Odds 'n' Ends


Missing Ship Life? Always Remember:

In the real world...

In the real world, you don't have to be back one hour before your house starts moving.

In the real world, if you vomit, people will not treat you as though you have just released the Ebola virus into widespread circulation. Neither will small men in outbreak suits appear to hose down your house. Nor will you have to spend 72 hours locked in your bedroom watching a parade of dreary Meg Ryan films.

In the real world, Bingo is a game for old people, and the rules do not stipulate that only Filippinos can win.

In the real world, when people ask you how you are, you do not have to be "Excellent". You could be "Not bad", "Hungover", "Bloody awful" or dispense with words completely and resort to hand gestures.

In the real world, there are more than three episodes of The Simpsons.

In the real world, there is no need, on a weekly basis, to simulate how you would respond if your house was on fire (my advice is to get out). Neither do you have to stand outside for 30 minutes in all weather conditions wearing an oversized, luminous orange puffy jacket.

In the real world, you will not get 20% discount at all shops. That said, the shops will stock items which are useful to you.-

In the real world, skinless grilled chicken, fetuccini alfredo and New York cheesecake are not always available.

In the real world, you can have a fight in the pub and not be sacked the moment you turn up for work the next day.

In the real world, people work for five days and then have two days off. They do not go to work one morning and return home six months later (what sort of demented idea is that?)

In the real world, you can sit on the toilet and flush it without the concern that your intestines may be sucked out and dragged down to an unknown destination several floors below.

In the real world, flu jabs are not a requirement therefore you do not need to pretend to be allergic to eggs to avoid them

In the real world, relationships can work....

In the real world you can get as drunk as you like. You will not be breathalysed during the night to ensure you are capable of dealing with any nocturnal emergencies (eg. your house sinking or the helicopter evacuation of an overweight American from your roof.)

In the real world it is possible to do things discretely.

In the real world your key is made of metal and is cool when it gets magnetised.

In the real world your life is controlled by your partner not by a guy who calls himself the Master and speaks with a odd italian/norwegian/dutch accent!!! Ship Life?

How do cruise ships float?

Marshall Brain answers questions submitted by the readers of How Stuff Works in the Question of the Day section of HSW. 


I do not understand how a boat can float. How can giant things made of steel weighing thousands of tons float? If you were to melt it all into a big cube of steel it would definitely sink. How can the water tell the difference in the shape between a boat shape and a cube shape? 


The standard definition of floating was first recorded by Archimedes and goes something like this: 

 "an object in a fluid experiences an upward force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object." 

So if a boat weighs 1,000 pounds (or kilograms), it will sink into the water until it has displaced 1,000 pounds (or kilograms) of water. Provided that the boat displaces 1,000 pounds of water before the whole thing is submerged, the boat floats. 

It is not very hard to shape a boat in such a way that the weight of the boat has been displaced before the boat is completely underwater. The reason it is so easy is that a good portion of the interior of any boat is air (unlike a cube of steel, which is solid steel throughout). The average density of a boat -- the combination of the steel and the air -- is very light compared to the average density of water. So very little of the boat actually has to submerge into the water before it has displaced the weight of the boat. 

The next question to ask involves floating itself. How do the water molecules know when 1,000 pounds of them have gotten out of the way? It turns out that the actual act of floating has to do with pressure rather than weight. If you take a column of water one inch square and a foot tall, it weighs about 0.44 pounds depending on the temperature of the water (If you take a column of water one cm square by a meter tall, it weights about 100 grams). That means that a foot-high column of water exerts 0.44 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch). Similarly a meter high column of water exerts 9,800 Pascals. 

If you were to submerge a box with a pressure gauge attached into water, then the pressure gauge would measure the pressure of the water at the submerged depth: 

If you submerged the box into the water one foot, the gauge would read 0.44 PSI (if you submerged it one meter, it would read 9,800 Pa). What this means is that the bottom of the box has an upward force being applied to it by that pressure. So if the box is one foot square and it is submerged one foot, the bottom of the box is being pushed up by a water pressure of 12 inches * 12 inches * 0.44 PSI = 62 pounds (if the box is one meter square and submerged one meter deep, the upward force is 9,800 Newtons). This just happens to exactly equal the weight of the cubic foot or cubic meter of water that is displaced! 

It is this upward water pressure pushing on the bottom of the boat that is causing the boat to float. Each square inch (or square centimeter) of the boat that is underwater has water pressure pushing it upward, and this combined pressure floats the boat.

© 1998 BYG Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

Consumption of Food and Beverage
during a typical 7-day cruise of 1500 passengers

Beef 4,500 lbs. 2,039 kg.
Veal 800 lbs. 362 kg.
Pork 800 lbs. 362 kg.
Poultry 3,300 lbs. 1,495 kg.
Caviar 20 lbs. 9 kg.
Fish 2,700 lbs. 1,223 kg.
Eggs 20,000 
Lobster 700 lbs. 317 kg.
Milk 500 gals. 1,893 ltr.
Ice Cream 147 gals. 1,514 kg.
Fresh Vegetables 15,000 lbs. 6,795 kg.
Fresh Fruit 14,000 lbs. 6,342 kg.
Rice (crew) 4,500 lbs. 2,039 kg.
Rice (passengers) 700 lbs. 317 kg.
Beer 6,200 bottles
Wine 1,800 bottles
ms Noordam ~ Western Caribbean Cruise ~ Tampa, Florida


Don't miss the Low Calorie selection at the buffet


Three Bean Tuna Niçoise
Apple Celeriac ~ Bacon Potato
Noordam Salad Bowl


Marinated Herring ~ Smoked Salmon ~ Smoked Halibut
Assorted Patés


Consommé Henry IV - Cream of Broccoli


Beef Stirfry with fresh basil
Seared Mahi Mahi with Tropical Fruit Salsa
Roasted Chicken
Pork Chop with Mushroom & Tomato Sauce
Mandarin Chop Suey, Braised Lamb Shanks in Red Wine Sauce
Cheese Manicotti, Tomato Sauce


American Meatloaf with Gravy


Spaghetti Squash ~ Julienne of Carrots with Beansprouts & Mushrooms
Red Cabbage ~ Mashed Potatoes ~ Steamed Rice ~ French Fries
Yellow and Green Zucchini ~ Chinese Cabbage with Baconbits, Potato Gnochhi


Try our famous Bread Pudding with vanilla sauce
or see Frank in the Ice Cream Parlor & create your own sundae.
Make your choice from the Pastry Mill


Grilled Hot Dogs
Hamburgers and Cheeseburgers

Swan Thingee

Swan Chantilly 

1 1/2   cups  water
  1/2   cup   margarine 
2       tbsp  butter 
1       tsp.  sugar 
        pinch salt 
2 1/2   cups  all-purpose flour
9             eggs
6       cups  pistachio ice cream
4       cup   whipped whipping cream
  1/2   cup   chocolate syrup 
  1/4   cup   pistachios

A creative dessert that is as decorative as it is delicious.

A delicate swan is crafted with a pastry tube, ice cream and a generous amount of imagination
(serves 12, unless I'm at the table...then it serves 8)
Heat oven to 425 degrees. 

In medium saucepan combine water, margarine, butter, sugar and salt; bring to a boil over medium heat.  Stir flour into boiling mixture; continue cooking 3 minutes. Remove from heat.  Place in large bowl.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well mixed.  Pipe 12 swan bodies (ovals) with star tip onto baking sheet.  Place remaining choux paste in bag fitted with plain tip; pipe 12 swan necks onto separate baking sheet.  Bake swan bodies for 10 minutes until mixture starts puffing up; reduce heat to 375 degrees.  Bake 20 minutes more on golden brown.  Bake swan necks at 375 degrees 15 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks. 

Cut about 1/3 off top of swan bodies; cut in half lengthwise to form swan wings.  Place bodies on dessert plates; scoop ice cream into center.  Pipe whipped cream toward front of body; attach neck so it leans back toward wings.  Arrange wings on each side pointing upward.  Pour about 1 1/2 tsp. chocolate syrup to side of plate; sprinkle with pistachios. 

Aaron Farr sent me this recipe, as taken from the Carnival Cruise Line cookbook "Carnival Creations" 

RCI's Flourless Chocolate Cake

A dense chocolate cake for those of us who can't tolerate wheat or gluten

1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon white sugar
18 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
6 eggs
boiling water
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).  Grease one 10-inch round cake pan and set aside
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, salt and sugar. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside.
  3. In the top half of a double boiler melt the chocolate.  Pour the chocolate into the bowl of an electric mixer.
  4. Cut the butter into pieces and beat the butter into the chocolate, one piece at a time.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Have a pan larger than the cake pan ready, put the cake pan in the larger pan and fill the pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of the cake pan.
  6. Bake cake in the water bath for 45 minutes (the center will still look wet).  Chill cake overnight in the pan.  To unmold, dip the bottom of the cake pan in hot water for 10 seconds and invert onto a serving plate.
Makes one 10-inch round cake.
Royal Caribbean's
Chocolate Velvet Cake


10 ounces couvertue chocolate
10 ounces sugar
10 ounces butter (at room temperature)
1 teaspoon cognac (warm)
5 eggs(at room temperature)
Whipped cream (2 to 3 ounces)

Grease parchment paper on the bottom of a 10-inch cake mold. Set aside. Melt
together the chocolate, sugar, and butter. Place mixture in a mixing bowl
and blend well, using the second mixer speed. Blend in the cognac and add
the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after adding each one. Fill the mold
with the batter and place in a pan of warm water in an over that has been
heated to 350 degrees F.

Bake one hour. Leave the cake in the mold overnight. Unmold and top with
whipped cream.

Yield: 10 one-inch portions

The FAMOUS Holland America Line
Bread and Butter Pudding

9 ounces milk
9 ounces double cream (whipping cream)
3 fresh vanilla beans, cut open*
Salt, to taste
5 eggs
5 ounces sugar (thanx, Erma)
1 loaf of thinly sliced white bread (crusts removed)
3 ounces butter
1 ounce raisins, soaked in water for approximately half-hour & drained

1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar**
Vanilla sauce (optional)

Preparation: Grease a 2-quart, ovenproof baking dish with butter. (The dish must be at least 4" deep.) Set aside. In a saucepan, bring the milk, cream, butter, salt and vanilla beans to a boil. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and sugar together. Add the simmering milk mixture to eggs and sugar. Pass the combined mixture through a sieve. In the prepared baking dish, arrange thinly sliced bread in layers, placing the water-soaked raisins between each layer. Cover the bread layers with the milk mixture. Place the baking dish into a water bath (a roasting pan filled 1/3 with water) and bake in a 350 degree F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and serve with vanilla sauce.

* Real vanilla may be substituted for vanilla beans, approximately 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste)
** Cinnamon sugar = 1 cup sugar plus 1 or 2 tablespoons of cinnamon to taste.

4 Servings

Vanilla Sauce

1 pint milk
1 pint heavy whipping cream
15 vanilla beans
12 egg yolks
4 ounces sugar

Preparation: In a saucepan, heat the milk, heavy cream, vanilla beans, and half the sugar until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove the vanilla beans. In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks with the remaining sugar. Temper this yolk mixture by adding a portion of the boiling milk mixture to it while stirring constantly. This pour this warm yolk mixture into the saucepan with the remaining milk and return to heat. Stirring constantly, cook slowly to 180 degrees F. Mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove immediately from the heat and strain through a chinois (or muslin) into a bowl. Place bowl in a bain-marie (ice bath) to cool.

Note: This sauce is also known as custard sauce and créme anglaise. It can be made over a water bath (double boiler) for more control of the heat source. You may also substitute real vanilla after the sauce is complete if you do not have vanilla beans. One tablespoon will flavor this recipe adequately.

15 Servings

Published Thursday, January 27, 2000, in the Miami Herald:

I ate so much on my cruise they used me for the anchor

by Dave Barry

I am a hearty seafaring type of individual, so recently I spent a week faring around the sea aboard the largest cruise ship in the world that has not yet hit an iceberg. It is called the Voyager, and it weighs 140,000 tons, which is approximately the amount I ate in desserts alone.

The Voyager sails out of Miami every week carrying 3,200 passengers determined to relax or die trying. The ship has (I am not making any of this up) an ice-skating rink, a large theater, a shopping mall, a rock-climbing wall and a nine-hole miniature golf course. We have come a long way indeed from the days when the Pilgrims crossed the Atlantic aboard the Mayflower, which -- hard as it is to
imagine today -- had no skating rink and only four golf holes.

While aboard the ship, we passengers engaged in a wide range of traditional cruise-ship activities, including eating breakfast, snacking, eating lunch, drinking  complex rum-based beverages while lying on deck absorbing solar radiation until  we glowed like exit signs, snacking some more, eating dinner, eating more  snacks and passing out face-down in the pate section of the midnight buffet. Needless to say I did not attempt to climb the rock wall, which is good because
 the resulting disaster would have made for a chilling newspaper headline:


The only stressful part of our shipboard routine was looking at photographs of ourselves. When you're on a cruise, photographers constantly pop up and take pictures of you; they put these on display in hopes that you'll buy them as souvenirs. At night, my wife and I would join the throng of passengers looking through the photos, hoping to find a nice flattering shot of ourselves, and then
suddenly -- YIKES -- we'd be confronted with this terrifying image of two bloated, bright-red sluglike bodies with our faces. Jabba and Mrs. Hutt go to sea!

When every passenger had attained roughly the same body weight as a Buick  Riviera, the ship would stop at a Caribbean island, and the passengers would waddle ashore to experience the traditional local culture, by which I mean shop for European jewelry and watches. I frankly don't know why it makes economic sense for a tourist from Montana to fly to Miami, get on a ship and sail to Jamaica for the purpose of purchasing a watch made in Switzerland, but apparently it does, because shopping is very important to cruise passengers. If these people ever get to Mars, they WILL expect to find jewelry stores.

The other thing you do when your ship is in port is take guided tours to Local Points of Interest. Under international law, every tour group must include one tourist who has the IQ of sod. In Jamaica, we toured a plantation, and our group included a woman whose brain operated on some kind of tape delay, as we see from this typical exchange between her and our guide:

GUIDE: These are banana plants, which produce bananas. You can see the bananas growing on these banana plants.

WOMAN:(in a loud voice): What kind of plants are these?

GUIDE: Banana.

WOMAN: Huh! (To her husband:) Frank, these are banana plants!

The woman repeated virtually everything the guide said to Frank. One day he will kill her with a kitchen appliance.

But I am proud to say that winner of the award for Biggest Tourist Doofus was: me. What happened was, during the tour, a man demonstrated how he could climb a coconut tree using only a small rope made from twisted banana fibers. When he came down, he showed me the rope, and I, out of politeness, pretended to be interested in it, although in fact it was, basically, a rope. The man handed it to me and suggested I might want to ``take it home to the kids.'' I frankly doubted that any modern Nintendo-raised American child would be thrilled by such a gift (``Look, Timmy! A rope!''). But I pretended to be grateful. Then the man told me that such ropes USUALLY sell for $15 (he did not say where), but he would let it go for $10. And so, unable to figure out how to escape, I gave him $10. I imagine the other plantation workers laughed far into the night when he told them. (``He
gave you $10 for the ROPE?'' ``Yes! He must be even stupider than the tape-delay woman!'')

But don't get me wrong: I truly enjoyed the cruise. It was fun and relaxing, and it gave me a rare chance, amid all the hustle and bustle of my busy life, to pick up a substantial amount of body mass. Cruising is also romantic, so let me just say this to you couples out there: If you're looking for a way to rekindle the flame in your relationship, I'll sell you my rope.

© 1996-2012  Candy Brock