While I’ve written a little about each of the seven cities we visited on the big trip (the posts are here if you want to catch up), there’s still some time unaccounted for.

Because it takes a while to move a huge ship between ports and down relatively narrow channels (that’s our boat in the picture, waiting at the pier in Tallinn), two days of the cruise were spent “at sea”.

This was the part I was least anticipating, mostly because I don’t do well with the kind of organized fun that I’ve often seen as part of the cruising cliche.*

Big Boat

However, if you think of the ship as a huge resort complex (with many of the associated options) that some genius engineer managed to make float, it’s not so bad.

Although they said we had 2600 passengers on board (plus about half that many crew), it rarely seemed crowded, other than the last minute lines returning from shore excursions.

Most spaces were very comfortable and surprisingly open, decorated in a style reminiscent of most of the upper middle priced chain hotels I’ve visited (think Hyatt/Mariott/Westin). Pleasant, but not worth taking pictures of.

Onboard activities, of which there were many, ran the spectrum from standard Vegas lounge acts (and a casino, of course) to an interesting showing of a documentary on moving and preserving a New York theater presented by the filmmaker.  And shopping, of course.

The ship also had plenty of outdoor activities and spaces available, although they didn’t seem to get much use due to the cool, windy weather on the two at-sea days.  But some of those spaces did offer wonderful vantage points for pictures.

Of course, you could always find a quiet corner to sit, read, and watch the ocean go by. Or eat yourself silly at the buffet that was open 24/7 (with some surprisingly good items).

All in all, large-ship cruising is not necessarily my favorite way to travel (the last time we cruised was somewhere back in the 90’s and many things have changed for the better since then) but this experience was still very enjoyable.

If you’d like to see a small collection of pictures of the ship and views from it, visit the At Sea set on my Flickr page.

I’ll be posting more pictures to Flickr as I review everything I shot second time, but this will probably be my last post about the trip here.  The normal stream of irrational rants will resume. :-)


*I’m old enough to remember that height of 70’s TV cheese, The Love Boat, which set a standard for cruising cliches for two decades or more.