We are meeting lots of great people, as usual. What is different on this ship so far is that people don’t introduce themselves. You sit at tea, share stories, enjoy the tea cakes and scones and then wander off never sharing names. That said, we attend tea most afternoons and always request to sit at a larger table with others and this is proving to be great for our travel research as we are meeting a lot of people who have been to Australia and New Zealand or are Australian! The plan to rely on the knowledge of strangers to give us local insight instead of planning via the internet is already being rewarded!
Our room is considered “external, blocked view” and we have a lovely full window overlooking a lifeboat. While we can’t see much, we can tell if it is day or night, sunny or overcast and we get natural light if we are ever spending any time in there. It is a nice size room and our room steward is a great guy, so we are happy with it.
Those who know us well will not be surprised that we have developed a routine and that the bartenders and cocktail servers have us pretty well figured out. We enjoy several walks around the ship during the day, find a place to sit and enjoy the ocean going by and read a book, go to tea and then head down to the pub for a post-tea, pre-dinner beer from the ship’s nice selection (more on that in another post). After dinner we commandeer a table by the windows in the piano bar for an after-dinner libation which several of the servers and the guy behind the bar now have memorized.
This ship is by far the largest cruise ship we have ever been on, it has about 2,000 passengers making it twice as big as any of our other (3) cruises. Any concerns that it would feel crowded were quickly dismissed though. It is just that much bigger and has a lot more places for people to hang out, so it never seems too crowded. There are a lot more activities, especially on sea days, to keep people entertained. There are shows, lectures, lessons on dance, languages, bridge, painting and other skills, crafts, a spa, an acupuncturist, trivia and bingo. A dizzying array of things for us to totally ignore. But, we get reports at tea about what we are missing, so we are comfortable with our relaxed attitude toward the offerings.
Another difference on this cruise is that P&O proudly offers multiple formal nights on their cruises and many on board take full advantage. We made sure there was a dining venue available to those who didn’t bring any fancy duds, so never fear that we needed to miss any dinners. We do enjoy seeing everyone in their finery though. We did pack an outfit each that would meet the minimum formal standard though and were able to enjoy one dinner with all of the other sartorially excellent passengers! There are a lot of passengers who dress for dinner every night, far exceeding the “evening casual” standard. I am proud to say that even with our minimalist packing we have managed to meet the dress code and not be an embarrassment to the good old Midwest!
“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”