Not every day is go, go, go. During our 27 day cruise, we are stopping at 13 ports and taking at least one excursion at each of them, but there are some days when we’re simply “at sea”.
You know that expression when you have no idea what you want to do? “I’m all at sea.” That expression makes no sense at all on our ship.
Sea days are filled with options. You could just eat all day, of course – on sea days they even add a “pop-up” specialty restaurant on the main pool deck. There’s the state-of-the-art gym. The Nordic spa with its saunas, plunge pools, hot tubs and “snow room”. The option for every kind of wellness or beauty treatment, plus massages. Yoga class. Knitting class. Mahjong and bridge classes. Watercolour class. Movies and TED talks. The sports deck with ping pong, bocce, shuffleboard, bowling, bean bag toss (officers play against passengers once a day), and a putting green. There is live music scattered around the ship: a cello/violin duo, a pianist, a guitarist.
Travelling with us is an historian, a naturalist (NOT a “naturist”, as he was quick to point out!), an astronaut, an expert on Pacific rim cultures, and a nurse practitioner, all of who give the most fascinating lectures during the day in the ship’s theatre. I especially enjoy the astronaut, who mixes humour with science in talking about his work designing seismic telescopes, flying on the Challenger space shuttle, and commanding the International Space Station. His charisma reminds me of our own Chris Hadfield, although he is considerably older. Each afternoon there is also a “destination talk” to prepare us for our next port.
What really fascinates me on our sea days, though, is the constant quiet activity going on around us. There is a reason every surface shines, from the decks and rails to the cutlery and glassware. Including the officers and crew involved in the safe operation of the ship, there are about 400 crew for this 900 passenger ship. Walking the exercise track on Deck 2 one morning, I watched at least a dozen crew members working: swabbing the deck, arranging furniture, doing the daily lifeboat check, and touching up the white enamel paint on overhead pipes. On the pool decks there is constant magical replacement of perfectly folded towels; deck chairs are straightened and realigned every time they are vacated. There is nowhere on the ship – living room, library, decks, atrium, explorers lounge, theatre – where your drink of choice is not unobtrusively topped up so that it seems like cups and glasses are infinite. Remember the trick glasses we could buy as kids in the 50’s and 60’s that looked empty when tilted and full when straightened? It’s like that!
Staterooms are tidied twice a day, and the bed turned down at night. Like our drinking glasses, the water pitcher in our room also refills magically…. and the mini Toblerone bars in the mini-fridge clone themselves daily (I’ve checked!)
And everyone smiles, from the room steward to the servers to the bartender to the musicians and entertainers.
It would be so easy to forget what a privilege it is to be able to experience this.
But we won’t.