|What the bridge officers see. This is from a presentation on ship navigation given by the captain.|
In general, the larger the ship, the more activities there are to keep you busy on a sea day (cruising between ports). Right now I'm on the Celebrity Summit, and in a few minutes the Captain will make his 10 AM announcement on our location, sea conditions (we are 190 miles from St. Croix), and weather. We left the island of Aruba last night, headed toward St. Croix. I thought I would use this day as my "life on a cruise ship" example.
My morning started with me heading out of our Deck 7 stateroom at 6 AM for a session in the gym on Deck 10. I like hitting the gym early because there are no crowds... some free weights, machines, then 4 miles on the treadmill. The ship was rolling slightly this morning, which makes running interesting as you sway. I have to hold on to the safety bar with one hand as I run, which is an acquired skill. The gym has its regulars, always there early.
It was time for a healthy breakfast! On Deck 10, there's a little cafe (the Spa Cafe) that serves pre-measured breakfast items (like avocado and eggs on toast), oatmeal, and smoothies. I usually get a bowl of oatmeal, and top it with fresh strawberries and blueberries. Yum! The alternative is dining at the Oceanside Cafe, getting room service, or visiting one of the dining speciality areas. I think this is an important dining decision. There's just so much to eat on the ship, so you have to be disciplined to avoid overeating. You can't go wrong with oatmeal topped with fresh berries!
Few were using the indoor pool or spas at 8 AM. In the adult lounging area, the pool is advertised as "thalassotherapy." It's a salt water pool, although I don't know whether it is actually seawater or fresh water treated with salt. The deeper "lap pool" in the middle of Deck 10 also is salt water. There's a third pool, but it is shallower and usually has more people in it, so I haven't tried it.
|Caroline relaxing in our stateroom!|
After a return to the room and a shower, I headed off to the Tuscan Grille on Deck 3 for a Hobbit-esque second breakfast. Actually, I go there because it is quiet and I can write, and I can get a cappuccino.
At 10, the captain makes his announcements (noted above), then there is a presentation by the captain on ship navigation. I've heard similar presentations before, and they are always interesting.
|I think the Summit gets 9 feet per gallon!|
Then I stayed in the theater for a presentation by the excursion staff, talking about the island stops on our itinerary. As with previous Celebrity cruises, I am surprised and dismayed at the lack of emphasis on the impact of all 2500+ passengers on local environments and reef health, as well as no discussion on being safe in in the water.
As I've discussed before, the ship's staff will sell you snorkeling equipment and not even ask if you know how to swim. They don't demonstrate how to use the equipment or how to snorkel safely. They don't emphasize the use of reef-safe sunscreens (although I haven't checked out the store on Deck 5 yet to see what products they carry). There's no discussion of Marine Stewardship Council certified fish on the menu.
Unlike on the Solstice, there are not even notes in the daily newsletter on ways to have a positive impact on the ocean and her creatures. No education at all! Maddening!
And the excursion staff was so bubbly about encounters with captive dolphins and shark and ray encounters. Are they clueless? Do they not see the larger picture?
As I walked along the outside starboard walkway on Deck 4, there was a strong sewage smell (this persisted until the end of the voyage). Black and gray water are discharged when the ship is 6 miles out to sea, as I remember. I wonder if some sewage splashed on the side of the ship. The smell hit me every time I went outside on Deck 4.
Lunch in the Oceanside Cafe, then table tennis with Caroline.
|Caroline and Stanley competing for a point.|
The single table tennis table is a point of contention. It's probably located in one of the most awkward locations on the ship, on Deck 10 near the Poolside Grill. With the windows on one side, the temperature around the table can be much warmer than other areas on the ship. On the other side, in a space of about 10 feet, crew are passing in and out of a service door, and storing dirty dishes near the end of the table. If your ball escapes you, it often bounces and rolls onto a very dirty, wet floor, and you have to pick it up. In fact, I would say that the area around the table tennis table is the dirtiest area accessible to passengers on the ship. Caroline was playing in bare feet. In 5 minutes, I noticed that the bottoms of her feet were black! I've even had to chat with the crew about cleaning the floor. [On the next cruise, I named 3 French fries on the floor Moe, Curly, and Larry, and I waited to see how long they persisted - 3 days]. And if you want to feel creepy, hold one of the table tennis paddles. I don't think they've ever been cleaned! When the windows are open, and the door to the Oceanside Cafe is opened (this is the closest access to the restroom for folk lounging near the stage on Deck 10), the swirling wind will move your ball visibly. Oh, and I do admit to sending one ping pong ball to the deep blue when it sailed out the window!
|Fries Moe, Curly, and Larry. You can see the grime on the floor.|
When we hear the announcement, Caroline leaves to join the aerobic dancing while I do some reading (currently, I'm reading a non-fiction book about wild horses in the West). Then it is back to Deck 7 to shower and change for Captain's Club happy hour on Deck 11, then dinner, and finally a show. Whew!
|What I don't do is bake in the sun (Deck 10). I save my sun exposure for when I am off the ship.|
|I also avoid gambling (Deck 4). There's enough risk with some of the taxi drivers on these islands!|
|There is entertainment in the main theater (Deck 4) every night, usually at 7 with a repeat performance at 9.|
|This sure looks like a dead person on the ship!|
All in all, a full day. There were limited sea days on this cruise, so I enjoyed my "day off."