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That Sinking Feeling

by Stephen Lautens

April 17, 1998

The cruise industry has reported a sharp increase in bookings since the Titanic came out. In fact, they expect people to book up to 17% more cruises in 1998, and it's all due to the mega-blockbuster movie.

They say it's because people want the luxury and romance of the movie.

Am I missing something here?

Refresh my memory, but wasn't there a minor inconvenience in the movie involving an iceberg? I seem to recall something about 1500 people freezing to death in the Atlantic.

That would get me to rush out and book a cruise.

I'm sure people rushed out to book Zeppelin vacations after the movie "The Hindenberg".

No doubt car sales went up after David Cronenberg's movie "Crash".

Maybe I'm prejudiced because of my own cruise experience. My first and only cruise was on my honeymoon.

I was in charge of booking the honeymoon, and all my plans fell through. Desperate and with only three days left before he wedding I saw a Greek cruise advertised in a window.

Perfect. Not only was I going on a honeymoon, I wouldn't be killed at my own wedding.

The MTS Oceanos wasn't as big as the Titanic, but it wasn't some bathtub toy either. It had five decks and 540 passenger beds. My wife and I occupied the two in cabin D16 - twin beds I would like to point out, in spite of it being our honeymoon.

Let me warn you, a cruise holiday consists mostly of eating. Breakfast is at six, seven and 8:30. The buffet opens at 11:30 and lunch is at noon. A snack is served at four to get you ready for dinner at six or 8:30 (or both). If you're still hungry, there's a buffet at midnight.

It is important to note on the ship schedule that the doctor is only available for two hours a day. Presumably the rest of the time he's helping in the kitchen.

Anyway, we had a great honeymoon bobbing around the Greek Isles on the MTS Oceanos.

The next August I was watching the TV and our honeymoon ship flashed across the screen. I called my wife to have a look and share a nice memory.

And then before our very eyes - I swear - the ship sank.

We watched it go nose first to the bottom of the sea. If you watched closely you could even see the porthole that belonged to our honeymoon suite.

Unlike the Titanic, everyone got off okay, even though the Captain and crew were reported to be the first ones to abandon ship. The magician hired as the entertainment woke up to find he was in charge, and managed to get everyone off the ship.

Maybe the Titanic would have been okay if they had the foresight to book a magic act instead of just snooty rich people and dancing Irishmen.

They never figured out why the Oceanos sank. There was talk of terrorists, insurance claims, just plain old age.

My guess? Someone went through the hull after the seventh meal of the day.

It makes me think of the promise I made to my wife that we would recreate our honeymoon for our 10th anniversary.

That gives me two years to learn how to scuba dive.


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