Oh, my, I woke up in the middle of the night feeling as though I was in an amusement park and being rocked back and forth on a roller coaster. Outside the wind had become stronger and the seas angrier. I was able to go back to sleep but knew it would be an interesting day when dawn broke.
I was right. The first indication that we were in for an interesting day were the little blue bags that were attached to the ends of all the staircases in case anyone became queasy. The second indication was the notice posted on the doors that led out to the Promenade deck. The notice reas that the doors were locked and would remain so because it was too dangerous to go out on the deck.
We had been through a strong storm on the Oasis of the Seas in November when we made our way through the Bay of Biscay on our way from Southampton, England down to Vigo, Spain. That was quite a roller coaster ride too.
We ate a quick breakfast and then made our way to the consecutive cruisers meeting at the Colony Club. The meeting was being held of the passengers who would be staying on the ship after we dock in Harwich, England and continuing on the cruise to the Baltic.
It was good to hear how easy and convenient it would be to switch our cabin and to learn that the ship had organized a special excursion, for those who chose to participate, to the medieval town of Lavenham, England while the ship transitioned from one group of cruisers to another. I was also very glad to hear that we would be getting our passports back the morning we arrived in Harwich.
As we were leaving the club, the captain gave his mid-day remarks and explained that we were encountering 25’-30’ rolling seas and winds of 35 mph. It was very obvious as you walked that the ship was rocking and rolling but I felt it most when in the passageways. I would be walking and all of a sudden I found that I had to put my hand up to support myself then all of a sudden I was putting my other hand up doing the same.
We found a couple of comfortable chairs on deck 6 overlooking the activities taking place on the Centrum and Randy recounted a trip he and his family took across the Atlantic in 1957 on the SS Constitution:
“As I remember our trip across the Atlantic in the winter of 1957 was on the SS Constitution, a ship that was part of The American Export Lines. We boarded the ship and found our cabin, an inside cabin, I shared with my parents and my sister. We explored the ship and watched as they loaded our car on the ship for the trip to Naples, Italy. As we prepared to leave the port in New York, we were given confetti to throw to the people on the dock. This is no longer done due to non passengers not being allowed on the dock. Too bad, it was pretty exciting!!
Not long after departure, with help from several tug boats, we passed the Statue of Liberty and headed out into the North Atlantic. The next morning we were rocking and rolling with heavy seas. This is the first day I became a bit queasy and took some sea sick pills.
The pool (only one) on the stern of the ship was drained due to sea conditions and the temperature. I remember going to dinner in the dining room and having leg of lamb with mint jelly. This was my first time eating lamb and I really liked the mint jelly with the lamb. This was the last night that we had a normal dinner on the ship in the stormy North Atlantic. The next day the ocean was breaking over the bow as it plowed thru the angry water.
I am getting pretty sea sick at this point and dinner was interesting. The ship was rolling so bad that the tables had a metal bar above the table edge to keep items from sliding off the table and onto your lap or the floor. These conditions continued until we reached the Straits of Gibraltar.
Another item of interest to mention is that the temperatures were very cold that the ocean spray was freezing on the decks and rigging. After 5 days we finally reached the calm waters of the Mediterranean. I really liked reaching calmer waters since I stopped being sick, the temps warmed up and I was able to get on terra firma in Gibraltar. After 4 more days of smooth sailing and several ports, we arrived in Naples Italy”.
After he finished his story all I could think was how wonderful it was that our ship was equipped with stabilizers.
After a while, we walked around the ship a bit making note of several things of interest and went up to the Windjammer for a quick lunch. On this particular day one really interesting item on the ship is the pool tables outside the Colony Club.
The pool tables are controlled by a gyro. The gyro keeps the pool tables level. So while the seas are rocking the tables are perfectly level. Randy believes that the Radiance class-of-ships is the only ones that have this particular feature. I thought that was pretty cool. So game on!
We also noticed over the weeks that during times of heavy seas there are a good deal of passengers who participate in putting puzzles together. I remember passing a group putting a puzzle together that looked pretty complicated because of the colors involved. The next time I came by it was complete and I could see why it took a village to put it together. The puzzle was a dizzying collection of mixed up Crayola crayons. Madness.
I talked about a piece of sculpture that I really liked several days ago. Well, today I decided to stop at another piece done by sculptor Lars Widenfalk called The Travel Chair II done in granite stone.
The accompanying plaque read: The artist works in the classical and post modern style, using a traditional and “eternal” material known as Nordic granite.
The piece reminded me of many of the ruins we visited in Rome during or European cruise in 2014. Lovely.
Then it was off to yet another enrichment lecture by Chris West. Today’s talk was entitled, “So you want to be a Spy, Mr. Bond?” It was interesting and fun. But, what was funnier was watching West’s podium slide about while he talked. There were several times he had to hold on to the podium as the ship rocked back and forth. It was all very entertaining. Eventually, he came down onto the theater floor to finish his lecture. Good choice, I thought.
We spent a little time relaxing in the cabin before preparing for cocktails and dinner. I was not particularly hungry so ordered a bowl of chilled Piña Colada soup. The only other dish that tempted me was the Fried Camembert atop frisée lettuce, with candied walnuts and raspberry dressing. The dish was delicious, rich and quite filling.
We decided to skip the entertainment and return to the cabin and enjoy an evening of reading.
Tomorrow we dock in Cork, Ireland. I am so excited!