to take up an entire post with a discussion of Cruise Ship Waste Generation and Treatment. I thought it would be more like a paragraph; but you never know where research will lead you, do you? And this post is already long enough so I won't go on to write — here, in this post — about my next topic, which is going to be ...
Probably a good decision.
But here's a teaser: There's TONS of it. Food, that is.
All that shit, piss and vomit has to come from somewhere.
This is a vid I took of Ian and Teh 'B. as we were steaming out of NY Harbor, just as we were passing the Statue of Liberty (who poops REAL big). Teh 'Bride thought I was just taking a picture, but I took a video instead. That's why neither she nor Ian is moving. They thought I was just taking my time setting up the shot.
1 O sure, some of the latter ends up somewhere in the blushing newlywed brides — by one means of ingress or another — but not nearly as much as you probably think. I'm thinking most of it — I'd guesstimate roughly 90% — eventually ends up as part of what the white paper quoted above demurely refers to as "Gray Water". And if you don't want to know where that most likely ends up, don't read the next footnote.
2 Or should, if the cruise line is even minimally environmentally-responsible; it is unclear whether they are legally obliged to be. Laws are lax, at best; and many of those are not even enforced. What you won't see in the glossy Carnival or Royal Caribbean brochures is the fact that many ships just dump their waste at sea, in the dead of night, just outside the three-mile limit, where the waters are international and the minimally- (or un-)treated shit/piss/vomit/jizz stew becomes everyone's problem.
Chew on that the next time you're enjoying the "pristine" ocean waters on your Caribbean Island get-away.
3 And even then only because I was desperately searching for some really, truly, profoundly and disgustingly emetic factoid with which to kick off this second post in my as-yet-undetermined-number-of-posts series about Teh Heisenberg Clan's latest vacation.
And I make no promises that it will get less disgusting from here.
In fact, I can just about guarantee the opposite.
4 I know that the link I provide above resolves to a site that claims the Glory can hold a mere 2,974 passengers, but we were assured, on more than one occasion, that there were 3,600 passengers on our cruise. I don't know if that was a lie or just lily-gilding or if, because ours was a mere 5-day (as opposed to 7-day) cruise, there was less need for supplies and therefore more room for passengers ...? Which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, unless some of the passengers were sleeping in like crates or freezers or some such.
In any case, the crew of the ship claimed that we — Ian, Teh 'Bride and I — were three among 3,600 passengers. I never got around to doing a head count, myself, so I'm just gonna take their word on it.
5 Though probably not that much jizz because, from the look of these foax, fucking — or, indeed, trying to look even marginally fuckable — was not a priority, which is just as well because I want to believe that slap-slap-slapping sound I would occasionally hear at night was the sound of ocean water hitting the sides of the ship and not the sound of fat, sweaty man-flab smacking up against equally fat, sweaty woman-flab as these Big, Fat Shit-, Piss- and Vomit-bags attempted to bump uglies.
Though I could be wrong about all of that and the sound really was that of two fatties trying to make a baby.