Basically I am a novelist. I have written one terrorist thriller entitled “Nine Lives Too Many” and a suspenseful, modern ghost story called “The Daemon in Our Dreams. ” I have a new novel forthcoming which deals with rice queens. Most of my fictional activities are chronicled on my website www.senneffhouse.com . Every once in a while I like to go back to where I started as a writer in the field of travel writing. My roots. I particularly like travel writing with bits of humor interspersed. Here’s a sample:
If you've ever been on a cruise ship, perhaps you've met my friends. After a while, you just become one big, dysfunctional family.
Cruising Chester: “I've been on every major cruise line and cruise ship in the past 15 years, and believe me they're not alike. There is less vibration on the Costa Romantica than the Carnival Spirit. The Crystal Harmony has great deck chairs, but they are not as comfortable as the ones on the QM2. "
Pilot Boat Phil: “I take pictures of the pilots and pilot boats in every port. I have a collection of over 200 different pilots. And I rate them. When the seas are rough, and they make a smooth transfer, they get a 10. If the ship stops to pick them up, they don't get a good rating. The best one ever was in the English Channel. The pilot brought a sheepdog aboard with him. Boy, the way that dog jumped from the pilot boat to the ship was incredible. "
Lecturing Larry: “Excuse me. Did I hear you say you've never been to Monaco? The population is 31,719; the area is three-quarters of a square mile; the national budget is . . . "
Betty the Barracuda: “My sign is Gemini, and your sign is Taurus. You know what that means. I love the way that gold chain of yours nestles so nicely in the black hair on your chest. If you hadn't told me you were on Medicare, I'd never have thought it. I was thinking mid-40s. "
Grandma and Grandpa Klutz: “And this is a picture of our grandson climbing up the drapes. Isn't he cute? And this is our granddaughter Debbie pulling Pluto's tail at Disney World. Isn't she adorable? And this is Betty's kid . . . "
Travel Agent Teddy: “What did you pay? Oh, too bad. I could have gotten your cabin for $300, including port charges, airfare and transfers. I always get three category upgrades for my clients. Next time call me. My number is 800-SAVALOT. I always send a bottle of Norwegian champagne to a client's room. "
Boring Brad: “Uh, I was in this place in 1964, and they had, uh, a good beer in a place at some beach, and, uh, I think I went swimming here. Maybe not . . . "
Booze Cruise Betty: “What's the next port? Do they have a Jolly Roger booze cruise? Did you have those scrumptious Manhattans at the captain's reception? Is it 9 a. m. yet? I'll have a margarita, light on the salt. Louie, the bartender on the pool deck, makes great Bloody Marys. "
Fred and Ginger: “We've been on hundreds of cruises. They call us the king and queen of ballroom dancing. We dance before dinner, after dinner, at tea dance, at the captain's reception, in the ship's atrium. You name it. We can do every dance from the samba to the tango, jitterbug, whatever. Fred's a podiatrist, and I work for Saks Fifth Avenue in the shoe department. We're ballroom dancers extraordinaire. "
Claude, the Wanna-Be Captain: “The ship lists three degrees to starboard. The stabilizers need readjustment. Last night the captain got two degrees off course, and we lost 20 minutes in our trip plan. "
Ralph, the Restaurant Critic: “The food on Celebrity is slightly more ostentatious than the food on Costa. The dinner rolls on Princess have more body than those on Carnival. Royal Caribbean's corned beef hash for breakfast is coarser than the hash on Norwegian Cruise Line. "
Seasick Sam: “I'm wearing nine patches. They said to wear one on your navel, so I am. Last night I thought I was going to die. I haven't even seen the dining room, and we disembark tomorrow. "
Camcorder Calvin: “Would you let me in next to the rail? I just want to shoot an hour of footage of that glacier. Do you mind holding my lens cap? Please keep your voice down while I'm doing my narration. "
Dine-Around Julia and Jesse: “In the morning we have fruit and muffins in the Lido, waffles in the dining room, bouillon on deck at 11, lunch in the Lido, tea and cakes at four, hot hors d'oeuvres in the bar for cocktails, first-seating dinner in the dining room, pizza at 10 in the pizzeria, salads and desserts at the midnight buffet, and before we go to bed, we order BLTs from room service. Neither one of us has ever had angioplasty. "
The Light-Tipping Lewises: “We don't believe in all this tipping nonsense. We haven't seen our room steward on this whole trip. We're putting $3 in an envelope for him. Hey, why tip a ghost? The waiter was snippy and slow with our appetizers. He doesn't deserve more than four or five bucks. We heard that the busboys are very well paid, so we're skipping him. Tipping is getting way out of hand on these ships. I can remember when a good waitress appreciated a quarter. "
Bingo Bertha: “I always go to progressive bingo. I get seven cards for each game, and I can poke out those little holes faster than they can call out the numbers. If they don't have bingo in heaven, I ain't going. They better have a stack of bingo cards waiting at the pearly gates. My charm bracelet is made up of bingo items, and my bed sheets are embroidered with bingo numbers. "
Lifeboat Drill Lenny: “Hey, you've got those straps on wrong. Hey, you're missing a whistle. Hey, your light isn't working. Hey, Mister, that strap is supposed to come up through your crotch. Hey, ma'am, please don't drag your straps through the halls. "
Preparedness Patsy: “On a seven-day cruise, I pack my bags for disembarkation on the fourth day, and I have my luggage in the hall on the fifth night. I'm always the first one off the ship. "
Dolly, the Queen of Disasters: “I've read every book and seen every movie about the Titanic, the Lusitania, and the Andrea Doria. My room steward told me we're taking on water. The bartender said there was a secret meeting, and the captain told the crew to get the lifeboats ready. They're all going to sneak off early in the morning and leave us to die. "
Me: I never get seasick; I'm not pedantic, not a cruise maven, not a glutton. But you know what? I do think that the fruit selection they give you in the cabin is better on Royal Caribbean than Princess, and the ship's newspaper on Celebrity is more literate than the one on Carnival.
John (Jack) Rooney is the author of the terrorist thriller “Nine Lives Too Many” featuring his series detective Denny Delaney and the arch-terrorist Felix the Cat. His latest novel is the suspense novel “The Daemon in Our Dreams” which is a blend of the naturalistic and the supernatural. His work schedule includes a new Denny Delaney effort and a novel about a sea journey from Buenos Aires to Santiago around Cape Horn.
He was born and educated in Springfield, Massachusetts (Classical High School and American International College). He wrote book reviews and feature articles for the Springfield newspapers.
After receiving his M. A.in Arts and Science from Columbia University, he worked for the Cunard Cruise Lines as a business correspondent at 25 Broadway, went on to serve in the U. S. Army as a military policeman in the Times Square detachment, in civies in AWOL apprehension, and in Vienna, Austria. At various times he was an advertising manager, a real estate broker, and an expeditor in a magneto factory. He still write travel articles including humorous travel guide stories