The first sentence of my journal for our first sea day was: "THE BOAT ROCKS SO MUCH. It’s like if you put the whole room on wheels and just shook it gently and never stopped." I think I wrote that during a particularly violent moment, haha. (We are pretty sure the first couple days just had choppier ocean, because many of the later days were much calmer.) Tip: We learned that if you don't want to feel the rocking, get a stateroom lower down on the ship. We just felt like it was a small, slow earthquake all the time. Still, the novelty was fun when you knew it was going to go away in just a few days.
Anyway, the first day we were just kind of figuring out what we wanted to do. Jon was more into exploring and I was more into catching up on my journal, reading books, and laying out. It took a little bit of back and forth, but we figured out some good ways to balance our time so we both got the experience we wanted. We spent a lot of time discovering the food :) We got up early the first day in a failed attempt to watch the sunrise (we were way too early; we think there were time zone issues) and had some pastries from the 24-hour pastry shop (the "International Cafe"). After waiting around for the no-show sun, we went down to the dining room and had a full buffet breakfast. That was great. It was just about the same food every day: baked apples or baked pears, yogurt, melons and pineapple, waffles, French toast, pancakes, bacon, sausage, made-to-order omelets or those weird runny scrambled eggs, oatmeal, pastries, croissants, rice pudding, chocolate flan, and a whole array of English breakfast food that we never touched. (Smoked salmon and cheese ... brats ... baked beans ... salted tomatoes ... no thanks.) The sun was STILL not up so we went back to bed.
Here's the thing about an internal (no windows/balcony) stateroom: With the lights out, it's always pitch black and your body never has any idea what time it is, so it is ALWAYS hard to get up. I slept until 11-something. Then again, at our farthest point, we were five hours ahead of California time, so maybe it wasn't all my fault :).
To shorten things up, here are some things we did on the days where we were at sea:
- a merengue class
- a fruit-and-vegetable art carving demonstration (see above)
- the pool and hot tub
- played chess in the library
- read books (Wheel of Time for Jon, Blood, Bones, and Butter for me [a memoir by a New York chef who kind of fell into the career])
- played a sort of Jeopardy game, where we did pretty well but did not win the bottle of champagne :) Better to go to someone who could use it, I guess.
- went to a classy bar and listened to a jazz band
- got a virgin mojito, which was nothing like the Rose brand mojito mixer ... it was mainly just grapefruit juice with mint leaves and limes. Expected more sugar :) Oh, well. It was fun to try.
- watched the movie "Cars," which Jon had never seen
- dinner: Jon got a small filet mignon and some shrimp and vegetables. I got a fettucine alfredo in a parmesan basket (awesome). We also got some desserts – they do okay with food on this boat but they do great desserts. We got a rhubarb napoleon with nectarine ice cream, and a New York cheesecake.
- day 2 lunch: breaded catfish and calamari, mashed potatoes, gnocchi, fruit, and we shared FOUR desserts because they all looked so good!
- recorded audio journals
- bought ridiculously expensive internet to race against the clock, taking care of some business online, mostly following up on parts of my grad school applications. It was expensive internet ... $.79/minute.
- watched "Batman Begins"
On the second day, there was a Formal Night. That meant that the dress code for the restaurants was formal, so if you wanted to eat there, you had to dress up. We had a lot of fun with that. Here's a picture, albeit dark and blurry:
On the formal night, we shared a table with six other people – a couple from south England and a parents/son/daughter family from northern England. It was cool getting to know them. The kids especially, they were around our age and were in college. They were in a pretty academic mindset and were fun to talk with, except the son kept wanting to talk politics (which was fine by us, but after awhile his parents kept trying to change the subject, so we had this little dance of not ignoring the son's questions but still trying to engage the other topics ... pleasing everyone and all that. We felt very diplomatic). I had lamb with mint jelly, which was surprisingly awesome.
Overall, it was really relaxing and also so great to not have internet or phone access. So nice.