Mariner of the Seas: 'The Baby Boomers Boat' (Forget 'The Love Boat'!)
Experiencing life on a cruise ship is quite like being on a floating school camp for the more mature generation! It's very regimented, you have to stand in lines, no-one wants to miss out on a feed, you are given a timetable to follow for each day, there's always the 'in group' who sucks up to the Captain, you are told what to wear to dinner, everyone experiences FOMO and eavesdrops on what everyone else has done, it is ALL about 'organise fun' and, best of all, you are trapped until the end of the cruise!
As you can see we are all decked out in our sailor suits: wonderful what a curling wand and some fresh sea air will do for one's personal presentation! Eil has cosied up to our delicious Captain Claus (who has a famous brother!) and we have enjoyed a balcony breakfast as we docked at some place 100kms from Ho Chi Min City or Saigon as the locals still like to call it!
Some Random Information
This a Royal Caribbean floating resort has 15 decks, 3110 guests and 1185 crew. There are 10 pools or bodies of water other than the ocean to swim in (we have tried one of the pools so far and it was SO salty that we couldn't drown even if we had the desire to. If you laid down the Eiffel Tower along this ship, this ship would win the prize as the longest! We travel at about 35 kms/hour so it is literally a 'slow Boat to China!'
The average age of the guests on this cruise is 65.. hence 'The Baby Boomer's Boat' and there are over 40 nationalities.
To get an insight into what a lot of people actually DO on a cruise, here's a fact: there are 17 bars to drink at!! We have met a couple who signed up for the Alcoholic Beverages Package for the cruise @ $79/person/day. Pretty damaging to the liver I reckon!
There's this shopping arcade right through the middle of the ship filled with Designer label shops full of old stock they are trying to peddle.
The most amazing thing about the Ship is that it has an Ice Rink.. crazy but true and I have even survived my first attempt at ice skating for about 100 years and did not break a bone!
The number of eggs required to be laid by chooks and brought aboard for consumption is 300 000.. a lot of laying. The quantity of toilet paper must be pretty phenomenal as well. There is a desalination pump turning salt water into fresh in the bowels of this Boat as well. We wondered how even a boat this size could carry THAT much water!
What you have all been waiting for...
Which brings me to a few tasty observations about a few of our fellow sailors! ...
Now we all need a Captain to lead us through life: we have one onboard this giant of a ship. His name is Captain Claus (his brother did not come along for the ride!) As all Captains should be, he is tall, dark, handsome and very debonaire. He has a swarve, Northern European accent and chats to us everyday, giving us updates and making us feel loved and very safe (in the South China Sea!!) This is done over the ship's loud speaker installed in every crevice of the ship.
I have not meet him yet to get any intimate details but there is plenty of time yet!
As can be expected, Captain Claus is ably supported by a bevy of useful chaps. He brought them all out at a galah function where champagnes was served and everyone put on their best outfits. There's 'Gopher' the Vice Captain who looked a little awkward about all the admiration of the guests. There's Doc who were have so far avoided, Keith the super-smiling Entertainment Director, Dimitri one of the hundreds of Bartenders (unlike the one & only Isaac of Love Boat fame), and few others.
Now comes the stories of some of the experiences and folk of the ship we are calling home until next week-end:
As with the more famous 'Love Boat', we were expecting 'romance and comedy on the cruise'.
To our dismay, we have seen a very mild amount of 'love' surrounding us but we have definitely experienced some 'comedy'.
On our second day on board we happened to have lunch with three folk from England. It didn't take long for us to realise we had found a most unique trio: an elderly mother who has driving from the west coast to the east coast of Australia on her bucket list (she's 80!), an hilarious son with a Doctorate and a long-suffering wife with a Doctorate. We love them and have found them several times in the last few days to enjoy a story and a laugh. People seem to get addicted to cruising. these ones do it at least once/year!
One of the joys of cruising is being told what to wear for evening attire. On the Captain's Party night, it was Formal and the presumption is that everyone comes in party mode. Have a look at these cheery folk! The smiling ones are Brisbaneites who we met back in Singapore and have done some stuff with. One of the issues on board a ship this big is that once you lose someone you may never see them again!! So far I haven't managed to lose a Jen!
You are probably dying to hear that Jen & I have been caught up in an onboard romance or a mystery that we have helped solve (Love Boat style). We must report a 'no go' in that area. As we have hinted at with a change of name for this rocking ship to 'The Baby Boomer's Boat', most folk are flat out trying to keep up with the constant food intake, let alone have much intrigue left.
We are crossing the South China Sea as I write. We dock in Hong Kong this afternoon. Most of the last 24 hours the ship has experienced strong winds and high waves. I went to Stretch Class yesteday morning but had to leave rather quickly as my equilibrium had left me. It has took most of the day to recover!
We are a little ashamed to be writing this blog under the 'Travelling Light' banner.. we certainly have not been 'eating light'! The food is phenomenal!
We are thankful for the opportunities we have to travel in this wonderful world and to share some of the joy with you.
Hong Kong, watch out! Here comes the Gadabout Girls!!