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Cruising on Star Princess Part 6 A day of sun, sea and quizzes
If you have never cruised before then wondering what you will do when the ship is at sea is a question that is frequently asked. Unless you already been cruising you won’t believe how much there is to do – or not – it’s all a matter of choice. You can be energetic and keep busy all day, or simply chill out, or maybe a mixture of both, but here is how we spent one day on Star Princess.
The morning sun pokes its fingers under the curtain and brings me to full consciousness. It takes me a minute to realise where I am, but I have slept like a log. I lean up to the window and draw back the curtain and see the horizon stretching out before me. It is a beautiful sunny day and the sea is glinting. It’s quite calm, and on the horizon I can see what looks like another large cruise liner steaming parallel to us. I love waking up and looking out to sea, it’s like nothing else, and every day is different on a cruise. I just sit and stare for a few minutes at the wonder of it all.
We don’t have to rush as we have all day to please ourselves, so we get dressed leisurely and then walk down the corridor, up the stairs and enter the Buffet Restaurant. It is a huge area, one on each side of the ship, with large picture windows and a splendid view of the sea. There is a self-service buffet area on each side, too, with plenty of tables and chairs arranged in large and small groups. Of course, we could go down to the restaurant where they serve a traditional breakfast but we like the freedom of the buffet.
We find a table in the window, and while Paul gets some tea I go and choose my breakfast. Porridge to start with, then a selection of the cooked items that are ranged along the buffet. Finally there is a wonderful array of fresh fruit, pineapple, melon, water melon etc. For those who still have room there are freshly baked rolls and pastries as well as a selection of muffins which is changed daily, but I am afraid that to indulge in these would be a ‘bridge too far! ’ I sit and read a bit of my book while Paul finishes his coffee, but I am constantly drawn to look at the panorama before me. On other cruises I have seen both flying fish and dolphins and the occasional whale, as we cruise along during the day, so I scan the waves for tell tale signs. A flying fish appears close to the ship’s side and flashes across the water, like a speeding dart. It is gone in a flash, but it’s a real thrill to see these amazing fish. They bounce over the waves like a flat stone thrown from the beach, skimming over the water at speed. No time to take a photo, it’s over and done in a matter of seconds.
I am always fascinated to watch the staff as they efficiently clear tables and keep the whole area spick and span. At regular times throughout the day they shut down one side of the buffet for cleaning, and all food is thrown away. It is amazing to watch them cleaning so carefully, and to see the area being thoroughly sanitised so many times during the day. Few hotels, if any, have such strict hygiene regimes – and having a daughter who has been an officer on a ship I have seen for myself how clean everywhere is kept, both behind the scenes and in public areas.
We scan the daily newsletter which tells us what activities are planned for the day. You can do as little or as much as you please. We find that there is a quiz at 11. 00 am so we decide to join in. We really enjoy quizzes on board ship and find it a great way to get to know people. We like to join up with some Americans as we find the combination of knowledge is great for answering the questions. We gather up our bits and pieces and decide to check on our emails, so we make our way to the Cyber Cabin, where there are banks of computers available. It’s easy to forget the time and before we know it we have to make our way to the Schooner Bar where the quiz is being held.
We are nearly the first to arrive, and one of the entertainment officers is waiting for people to arrive. We have a brief chat with him and he tells us he is Canadian, and called Troy. Over the two weeks we get to know him well, and really enjoy his quizzes. He is a very amenable young man, and a talented musician. Late in the cruise he is invited to join in with one of the groups that play each night, and he reveals his extraordinary talent as a drummer. We later learn that he has escaped to sea following the very sudden death of his young wife, who died in tragic circumstances, from cancer.
A couple arrive and sit by us – we introduce ourselves and are interested to hear that they are from the Orlando area and are celebrating an anniversary without their many children. Over the next few days we regularly meet for the twice daily quizzes and make a formidable team, winning several prizes. Whilst we are quite good on the British questions we really value their knowledge of American sport and other questions which we cannot answer. We win the quiz and walk away with our gifts – leather passport covers with the Princess logo on them. We feel pretty pleased with ourselves and arrange to meet the American couple for the next quiz.
We decide that a brief walk round the deck is in order – after all, we need to build up an appetite for lunch! As we swing open the heavy doors which lead out onto the deck we feel the warm rush of air on our faces. The sun is shining brightly and the sea is sparkling below us, and there is usually a breeze as the ship cruises along. We look over the side of the ship and watch, fascinated, as she cuts through the water, churning up white surf which rolls back on itself before gradually disappearing. We enjoy standing and watching, and we are practically alone on this very long, over 800 ft, deck. It is amazing that with the ship full there are so many areas where you can be quiet and free of crowds.
We decide to do another turn around the deck and, as we finish our lap, we see the time on the huge clock on the wall. It is well past midday, and there is another decision to make. Shall we go down to the dining room and be waited on hand and foot in the beautiful restaurant, or shall we go back to the cabin and order room service? Shall we mosey up to the Buffet restaurant and choose something from the huge array of dishes that appear like magic at midday, or shall we go outside to the grill by the swimming pool and just have a burger or chicken breast? It’s a difficult choice, but we decide to go to the buffet restaurant, where we sit and check through the daily newspaper to see what is on offer for the afternoon.
My goodness, its tiring being pampered!
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Page added on: 30 September 2010
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