Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ship of Fools, Part 2: Black Water*

* HazMat Suits Optional.

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. 
    • Oily Bilge Water: Cruise ships are estimated to generate up to 25,000 gallons on a one week voyage. ...
     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.)

    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 ...

    The food.

    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.


    1. I'm the first to comment again? WTF? Where are the gay photos? If you add them after I comment, please advise. That would really get my Tuesday off to a nice start. Instead I have the visual of 3 fatties bumping uglies. Thanks.

      What is Oily Bilge Water? Is that the slime that comes off people who are wearing too much suntan oil?

      I've been on 2 cruises and have never thought about where the piss and vomit goes. 2 years ago I was on one, in fact, and one of the girls in my group barfed her guts up and the crew cleaned that giant nasty mess up for her. With smiles on their faces. I can't remember what we paid to go on that cruise, but they cleaned up every stinkin piece of barf shrapnel - there's your money's worth right there.

    2. I am not sure what is more disturbing about Beth's comment, the fact that she is flat out begging for the homoerotic photographs of you and your down-low buddy, Matt. (for future reference, Beth, I am pretty sure G is a 'bottom'. Orders and dog collars are more his thing)

      OR that her little perverted mind immediately makes your story of Fatty Fornication about a Menage a trois fatties instead of the more realistic, and thermodynamically favorable 2 fatties bonin' down.

      I am just saying...

      BTW, between your post and SQ's I am afraid to leave the damn house and I feel the need to recommit to Jenny Craig prior to Hawaii.

      Kiss my sizable ass, you fattyphobes!

    3. @RBR: I was just making reference to poor clothing choices or the incorrect wearing of said clothing, not the bodies underneath.

      @G: Better "Carnival Glory" than "Carnie Vainglory", the cruise where hucksters preen before their freakish wares.

    4. I'm with Beth in that I wouldn't object to a gay photo or three. I mean, stop your teasing already.

    5. @RBR - Afraid to leave? Or can't fit through the door?

      I'm asking because SteveQ was wondering.

    6. @G: It takes some Crisco application, but I can get through the door. Mr, Judgey!

      @Deb: Ok, I thought you had some taste since you thought my dad was hawt, and all, but you are hopping on the Glaven Gay Porn bandwagon?

      *shakes head*

      What the hell do they DO to you poor Kanadians? Seriously twisted, the whole lot of you.

    7. @SQ: Fashion critique. Suuuuuure. That is TOTALLY the tone of your post.


    8. @RBR: (Homer Simpson voice) Mmmmm. Crisco.

      I was going to do an Emmy fashion critique, but it always gets people's panties in a twist. Wait. That was last post!

    9. @G: An asterisk footnote AND numbered footnotes? Adopting some Canadian style manual?

    10. Just remember - dilution is the solution to pollution. Cruise ship sanitary systems monitor - dump that waste in the middle of the ocean!

    11. RBR - You Dad IS hawt. But he'd be even hawter fondling Glaven's graying n*ts@ck.

      And I'm Amerikun, I swear!!!! Doesn't my rampant cussing and obvious lack of breeding prove that? Although I'm not so confident in my citizenship that I'd risk a visit to Arizona. Because it's quite possible that my newly acquired suntan would be grounds to ship me south. While wasting away in teh barrio, only my fantasies of Glaven on RBR-Hawt-Dad action would keep me going. That and frijoles...

    12. Er, um, I'm really embarrassed. Meant to type 2 fatties, not 3 fatties. Oh, who am I kidding? It was in my subconscious the whole time. Now, enough of this bantering, where are the gay photos??? Please, Gaven, give me something better than 3 fatties f$%^ing to start my Wednesday. Gracias.