Returned from a cruise stopping in Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel, and a cruise line owned cay near Eleuthera. What I noticed were two main things: 1. incredibly intricate systems of production and education and 2. The constructed nature of reality built for us on the ship and at the destinations.
I’ll begin with the second point first. While we missed the “embarkation” experience and had to join the ship in Grand Cayman, I did see many visual images of it capture by the crew in pictures kept in a long hallway for viewing and later purchase. The whole of it, as described by my family, was an experience of entry designed to prepare one for the journey. There were many similar constructed experiences throughout the trip.
There were formal dining experiences each night that we were expected to dress up for each night with gourmet food that is different from our everyday. Lobster one night, seafood saltimbocca on another, multiple courses, and desserts we would not permit ourselves at home that made bathing suits fit more snugly the next morning as we shuffled along the deck to gorge ourselves once more on sausages and sugary pastries.
All of these meals are designed for us by the staff of the ship who construct this food experience that is intended to be fundamentally different, but still akin to what we may imagine our daily lives could or should be like (and for a few, is). It’s a bit of an alternate reality concept akin to the games and transmedia I work with, but an illusion created in real life. It’s brief, strange and some people love it, some do not.
I’ll expand further in additional posts.