My first job after graduating from college was at Cunard Line. One of the best parts of the job was encountering passengers, many who were eccentric, to put it mildly. Among the frequent cruisers: “the purple lady” who only wore purple clothes and shoes; a former gun-runner for Ethiopian King Haile Selassie who sailed transatlantic with his Rolls Royce in cargo and Salvador Dali, who once booked his pet cheetahs in an adjoining suite. They were booted off at the first port after destroying the cabin.
It’s good to learn that some things never change, that the prestigious British Queens still attract wackos.
A wealthy Manhattan couple in their 80’s were recently kicked off Queen Mary 2 for getting into a brawl with other passengers which turned into anti-semetic ranting. Gloria Sher, 82, and her husband, Frederick Evans, 91, are ex-Broadway producers who met aboard QE 2 in the 1990’s. According to the Gawker, Ms. Sher claims her husband is “the illegitimate son of the Duke of Windsor, the abdicated King Edward VIII, as well as a British Knight.” Right.
Ms. Sher claims the couple did nothing wrong and didn’t deserve to be put ashore and that, as a result, their lives are ruined. Gawker quotes Sher as saying “mere days into the couple’s $20,000, five-week cruise, they got entangled with an argument at a black-tie dinner with a passenger who told Sher to shut up, and then added, “There are too many Jews on board.” An enraged Sher, who is Jewish, profanely laced into the man.”
The Captain, who initially planned to kick them off in Quebec City, gave in to their pleading and let them remain onboard until New York, confined to their cabin. Cunard Line issued a statement, “Sir Evans and Lady Sher engaged in multiple incidences of disrespectful and disruptive behavior towards crew members and other guests.”
I’ve heard of drunken firemen and cops being kicked off cruise ships but a couple in their eighth and ninth decades is definitely a story I’ll keep.