Sunday, September 14th – Sea Day – On Our Way To Fiji
The first of two sea days before we reach Fiji. After the seven straight days between Puerto Vallarta and Tahiti, times and dates began to run together, however, a daily routine finally emerged. I discovered my writing muse wakes with the dawn. With all the ‘set your clocks back’ (and yes, we had another time change Friday night), it’s become too easy to rise before the sun breaches the horizon.
Something about lazing on the Lido deck (the chow hall for you non-cruisers), drinking coffee, and typing with a very few other early risers is liberating. I hear the pounding steps of runners above us as those zealous about their exercise mete out their daily punishment. Yeah, I’m not one of them.
The kitchen crew sets out morning pastries for those who can’t wait for the hot buffet to open at 6:30. Passengers shuffle in by ones and twos, their bodies still waking up. And quiet – for the most part. I mean, it’s difficult to be alone on a cruise ship transporting 3,000 passengers plus a crew of 1,800. It’s difficult to find quiet.
I do have a few favorite niches to hide in, though. As the rattle of pots and pans ratchets up, more people arrive, sleep is banished, and conversations begin. It’s the whiny crying of children too young to appreciate a cruise like this and too cranky for an early morning that usually signals me that it’s time to change venues.
I see one young couple almost every morning, in their late twenties or maybe early thirties with FOUR—count them, 1 -2 – 3 -4!—children under six. There are so many why’s I want to ask them, that I can’t begin to capture them all. For one, on a cruise with less than twenty children under age 18 total, children’s activities are almost nonexistent … which means nanny duties belong to the parent or parents 24/7. We met one young mother on our snorkeling safari that left her husband behind on the ship with their two toddlers. On our return to the boat, her comment was, “Guess freedom is over.” Turns out, they have to take turns seeing the ports. That makes me sad — one of our greatest delights is sharing in all the new sights and reliving them.
Not a knock against kids – I miss my kids and grandkids terribly. I just can’t imagine being cooped up in a room not as big as your bedroom at home with a mom, dad, and FOUR kids under age 6! (Shudder!) Why would they do that to themselves?
It did surprise us to see any kids as long as this cruise lasts. Turns out that in Australia, where most of these kids hail from, the schools are on hiatus (our equivalent of spring break) for a month. Many Aussies and Kiwis are heading home after a brief stay in the U.S.
I think one of the most surprising aspects of the voyage so far, though, has been the balmy temperatures. I think “hot” when you talk about the equator and south sea islands, but not so. Bora Bora temps were steady in the low 80s with heavy humidity, at least until you get out on the water; otherwise, the entire voyage has been mid-high 70s. Sitting out on our balcony is one of my favorite things to do, especially watching the sun rise or set. It’s quiet, with only the sound of the ship cutting through the waves, an occasional squawk from one of the upper decks, or my own delighted sighs.
Cruising is not for everyone. Over the years I’ve learned that people either love it, or hate it. Me and my honey? We love it.