Thoughts About the Cruise

I want to pause in my mad posts of photos, and just discuss the cruise a little.  I've been on cruises before, and they're all different.  On this one, not only was the ship brand new (this was its first formal cruise after it was launched), the crew were all brand new, not just to the ship but in many cases to Viking.  They were very polite and very efficient but, for instance, one afternoon they advertised a "tea," and when I arrived at it and asked for a cup of tea, they said I could fetch it myself from the self-service bar, they were only serving coffee, because the program was to show the types of coffee!  (I fetched one cup myself and got a second one delivered, which I call a draw.)  I have no complaint about the service, though.  In fact, cruises like this are extremely hypnotic because everything is done for you – the food cooked and served, the bed made (and turned down), all the cleaning done when you're off having fun.

The programs sometimes suggested what Germans thought Americans might like (the passengers were largely American, with scattered Canadians and Australians), without actually knowing much about Americans.  The program one evening was labeled "food customs," in which the program director (who was Hungarian) gave a long talk which I would summarize as, "We Europeans dine in a more civilized way than you barbarous Americans."  I called her on it the next day and suggested that most major American cities have restaurants in which one can have quite as leisurely (and expensive!) a dining experience with friends as she described!  The same night they had a classical music program, with a very talented local trio (piano, clarinet, cello), who began playing light classical music but morphed into "easy listening" – Jim walked out when they started Moon River!

The cruise offered a daily Qi Gong session, at 7 AM; I went to it about half the days, it was a nice way to start the day, stretching and breathing.  It had about 4 regulars and another 4 or 5 who came occasionally.

The ship advertised "free wi-fi", and they had it, but the devil is in the details.  With a moving ship, of course, the wi-fi had to be satellite, which meant that connectivity was iffy when we were moving.  On the other hand, if we parked under a large bridge, as we did in Cologne, connectivity might be non-existent.  So I connected every couple of days, and basically spent only enough time online to delete spam and respond to absolutely critical emails.  I did not go on a cruise to stare at a computer screen!

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