All at Sea - Week 3 of our Pacific crossing!!
At sea for a whole week!! Will we cope, get bored, go crazy?? NOT AT ALL.
In fact, we were looking forward to this a very different cruise experience, our previous cruises all having landed us in a different port almost every day with just the occasional day at sea and little time to actually relax. Now our experience is only with our chosen host, Holland America Line so the following is based on HAL only - we cannot speak for other lines, though we do have friends with other allegiances whose experiences are similar.
We love the whole cruise thing - your cabin is home away from home - where you do all
the usuals - sleep dress, read, relax, chill out if you don't feel like mingling. We even choose as a rule to have breakfast in our room for leisurely start to the day without having to queue for a cup of tea in the Lido or worse still, be tempted by a full breakfast with all the trimmings on offer in the main dining room. We love getting dressed for dinner (be it in the fabulous two storey main dining room or one of the several signature specialty restaurants on offer - The Pinnacle Grille for exquisite seafoods and steaks or Canneletto for all things Italian) and of course the nightly quality live entertainment on the main stage - be it Showtime, smart-casual or formal attire - making every evening something special. Poolside can be fun!!
Like most fellow travellers we have our likes and preferences - lazing by the Poolside pool amidships under its glass sliding canopy (open in good weather conditions), with a good book is always a part of our routine, although we prefer if its sunny and warm, so not our thing on dull overcast days. Then, we prefer to head to the Crow's-nest at the top and front of the ship with its panoramic views of the open seas surrounding us. There we can indulge in a freshly brewed coffee Chocolate Extravaganza!!
from the Explorations Café, check our internet, read from the extensive library or play a board game - chess is our usual. Some fellow mariners simply nestle into one of the comfy armchairs available and nod off to sleep - yes, I have been known too as well!!
And the ship's staff, namely the Cruise Director and his trusty cohorts provide no end of entertaining things to do to keep you engaged and occupied should you need some help - the list is endless but I'll try to give you an insight: there's Trivia in the Crows Nest, lectures on all manner of subjects in the Showroom, Poolside activities like golf, building and sailing model ships (made from packing materials and
Hula Lessons Poolside
the like, whatever you can get hold of), and elsewhere around the ship there are hula and ukulele lessons, digital workshops, cooking schools, wine tasting, card competitions etc., etc. You'd be really hard pushed to claim there was nothing to do!! And the "Today ON LOCATION" document delivered to your room each evening provides a comprehensive timetable of absolutely everything that's on and where on-board the following day - there's just no excuse. We even decided to participate in a 5 mile (9km) walk around the deck - a charitable event on all HAL cruise ships (On Deck for a Cause) and on this occasion it was to raise money for the Cyclone Pam Relief in Vanuatu - an excellent cause and we didn't hesitate donating to participate!
Then there's the daily afternoon movie - we quite enjoyed this though something we had not traditionally done - but we caught up with some great new films such as The Imitation Game, Stone Hurst Asylum, Black & White, Still Alice and the list goes on - all great movies and we probably would not have gotten to see these had we been home. The one that really struck a social awareness nerve with was Men, Women & Children starring Jennifer Garner and Adam Sandler - the story of social addictions and especially confronting the cyber addictions now dramatically affecting our children! Well worth seeing.
After the afternoon movie - what next? - happy hour of course - but only in certain sections of the ship and not all at the same time and all with slightly different deals! A bit silly and more than a bit confusing at first but we soon latched on but for us, rather than sitting up to a bar, we would take our cocktail or glass of sparkly onto the Promenade Deck where we would laze on deck chairs chatting as we sipped away on our poisons and watched those spectacular sunsets in the mid Pacific. And that's the real point of days at sea - not only the complete relaxation of doing nothing or even being totally absorbed in a good read, but the wonderful opportunity to reconnect with you partner - doing so much together everyday, engaging in good conversation and catching up on so much that tends to get forgotten in our sometimes hectic "retired" lives back home.
Then there are the people you meet along the way - whether its a casual "one off" chat over a coffee or whether you strike instant friendships that have you rendezvousing more regularly for meals, shore excursions or the like. Cruising puts you with people from all around the world - we met couples from USA, several in fact, a lovely couple returning to their home in The Bahamas - we even met a couple and their son from several streets away back home whom we'd not known previously and met purely by chance in the Exploration coffee shop! We will certainly be catching up with them once they are home from their travels and in all cases we will be maintaining email contact with our new cruise friends from further afield. Some we have already established contact.
So if you are thinking cruising will bore you beyond belief, I'm telling you otherwise. I know its not everyone's cup of tea but take it from us, its certainly worth giving it a go!!