Gothic Cruise 2008 – October 11th

I may as well reveal that the cruise I went on was actually a special theme cruise, the Gothic Cruise which is offered by All Genre Travel and sponsored by Gothic Beauty Magazine & Vampirerave.com. Since this may raise a few eyebrows among people who don’t know me very well, I feel obliged to offer an elaborate explanation.

You may ask, “What possessed you to go on such a cruise”? It was the disquieting muses who have me under their spell that lead to this. I think that explains everything. But for those of you who are unfamiliar with the disquieting muses I will try to describe them. “The Disquieting Muses” is a famous metaphysical painting by Giorgio de Chirico. The muses are depicted rather strangely as dummies in a desolate urban landscape that seems timeless. You could regard it as the quintessential statement of modern art in which the inspiration of the modern age is sarcastically shown to be the soulless industrial revolution with mute showroom dummies as its muses. However I interpret the painting as an attempt to paint the eerie muses of one’s most curious nightmares. Sylvia Plath wrote a chilling poem based on this painting in which she embraces the disquieting muses, “I learned, I learned, I learned elsewhere, / From muses unhired by you, dear mother“. I was charmed by Sylvia’s appropriation of the disquieting muses so I’ve made them part of my fantasy life. But of course, the disquieting muses must have a different aspect for me. In my personal mythology they are the geniuses behind meaningful dreams, the source of unearthly visions that cast a heavy spell on the soul. I think I have something of their genius.

To say you have the genius of the disquieting muses is a dangerous revelation. Or it would be if you knew exactly what I meant. However I’ve found that it is quite safe to talk about this because it is easy to dismiss mere words, no matter what they imply. But it isn’t safe to talk this way around me because it will arouse my curiosity. There are a few individuals in the gothic community that have aroused my curiosity…. Just to put out a name, John Santerineross.

I want to write about every detail of my trip to fix it in my memory. But since this isn’t the right blog for such an account I’ll have to be a little conservative. I’m going to record all the tedious travel details because these are things I may want to remember on future trips.

One of the reasons that I felt comfortable making this trip was my previous cruise this year, the YouTube cruise in March. The YouCruise went remarkably well and gave me some idea as to what to expect so I wasn’t too nervous about traveling or expecting it to be a disaster. However, the heightened security at the airports still makes me nervous. At the Williamsport Regional Airport (IPT) I saw a woman being questioned by a police officer. I  think she did not have any money or something. Being arrested or hassled for poverty is so typical of Williamsport. I gave the baggage clerk a $100 bill to pay for my checked bag and he had to go in the back to get my change. I had printed tickets that Travelocity sent me through Federal Express but I was given blue printed tickets as well which I didn’t get on my earlier trip. The plane left Williamsport at 6:00 AM and it was still dark out so I looked out the window at all the lights on the ground as we flew to Philadelphia. We were flying pretty low so I could see all sorts of deserted parking lots, streets, and back porches brilliantly lit in the night like tiny stages.

At the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) I bought a mass market paperback book to read on the long flight to Orlando Florida. There is a Hudson News/Euro Cafe at Concourse F where you can buy reading material. There was not much of a selection but I managed to find something that was somewhat appropriate for a gothic cruise, “The Lost Tomb” by David Gibbins. It is a novel about the fabled lost libraries of antiquity and concerns the hunt for the written words of Jesus Christ. The hero of the story visits many ancient tombs which still manage to retain grisly human remains including a memorable description of body liqueur, saponification, the conversion of the fat of a corpse into adipocere, often called “grave wax.” The Lost Tomb

I took a shuttle bus from Terminal F to Terminal B to get on the plane to Orlando Florida. The Philadelphia International Airport is so big that you need to take a plane just to get from one end to the other. I saw a young woman at the gate with her hair dyed red and I thought she must be one of the goths going on the cruise. However, I never saw her on the ship. At the Orlando International Airport (MCO) I took the AGT (Train) System to the Main Terminal and Baggage Claimway. The train was a futuristic monorail that looked like something out of Logan’s Run. After I got my bag I found a Carnival Cruise Line representative who directed me downstairs. I saw a bus loading passengers bound for the cruise ship, Carnival Glory, which I could identify based on their orange luggage tags. I bought a transfer  from my travel agent but I was not sent it so I had to asked about getting one and was directed to the Carnival Desk inside. This proved to be hard to find and I was the last person on the bus.

At Port Canaveral we were able to see the cruise ships Carnival Glory and the Disney Cruise Line Magic off in the distance long before we arrived. We got stuck behind a limousine so I was able to snap some photos of the Carnival Glory. I imagined that the rock stars arrived in the limousine but they probably aren’t big enough stars for that special treatment. Really anyone could rent a limo to arrive in style.

Fortunately, the Mears Transportation Group bus took care of getting my checked baggage on board the ship so I only had to deal with my carry on bag. It seemed like I had to show my passport, Fun Pass, and eventually Sail & Sign card to everyone before I could get on the ship. I had to show identification at least 5 times.

I was unable to go to my cabin because they would not be ready until 1:30 PM and I arrived at Noon so I went to the Lido deck where I saw a few goths I recognized from photos on Vampire Raves. I had a cheeseburger for lunch and then took out my camcorder to take some great video of the Disney cruise ship. I’ll be posting video later. That kept me occupied until I could go to my cabin, #8357, although my other bag was not there yet. So I toured the ship and shot some video of the empty Amber Palace theater. When I went back my room I found my other bag outside so I was able to change into a black short sleeved shirt.

At 4:00 PM it was time for the first event on the 2008 Gothic Cruise Onboard Itinerary, the autograph signing. Now at this point I had no idea what to expect so I was not feeling a lot of dread. I could only picture a crowd of people lined up before folded tables like at a rock concert. When I entered the White Heat Disco there were only a few people there and nothing much was going on so I just looked around. I saw Zaida and Chris of Red Flag although I did not know their names then. Eventually I approached Zaida and got the complimentary CDs and a pink wrist band. Many more goths began to show and they were all dressed up which began to make me feel conspicuously normal. I was dressed all in black but it was just black slacks and a black short sleeve shirt. Not appropriate for a cruise but not so unusual as to get looks from the vacationers.

If you feel at all self-conscious you should definitely avoid  the gothic cruise like the plague. You’ll either feel awkward and uncomfortable at the special events if you don’t look gothic enough or you’ll feel absolutely mortified when you are just around  the average cruise goers. I have to admit that everyone seemed pretty brave and totally unconcerned about their appearance, unless they drank a lot to brace themselves for going out. Personally I was cursing the disquieting muses for getting me into this. I’ve never felt so awkward in all my life! I looked at a lot of photos of past gothic cruises and saw many people my age dressed in band t-shirts so I was not expecting to stand out like a sore thumb.

Of course there was a masquerade ball which required some sort of fancy dress but I thought the heat would discourage anyone from wearing trench coats and combat boots or anything like that. After all, there isn’t a fashion line for gothic cruise wear and you don’t wear black in the hot sun. Oh well, it was pretty funny to get myself in such a predicament and at least I wasn’t wearing a dress. You can’t complain too much in the circumstances. It was really outrageous and secretly I loved it but…

I got my CombiChrist CD signed by all the members of the band and bought one of their t-shirts. I was reading Joe Letz’s blog on VampireFreaks before the cruise so I recognized him. To be perfectly honest, I’d never heard of CombiChrist before the cruise, although I bought all their albums after booking. They are on Metropolis Records which is currently the major label  for the electro-industrial, synthpop, futurepop, darkwave, and gothic musical genres. I can remember when Cleopatra was the major label for gothic music and Propaganda magazine was the major publication. I have lots of CDs on the Cleopatra label. I still have a Propaganda VHS tape called “The Ritual”. This seems to be pretty rare. I can’t find any information on it online and even YouTube does not have any clips. I should transfer it to DVD to preserve it.

I went back to my cabin and napped until 8:15 PM when I made my way to the Golden Restaurant, table 188, for the late dinner. My table mates for the entire cruise were three girls who looked like fetish models (didn’t catch their names), two Digital Audio Workstation resellers (or audio technicians) and occasionally another couple. The only names I remember are Carson and Sam. Maybe I can fill in the details later. Any way, everyone introduced themselves and were very friendly so that made me feel a lot better. I got a little moody after the autograph signing. The conversation was typical goth intellectualism concerning organized religion and spirituality, the sort of talk I’m familiar with from GothicCemetery on BlogTV.

After dinner there was the Bon Voyage Deck Party on the Lido deck. I videotaped the entire party but the audio will probably be terrible due to the wind. I may still be able to identify some of the music though. I remember the moon was lighting up the clouds for the perfect atmosphere.

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One Response to Gothic Cruise 2008 – October 11th

  1. Pingback: Gothic Cruise 2008 – October 11th – Williamsport Web Developer Weblog | Gothic Dating And Gothic Free Dating Sites

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