I have no photographs from the cruise while we were at sea. Frankly, the open ocean, or even the ocean relatively near the coast, is not very “photograph-able.” It’s a flat blue expanse below a featureless blue sky, when it isn’t a flat gray expanse below a featureless gray ditto. That’s why most of the photos I took were in port. I’ll get to them in later posts.
If I ever cruise again, which is not a given, I’ll want to find a female friend to room with. There weren’t any real problems with my roommate, except that she is very close friends with the couple who organized the trip, and she preferred to hang out with them. She and I were the only people in our group who weren’t part of a couple. I can’t speak for her, but I spent most of my meals alone in the buffet – or briefly alone. I soon found that if I sat down at an empty table with 4 settings, within 10 minutes or so a couple would come along and ask if they could join me; and most of them were quite friendly and chatty. So that was interesting, and passed the time. It isn’t a way to make friends, but people on cruises tend to be quite friendly and outgoing. I was amazed at the number of people who prefer cruising as their chosen vacation. I had no idea.
It took me a few days to realize that, weather permitting, I could walk around the entire ship on the outside walkway on deck 7 level. I understood that 3 laps around the ship was one mile. There was a surprisingly small group of people who did this regularly. If the weather was bad enough, the crew would block off the section that went around the bow, which happened at least once. In that case, I learned, you simply enter the ship at the last available forward doors, walk indoors across to the other side, come out and continue your circuit on the other side of the boat. It was good exercise and helped a lot.
At least some of the time when we were at sea and not rehearsing or dining, I was simply bored. There were very few places where you could sit and read quietly, except our cabin, where I sat on the bed because there was only one chair, not very comfortable. I didn’t want to swim in any of the swimming pools – most of which were outdoors, and cold. There were also outdoor hot tubs – in 60 degree weather, not appealing. There was an art gallery, from which they would have loved to sell you something to take home. There was an area labeled the “library,” where you could sit and read; it had an extremely odd collection of books. I had brought my Kindle, so read from that.
The ship had a constant schedule of “activities,” which mostly didn’t appeal to me, although I did spend a couple of hours in the group Trivial Pursuit game – but people “discovered” it, after which there was no place to sit. That was a problem with anything that was very popular. My favorite bar on the ship had a small musical group which played swing and light jazz in the late afternoon; very few people came to listen, so you could always get a seat, and they had a small group of very good ballroom dancers who danced to the music regularly and were great fun to watch.
The best thing about the cruise, apart from the music seminar, is that I remember no discussions of national politics in the whole 10 days!