Musings on Cruising

Garrie in the Oceanview Cafe.
So my first cruise for 45 years and Garrie's for about 40. So what do we think.  Mixed feelings would be my honest answer.

What I really enjoyed.
- Life is easy. Nothing to think about except choosing your food and drinks oh and what to do from the many activities.
- You unpack once and the cabin is very well appointed.
- Food is pretty good to excellent and there is plenty of it.
- Service is also very good.
- Daily shows - very good to excellent entertainment with the odd mediocre performer.
- Educational talks - very interesting.
- Trivia quiz - good fun.
- Tranquil views of the ocean passing by.
- No flying from place to place.
- A very easy way to see a cross section of places.
- Meeting new people to chat to daily.
- Dancing (well I might have except for hop-a-long lol)
- Making some great new friends who really added some fun to our last few days at sea.

Not such great things
- People - too many of them and some quite rude.
- Queues. Not long ones but queues daily - for cuppa, food, shore excursions.
- The social divide between passengers and crew.
- All too easy to eat and drink way too much.
- Cities only to visit - unless you pay a lot to sit a long time on a bus to get to rural areas for 5 minutes.
- Skimming the surface of places visited.
- Having the Norovirus hanging over us most of the trip and people on the next table going down three days before the end of the cruise, really brought that home. 
- Selling all kinds of things - watches, artwork, jewellery, other restaurants, more cruises. Paper invitations daily to buy something or other.
- Internet only available at exhorbitant prices and not always easy to find, or have time for, on shore excursions.

So on our second last day we had a real emergency with a passenger needing to be helicoptered off. I had my camera with me so snapped some shots.  They initially dropped gear and personnel to the deck to prepare the passenger and then came back and landed to pick him up. I probably could have but didn't feel right to see that specifically but did take a few from the side lines.

We wish the passenger well. Later we heard a helicopter again but this one must have been part of the Danish navy doing take-offs and landings.
The ship has many pieces of art. Not all to our liking but we enjoyed this little guy in the Ensemble lounge.
This picture was on the staircase between decks 7 and 8 and yes it followed you everywhere.
I mentioned we enjoyed some if the podium Le tires and this Austrian Astronaut was certainly our favourite with wonderful photos of the sun and the northern lights.
The TV screen was always useful to know where you were and what you were looking at.
Our Captain gave us a lecture on the ships working on the last day. He us quite a card and was from the start saying in Southampton, when we first boarded, that there had been a slight delay in departure but if he could just find the keys we'd be on our way shortly,  take a look at the size of these props,
We also met some lovely people, especially our dinner companions. Maureen and Norman were part of a group of four lovely Scottish people on the next table.  It was great last night to see them back after a horrible twenty four hours with norovirus. 
 They also took part in the cruise choir. (Be very amazed everyone - I resisted the temptation to join the choir!). 
These are the other two scots - Margo and Gerard. All very lovely people.
Margaret and Trevor kept us entertained from the window seat.
And Judy and John made up our table and joined us for trivia and brekkie at times.
We were very ably looked after at dinner by these three amigos. Kuri, on the left being our main waiter and he had recommendations each night that were always the pick of the crop, Oliver in the middle who squeezes oranges in the morning and grapes at night, and able assistant Dana. (Pardon Garrie's photo bombing).
I haven't shown much of the food. Last night's beef Wellington was my pick of the mains - just sensational, and these are last night's desserts. Baked Alaska and a chocolate wonder.
We've also enjoyed trying the cocktails. My favourites certainly the grasshopper and the mudslide. Here is Garrie with his first martini (shaken not stirred) and me with a gin fizz.
So would we do it again? Possibly for somewhere like the Norweigan Fjords and also it is a good way for me to take a break as I can already feel the responsibility of the next two weeks descending onto my shoulders. Maybe smaller ships that can go to more places? Certainly fancy a river cruise and another bike and barge so we'll be back on water again one day. Now to tackle some fun on land and hope the glorious weather we have enjoyed for the past week or so comes with us. Also Vale Mohammed Ali, someone I recall very well from my youth as a person who stood up for what he felt was right. A great man gone today. Ok UK here we come.