Are you bored to tears listening to the latest on Malema, sick to death of hearing Motlanthe going on about Spurs being legitimate title contenders for the premiership or Zille harping on about scrapping the currency and introducing tokens if the DA comes to power?

Well fret no more because Costa Cruises, the British-American owned Italian cruise line which operates no less than 14 cruise ships – many of which haven’t sunk, caught fire or lost power – is set to launch the Costa Discovery for your cruising pleasure.

The enormous mega-ship comes with a whole new approach to sailing that the owners say will finally guarantee that the bulk of their liners actually make it to their destinations or a rock very close to it.

As they put it, would you rather sail aboard a ship whose captain has a 100% safety record or one where, through experiencing one disaster after another, the crew are worldly-wise enough to know how to survive almost anything?

AB Don Vessel III, the company’s troubleshooter, explained how this new approach has translated on the ground.

“When we examined the crews and the history of the Costa Concordia, Costa Allegra and the rest of the fleet we immediately realised that these were highly educated people who were somehow unable to navigate a ship in a straight line,” said Vessel III casually. “In fact the more university degrees they had the worse their performance seemed to be.”

“This meant that in order to structure the fleet around where we are, rather than where we hope to be, we needed to adopt a reality based strategy. The reality being that most of the crews were people who were using the job as a stop-gap and that the chances of one of our cruise ships actually finding the destination printed in the sales brochure are, to say the least, remote.”

Vessel III explained that this is how the new ship got its name.

“Instead of worrying ourselves to death about the ship not reaching its destination we are now selling cruises aboard the Costa Discovery with the final port being listed as a surprise or a discovery, which it truly is, because our crews don’t have a fucking clue where it is either,” he said.

“This is problematic because they obviously become concerned about food, length of the voyage and all the other niceties that would trouble educated people. So we made it our policy to fire anyone with a degree or who had finished high school. We replaced them with crews who are trained rather than educated. If you go to our headquarters in Italy you will see that there is a massive courtyard behind the building. On any day during the week you will find the trainers throwing sticks and tennis balls for the staff to chase.”

“Mind you,” he laughed, “we had a major problem with this in the beginning because the staff were conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs to chase the balls every time they heard a bell. Unfortunately the moron in charge of training used a ship’s bell and on their maiden voyage the first time the captain rang the bell a couple from Idaho were nearly killed when the crew stampeded straight through their deck tennis match.”

New features aboard the Costa Discovery are the full-time wearing of life jackets – the crew refuse to take them off so passengers are required to wear them 24/7, hourly prayers (compulsory … you never know when they might be the difference between … yes, you will be woken up) and evacuation drills four times a day because chances are that is the way that you will be leaving the ship.

There is also online betting which features wagers on the final destination (and you know the cruise line can’t cheat because their guess is as good as yours) as well as the duration of the voyage. Some might last an hour if the captain misses the turn and crashes into the harbour wall or, heaven forbid, months if he somehow makes it out into the middle of the Pacific.

A marvellous new development is the fact that NATO, terrified that one of the fleet blunders into the Strait of Hormuz and starts World War III, are monitoring all of the cruise ships around the clock.

You’ve read about the ghost ship “The Flying Dutchman”; this lot are more your “Hopelessly Misguided Italians” and should any of these ships stray into the important strait between the Gulf of Oman in the southeast and the Persian Gulf, thereby alarming the Iranians, then NATO – before anyone can say “Honey I tripped and fell in the lifeboat” – will administer a healthy dose of Tactical Tomahawk missiles.

This means that if you can read a chart and plot the position as somewhere near the Persian Gulf you should have just enough time to get your bet on.

Before you dismiss all of this as nonsense here are references sent to us by Costa Cruises from South Africans who loved their trip. Unfortunately the ones in English were not fit to print.

David Moshoe: “I ndoda yo mlungu ayivunye lwanga ungena esikhepeni.”

Willem Pienaar: “Hierdie draadtrekkers … ek sê vir julle nou as ek een van hulle in die straat kry…”

Solly Gigaba: “O dirava bama tekisi bancuno … morons.”

Morrie Luntz: “Zolst farlirn ale tseyner akhuts eynem, un der zol dir vey ton.”

Anonymous: “Jou ma se poes.” (believed to be a member of the legal fraternity)


Michael Trapido

Michael Trapido

Mike Trapido is a criminal attorney and publicist having also worked as an editor and journalist. He was born in Johannesburg and attended HA Jack and Highlands North High Schools. He married Robyn...

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