Life on board a cruise ship has a rhythm unique to that type of holiday travel, seemingly unaffected by the sun, the stars or the time of day. The rhythm one falls into is determined entirely by …….. food! Meals are like the ticking of the ships clock; Early Breakfast 6.30am, Breakfast 7.00am, Continental Breakfast 10.30am, Lunch 12.00, Afternoon Tea 4.00pm, Dinner 6.30pm, Late Snacks 10.30pm. Then there is the choice of restaurants at most of these times; The Oriental, The Peninsular, The Conservatory, The Beach House, Al Fresco, Sindhu, …… And finally there are the themed days; Asian, Spanish, Mediterranean, British and many more, a different one each day. It goes without saying that the food and service is of an exceptionally high standard too.
Meal times are also the main opportunity to engage with fellow travellers or to make friends, all meals except Dinner being at “open tables”, sit where you like. On our dinner table each day we sit with an Australian couple now living in England, and an English couple from Kent, each of us having a general interest in global travel and wine!
Between meals there is a packed schedule of activities at different parts of the ship; Pilates at the Spa Club, Watercolour painting in The Crows Nest, Sport Quiz in The Lords Tavern, Duplicate Bridge in Anderson’s, Line Dancing in Harlequin Room, Port trips talk in Theatre Royal, Knit & Chat in ……. All of this was at 10am till 11am and it continues across the day until there is a late evening play/musical/concert/opera in Theatre Royal after dinner.
Then there are the shore excursions at each port of call, on this cruise some examples are visits to Pompeii, Herculaneum, Syracuse, Valletta and many more, with of course ALL of them sandwiched between breakfast, lunch and dinner!
We like this rhythm, it’s different from normal routine, it’s actually quite unobtrusive and easy to slip into, and every day whether at sea or in port there is something interesting and stimulating to experience. Photography and ancient history are two of our interests so excursions to see Greek, Roman and Phoenician remains are a major draw to return over and over to the Mediterranean. On the other hand photography can be practiced every day aboard the ship; people, food, sunsets, artwork, ship “architecture”, passing ships, furniture, decks …..
This is a mindful rhythm, you don’t have to “do” anything if it doesn’t suit you. There are plenty of people who sit on a deck reading a book and watching the sea go by, or sitting in small groups chatting about virtually anything; and as we sit here in Anderson’s with a pot of tea there’s a group of four sharing memories of dog walks around Walsall. You don’t hear that every day!