April 22, 2012
A Day at Sea on our way from Warnemünde to Tallinn, Estonia
The voyage to Tallinn took two days, meaning we had an “at sea” day along the way. For many people, the idea of staying onboard the ship for a full day can be either boring, or a lot of fun. Let me show you how we usually spend our time on the ship during at sea days.
I like cruises because they give me time away from the phone, the household job jar, yard work, and work work. I use the time to catch up on my reading, relaxing, and writing.
If there’s one thing that cruise ships are famous for, it’s their food. Unlike air travel that no longer provides meals, cruise ships make up for that deficiency in spades. For some people, all those superb and varied culinary dishes served aboard their cruise ship is what they tend to talk about most. Then there’s cruise pounds, the weight some people gain on cruises. We’ve never experienced that. We find that all the walking, swimming, stair climbing (we avoid the elevators), sports activities, and the like tend to compensate. I don’t think any of us has ever gained any weight on a cruise, but I certainly know we have enjoyed all those great meals!
When my family and I cruise, we usually select the any-time dining option. This means we can eat in any of the buffet restaurants whenever we wish. Or, if we’re in the mood, we can make a reservation at most of the elegant full-service dining rooms where the dress is informal and we can often select our own table. Most ships also have one or two formal-dress dining rooms where your setting time and table is pre-arranged.
Games, Sports and Activities
Nancy and our son Jeffrey really got into the games and activities on our Baltic cruise. Together, they would use the shipboard schedule to plan their times and to collect points (called dam dollars) whenever they won an event. At the end, they had collected so many dam dollars, they were able to cash them in for some nice cruise clothing and souvenirs.
On at sea days, the ship’s crew also offer informative excursion presentations, tours of the ship’s engine-room, bridge, and galley, as well as special demonstrations of decorative vegetable & fruit sculpting, and culinary ice carving. And, if you like to learn, there are classes run by guest experts on just about everything from languages to computers, photography, writing, scrap-booking, cooking – you name it.
Or for those who like to be pampered, there are wine tastings, spas & saunas, pools and hot tubs, exercise & fitness rooms, kid-zone games & play areas, an indoor driving range, a basketball/badminton/volleyball court, hair/nail/facial salons, and more. There are films and magic shows. Extravagant musicals. Fashion shows. Art auctions. Even movies and TV shows on the set in your cabin. Of course, each ship offers different amenities and attractions. But I can’t honestly see how anyone could ever be bored while aboard a cruise ship.
Moments of Quiet Solitude
Nancy and I like to take advantage of those quiet, secluded places around the ship where we can have a coffee or a nightcap, watch our own private sunset, or just chat quietly.
My family and I have been on several cruises, and each time I have enjoyed watching the sea life… the birds, the dolphins, spouting and breaching whales, curious seals, you name it. But unfortunately the Baltic Sea is not home to whales or dolphins, so on this cruise the waters were relatively undisturbed except for the wind and our wake.
Those of you who have cruised before probably wondered when I was planning to mention just about the most important event of any cruise – the formal evening. At sea days are when most passengers, and many of the ship’s senior crew, don their finest duds and strike an elegant, refined pose. It all starts with cocktails, followed by the formal dinner, and ending with after-dinner aperitifs by a chocolate fountain (I don’t think the gentlemen retire to the cigar salon any longer.) My family tends to travel light, so we have never brought formal wear with us. Therefore, we have only ever watched these fancy affairs from the sidelines. That’s, ok. It’s not really my thing, anyway.
For us, cruises have always been family time, where we get to talk, play, explore and spend uninterrupted time with one another. All those little sniggling issues we left back home are far away, and for the time-being, forgotten and unimportant. We all start to relax and unwind, which makes all the difference, and more than justifies the expense.
This second at sea day concluded the sixth day of our cruise. Tomorrow we were to set to dock in Tallinn, Estonia. We knew nothing about Tallinn except that it is quite proud of its heritage (we learned that from the Cruise Director.) So, all rested and recharged, we were ready for another day of exploring and sightseeing.