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Wine Guy

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About Wine Guy

  • Birthday 08/19/1968

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    http://www.benfieldwines.com

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Ohio
  • Interests
    Wine, computers, old cameras.

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  1. Only 604 days to go!! ...and the first activity has been put up to reserve! Honestly I thought it would be the Spa & Fitness reservations first.
  2. 633 Days to go, and the Amazing experiences in the planner are coming soon! Yup... They're coming soon!!!
  3. Getting closer and closer, every single day! Deck 17 is selling out fast! Two cabins are now booked, which includes ours!
  4. Yeah... No alcohol on those gray ships.
  5. True! It was fun though. We were halfway between the equator and Australia when we got recalled to the gulf. It'd be another two years until we finally made it down there. Which of course would include another line crossing. This time as a shellback.
  6. That would be awesome! Thanks! We probably won't get down there until 2026.
  7. Guess I forgot to mention that everything was voluntary, and you could quit at anytime without repercussions. Though you wouldn't get your shellback status.
  8. I shall describe my own experience, but first a little history. No one really knows when the line crossing ceremony started. It dates back over 400 years ago with the Viking and Spaniards. In the ceremony, the sailor transforms from Slimy Pollywog, a mariner with no equator crossings, to a trusty Shellback, sometimes called a Son or Daughter of Neptune. This was a way for sailors to prove they are seaworthy. When a ship crosses the equator, King Neptune comes aboard to exercise authority over his domain and to judge charges brought against Pollywogs that they are only posing as sailors and haven't paid proper homage to the god of the sea. This is a time honored tradition. Even President Roosevelt became an "Honorary" Shellback. Cause you know, probably shouldn't make the prez go through the whole thing. LOL As far as I know, every ship that crosses the equator has a ceremony of some sorts. Even little sailboats! The rest of this post I shall rate as MA. Mature Audiences only. Viewer discretion is advised. I appeared before King Neptune and his royal court on July 22, 1991. It all started on June 22, 1991. The shellbacks start to become rude to us slimy pollywogs, taunting us at every possible moment. It progressively worsened throughout the month until the day before we crossed the border. That morning us pollywogs rose up and staged a "mutiny" taking over the ship. At least until a few hours after lunch when King Neptune and his Royal Court showed up. They instantly put a stop to the mutiny. The royal court includes King Neptune, his queen, Davy Jones, the royal baby, and other dignitaries. This is when we were forced to entertain the royal court with music, poems, a beauty pageant, and dancing. It was a little before 4am when the yelling, screaming, and banging started. We got up, put all our clothes on inside out and backwards, underwear on the outside, the whole nine yards... Then it was on your hands and knees, and you'd travel like this for the next 4 or 5 hours. The Jolly Roger is raised instead of 'ole glory, and it's go time! First, it was time for breakfast. So we crawled up the ladders and down the passageways to the mess deck. The shellback MS's (Mess Specialists as they're called in the Navy) spared no expense on our breakfast. As far as I could tell, it was shredded raw potatoes with vinegar, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and olive juice. Served in a urinal. No naval breakfast would be complete without eggs, so two or three of them would be smashed onto our head while we had our face in the urinal "eating" breakfast. Now I know what you're thinking, but no. They were brand new never used urinals. They're made out of the same material our dinner plates are made out of. Then we crawled down the hall through the scullery where we were sprayed with warm water. This would be the last time we were dry for several hours. There were about 300ish of us wogs on the ship, so there were long lines. Then we crawled down the passageway, up the ladder, up another ladder, up another ladder, down the passageway and outside to the main deck. From there we were constantly being sprayed with fire hoses, which uses seawater if you didn't know. I don't care how hot it is outside, if you're being constantly sprayed with seawater, you're freezing... The beatings started. You would be whipped with shillelaghs, which in the Navy's case was a cut up firehose. I'm hearing rumors these aren't allowed anymore. Whatever.... You crawl all over the deck, which is like 5 grit sandpaper due to the non-skid they use. You're being screamed at, your butt is getting a little sore, you're soaked, you're getting tired. But it never relents. Since nobody actually ate the breakfast they threw it out on the deck, and you had to crawl through it. Yes, they made enough for 300 people to eat. Then you finally made it to the foodbox. Dinner the night before was excellent! Steak, Lobster, and Fish!! A royal treat from the royal court! Why? You may ask? Because they take all the dinner garbage from 400ish people and put it in a box outside on the main deck, and fill it with seawater. Then you get to crawl inside the box and they close it, and beat the box with their shillelaghs, it's quite loud! Then it's time for the royal court. First you take a maraschino cherry from the Royal Baby's belly button with your teeth, but of course there's lard and peanut butter all over the place. Then you have to kiss the Queen's feet, which they dump some kind of noodle concoction on your head... Then you stand (on your hands and knees) before King Neptune and Davy Jones read the charges that have been brought up on you. Scripts are read, yada yada yada, and off to take a Royal Bath in a pool of seawater. This is actually the best part, cause you get all that crap off of you. There's a friendly guy after that with a firehose in case you missed anything major in the bath. After that it is commanded that all hands will honor and respect you as a trusty shellback! Then you get to go take a Hollywood shower and throw your disgusting clothes out while the old shellback finish up, and cleanup everything. Then it's a steel-deck picnic for everyone! Simple stuff really. You get a card, a certificate, and an official entry in your military service record. It's just as bad on merchant marine ships too. Which is why I asked how it was done on civilian-cruise ships and if anyone has actually been through it on Royal. I would so want my wife to go through it. LOL!! I can't even imagine it being close to what I went through, and from the couple of videos I've seen, it's not. At all. Not. Even. Close. So there ya go @Atlantix2000 if ya didn't know before, now ya know! Although you may have been better off not knowing...
  9. So I was just looking at a cruise from Hawaii to Australia coming up later this year, when it suddenly hit me. What do civilian cruise ships do when they cross the equator? So like anyone else, I searched YouTube as it never fails me. Sure enough there's a few videos and I watched one on Vimeo too! It looked kinda weak if ya ask me. Plus, not everyone goes through the ceremony yet they become shellbacks anyways? That is sooo wrong. Anybody ever cross the equator on a cruise ship? It looks like they take volunteers. It also looks like the officers go through it too, though I'm going to guess they get voluntold by the captain. How does it work? Can I volunteer my wife?? I have already been to Neptune's court and have become a Trusty Shellback. Looks a lot easier to do on a cruise ship though.
  10. 664 days to go! There's still a little bit of time left to book this cruise. I just checked and there's still cabins available on deck 17. Literally every single one, except ours. It's also still cheaper to pick your own room!
  11. Thanks @AshleyDillo! I feel like my straight jacket just fell off. Now there's only 665 days left to get ready! So much to do, so little time to do it in. For instance, checking the planning website daily to see if anything showed up yet! So far nothing, but my hopes will never be ruined! And just think, in 300 short days we can actually book flights! Almost time to start a live blog!
  12. Only 668 days until we cruise!!! Thought I'd start this roll call, as there's barely any time left! Plus maybe some day I'll be able to get off the moderated status and be put into good-guy status. Intro time! My name is Rob (AKA The Wine Guy, which should become obvious soon) and my wife is Julia. We're from NW Ohio and are currently going through the roller coaster of weather. 70 degrees a few days ago, snow on the ground right now. We own a winery out here, I'm fulltime at the winery, and my wife still works at a local hospital. Somebody has to have good insurance! We're headed into our 7th year in business, and I've been making wine for about 17-18 years now. We've always cruised DCL before, but our 2021 cruise was cancelled and they gave us 125% future credit which we used a couple of months ago on a concierge suite. After that, we've decided our wallet will be forever ruined from the experience. It was just too nice. However, comparing prices and what you actually get, DCL can be five or six thousand more for what essentially is the same trip. So after much research on all the cruise lines I decided to give Royal a shot with a Genie as it just sounds marvelous! So I picked room 1758 and waited for Royal to release the new schedule for the Allure and jumped on it a couple days ago when that happened. Kinda bummed they only allow two bottles of wine per stateroom, but we'll get over that. We go on cruises to get away from people, so don't take it personally if we don't want to do anything with anyone else. It gets very peoplely at the winery. Most of which are awesome and we have a great time, but then there's that one oddball that comes in and they just must be grumpy all the time is all we can figure, but it really drags you down. The whole one bad apple in a bunch thing goin' on. We just have to take time for ourselves. So with so little time left before the cruise, I should probably go start packing!!!
  13. @Lovetocruise2002 Thank you for this blog! I know it's pushing 3 years old now, and the world has changed a tad since then, but I was having a hard time finding a true explanation of what to expect from Star Class. My wife and I have been DCL cruisers for 10 years. (A long time ago I was a dedicated USN cruiser for 10 years.) We finally got to cruise in Concierge last month on DCL and were completely blown away. That also got me thinking there must be something better, for maybe a little less money. I over-research and over-plan everything, so this blog has helped me tremendously! My wife just comes along for the ride and really doesn't do anything except pack, as I'd forget my medicine if I packed. She does tell everyone I'm the best private travel agent in the world though. So there's that! Thanks again! I think our next cruise will be Star Class!
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