Welcome back to another Marvelous Cruise Ship employee orientation. As you all probably know, my season took a tragic turn last year when a biblical-sized wave capsized the 200,000-ton cruise ship I was on, sending 4,999 people to a watery grave with one survivor: me.

But by orders of my therapist, I’m returning to normal life. And as I told ship management, I will not let last year’s tragedy get in the way of this year’s success. Let’s begin.


Simone, late-night karaoke.
Harris and Tanya, meal prep.
Marcus, 24-hour data analysis of the radar system I’ve set up under my bed.
Jen, pool deck.
Michael, mop duty.

Time-Off & Breaks

This year, we’ll have 45-minute breaks between each shift. What you do on break is up to you. Feel free to watch Netflix. Feel free to work out. Feel free to thumb through the 3,500-page book I left on each of your beds, Extreme Survival Scenarios, which is now required reading. Feel free to hang out by the buffet.


You’ll find your uniforms hanging in your rooms. They’re basically the same as last year—white button-down, blue bow tie—with a small adjustment of everyone on my team being required to wear a life vest under their work clothes at all time.

Wearing it may not “feel good,” but neither will clinging to the frozen, lifeless body of the cruise ship captain as ice water fills your lungs like sandbags being packed with tiny knives.


If you haven’t completed your W-4 yet, see me after orientation.

Sleeping Arrangements

Curfew is at midnight.

Jen, Tanya, Simone—Room A304.
Michael, Harris, Marcus—Room B304.
Me—lifeboat A3 on the starboard side of the ship. Michael, you will strap me into the lifeboat at night and unstrap me in the morning. Yes, this is necessary. Your curfew is 1 AM.


This year when we dock, I’ll be the first one off the ship. When it’s time to come back, I’ll need Marcus and Harris here an hour before passengers arrive to constrain me and force me on board as I screech the pleas for help that are constantly playing on repeat in my head, the cries of families trapped in their sideways rooms that for my own survival I was forced to ignore, as I crawled along the sideways walls to the sideways stairwell of a quickly-sinking sideways capsized ship.

I’m excited for another fun year on Marvelous Cruises! I hope you’re all as excited as me. And remember, on Marvelous Cruise Ships the customer comes first…

…unless the ship starts sinking. Then you must abandon the customer and put your needs first. Even if 4,999 of them are drowning. It’s impossible to save that many people and you shouldn’t have to choose who survives. You are not a “coward,” or a “slimy eel,” or whatever words you have to wake up early every day to paint over because the angry relatives of lost passengers smear it in fish blood across the front door of your home while you sleep. You did the right thing.


Shifts start in 2-hours. Go unpack your bags. If you need me, I will be physically strapped to this chair right here on deck. Simone has the key.