Cruising And Boozing Right Into Etiquette Hell

by admin on February 3, 2011

DH and I were lucky enough to take a Caribbean cruise for our 30th anniversary.  The ship docked in the Virgin Islands.  We arranged for a shore excursion, a catamaran sail out to a reef for snorkeling and diving.  Since alcohol and water sports are a bad mix, there were only soft drinks available on the way out.  On the way back the rum punch was poured with abandon, and one group in particular was making up for lost time.

DH was wearing his favourite hat, a well-broken-in Tilley that had once belonged to his father.  It had great sentimental value.  We were sitting in the bow when a gust of warm Caribbean wind flipped it off his head and drifted it back along the deck, just out of reach as he chased it down.  One woman from the chug-a-lug group snatched it up and settled it on her head.  DH arrived, smiling and thanking her for catching it.  She refused to give it back!  “What’s my reward?” she asked with a smirk.  DH was too canny to go there, so he simply smiled and held out his hand.  Reluctantly she handed it back, and he returned to the bow to sit with me.

When we arrived on shore, we got on an open air bus to go back to the city center.  We sat in the last row but one, and  – oh, goody! ­the hat catcher and her group sat immediately behind us.  DH had his hat on his lap.  Five minutes into the trip back, she reached over his shoulder, grabbed the hat, and jammed it back on her head.  We were stunned!  DH turned and said, with all the ice of his 56 Canadian winters, “Excuse me; I believe that’s my hat,” and held out his hand.  Rather than returning it, she started a game of keep away, tossing the hat back and forth with her friends.  DH snatched it out of the air and she lunged for it again.  Before he could turn away, she hunched forward and heaved her many, many glasses of rum punch down her lap, her friends’ feet, and, of course, DH’s hat.  What a class act!

I gingerly reached back, shook the hat into her lap, and placed it in a plastic bag so we could take it back to the ship and have it cleaned.  Once back in our cabin and showered, we were sitting on our balcony when the ship’s whistle thundered across the bay signaling our imminent departure.  Much to our amusement we spotted Miss Chug-a-lug’s friends, desperately legging it up the long empty quay toward the ship, humping and bumping the barely conscious Hat Chug girl along behind them as they tried not to be left behind.   0124-11

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

kero February 3, 2011 at 7:33 am

Whoaaaa lady!! That is extremely rude, drunk or not. Your DH handled it well by not giving in to her antics. Having been the victim of the keep away game from sober strangers, it is extremely frustrating to have people put their paws all over personal property and open the possibilities of having it damaged/destroyed/lost. And when you said “heaved”……. do you mean dumping her excess drinks or vomiting what she drank? Ew, if it’s the second.

Who was serving the alcohol? A sensible bartender (if he was aboard) should have cut her off.


josie February 3, 2011 at 7:37 am

I cannot see the fun in being so soused that you puke all over and make a total ace of yourself. Glad you got the hat back, even with the extra contents.


Enna February 3, 2011 at 7:38 am

Oh dear that is bad. Did you manage to clean the hat? Good you got it back and your husband was firm getting his hat back. Drunken idiots. Which part of the Carribean did you go to?


Auryn Grigori February 3, 2011 at 8:07 am

Wow, that’s a special level of special right there!


Caper February 3, 2011 at 8:12 am

Wow. It doesn’t matter where you go, there will always be s0me immature, clueless moron waiting around the corner. Kudos to your DH for staying so patient – I know I wouldn’t have been able to.


Aje February 3, 2011 at 9:06 am

When are people going to learn that getting drunk is never ever a good idea… ever? I’m only 22 but in my meager experience (which has included drunk college kids trying to come to class after St. Patricks day) it’s rude to even consider getting drunk in public or before an event that requires you to be completely mentally present. I hope that lady got what was coming!


Dorothy February 3, 2011 at 9:15 am

First, I am so glad she had a plastic bag for the hat! Second, fools like these are unfortunately around too much these days. Whatever happened to, “I think you’ve had enough for now,” from the bartender? The owners should think of the comfort and enjoyment of the majority of their customers — not to mention the cost and trouble of cleaning up after these clowns. I do hope they missed the boat.


SJ February 3, 2011 at 9:31 am

I’m baffled at her immaturity. It almost seems like she was trying to be flirtatious. Ugh.


Auryn Grigori February 3, 2011 at 9:38 am

Chances are that she might have been cut off from drinks a while ago, and sent her more sober friends to get her more. Or she could have stole a drink from someone else.


Jason February 3, 2011 at 9:43 am

Those Tilly hats are durable: I heard about a zookeeper whose hat was eaten by an elephant and survived to come out the other end. He still wears it! You may want to inquire as to who cleaned his hat…


Anonymous February 3, 2011 at 9:47 am

Was the hat okay?


Shalamar February 3, 2011 at 10:47 am

First of all, I can’t stop laughing at Jason’s story. Kudos to the zookeeper who kept wearing a hat that had been through an elephant’s digestive tract!

Second, I want to know if Chug-a-lug Girl and her friends made it back to the ship on time! If not, I feel sorry for THEM, but not her.


DGS February 3, 2011 at 10:47 am

How rude, classless and inappropriate, and her drunkenness is no excuse! Your husband is quite the gentleman for reacting as patiently as he did, and you are quite the lady. Hopefully, you had the hat cleaned and were able to enjoy the rest of your cruise, and a belated happy anniversary.


Psyche February 3, 2011 at 11:14 am

I’ve never understood the appeal of drinking. But to be fair, I might be biased: I’ve had limited experience. But keep-away with someone’s hat?! Then grabbing it off the person’s hat and throwing up on it? Don’t they often tell people to know their limits when it comes to the Demon Drink?


gramma dishes February 3, 2011 at 11:23 am

It sounds like her (presumably less intoxicated) friends were just as infantile as the woman herself. What adult would participate in a game of “keep away”?


Louise February 3, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Drunken woman was rude and her friends were rude. Beyond rude. I hope they tell that story to friends and family who will point out what disgusting boors they were and they should be ashamed of themselves.

I personally don’t have a problem with people getting drunk, even in public, as long as their behaviour affects only themselves. So if this is how you behave when you get drunk, yeah, do the rest of us a favour and don’t.


Mechtilde February 3, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Oh dear- I believe that Hatchug Girl may have thought that she was being amusing… she was wrong.


--Lia February 3, 2011 at 1:02 pm

There are many reasons why people drink too much. One involves being able to tell themselves that they’re not responsible for their actions. That’s why successful drug treatment programs usually include some form of holding people responsible for what they do when drunk. When you do that, the payoff is gone.

None us know what happened to that woman after the cruise, so let’s engage in a bit of fantasy. Let’s imagine that her friends decided she wasn’t that much fun to be with. Imagine that the man she was trying to impress by flirting with the man with the hat decided that he didn’t want anything more to do with her. Imagine that after the friends helped their drunk friend on to the ship, they distanced themselves from her. Next, let’s all do the kind thing and hope that sick, stupid woman got some help.


ferretrick February 3, 2011 at 1:11 pm

To be fair, most bartenders I know are very responsible and cut off customers who already visibly inebriated. But they can’t always watch everything and sometimes people send sober friends to buy more and the bartender doesn’t know who it’s for.


Fox February 3, 2011 at 3:44 pm

I am pretty shocked that she and her friends would act like this with a couple of complete strangers. It’s one thing to “tease” someone you know (although that doesn’t make it acceptable – I can’t stand people who act like trying to humiliate their “friends” is good fun), but to snatch the hat off someone whose only relationship to you is that you’ve booked the same holiday? I am really amazed that you and your husband managed to remain calm and level-headed; I think I would have been too stunned to react.

And if Obnoxious Stranger proceeded to puke all over my cherished family heirloom? I would have cried. I sincerely hope you managed to get the hat back into pre-puke condition.

To the commenters blaming a bartender: I strongly suspect that there wasn’t one. They were on a paid excursion on a catamaran and only one beverage was mentioned.. I suspect the drinks were pre-mixed and the staff serving them, who were probably the same folks instructing them for their diving, were hardly professional bartenders. “All you can drink” may have even been part of the package, we don’t know. The girl’s level of intoxication may have also been due more to her drinking very quickly (implied in the story) than the amount consumed. And different people have different tolerances to different alcohols.. I can drink rum cocktails all night with no ill effect (assuming I space them out), but get giggly on my second glass of wine. My dad is a seasoned drinker who can throw down scotch and other heavy liquors, but starts feeling light-headed after a couple of margaritas. Of course, this does NOT excuse her drunkenness (I’m in the “revolted by public intoxication because I am not being paid to deal with you” class), and frankly I think people are being too nice to her friends, who had an opportunity to save this couple from her and instead decided to join in on her “game.” I can’t stand people who think “being on vacation” means they can drink and act like idiots with impunity, interfering with the vacation experience of those around them.


Chocobo February 3, 2011 at 4:05 pm

This sounds like one of my college roommates… Hm, I should submit a story on her. This story seemed so much worse after I read the comments that made me rethink what the writer meant by “heaved”. If she had spilled that would have been bad, albeit not life-ending. But vomiting all over it… oh, boy. If it had not been so sentimental I’m not sure I would have taken it back at all. I hope she’s since grown up and learned from the experience of completely embarrassing herself.


Kovitlac February 3, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Kero: If it’s anything like the Jamaican boat ride I went on, nobody pays attention to how much is being drunk by the tourists. Heck, in Jamaica they were handing out Rum punch to my 15 year old brother without so much as pointing out the alcohol content (there was regular punch too, so unless you asked specifically, you had no idea if there was booze in it or not before you tried it).

I’m not saying this as anything against the country – this is simply the way it’s done. People need to be responsible for how much they are consuming.


gramma dishes February 3, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Chocobo ~~

“I hope she’s since grown up and learned from the experience of completely embarrassing herself.”

Frankly, she probably doesn’t even remember that it ever happened and if her “friends” relate the story to her, they will probably tell her about it in a way that she finds highly amusing. (Remember, they were “in” on the game too.) So she probably didn’t learn a lesson and she probably isn’t even embarrassed.

And that’s sad.


Mariam67 February 3, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Wow! I am lucky to have met only nice, pleasant people on my cruise. What kind of idiot plays keep away anyway? What is she, seven? I’m glad you got the hat back!


Liz February 3, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Ah yes drunkards, I have no problem with people getting drunk -if I did I’d have to leave Australia as drinking and drinking a lot is very much part of the culture. I just wish people would keep their wits about them. I don’t drink due to a medical problem, when ever I come across some one is has been drinking and it using it to be rude and obnoxious, I inform that I am NOT drunk -this usually makes them back down and behave themselves, because while they think “Oh I’m drunk it doesn’t count, every one else is drunk so they won’t remember it any way!” I will remember it in the morning!


Elea February 3, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Your rights to having fun on your vacation end where my rights begin. That was something my dad taught us as children. Being on vacation does not excuse you from practicing manners and civility. It sounds like the girl in this story drunkenly trampled all over this couple’s rights to an enjoyable vacation.

I agree with others that she will excuse any and all bad behavior by blaming it on the drink. I know more than a few people who love to drink so they can “cut loose” i.e. do whatever and act however they want without taking responsibility for it. I think it is an annoying and immature attitude to have towards drinking. If you are not mature enough to take responsibility for your actions when intoxicated then you should not be drinking. I drink from time to time and enjoy it, but I try to be responsible and take into consideration where I am and who I am with.


Hal February 3, 2011 at 7:44 pm

I have been on a few cruises both pre and post boozing. (I carried the booze thing a bit too far after my wife died a few years ago and stopped alcohol completely.) Those “excursions” are never necessary. I cannot remember one I have taken that I would classify as absolutely worthwhile. I like to cruise but stay onboard mostly. Many cruise vets do. Visit places independently for good experiences. Those shore excursions are always too managed to enjoy. Certain shops are favored. Too little time between stops forces you to see only sponsored places and experience sponsored activities. And, the people like the “hat-grabber” are very common on most of them. Our whole group was evicted from a church in Mexico because of an incident involving a confession booth. It was due to booze. Still, you will remember that hat experience for your lifetime and laugh about it, too. I have a saying I use now and then. “No one ever regrets not drinking.”


chocoboo February 3, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Gramma — probably so… But one can hope! Isn’t that why etiquette hell exists? To teach us all about the error of the world’s mannerly ways? Maybe someday she will come across this site…


RP February 3, 2011 at 8:13 pm

I agree with the people who say it’s more likely that she either was cut off but found other ways of getting drinks or the people serving weren’t professional bartenders.

I’m glad to hear this type of hat is tough and that hopefully means the hat was able to be cleaned.

The Hat Thief and her friends are ridiculous. Lia is likely correct that people like this drink because they think it excuses their bad behavior. Where their logic fails is the fact that they’re making the decision to act poorly and drink too much BEFORE they get drunk. When bad behavior is premeditated while the person was clear headed the fact that they got drunk later is no excuse. Even when the only thing premeditated was getting drunk it’s no excuse.


chechina February 3, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Getting drunk doesn’t really change your personality. Some people just use it as an excuse to be jerks.


kingshearte February 4, 2011 at 8:35 am

I agree with chechina. I have always believed that while drinking may lower your inhibitions, nothing you do or say while drunk is something you haven’t thought about on at least some level while sober. I’d bet this woman is almost as hopelessly immature and obnoxious sober as she is drunk.


Xtina February 4, 2011 at 9:14 am

I can’t imagine anyone past the age of high school playing keep-away with someone’s personal property, ESPECIALLY that of a stranger. That baffles me, alcohol or not. As chechina pointed out, getting drunk doesn’t change your personality. It does, however, bring out your inner self that is hiding in there–so obviously the chug-a-lug girl and her cohorts are immature, rude brats at heart. Getting drunk was just the vehicle for them to broadcast it to the world.

I hope the OP was able to get the hat cleaned and all is well. They demonstrated an incredible amount of self control (and I love how the OP dumped chug-a-lug girl’s um, deposit, right back in her lap).


Jillybean February 4, 2011 at 11:03 am

Wow – I haven’t played a good game of keep away since I was about 6 or so. Crazy. I think had I been with that group, I would have held out my hands for the hat, and when passed to me, I would have handed it back to the gentleman with apologies for my friend. It’s so sad when adults behave like obnoxious children.


Rachel February 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Cruises bring out the worst in people. I have found that on cruise ships people are truly only thinking of their own happiness and not caring a bit about anyone else’s. I’ve had doors slammed in my face. I’ve seen very helpful and kind tour guides get abused by obnoxious cruisers. Drunks have knocked pools out of commission by throwing up in them. I have seen people form a blockade around a pool (as they lie in the shallow water lip of the pool drinking) so no one can get into it. My husband calls it “cruise rage”. You take an expensive vacation and you think you’re entitled to have it be all about you. It’s the worst aspect of cruising.

Oddly enough, people often claim of obnoxious kids in restaurants or events or family dinner. I have to say I enjoy the company of children on cruises more than I enjoy most adults. Children at least try to be nice to grownups.


Bint February 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm

This story worries me because I am lecturing on a cruise ship this year!

However; OP, you shook the vomity hat back into her lap? Ha ha ha! Regain your property, give her back hers.

It is NOT ok to act as she did, drunken or not. There are things people do when drunk that are ok, but bad behaviour is bad behaviour regardless.


NotCinderell February 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Rachel I hope those people realize that you never know who you might meet on a cruise. My senior year of high school, I went on a cruise with my parents. One of the librarians from my high school was on the same cruise. Good thing I didn’t do anything to be embarrassed about.


Enna February 5, 2011 at 7:36 am

It’s one thing getting a bit tipsy it’s another thing when someone is out of control like this person was. She was luckey she didn’t get herself into trouble like breaking the law.


Katje June 4, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Not only was it rude of her to do that but I think it was incredibly childish and stupid.


Alex February 1, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Ok I know this is a way old post but I couldn’t resist adding something about rum punch. My mom’s first three siblings were born in Trinidad and her parents were born and raised there. English lineage but skin tones among the ten siblings ranges from pale girl white to quite dark. Many of them step in the sun five minutes and turn a shade and a half darker, but I digress. One our traditions is rum punch, way back to my grandparents youth. That stuff is straight up rum, two to three kinds, some sugar water and lime juice and served with a dash of bitters and nutmeg. The stuff is kind of evil, I have only braved a sip or two. My family more or less knows there stopping point but an uninitiated newbie partying with friends and with very possibly immature sober yeah I’ll wager she’ll remember the rum punch dog that bit her in the ass and if not she deserves what she gets. Anyway the rum punch part gave me a chuckle because I’ve made it, tasted it and learned a thing or to from the stories of my grandparents youth lol.


Alex February 1, 2013 at 11:11 pm

Ok just so they don’t revoke my English degree *their* and strike the unnecessary *with*. ????


Alex February 1, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Heck I’ll just beg for forgiveness for the other mistakes I just noticed…iPad keyboard throws me.


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