Halloween at Sea
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Navigator 2014 Home Passengers Halloween at Sea Formal Pictures

Halloween on the High Seas
featuring the Champagne Masquerade Ball

Written by Rick Archer
October 2014


Halloween on the High Seas
Written by Rick Archer

Prior to our trip, I had a dream one.  In my dream, the SSQQ Halloween Party arose from the dead to live again.   I am not making this up. 

I dreamt that the people who own the Bissonnet property where I ran SSQQ for 30 years gave me permission to hold one more Halloween Party for old time’s sake.  We could have our Haunted House back and another chance for the Frankenstein monster to greet people in the dark maze.  I jumped at the chance.  I could not wait!  What a wonderful opportunity. 

And then I woke up.  I felt a real sadness come over me. 

SSQQ in my day was legendary for its Halloween Parties.  I took immense pride in hosting all my parties, but Halloween was my unquestioned favorite. I always felt a tremendous satisfaction after throwing a great party. 

Once I awoke and realized it was "just a dream", my sadness was so poignant that I decided maybe there was a message there.  So I asked Marla if she would do me a favor.  Could she perhaps persuade the Navigator cruise ship to let us have a room to throw a Halloween party on the final night of our trip?

Marla smiled.  She said she would try.

Now it appears my dream will come true.  Marla was able to negotiate with the Navigator to give us their best dance room for an hour on the final night of our October Navigator Dance Cruise. 

I say let’s make it a Champagne Masquerade Ball

Think about it… our shipboard Halloween Party will take place on Saturday, October 18… just two weeks prior to this year’s Halloween events.   Seems like perfect timing to me.  So what can we expect to happen at our oceanside Champagne Masquerade Ball?

For years now, Marla has made sure that every cabin gets a bottle of champagne for this trip. The Champagne Party is a tradition on our trips that dates back all the way to Rhapsody 2004.

As it turned out, Rhapsody 2004 was very a special journey for me. This was the trip when Marla and I were married aboard the Rhapsody.  We made that year’s cruise trip our honeymoon.  Hmm… that reminds me, Marla and I have a tenth anniversary coming up.  My, how times flies when you are having fun!

Origin of the Champagne Party

The idea for our Champagne Party came from Mara Rivas.  Mara played a very large role in the development of our cruise family.  Here is how it all happened...

As a present to all our guests who sailed with us on that honeymoon trip, Marla used her travel agent "points" to make sure her guests had a bottle of champagne as a simple "thank you" gesture for coming along. This marked the first time that each cabin had received a complimentary bottle.

However, little did we know there was a developing problem involving the champagne. Thank goodness we had Mara, our secret agent!  Mara was able gain insight into a mysterious problem.  Unbeknownst to Marla and I, most of the bottles were not being opened.  Almost no one was drinking their champagne! 

So how did Mara uncover this unusual information, but not Rick and Marla?  It seems that now we were married, single people didn't trust us the way they once did.  Instead it was Mara who was able to use her "single" status to gain access to sensitive information that 'single people' were unwilling to share with us.

Today Mara is married as well.  Mara is happily married to Bruce Hanka, a gentleman she met back at the studio and got to know even better on the SSQQ cruise trips.  However, back in 2004, Mara was single and, as memory serves, quite popular.  (Oddly enough, Bruce was on that same 2004 cruise, but Mara and Bruce had not quite made their connection yet.)  

 As a very pretty lady, Mara never lacked for companionship.  The single men enjoyed talking with her. 

So what was the reason no one was drinking their champagne?   I'm not going to tell you, but if you are curious, take a look at my original story, Origin of SSQQ Champagne Night.  As you will read, Mara's insider information led to a very creative solution.  I am sure you will get a good laugh at the answer.


As you might imagine, our first Champagne Party was a big hit.  To quote Mara, “My, my, such a terrible waste!!  Champagne is meant to make people happy!” 

No truer words have ever been spoken.  If we all save our Champagne for this upcoming Navigator Masquerade Ball, it will surely become a party for the ages.  All we need is to locate enough self-discipline to leave that precious bottle untouched till SaturdayThen it will be time to liven the spirits at our Halloween Party.


The Masquerade Ball at Sea

What about costumes?   People always say, “I don’t have a costume.”

Here is a simple suggestion.  A “Mask” is a very effective costume accessory.  In fact, I desperately want Marla to schedule a cruise trip to Venice, Italy, some day so I can indeed experience the world’s most exquisite Masquerade Party, the Carnavale de Venetio

I am not quite sure we can match the Carnavale de Venetio for its stunning beauty, but there is no doubt in my mind that a Masquerade Ball of our very own will be an event of terrific entertainment!

I say let everyone go to any Halloween store and purchase a mask along with a cape… any black witch’s cape or Dracula’s cape will do just fine.

Trust me, those masks will ensure one heck of a group picture!   

Now the thing about masks is that they are admittedly uncomfortable.  You don't want to wear them for long.  So I will ask everyone to wear the mask for the first half of the event.   Don’t worry, I will bring straws along so we can all be sipping our magic champagne potions through our masks! 


Dancing and the Sunset Farewell

At the first opportunity, we will dance 3 classic Halloween line dances as a group.  It will definitely set the mood.

I’m Your Boogie Man
Heard it Through the Graveyard
Monster Mash

I estimate the dances will take about ten minutes max.  We will do them back to back.  I will teach these Halloween line dances ahead of time in one of our daily dance workshops onboard the ship.  In this way, we won’t waste any time during our precious hour-long party by reviewing the patterns.  You either know it or you don't.  If you want to dance but don't know the moves, so what?  You have a mask on. 

Once the brew takes effect and we are done with our group picture and our line dances, we can take our masks off and start dancing with each other.  I will pump up the volume and we will have our very own Monster Mash!!

The party will not end there.  When the party is over at 7, my friend Iqbal and his beautiful wife Barbara will guide us to the upper deck where we will begin another famous SSQQ tradition known as the “Sunset Farewell”. 

This lovely event allows everyone to take each other’s pictures one last time on the trip with the sun setting in the distance.  Depending on how much Champagne was consumed, there is likely to be more champagne left over for the Sunset Farewell.  We can give each other big hugs and smooches and laugh ourselves silly.

I can’t wait to see the champagne-enhanced grins in those pictures!


The Masquerade Parade!!

But wait, the party is not over!   Shortly after the sun sets, it will be time to put our masks back on and begin the SSQQ Masquerade Parade.

I suggest we enter the Dining Room two by two and wave to all the guests!  

I can imagine our procession across the room will be quite the hit with the other passengers.  In fact, I have little doubt they will love it. 

I will tip off the Navigator photography staff and see if they would like to have someone videotape the event.  Maybe my idea will be well-received and they will want to put the footage on the ship’s Memories DVD. 

So do you like the idea?   I hope so.  The more people who sign on to the idea, the more likely it will succeed.  I think our Champagne Masquerade Ball has a real chance to an amazing event.

And then my dream will come true.

Rick Archer


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