'Aye, Matey, that's the Aussie Spirit'


If you're a North American on the Carnival Spirit during the next year or two, be prepared to drink amber fluid (beer) from your schooner (large beer glass) after slipping out of your cozzie (swimming costume) and into your strides (trousers) until the snags are ready on the barbie.

If you're an Australian, however, you'll know that means be prepared to drink beer from your large glass after slipping out of your swimsuit and into your trousers until the sausages are ready on the barbecue.

This is all about "Aussifying" a cruise ship, which is to say make it — first and foremost — comfortable for "Aussies", which is what people from Australia call themselves.

By the time Carnival is finished, nobody will recognize the Spirit…verbally or physically.

In a story first posted on the Miami Herald's website by David Molyneaux, Carnival either announced or confessed to taking a good ol' American ship and branding it with everything Australian as it prepares for at least two years Down Under, which is not always the best turn of phrase to use about a cruise ship.

On Sunday, the Spirit will pull out of Honolulu Harbor, bound for Sydney, the cruise center of Australia. It may be filled with Americans right now, but Carnival is banking it will be filled with Aussies, over and over and over, and the best way to win an Aussie's heart is to appreciate his country's unique outlook, customs and cuisine.

Having said that, the Spirit will feature Australian cruise directors and entertainers and comedians, and if you don't know how funny Aussies can be, you mustn't have been listening. It will have a new water slide called Green Thunder, allowing thrill seekers to plummet faster and steeper out of the chute than on any other cruise-ship water slide. The "amber fluid" will not be Foster's — as North Americans might expect — because Aussies like their brew from the tap. They also like bacon that closely resembles Canadian, coffee that closely resembles Italian and barbecue meats that resemble hot dogs only in shape.

Carnival figures almost all of its customers will come from Down Under, a logical assumption considering that you have to fly a long way just to a cruise on the Spirit, which has 41 of them booked in 2014, its second year in Australia. For the few North Americans who might want to book such a cruise — mostly to the beaches of Fiji and New Caledonia, and the ports of New Zealand — there's another catch.

You have to book it on Carnival's Australian website, or by phone, and remember that the dollars are Australian, too.

Isn't everything?

Island Princess
14 nights
March 22, 2013
Los Angeles, Cabo San Lucas, San Juan del Sur, Puntarenas, Panama Canal, Cartagena, Aruba, Fort Lauderdale
Inside:  $1,399
Cost per day: $99

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