Our cruise ship was heading westward for our visit to Barcelona, Spain. Trini and I were beginning to wonder about what the ocean conditions would could encounter after we left that port and started to cross the Atlantic Ocean. We would begin crossing on the Ruby Princess ship in a few days and we were in early December.
Many of our fellow passengers were preparing to disembark in Barcelona and then fly home. Many were leaving because they had to get home because their vacations were over and others didn't want to be on the ship in open waters for ten days.
The cruising schedule for those staying onboard for the crossing was that after the third consecutive ocean day in the Atlantic, we would visit the island of Madeira, which belongs to Portugal. Thereafter, we would continue for seven consecutive days until we reached Florida.
We looked forward to staying onboard and the crossing. This would be the second time we will be doing the transoceanic voyage. The first one was two years ago when we started from Florida and took the cruise across to visit the Northern European counties. The crossing of that cruise was quite pleasant. During the 28-days we spent on that journey, we only experienced high winds and waves for one day in the English Channel. If that was the type of ocean storm that caught the Spanish Armada in 1588, I could then understand why they practically lost their entire fleet. The ship rocked a bit for a while and the passengers took in the experience and proceeded with their events as normal as possible. Again, persons cruising on longer trips are aware of the probabilities of potential storms and embrace it as just a part of the overall traveling adventure.
We were happy that we were crossing westward on a 100-ton ship. The heavier the ship, the less swaying one feels. This ship was being lead by Commodore Giuseppe Romano. We had the pleasure of having him as the captain on our previous transoceanic trip. As the commodore, he is responsible for all the fleet captains and for this ship.
Persons regularly ask me how the other passengers feel about crossing the ocean. It's actually quite common to find passengers who do this crossing, in both directions, on a regular basis. It's not hard to find fellow passengers who have done the crossing six or more times. The majority of the people who take these types of trips are retired and have traveled to many other parts of the world. Some take the ship because they are tired of flying for long hours and enjoy their time on-board. Other passengers shared how they preferred to be traveling rather than being hampered by the cold and snow conditions back home. A few of us on the ship are from the warmer climates of California and Florida. We normally sat there and politely listened to their "trudging through the snow storm stories" while we were privately thinking and appreciating our year-round sunny weather.
Many persons wonder how we stay in communication with family back home while at sea. I inform them that there is Internet connection on the ship. Additionally, most of the land ports we visit also provide free or low cost wi-fi. I liked the great set up in the port of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. They have the best wine/beer bar area with free wi-fi in the dock building. Many of our bills are paid monthly on-line so it is not difficult to keep up with payment schedules.
In terms of staying active on a ship, Trini and I can't remember ever being bored on any of our ocean trips. We read a lot, attend the ship lectures, go to the movies on-board, see the theatrical shows, take naps, go to the pools/spas, take walks around the ship, sit to listen to live music, meet and have cocktails with persons we meet on the ship, go dancing, and of course, eat wonderful meals. There is always something new and fun for us to do. We enjoy the multiple wining and dining options available. It's common for strangers on the ship to simply sit together and share personal backgrounds and traveling stories. We compare experiences and highlight areas we have not visited yet. On this trip, we talked to several persons who had traveled to South Africa and gone on a safari. From the wonderful stories we heard from them we started to also consider visiting Africa in the near future.
On days at sea, I enjoy sitting on a deck lounge chair and looking out into the ocean. I enjoy sitting and watch the waves pass and the clouds moving overhead. I like the smell of the salty mist. Give me a great book and a warm blanket while I sit out there and I can spend hours there. The view is inspiring and it provides a setting to reflect and contemplate on one's finite life.
Our ship port schedule indicated that our next port-of-call was Barcelona and we said our goodbyes to those who we had met onboard and were disembarking.
I was looking forward to visiting the land of Miguel de Cervantes, Picasso, Dali and of course Gaud?¡.