At Sea Days

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.

Quiet Time
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.

A cup of coffee and a good book on the Lido deck is all I need to relax and unwind

Nancy enjoying a little personal time to herself, doing some writing and puzzle solving

Robert doing a bit of computer programming (his favourite activity) back in our cabin

Jeffrey getting some exercise by kicking a ball around on the well-equipped sports deck

Dining
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!

One of many special culinary events where fine delicacies are served to those who still have room

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.

Snacks are available 24/7 meaning, if you want a cup of tea at 3 in the morning, you can have it

There are many places to get a meal or a snack, each with its own distinctive appeal

Although we usually eat in the buffet restaurants, every once in awhile an elegant meal is appreciated

The entrance to the Lido Restaurant, where we usually enjoy most of our buffet meals and snacks

If you arrive early enough to the dining room, they may be able to seat you at a table with a view

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.

Jeffrey and Nancy competed in a ship-wide ping pong contest (they lost, if you must know)

These friendly sporting events are as much a social time as they are a fun activity

This was some kind of bean-bag tossing contest that helped Nancy and Jeffrey win even more dam dollars

The Queen's Show Lounge is used for musicals, magic and fashion shows, movies, and travel presentations

All around the ship there is live music to suit all tastes (well, almost all tastes)

Nancy and others would often walk briskly around the Promenade deck for a few miles each morning

I don't have any shots of my family in the pool, so this will have to do (some people seem to live at the pools)

The Library Lounge provides books, magazines, Internet (for a fee), games, audio tapes, CDs, and videos

Nancy and I don't frequent the casino, but it's usually packed and has that exciting casino atmosphere

Throughout the ship are elegant and exotic works of art, some that are even auctioned off at a gala event

There are plenty of top-notch shops to browse through, as well as a photo gallery of excursion photographs

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.

There are lots of quiet places around the ship that offer their own appealing views

If you need a quiet spot, every nook-and-cranny of the ship has private places to sit and relax or chat

Sometimes even the Lido Restaurant is empty enough to find a quiet spot to sip your coffee or tea

Like I said, there are quiet, secluded spots to be found all over the ship

Even the corridors offer quiet and elegant places to sit and relax

It looks like Nancy is leading me to some secret hideaway that only she knows about

Another view of our favourite spot, the Crow's Nest Lounge where we often watch the scenery from inside

Here Nancy has the Crow's Nest Lounge and its musical ensemble all to herself

Sometimes it's nice to experience the view and feel the refreshing sea breeze outside

Of course, if the weather is inclement, you can always retire to the comfort and privacy of your cabin

Ocean-Watching
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.

Robert has chosen the fore-deck for his ocean watching - I prefer the aft-deck (it's not as windy)

Beautiful ocean sunsets like this come complimentary for the price of your tickets

The ocean and sky are ever changing and can be quite hypnotic

Formal Evenings
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.

It is quite impressive to see everyone dressed in their finery and on their best behaviour in such a setting

Early in the evening, this grand staircase will become the backdrop for many formal photos

Family Time
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.

Looks like there's a nippy evening breeze blowing past

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.

One of the little towel animals left on our beds after the room stewards had prepared them for the evening

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