Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Four Stooges

I've recently been talking to a few of my old Carnival Celebration friends online; Craig, Lesley and Boffa. The four of us worked on the Celebration from sometime in early 2006 until probably the end of 2007. We had a great chemistry together as hosts and always had fun doing our jobs. What is interesting is the four of us were never on the ship together at the same time. It was constantly a different combination of three of us. If I could have it my way, I would have the four of us make up one great host team someday. I sometimes think of us as the Three Stooges plus Shemp, or the Four Stooges.

In sometime early 2006, Lesley, Boffa and Craig had signed onto the Celly. I have heard some stories about the good times. But I think if I asked any one of the three what their favorite contract was, this would be their favorite one. It sounded to me like constant craziness. I mean these guys ran the ship.

But Craig, a.k.a. Sexy Craig had to go on vacation in August of 2006 and that is when I stepped in. Lesley and Boffa were my co-hosts and they were crazy. In my first few weeks I was going through a tough time and instead of letting me sulk about it, there were many a middle-of-the-night wake up calls telling me to go join their party. Lesley has this amazing ability to pull an all nighter, then have energy the next day. I always thank them for helping lift my spirits. I think their philosophy was to have a good time, no use worrying about things you can't change.

My second week on board when I had a cold and was just not having a good time, the Celly hit land in the Bahamas and had to go into emergency dry dock to fix a broken propellor. It was truly one of the most miserable times I can remember. But looking back, Boffa and Lesley really helped me through that week when the ship was out of water. One night in fact, after returning from a night in Freeport, the three of us walked underneath the Celebration! I've never seen those photos, so if either of you two have them, I want to see em! We told the security guys we were "official" so he let us go underneath. We were wearing flip flops I'm sure.

Lesley doesn't really need sleep actually. She brings a smile to every event she does. I mean yeah I've seen her when she wakes up after a big one and she may need a cup o tea, but her recovery is amazing. One of her favorite events to host was the Mens Hairy Chest Competition. She made it unique and her own. She could handle obnoxious, drunk men with grace.

Boffa, Lesley and Ryan in the Bahamas

So for the next few months, the second installment of the stooges took over the Celly. I remember many nights in the disco or at the pizza bar on lido deck. Our deck parties were always a blast. Lesley and Boffa had this saying, "Chocolate bars" that I never figured out. Really, I think it meant "no excuses, lets go!" but really, they just said "chocolate bars" at different moments. I guess it is an inside joke.

Then we were all saddened when Boffa had to go home early. Everyone in the department, wherever they are today, still misses that guy. He has it, whatever it is. He has that charm and swagger that is fun to be around. I never saw Boffa upset or flustered. His character really kept my mind at ease when things were tense, which they rarely were.

No worries with friends like these

So with Boffa gone, the bosses called back on our boy Craig to take his place. Now it was the third and final combination: Lesley, Ryan and Craig. Immediately, Craig E Boy and I hit it off. I had heard countless stories about "Sexy Craig." He was always a great host. He brought his own dynamic and energy to the stage. We became roommates not long after he arrived and he ended up being my favorite roommate in three years of cruising.

Craig would often make up stories about me and tell the audience on the first night of the cruise. For example he used to tell them I was on the pilot episode of Grey's Anatomy. Another time he told them it was my last cruise because my wife was expecting twins. Depending on how I felt, I would confirm or deny the rumor.

Halloween 2006

I suppose there was one more combination of us hosts. That was when it was time for Lesley to leave the Celly. Coincedentally, on the same day she was supposed to leave, our Cruise Director's appendix ruptured and he needed to be rushed to the hospital. So for one cruise, they let Craig E Boy and myself run the ship. It was possibly the best four or five day cruise I was ever on. Just two 25 year olds running the entertainment department on a 100,000 ton ship. Classic. We stayed roommates for the next five or six months.

Attempting to run an entire department.

In June 07, I left the ship life. My body and mind needed a rest. Many people ask how does one walk away from cruising the Caribbean. Sometimes the body and mind need a break. Craig was on vacation at the time and was scheduled to come back to the Celly. And I wanted a break from calling bingo numbers.

I almost ran into Boffa a few weeks ago. He was in Sydney for about 24 hours, but we didn't make it happen. Hopefully I will get to visit him in Melbourne before this trip is over. He has told Criag, Lesley and me that he wants back onto the ships.

Sexy Craig left ships for a few months recently, actually to retire after a good three years or so on board. He has decided to return this August to the Glory, my first ship. He constantly tells me I should come back too.

Lesley is still going strong. She has worked her way up to Assistant Cruise Director and has filled in as Cruise director on several occasions. Whenever we talk, she tells me to get back there so we can host together again. It would be nice.

I've told a few people that I would consider going back someday. It just would require me to be in the right place at the right time. It would take some serious thought about going back to a life that limits you to never driving a car, cooking your own meals or seeing family for months at a time. Ya never know. (Cooking my own meals...maybe I'm stretching the truth on that one)

Next blog will be about Australia, I promise.

1 comment:

lesley Gray said...

Ryyyyyaaaaan I love this!!!!! i miss your giraffe impersonations!! mwaaahhh and our notebook night will always be special xxx