Sunday, July 18, 2010

Days at Sea

Our 12 night Northern European Capitals cruise included seven days in
ports and four full days at sea. The sea days on this itinerary were
spaced out in such a way as to provide a day of rest and relaxation
between intensive port days.

The first day at sea was the day after boarding. As many guests had
been traveling several days prior to embarkation, as we had, we were
glad for a day to get settled in. For those who arrived the day we
left or just before, it was a much needed day to get through their

The second day at sea came between our day in Germany when many people
spent five to six hours traveling to and from Berlin and our days in
St. Petersburg.

Our third and fourth days at sea have come at the end, just in time
for resting and relaxing before the chore of packing.

Days at sea offer plenty of activites as well as the opportunity to do
absolutely nothing. The youth programs are scheduled in such a way as
to keep the children occupied giving parents time for their own
pursuits. There are movies, including the just released The Sorceror's
Apprentice, Toy Story 3, The Prince of Persia, and Alice in
Wonderland. While we had seen two of these in the local theater, we
had not seen them in 3D so we were able to experience that. They
showed the more recent releases on the big screen in the Walt Disney
Theater which had good attendance. Other movies, like When in Rome,
were shown in the Buena Vista theater.

In addition to movies, there were entertainment classes, port
lectures, art auctions, shopping guides, and game shows such as Who
Wants to be a Mouseketeer? and Mickey Mania.

Dinners each evening were themed and had a decent variety of food,
usually with a choice of fish, chicken, beef, or vegetarian entrees.
If you didn't want to eat in the main dining rooms (you rotated
between the three each day), you could still get table service in
Topsiders with mostly the same menu that was served elsewhere. A
couple of nights, Topsiders was opened as a buffet, but usually it is
not a buffet in the evenings, although many people have put that on
their comment card to offer a buffet at night.

The Disney ships have self-service laundry rooms on board so this
makes packing easier. However, they can get really busy on a sea day.
I lucked out and woke up early enough two sea mornings to get ours
done without a wait. You can meet some wonderful people in the laundry
room, especially on the first day or two when people are arriving with
a suitcase full of dirty laundry from pre-cruise travel. Of course the
cruiseline also offers a laundry service.

Our first two sea days were beautiful and most guests were outdoors.
The third one was a bit cooler so a few less people braved the
weather, and our last day at sea was chilly and had a strong wind that
could easily toss a small child around. There was a rainshower too
that drove everyone indoors. You could tell that we had left the
Baltic region with its record-breaking temperatures for the more
normal temperatures of the North Sea.

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