Diamond of Light
That’s what they call this floating vessel, our home for the next nine days. Almost brand new (built in 2009), this swimming city stretches across twelve decks and boasts a three level show theatre, a Las Vegas style casino, ten bars, three restaurants, two swimming pools and Jacuzzis, a top notch spa, state of the art health club, a running track, a golf putting course, a multi lingual library and a fancy shopping galleria. With a capacity of 2,826 passengers and a crew of 921, there isn’t a moment of privacy except in your own cabin. Italian, French, German and English snippets of conversation collide in the many frequented areas but middle aged Italians make up the majority of vacationers. And although the ship sails under the Italian flag and is manned by an Italian crew, it is under the umbrella of the Carnival corporation and a member of the worlds leading cruise lines like Holland America, Princess Cruises, Carnival, the Yachts of Seabourn and Cunard Line. They know how to make a buck. Especially on those land excursions, spa treatments and internet use. And the drinks at the bar aren’t cheap either. Not a pleasant realization. I have wondered what some of the brown skinned waiters might be thinking collecting hefty sums for the drinks they serve. That thought sat in my mind as I enjoyed the distant hills of Mallorca we cruised past during lunch today. Watching swift waiters clear tables and lean cooks balance loaded food trays, an odd fact struck me. I had noticed that exact same thing on our first cruise on board the Norwegian Star. I don’t know if those of you who have been on cruises have made the same observation but all the service personnel (waiters, cooks, room attendants) I spoke to on this ship comes from India and the Philippines. We have come a long way since Christopher Columbus set sail from his native Savona to change the course of history, but not much has changed about the light skinned man’s use of the darker skinned folks to do the menial labor. Like it was back then, more than six hundred years later today right here on this polished cruise vessel, the poor brown skinned folks are still serving the more privileged fair skinned. (Those poor third world country natives could never afford this kind of cruise we are on). And considering the staggering amount of money that will change hands during the next nine days, I wonder how much will actually trickle down to those brown, swift hands laboring long hours.