Wednesday, October 21

Cruising with "Guest Entertainer: Matthew Cohen"

Well, hello. Welcome to my home. My name is Matthew Loren Cohen—you may remember me from the previous Homebodies post regarding my penchant for "under"-positioned toilet paper. Your gracious Homebodies editor Liz Arnold has presently requested of me a full account of my currently exceptional living quarters. Being that a.) it is impossible for said Liz Arnold to physically visit my abode, and b.) I adore twice-said Liz Arnold, I am ecstatic to oblige.

Until January 16 of 2010, I am employed as music director for The Second City, Chicago's legendary sketch comedy and improvisation theater, aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines's M.S. Norwegian Star.

Meaning, I live on this ship.

My adventure began on September 12 in Seattle for a week-long Alaska voyage before the ship repositioned to the port of Los Angeles for its current Mexican Riviera itinerary. I will finish my contract with a handful of two-week cruises through the Panama Canal, with stops in Mexico and Central and South America. I perform four shows a cruise (cruises last anywhere from seven to 14 days) and basically have passenger status when I'm not working. As I love to wear terrycloth and pretend I'm retired, this is a ridiculously good job.

Aboard the Norwegian Star, I reside in cabin 4226, which is what is known as an officer's cabin.

Officer's cabins are located on deck 4 (of 13 decks) on the starboard side of the ship (starboard = right-hand side; port = left. An easy method to remember such seemingly useless and archaic information is that both "port" and "left" are comprised of four letters.) The most attractive feature of an officer's cabin, apart from its single occupancy, is its porthole.

Most crew cabins, in which typically four to six crew members reside, do not have any windows whatsoever, so it is a luxury to wake up in a non-bunk-bed to sunlight. Especially as light in crew cabins is provided by our greatest enemy, the fluorescent bulb.

Cabin 4226 is roughly one-fourth the size of my 300-square-foot Greenwich Village studio apartment. By ship standards, that's palatial. Upon entering, the first thing you see is…the entire room. The porthole is directly opposite the door, and the cabin features a desk, two couches, a TV and refrigerator, a side table and a single bed.

Tomorrow, Matt backs us into the book nook and makes us cross-eyed with close-ups of the patterned upholstery...


  1. TWO couches....that really is an extravagance , invaluable lesson on port v starboard....there ,thank you ... ,can't wait for tomorrow !

  2. all I keep thinking is "So much free food."
    That has really nothing to do with interiors...

  3. Nora, if you can imagine the food cycle on a ship, it may not be so tempting! They get fresh food at a port, and then sail for however many days--without access to anything fresh. They get creative. I've heard stories...of olive sushi!?

    Hope all's well with you! xx

  4. Thanks, Jaboopee! Glad you're following. He's such a fun writer, and I'm thrilled to have him entertaining us here.