It’s good to travel with people you are at least acquainted with so in the great throngs of people you can stick together. Arriving at the port in Venice by bus and pulling our luggage, trying to keep up with others in our group we entered a warehouse sized building where we presented our identification and tickets showing we were each valid passengers on the cruise ship. Once we each got the nod we hoisted our bags onto the conveyor belt and assumed we’d meet them again at the doors of our assigned cabins. From there we marched off to the interior of the building where we were given group numbers and told to be seated. Thankfully, there was a large dispenser for water or lemonade provided by the cruise line and I did drink some of each. We huddled together until our group was called and then we each went to a clerk at a long counter and confirmed all of our data and finally got the okay to board. When the young man asked me about my credit card number, I asked him if he was going shopping that afternoon and he assured me he was not.
I had heard so much about all the activities on board that I wondered what it was all about. The first things I saw were a large and lovely dining room where we would have our dinners and on the opposite side of a bank of elevators was a cocktail area. On the other side of the cocktail room was a casino and a theatre where there were regular song and dance programs by the crew singers and dancers. I only went through those areas on my way to leave the boat for an excursion and when we returned to port and completed the cruise.
There were a couple of other productions that did not appeal to me and a couple of movies on the outdoor screen by the pool and outside of the main cafeteria where all manner of people and children were thrashing about in the pool, drinking, laughing and noisily enjoying themselves. On the opposite end of the ship was another pool and spa, for adults only, in which the water was so cold I only remember the Sacramento River outside of Yosemite with run off from the mountains being colder. Still, once I adjusted a step at a time to the chill, I ended up walking back and forth until I warmed up a bit and once out of the water, stayed out. Whenever I walked across the deck to the cafeteria, I noticed people sitting in lounging chairs along both sides of the ship, either lost in their own worlds, dozing off, or chatting quietly, sipping coffee, juice or something from the bar. It was not often any of them shared a smile or a comment.
The movement of the ship on the sea lulled me to sleep every night and almost every day I took a nap before dinner. I went with Diane to look at items on sale one day and once to look at the enormously expensive jewelry. I spent a little time reading and my roommate and I took a cup of tea and cookies before calling it a day three or four times.
On our second last night on board the wind was very strong and the waves tumultuous. I headed up to the ninth deck hoping to get a cup of tea and cookies and to read a bit, but the wind was so strong, I barely got the door opened to the outdoor level and once there was so buffeted by the wind that instead of forging ahead to the next door to the entrance of the solarium and place to sit and drink tea, I turned back and got back inside to the bank of elevators, thankful not to be flattened in the process. The ship was rocking and rolling and creaking. Sea bands on my wrists and Dramamine downed, I did not get seasick and was thankful the tour was almost over. When my roommate returned and suggested we go for tea, I said it was not going to happen that night and explained my experience. I was glad I went on my first ever cruise, would not do it again. Some of the excursions that I would have liked to go on, I was advised, were too strenuous for me so I felt a tiny bit short changed. Yes, there is no end of activity on the ship if loud and raucous is your cup of tea. It is terra firma and a bit quieter for me.