Andrew Novis, American Renaissance, August 23, 2018
In 1987, I fulfilled a long-held desire to work as a croupier on a cruise ship. I joined the M/S Stardancer (later to become the Viking Serenade).We cruised down to Baja California and then up to Vancouver and Alaska. I spent a total of five years at sea, working on four different ships, traveled the world and met some terrific people. It was a wonderful time.
I noticed that ships’ departments were like little nations. For example, officers and engineers were Scandinavian, waiters were Italian, chefs were Austrian or German, casino staff, photographers and beauty salon personnel were English, cabin stewards were West Indians, entertainers were American, engine crew were Filipinos, and porters were Haitians or Cubans, etc.
This arrangement would change slightly depending on where the ship was cruising and whether the ship flag was Norwegian, Italian or Dutch, etc.
Life onboard was great. I guess this was because it was a holiday atmosphere and everyone had a job and, presumably, money. Racial division was barely noticeable.
We were made to understand that a crew member involved with a passenger in any kind of conflict — guilty or innocent — would be put ashore at the next port of call. The image of the cruise line had to be maintained at all costs.
In November 1988, there was an engine-room fire on-board the M/S Song of America (RCCL). It was in the evening, out at sea, after we had left Cozumel, Mexico. We manned the lifeboats, calmed the passengers, then saw the lights of other ships coming to our rescue, in accordance with maritime law. They disappeared into the darkness when the fire was brought under control, and we went back to our cabins.
A few years later, I was on a different ship, the M/S Sovereign of the Seas, and again there was a fire onboard while we were docked in Puerto Rico. After 3,000 passengers were evacuated, this fire was also brought under control.
These two fires prompted many discussions among crew members who had been in very serious fires that required taking to the lifeboats. When that happened, the perfect world of ship harmony soon disintegrated and things got ugly. Different races and nationalities commandeered lifeboats. Blacks let only other blacks in “their” lifeboats; the Filipinos did the same. The crew ignored the well-practiced weekly lifeboat drills, and there was no romantic “women and children first.”
The racial divide isn’t limited to landlubbers. On the ocean as well, when it really matters, it’s “every race for itself.”