Bonzi Cruises: A nightmare at sea.

I’m sure we all still remember Bonzi Buddy, that cute purple gorilla with the bad spying habits. I couldn’t help wonder what would have happened had Bonzi Software had stayed in business long enough for it to become a global business empire. I can see it launching its own discount cruise ship line but alas, the discounts would have come with steep prices of their own.

Passengers are advised to avoid the onboard shopping show at all costs. Hosted by a faceless animatronic robot with dangling glasses who goes by the name of Professor Wallet (“I am going to save you SOOO much money you won’t believe!”), the lowlight of the show is the firing of three cannons loaded with Cruise Cash coupons that supposedly ensure discounts for onboard purchases. The cannons are so loud that it leaves everyone’s ears ringing for the duration of the cruise. The coupons themselves are incinerated during the cannon fire, leaving behind nothing but ashes all over the auditorium. Attending this show is a total waste of time.

There is free wifi aboard the ship, but it comes with a serious catch. All online activity is monitored and the data used to suggest products and services based on that activity. Bartenders use this data to identify passengers with certain political views for engaging in shouting matches with them later should they decide to visit the bar. Privacy advocates have criticized Bonzi Cruises for spying on their passengers this way but the policies have remained firmly in place.

Not surprisingly, the Bonzi Buddy mascot makes appearances throughout the ship, including unannounced visits to passengers’ cabins while they sleep or take a shower. Terrified screams are common during the night and are hardly reason to ensure a good night’s sleep at all during the cruise.

The onboard entertainment is horrific, in fact none of the live shows are worth checking out. The comic Lenny Laff constantly cracks jokes on disasters that can break out on the ship, such as capsizing, catching fire and breaking in half. The magician Matt the Magic performs illusions of such inferior quality that the audience can easily see how they were done. The band Party Pants claims to perform top hits from decades past when all it does is play the same cheesy rhythm while repeatedly yelling out the song’s title. Little wonder that passengers have either attempted to escape the ship by manning the lifeboats or just jumping overboard altogether.

To keep prices low, the ship does not count its passengers prior to leaving port. It will not wait for those who are late returning to the ship and will leave without them. Afterwards their suitcases are salvaged and their contents sold at the onboard stores.

Don’t let the low fares mislead you. Bonzi Cruises charges for everything, from using the bathroom to accessing the elevators. There are charges for using the swimming pool, the hot tub and even for walking around on deck. This is one cruise line to avoid, in fact it’s cheaper to just stay home for the rest of your lives.

A different kind of excursion.

“Are you crazy?” my wife was surprised. “There’s kayaking, canoeing, hiking…”

“I know,” I sighed.

“…ziplining, bus tours, train rides…”

“I know,” I repeated.

“And you’d rather…?”

“Come on, it’ll be fun,” I insisted. “There really aren’t excursions like this anywhere else in the world!”

“No thanks, I’d rather stay in the cabin. Either that or go with you with a paper bag over my head. Go have fun on YOUR excursion.”

With that, my wife plopped down on the bed and refused to say another word. But I still wanted to do this, so I left the ship and went to my excursion on the dock.

“Welcome!” the guide greeted the small group of people who had gathered near the sign marking the site of the excursion. “No doubt you had to put up with snickering and words of disbelief from those in your travel group, but it’s well worth it as this is the only excursion of its kind in the entire world. I know you’re all excited, so let’s get started. Let me show you how to drive a forklift.”

A peculiar turn of events.

I needed a moment to digest what had just happened. There I stood, in the middle of the store where I worked while wearing nothing but my boxer shorts. All around me customers and coworkers snickered at my appearance. Yet just moments ago I was in my cabin of a cruise ship thousands of miles away. What happened?

“Mike! You’re back!” My boss interrupted my thoughts. He had joined the growing crowd of snickering gawkers. “Why aren’t you dressed for work? You know I can’t have you work like that.”

“But I’m on vacation,” I protested.

“Being on vacation doesn’t mean parading into the store in your boxer shorts. Go home and get dressed, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll forget we had this conversation,” my boss retorted. “And besides, your vacation ended last week.”

“But that’s impossible!” I exclaimed. “I’ve only been on vacation for a few days!”

“Go home and get dressed or else I’ll make your vacation permanent.”

I started feeling my pockets for my car keys but alas, my boxer shorts didn’t have pockets. I didn’t have my keys either. They were in my suitcase in my cabin where I was just moments ago.

Then it dawned on me. I knew I shouldn’t have found that hidden elevator on the ship that goes only to the 13th floor.

Incident at the border.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are now arriving at the Candanian border. Please have your passports and paperwork ready.”

All the passengers aboard the tour bus retrieved the requested items from their purses and wallets, myself included. I gazed out the window and saw the customs and immigration building underneath the Candanian flag flying in the breeze. I was hoping this part of my vacation would go smoothly.

The bus coasted to a stop as the driver announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, please gather your belongings and meet the customs officers inside the building. This shouldn’t take long.”

Everyone unboarded the bus and made their way inside the building where they formed a line to present their passports to the customs officers. The line moved swiftly as the officers glanced at the passports and paperwork and welcomed the tourists to Candana. Maybe this won’t go so badly after all.

Then it was my turn to go to an available customs officer. He greeted me warmly as he examined my passport. Suddenly the smile on his face vanished as his eyes widened with shock. “Come with me, sir,” the officer ordered as he led me to a back room where five officers surrounded me and immediately began shoving me around.

“Wait, wait!” I yelled.”Why are you shoving me around?”

“You are from Loridfa, correct?”

“Yes, that’s where I live.”

“And that’s where tourists from Candana go for the winter, correct?”

“Yeah, so?”

“On the morning of November 15th of last year, you were driving on the interstate when you swerved and cut off a driver who happened to be a tourist from Candana. An attack on one is an attack on all! It’s payback time, beeyotch!”

And so the shoving continued, much to the chagrin of the other tourists who seemed to know the reason for the delay.

A burger buffet blowout.

After hearing complaint after complaint of how everyone kept working long hours to fix the never ending onslaught of problems with the network, Kevin decided to treat everyone to a burger buffet at Blue Batman* as a token of appreciation for all their hard work. As Kevin watched his employees help themselves to burger after burger, he noticed with some concern that Charles was sitting alone at the table and not eating.

“Charles!” Kevin approached the table where Charles sat, “Help yourself to a burger. You’ve earned it.”

“No thank you,” Charles replied.

“Aren’t you hungry?”

“I am starving.”

“Then have a burger!”

“No thank you.”

Then the other employees returned to the table with plates piled high with hamburgers and fries before sitting down to begin devouring them. Kevin watched them eat before turning his attention back to Charles, hoping the sight of everyone eating would change his mind.

“Good burgers, Robert?”

“They’re the best,” Robert replied with his mouth full. “Come on Charles, go get a burger.”

“No thank you,” Charles insisted.

“What’s wrong, Charles?” Kevin asked. “I know you’ve been spending long hours at the office, away from home and family just so you can keep our network going. I really appreciate your efforts and this luncheon was way overdue. Come on Charles, let’s get you a burger.”

“No thank you,” Charles was getting annoyed.

“I thought you said you were starving.”

“I am freakin’ starving.”

“Then help yourself to a burger!”

“ALL RIGHT!” Charles pounded his fists on the table with such force that burgers, fries and drinks jumped from the table. “I’LL GET A FREAKIN’ BURGER!”

Charles stormed to the burger bar and returned to the table with a single burger on his plate. Opening his mouth wide, he ate the entire burger in a single bite before washing it down with his iced tea. Everyone at the table could not believe their eyes.

“That wasn’t so bad, was it?” Kevin asked incredulously.

“That’s not the worst of it.” Charles replied calmly.

“What do you mean?”

“Burgers give me really bad gas.”

As if to punctuate his point, Charles let out a deafening belch while letting out a loud, long fart. The entire table trembled from the noise and other diners stared at Charles in disgust. Then the waitress stormed up to the table and yelled at him to leave, but her words could not be heard above his continuous belching and farting that ensued, one right after the other. Finally Robert and another employee had to escort Charles outside to the parking lot where he continued his gaseous outburst that showed no signs of easing. But the damage was done. Everyone in the restaurant were staring at Kevin and his employees as if they were to blame for causing the commotion. Meanwhile they could still hear Charles belching and farting outside from the parking lot. Everyone quickly paid their checks and left, leaving Kevin and his staff still seated at the table and listening to the noise from outside.

Kevin and his staff were banned from ever eating at Blue Batman again.

* A play on Red Robin. Get it?