Whales on Legs

or walkers or canes or scooters. This cruise is not quite as bad as the one Noah and I took in 2010 on the NCL Spirit where it was difficult at times to get to the buffet due to the large number of huge people between it and us. The cruise where he and I decided that there should be a sliding scale for the cabins so that those of us under 300# were not paying for the food of those over. Considering that the under 200# people were a minority, especially if you wanted to factor in age over 18 and the ship could stand to perhaps make a profit. Whether or not it would have been sufficient to fund the additional lifeboats and the required renovations is another story.

(Note – the ships run under international regulations as far as tonnage and passengers expected to fit in life boats in case of emergency. Where is it a minor problem in Europe, it would be a problem of significant proportions on a New Orleans based cruise, trust me. The US Coast Guard has already revised their guidelines from 150# to 180# per person and in result has lowered the capacity of all of its ferries. For those of you who have cruised or done much traveling outside the US/UK, the international standard of 70kg is not unreasonable given a mix of ages and ethic backgrounds. One only has to think of the waitstaff and cabin attendants on most ships to understand.)

Anyway as I mentioned, this cruise is not as overstuffed as the 2010 NCL, but it is certainly significantly different than my Transatlantic passage just a couple of weeks ago. The population on that one, you might have heard me say, was 1/3 Spanish speakers, 1/3 German speakers and the remaining 1/3 English language speakers. There were a few of the extremely over sized but not really all that many.

This ship? Whole ‘Nother matter. I can completely understand the thickening of the middle with attendant loss of waistline as one ages. This is a population with more than the average US income (they are on a ship, many of them being frequent cruisers), they have a choice. Most being retired, they have a choice as to what they do with their days and how they take care of themselves. It is one thing to attempt to get back in shape with a house full of offspring and a 60 hour work week but now?

It seems to completely match the US 1/3 serious obesity. Those on scooters seem to be divided evenly between women with MS (none of whom have weight issues) and the mixed gender crew overflowing both sides of the seat. Since I use the stairs, I can avoid the worst possibilities of being trapped in elevators that might exceed the load limit. In fact the only ones on the stairs are those who probably don’t need the exercise. (overheard – “Taking the stairs up and down all day lets me have the occasional desert…..”)

Hip and knee replacements are obviously all too common in this crew by the way that they sit, hobble and carry themselves lending further to the lack of ability to get their bodies back to a reasonable. size. The only form of exercise remaining for most is swimming. I am not sure how most would get in and out of the pool safely. There is a lift chair at the hot tub at ship center but not in the Solarium. That one requires that you are able to go up four steps with a railing.

The issue then becomes for the four of us relaxing in the tub when more individuals head in our direction. Adding an additional 500kg in the form of 5-6 would be a challenge. Exactly how these three additional people believe they are going to fit in the tub is beyond me. Two of us look at each other and quietly head into the pool for a quick swim before retreating to the loungers.

And no, I am not trying to insult any of you. Everyone that I know who has significant amount of extra weight is actively monitoring it, assessing the effect on their bodies and making active efforts to be stable/decrease in order to avoid health complications and/or further medical problems. None of you are on the high side of 200 kg and need a bib because you can’t get within 50 cm of a table. This is the same group that I see having 2,3, 4 plates of entrees before having the waitstaff bring them deserts. The same group that whines that the seats are too small (since Cherie and I have shared a chair in a couple of locations – those seats are not all that small.

Gee – all this talk? I think it is time for another meal!

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