About halfway through, and again last night I asked each of us to nominate the best three things and the worst three things about their cruise. This is mainly mine, with supplements from the guys.
- No chores, and no feeling guilty about it. I don’t have do plan, buy ingredients or prepare meals; I don’t have to do laundry (other than a couple of small loads); I don’t have to feel guilty about my untidy desk, or the work stuff nagging at me; I don’t need to drag myself to training or for a swim (I almost always enjoy it, but the inertia is high).
- Time – time to read a whole novel, time to take siestas, time to sit and watch the world go by, time to get involved with stuff, or write
- There’s plenty of stuff to do and people to talk to if you want to, but absolutely no obligation to do so.
- The food has been pretty good (even the buffet, which is perfectly adequate). Last night, we ate at ‘Salt Grill’, their celebrity chef onboard restaurant. Ky chose particularly well, although we all enjoyed our meals. Given the fish was all brought on board before we left Sydney nearly a week ago, I chose to forgo the sashimi and fish mains (unless they brought live fish aboard, they couldn’t be all that fresh), and the surcharge was only $40/$20 adult/child (even though the kids had a full sized adult meal).
- The staff have been almost uniformly fantastic. The waiters we had at our regular table in the white cloth restaurant were five star world class, and everyone else has been friendly and competent and efficient. I understand that most of them are paid pretty shit wages by Australian standards, but for many of them, that’s better than what they’d get at home (the Phillipines, various Pacific Islands, a few Indians).
- The Hotel California effect – you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. For a big ship, it ends up being a bit claustrophobic.
- The rooms are hermetically sealed, and despite the aircon, the rooms get very stuffy overnight. We have a balcony, but it’s tricky to prop the door partway open to get some fresh cool air in. Heaven help those without that luxury
- The beds are pretty awful, and the pillows worse. The sofa bed would have to be one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve tried sleeping on – a thin mattress on a soggy trampoline style support, with a solid bar running across the bed exactly where your hips go. The proper beds (we switched with the kids halfway through) are okay, but the pillows are still soggy bits of chopped up foam. I think that’s another reason we’ve needed so many siestas – we’re not getting the rest we need at night.
- We’ve all missed the internet, and keeping up with our online friends and interests, but we’ve all coped pretty well.
- Although there are exercise options, they haven’t been terribly enticing. JD and I are both feeling a bit blah from lack of exercise.
Nevertheless, we’ve all enjoyed it, and would consider doing another in a few years’ time. The chill out time has been great for Justin (he really needed it) - he’s nearly finished his third book this week. Jos also has finished two novels, and enjoyed the sitting around. Ky has loved making new friends – whether they actually maintain contact is to be seen, but he, Alice and Hayley have been thick as thieves for the past five days. And me, it’s been great just sitting and watching the world go by. I’ve eaten way way too much, and JD and I will both get back on the eat less, move more wagon when we get back (I reckon I’ve got about 30 pounds/13.5kg to shed to fit my clothes properly), and get my fitness back up (first target: state selections are less than three weeks after we get back).