Preconceptions: everybody’s got them. Even if you try to keep an open mind and like to be surprised. Here are some things I really didn’t expect to find in the cruise ship industry.
1.A sense of adventure
If you think cruising is a little, well, *tame*, then think again. You can bring your sense of adventure via your destination, whether it be Antarctica, the Mekong river, hugging the Norwegian coastline, Iceland or a trip up the Amazon. Itineraries are getting much more adventurous, and there ‘s plenty of scope to get your adrenaline on. There are also a lot of smaller cruise ships that can reach out of the way ports.
Two former business colleagues have been on a tall ship cruise and just loved it. Imagine working the sails with the crew, lying in the nets at sundown, and even climbing to the Crow’s Nest (perhaps that’s not one for me…). Think of those tiny ports off the beaten tracks that these ships visit, and hear the theme from Robinson Crusoe all over again. You can also be part of a flotilla in the Greek Islands if you want the full “pretend it’s my boat” adventure.
3. An education
From the inner workings of MI6 to the intricacies of chocolate production and the different tastes of cacao from different locations, it’s surprising what I’ve learned on board. You can be trained by RADA, become part of a choir, learn any number of crafts or how to dance ballroom. There’s even an opportunity for students to take a semester at sea. No danger in wanting to play hooky on that one.
4. A love of art
From actual artist’s studios at sea all ready for your participation to a vibrant collection of art on board, you’d be surprised at the feast for the eyes to be found, and one that can rival the scenery. I’ve even watched glass blown on the top deck of a ship, and seen museum exhibits in a fascinating display of the work of Corning Museum of Glass.
Definitely a highlight of my trip: the team from the Corning Museum of Glass showing glass blowing techniques on the top deck of Celebrity Eclipse. Beautiful work, entertaining and informative banter.
5. The Mouse and his mates
If you bring your children, you’d be surprised at the range of characters prowling a cruise ship. From Dreamworks to Disney and even Noddy, they’re all doing the rounds to entertain you.
Even the adults are due for a few surprises. We had a memorable night watching the masked ball on one trip. Dancers dressed in full Louis IV regalia complete with wigs, gowns and buckled shoes were traveling up and down in the glass lifts beside the atrium. Somewhat surprised passengers heading to dinner got an invite to dance from a bewigged noble, while the string quartet thrashed out an assertive version of Hong Kong Garden.
6. Healthy Living
It’s not all about the gourmet indulgences….well, it can be. But you could actually leave lighter and fitter than you embarked. I still maintain that I spent the best 147 calories ever on an arugula and almond salad with raspberry dressing on the Queen Mary 2.
The spa cuisine onboard is magnificent, the gym facilities are superb, there are plenty of pools, and there are all kinds of free activities to get your adrenaline flowing and your calories burning. Plus, if you’re anything like us, your step counter will be getting a serious workout in port. You can read more about our first cruise on the Queen Mary 2 here.
7. Time on your own
I have not yet failed to find solitude on a cruise ship. Whether it’s an undiscovered lounge, a stray chair on a deserted deck, or a secret corner of the library, there’s always a little quiet place with your name on it. There’s nothing better than finding that secret spot to curl up with a book.
And finally: Loading A Cruise Ship
Some of the things you did expect to find are right here.
Here are the store supplies on the Celebrity Eclipse for an average 7 night cruise (as quoted in the onboard newsletter in 2010):
- 15,400 pounds of beef
- 2,500 pounds of lamb
- 3,100 pounds of pork
- 2,050 pounds of veal
- 1,900 pounds of sausage
- 3,000 pounds of chicken
- 2,200 pounds of turkey
- 5,380 pounds of fish
- 900 pounds of lobster
- 18,000 pounds of fresh vegetables
- 8,400 pounds of potatoes
- 20,000 pounds of fresh fruit
- 3,000 gallons of milk
- 320 quarts of cream
- 240 gallons of icecream
- 4,000 dozen eggs
- 3,500 pounds of sugar
- 2,600 pounds of rice
- 1,200 pounds of cereal
- 400 pounds of jelly
- 1,000 pounds of coffee
- 1,400 pounds of cookies
- 40 pounds of herbs and spices
- 2,950 bottles of assorted wines
- 175 bottles of champagne
- 150 bottles of gin
- 350 bottles of vodka
- 290 bottles of whiskey
- 175 bottles of rum
- 40 bottles of sherry
- 570 bottles of assorted liqueurs
- 7,800 bottles/cans of beers
It fails to say how many cans of iced tea were loaded, but reader, I assure you, I drank most of them.