We took a cruise over the Baltic Sea last week. It began in Kiel Germany where we dropped off the car, and embarked on our first cruise, and a big learning curve. For me, a cruise is not terribly comfortable. The room was big enough. the food was great, though there was an awful lot of that. But I didn't like the unmistakable feeling of overindulgence. it was everywhere. People waiting on us hand and foot. It was difficult to not clear the table myself- pitch right in and help our waiters Adinata and Dewan. I hated being served all the time- who are they kidding? I'm no better than anyone else. For me it was uncomfortable. And man alive, if I heard someone ask "Are they all yours?" one more time I might have jumped overboard. Apparently cruising with 4 kids, a niece and 2 grandparents is not the norm. Now we know.
Most of all, I hated the rocking of the ship. It would wake me at night, because the sensation was not unlike the rumbling or shaking of the ground just before an earthquake in Guam. I didn't like that feeling in Guam and the movement instantly recalled this unsettling memory for me. Who knew? I thought I'd left that rubling under the feet back in paradise.
The exposure for the kids was great though. For the days preceeding our embarkation, there were lots of questions, most of which were quite amusing. "Will there be enough food?" "What if I have to go potty?" "How can they drive the ship?" "Will it be a big boat or little boat?" "Where will I sleep?" "How do we get on?"
Everyone participated in the lifeboat drill, which Arleigh detested, as his liefjacket seemed to eat him alive...
Prior to this excursion, my only knowledge of a ship cruise was that of opportune moments, about 25-30 years ago in front of the TV with our baysitter, Susie, on Friday nights watching the 'Love Boat'. There was no "Gopher" as the Yoeman Purser, or Julie McCoy as "Cruise Director", but the ship was vast and had everything from a library with covered cushy leather chairs, to a casino.
In the theatre, there were shows each night. Matt found the "American theme" show rather amusing as preformed with a European twist. I preferred most nights to stay in the cabin with sleeping kids and press on through the latest novel from the nightstand.
and what would life be without our very own act in the theatre of absurd?
We thought it was a great chance to see the Baltic countries though. We prefer to camp around Europe, but we couldn't have camped around the Baltic Sea and have seen what we did in the time that we had available for the same price. This was a better deal, overall and despite the learning curve, I think we'd do it again, perhaps though, slightly differently.
For the kids, their favroite area on board was likely the pool, but I loved the deck nearby where the gulls would escort us into and out of each port as if a welcome committee.
We'll see. Perhaps there will be, eventually another chance to be greeted by this welcoming crew.