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Our 9-Day Transatlantic Cruise

Travels to Netherlands, the UK, Spain, and Transatlantic Cruise series

By Armando F Sanchez
Published on LatinoLA: January 7, 2015

Our 9-Day Transatlantic Cruise

A question I am commonly asked by persons who have never taken a cruise is, "What do passengers do onboard for so many days out in the ocean?"

One has to keep in mind that the vast majority of the passengers are experienced cruise passengers. For many, they are simply taking the transatlantic trip instead of flying across. Some passengers either don't like to fly or are just in no hurry to get to the other side.

A certain number of passengers are working while traveling with family. The Internet on the ship allows them the flexibility to work and travel. For example, we met an engineer that has monitoring equipment, measuring exhaust emissions from power plants in various parts of the nation. He then provides reports to the EPA. He mentioned that he can access his equipment from anywhere in the world by phone or Internet. Thus the cruise ship becomes his office.

Here is an example of the other passengers, we have met.

Just this morning we shared a table with an 18-year old from Germany. He had just graduated from high school. His family and him were going to stay a month in Nassau. When he returns home after the holidays he will take an entrance examination to see if he can enter the pilot training program for Lufthansa airlines. We were impressed that he could speak German, English, Spanish and Latin. He shared that he is looking forward to studying Italian next year.

Many passengers are retirees. Last night we met a wonderful couple from New York. Both are retired medical doctors. They were both very gregarious individuals. We laughed a lot.

We have sat down and met persons we are traveling with from Australia, Netherlands, Wales, Scotland, Germany, and Singapore.

On the ship there are many activities to do throughout the day. The following is an overview of what Trini and I do on most days.

Here is the basic daily schedule of a sea day for us and always subject to change.

8:00 am - Room service brings us our hot coffee. We sit in our balcony and enjoy our backyard, which is the Atlantic Ocean.

10:00 am - We meet with friends and go for breakfast.

11:00 am - We go for our daily 1-mile walk on the ship's jogging deck (two full laps around the ship).

12:00 pm - Eat a light lunch (fruit, salad, small sandwich and, of course, one must have a mouth watering dessert!)

1:00 pm - Attend a lecture (art, history, etc.) or participate in one of the dance/exercise classes (reggae, line-dancing, bachata, salsa, ballroom, etc.)

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm - Personal time to read, go to the spa, swim in the pool, or find a quiet spot to read and even rest our eyelids.

4:00 pm - Get ready to go out and paint the town red.

5:00 pm - Have some wine or drinks in the main lounge area and listen to a quartet.

6:00 pm - Formal dinnertime

8:00 pm - We attend a scheduled Las Vegas-style show, go to one of the comedy clubs or go and dance at one of the dance clubs. Sometimes we do all of these in one night.

11:00 pm - Time to rest the body and soul.

Of course, our schedule changes somewhat on a day-to-day basis. I few days ago I went zip-lining. Trini did it yesterday. My friend Jesus and I play some ping-pong. The ship's casino is open practically 24/7. I seldom go there. Trini wanted to get on the ship's carousel so we went there. Each day we try to eat in different in different restaurants throughout the ship. There are some we haven't tried yet.

I personally like to go to the theater to see first-run movies while at sea, but on this trip I haven't had time to go.

Shopping is a very popular activity on-board. There are stores selling the basics, up to high-ended luxury stores. Since we are in international waters, people don't have to pay taxes. It's common to find persons who take cruises just to purchase very high-ended jewelry (Today's special is 5-10 caret blue diamonds) and art pieces (original Picasso, Dali, or Peter Max, to just mention a few).

The ship offers a wide range of arts-and-crafts classes. The ship staff organizes group meetings (LGBT, veterans, knitters, grandparents, photographers, and many others). One can begin a group with a specific theme if one isn't offered. Jesus attends his chess group practically on a daily basis.

There is always the fitness center, which is well equipped and has a beautiful view of the ocean.

I estimate that we participate in only 5-10% of the activities offered on-board.

Practically everything I mentioned is included in our cruise fee. (One pays additional for beverages and alcoholic drinks, shopping, casino and some specialty items, like Starbucks or Johnny Rocket).

In the Promenade center area of the ship one feels like you're in a beautiful hotel. One can easily forget that you're on a floating craft. The occasional swaying reminds you that you are standing in a luxurious floating hotel.

I want to mention that one this particular cruise we have found the evening entertainment to be exceptionally good. The performers and acts have been quite entertaining. The shows match many of the performances we have seen in Las Vegas. Singers and performers have international reputations (Toni Warner) and tomorrow we will see the musical Broadway performance of CATS.

As the weather improves as were are getting closer to the Caribbean Sea, more people are going upstairs enjoying the multiple pool areas. Many of the passengers come from areas that currently have zero degree winters and they take full advantage of the sunlight and tropical warmth.

What I want to share is that the great majority of fellow passengers are experienced cruise travelers and have their own routine on-board. While each cruise ship is different and they offer different events, the passengers share common traits. One of them is that they look forward to being out at sea and relaxing on those days.

It seems that people like finding and talking to fellow passengers that are unique from themselves. Persons share where they have been and hope to find persons that have visited places that they plan to visit in the near future. We are planning to visit Australia and New Zealand in 2015 so when we met Australians -- "Aussies" -- we ask many questions. Persons like to share about their hometown and are very helpful to point out the dos and don'ts when one visits there. For example, an Aussie coupe shared that the sharks at their beaches "Have been quite nasty this year and bitten a few off their mates!" Thus, I may have to rethink my plans to scuba dive off their Great Barrier Reef.

What has been unique on this cruise is that you don't see people answering cell phones nor doing emails. One can do so if one decides to pay for the use of the ship's satellite uplink. I don't think it's an issue of having the money for paying the fees for using the communication connection services.

Throughout the ship you see people practicing what seems to be becoming a lost art, which is conversing with each other. Perople are having conversations as they are playing card games, dominoes or just enjoying each other's company over a cone of ice cream. Oh, let me stop writing here for a second as I run over to get myself a great big vanilla ice cream cone!

Okay, I'm back to writing. It's ice cream is self-serve and the line was very short. As I'm eating my ice cream, I remembered that I needed to let Trini know that we need to buy clothes for our next cruise that easily stretch.

My theory is that the increase of humidity is making my clothing shrink. Trini says that I should reexamine my theory while I am stuffing myself with dinner and desserts again! Personally, I'm still sticking to my theory.

In general, fellow passengers look forward to getting away from their hectic lives on land. In many ways life on the ship is busier than at home. We don't have to drive, wash clothes, cook, do any housework nor do yard work. Instead, we walk around the ship, participate in active events, attend seminars, go dancing, see shows, eat, eat and eat, go to the pool and spa, eat, and meet with new friends we met on the cruise.

Well, I'm off. Today at 2:15 pm I will be at a Caribbean dance class at the poolside. At 3:00 at the Salsa dance class in the Dazzles Club and then at 4:15 for the practice 70's dance class on the main Promenade level. Dinner will be at 6:00. Tonight we will go to hear Toni Warner sing at 7:30. Then at 10:30 we will participate in the Disco Inferno 70's Dance Party on the main deck.

I think I'm going to need a vacation from this vacation when I get home.

About Armando F Sanchez:
Armando F Sanchez is a national speaker, author, retired educator, worldwide traveler and CEO of Armando F Sanchez Production. His organization produces global new media programming
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