"" Writer's Wanderings: Transatlantic Cruising - Days at Sea

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Transatlantic Cruising - Days at Sea

Transatlantic cruises are generally less expensive than other cruises because there are fewer ports included on the itinerary. Fewer ports mean fewer port fees added to your cruise cost. In addition cruise lines offer all sorts of great ideas for spending those days at sea. A straight crossing usually takes six days. Our Crystal Serenity cruise, the New World to Norway spent three days at sea crossing between St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, and Reykjavik, Iceland. Those three days were filled with all sorts of things to do.

The sea days are a great time to explore the ship and find all the wonderful nooks and crannies with special views, d├ęcor, entertainment, etc. The atrium of the ship is always a showpiece on most any ship and the Crystal Serenity is no exception. A string quartet and a wonderful pianist provided music that wafted through the open area to several decks in the evenings. On occasion, it was also a showcase for activities that included a fashion show and a wonderful elegant buffet.
Central to any cruise experience is the dining room. Ours was tastefully done and provided the venue for fine dining—a specialty of Crystal cruises. Several specialty restaurants were available as well and we enjoyed dinners in Prego's, The Silk Road, and Tastes several times. Tastes was a great casual place for dining especially on the nights where we were cruising out of a port with great views. We dined there as we sailed out of New York City and I was able to run outside and grab great pictures of the Statue of Liberty as we passed by. 

Some of the other opportunities afforded us on this crossing and this ship in particular were language lessons (this cruise it was Spanish), a variety of computer courses taught in a lab with the largest monitors I think I’ve ever seen on a cruise ship, and an opportunity to learn to play the keyboard. Yamaha has a room full of keyboards and we were privileged to have the teacher, John Waltrip, and his wife Flo as our tablemates at dinner for the cruise. They had so many interested in keyboarding that they organized extra classes for beginners and advanced students.

Crystal is one of the lines that provides dance hosts for the single ladies who are unescorted and wish to enjoy the dance floor and of course lessons are available for anyone wanting to brush up on their two or three or four step.

Painting with watercolors, bridge lessons, and recent movies are just a few more of the activities to choose from as the ship crosses the big puddle.

As a side note, we were fascinated with the cans of sand that were situated at each elevator entrance. They are not seen as often in public places anymore because of the restrictions on smoking in so many venues now. While there were some smokers on board, we did not see one cigarette butt in any of the cans of sand. There was however one lovely young attendant whose job it was to go around and restamp the double seahorse image, the signature of Crystal Cruise Line, into the sand several times a day. You see, as the ship vibrated slightly or wiggled in the waves, the sand settled and the stamped logo would disappear. I’m sure there’s a lesson to be sifted from the disappearing logo in the sand but my mind is in cruise mode. I’ll think about it when I get home.

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