At Sea

The next two days at sea are dominated by the dramatic slowing of the pace of living.  I am shifting down, learning to relax.  We had spent the week before our departure racing around, tending to a hundred details, preparing for a two-week absence.  Now that we have safely landed on the ship, there are so few things that we MUST do.  Really, the only requirements are meals.  Leaving out the idea of Room Service (which we never took advantage of anyway), there are meals of various styles being offered from 5.30 am until 11.00 pm;  thus, the concept of a “required” meal becomes rather hazy.  There are myriad other activities in which we could choose to participate.  Each evening we receive a copy of the “Freestyle Daily,” the cruiseline’s four page listing of the next day’s services, classes, games, meetings, lectures, shows, auctions, sales, dances, music, parties, tours, raffles, gatherings, and gambling.  These opportunities take place all around the ship, in 13 restaurants, 12 bars and lounges, the spa, the fitness center, the pool, the theatre, the gameroom, the kids’ club, the shops, the rock climbing wall, the bowling alley and the casino.  Rather than feeling the need to partake in a long list of things, I mostly find that I want to just chill.  Eat, read, write and maybe see a show.  I am here to relax and unwind.  There is a long list of things I DO NOT have to do today:  grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, errands, driving, working, being stressed out.  WHEW!

My days are a collection of everso relaxing moments.  Following breakfast in the buffet, there is a Stress Reduction and Relaxation Workshop at 10.00 am.  At 1.00 pm, after a delicious lunch with a view over the wake of the ship, I repair to the South Pacific Spa for some time in the steam room, dry sauna and whirlpool;  after which i arrange myself on one of the heated tile loungers and gaze out at the blue, blue Caribbean.  This is followed by a nap in our stateroom.  We have dinner in the main dining room and then head up to one of the poolside bars for our Friends Of Dorothy (FOD) meeting.  This is NCL’s way of inviting gay and lesbian guests to meet up and get to know one another.  On this sailing, not only do we have these events almost every evening, but they are  actually hosted by a member of the Cruise Director’s staff!   This is a nice touch, with the added benefit of being treated to the occasional bottle of champagne.  We meet some really sweet guys that we will continue to get to know in the next couple of weeks, as well as our ongoing host, Erwin.

Our other big appointment on this first day is with our buddies from Cruise Critic.  Cruise Critic is an online forum for all things related to cruising…reviews, pictures, video and a large section devoted to forums for exchanging information.  We have “met” forty-plus folks on the forum for our individual sailing.  Now we get a chance to see them in person.  NCL has set aside one of the restaurants for our Meet-n-Greet, stocking it with coffee, tea, juice and pastry.  They have even sent some of the ship’s officers, including the Hotel Director, the Food and Beverage Director and the Head Chef.  We sit down to get to know one another, exchanging bits of information on where we are from, etc.  It is a great opportunity to get acquainted with some new friends.  We will see these people throughout the ship in the next fourteen days, exchanging greetings and sharing stories.

Aside from these meetups and my spa time, the majority of what we otherwise do involves eating.  The one area of the buffet not yet covered is breakfast.  This offers no less of a bounty than the options later in the day.  Here goes…

  • a dozen varieties of cold cereal with whole or skim milk
  • three types of hot cereal with raisins, brown sugar and hot milk
  • plain yogurt, granola and muesli, accompanied by assorted dried fruits, nuts, berries, grapes and honey
  • assorted fruit flavored yogurt
  • breads and danishes, including baguettes, brioche, croissants, pain au chocolat, cinnamon rolls, fruit danish, nut danish, wholegrain bread, fruit and nut bread, white, seeded and wholewheat rolls, fruit muffins and bran muffins, as well as toasted bagels, sliced bread and english muffins, served with butter and jams
  • sliced cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon and pineapple;  grapefruit and orange sections; whole bananas, apples and pears; stewed prunes, figs, apricots and pears;  fruit salad
  • eggs and omelets cooked to order, filled with your choice of cheese, ham, spinach, mushrooms, onions, salsa or peppers
  • hash browns, roesti potatoes and country potatoes
  • grilled ham slices, bacon, pork sausage, turkey sausage, corned beef hash
  • traditional eggs benedict along with another, rotating type, such as salmon or spinach benedict
  • scrambled eggs
  • biscuits and sausage gravy
  • grilled tomatoes and baked beans
  • raisin french toast. pancakes and waffles, served with warm maple syrup, banana compote and whipped cream
  • caramel pecan rolls and cream cheese frosted cinnamon rolls, kept warm at the carving station
  • smoked salmon and creamed herring, served with cream cheese, lemon, tomato, onion and capers
  • assorted sliced cold meat and cheese
  • a juicing station with oranges, carrots, celery and the like
  • coffee, tea, milk; orange or apple juice

It doesn’t seem like I could have forgotten anything, but I’m sure I have.  It was truly an embarrassment of riches.

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