I was warned about the cruise.
Did I believe it? Oh yes! But, I want to see with my own eyes ~ experience, savour and feel if cruising is really worth it.
I know a couple of friends who'd been cruising half of their lives. Listening to their stories one after the other makes my dream up-and-coming. Great in every angle.
How can I not give it a try?
I, myself have been travelling half of my life. And I am mesmerized with the idea of land tours. Trips that I prepare six months the most. Journeys that I have been dreaming of. Travels that I want to make sure will never go wrong.
But who knows? Things happen.
You'll never know, things can happen at places least expected, as I always say and write about.
Thank God! For the nearly 40 countries that I have explored, it's almost always go on smoothly. No hassles, no issues, except for some minor untoward incidents. Manageable and tolerable, at least, in my own standard. And, am becoming very patient as more travels come along.
And so the day of the cruise came. It actually happened last week. I have decided to make my first cruise ~ for real.
Got to fly to London's Gatwick from Toronto's Pearson Airport.
I did not like the way the AirTransat ground staff in my city did.
I was in a company of three and I asked her once or twice that we should be sitting beside each other. She replied in the affirmative.
Little did I know that our seats are of different location. How could she do that?
It did not matter to her but it was a big deal for me for many reasons.
And to think that it was my first with Air Transat, and.....probably the last. Too bad, I did not get her name.
Just because I was 'pleased' with her lies.
So, there you go. I was still in Toronto and the issue started too early while boarding.
I wonder how some airline staff underestimate some passengers. Maybe, just maybe, they don't realize how a simple passenger like me can make or break their reputation. And to think that it was my first with the airline.
How can they expect me to like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter or write a good review of their customer service?
They've got to learn how to treat all their clients fairly. Everyone deserves one. No exception!
So our cruise ship, Adventure of the Seas was waiting at the pier in Southampton, England. We have travelled for nearly two hours by bus straight from London's Gatwick Airport to Southampton pier.
"It's huge", I whispered. "Is this how Adventure of the Seas look like?", I asked myself.
Our group of 50 were now lined up to pass check-in formalities.
All the process that we had to do upon embarkation; put luggage tags, pass customs and security, issue Sea Pass, register credit cards, even posing for a photo before we proceed to our stateroom.
Our ship was about to leave England bound for the rest of the seven countries.
As we start moving out of the pier, the captain wasted no time in giving a drill to all the more than 3,500 guests. This is a must especially to first time cruisers like me.
It was so organized!
They conducted this orientation after we're settled in our room and had our first meal at the Windjammer Restaurant at Deck 11.
And, did I mention that our cruise ship is comparable to a 15-storey hotel?
It has 15 decks, 10 pools and whirlpools and 15 bars, clubs and lounges. The Royal Promenade that occupies 4-deck high of space is like a real street lined with cafes, boutiques, bars, souvenir shops and a 24-hour coffee shop with unlimited pizza, pastries and sandwiches.
Eat all you can. No charge. And a good place to meet up.
How can you not use all the facilities in the 12-day of fine dining, disco dancing, watching live shows, relaxing and pampering....and cruisin'?
And yes, our stateroom is packed with simple amenities.
A couch with a glass table, a coloured TV with CNN, very old movies and shows all about the activities onboard and tips useful for a land tour.
The safety box and the hairdryer are very useful and easy to use. The inside cabin where I am at, is just enough space for two. A king size bed that no matter how you try, you will not have the chance to get around the corners of the bed.
Cruising in its entirety has too much to offer and too many to mention.
Cruising for 2 weeks seem way too much. Too much walking. Too much food. Too much entertainment. Too many sudden changes in weather. Whewww! Exhausted!
I was warned about all these, but still....
....there is one amazing incident my friends did not warn me.
As I started going up the stairs from Deck 11 to Deck 14, I was in awe when I see people looking and waiting anxiously in the front part of Deck 14 of the vessel.
I was curious!
I thought something will happen in just a moment. People were not talking, so I did not have the slightest idea.
Man, did I see our huge ship passing a bridge with few inches clearance? In a second, I thought we are touching the bridge. Now, I remember that we were on the 14th deck of a 15-deck cruise ship. It was so exciting.
Will I experience it again if I decide to go for another cruise? I guess.....
The question is...Did I enjoy it? The answer is a big YES.
Meeting new friends while cruising and visiting seven countries is a great accomplishment.
And I am documenting these memories.
I am giving recognition to each and every country in this entire cruise.
Because each one of them have their own unique qualities. I want you to benefit on my onboard experiences, tales and stories that will help you on your first cruise. Probably with the Adventure of the Seas or the new and biggest Quantum of the Seas of the Royal Caribbean International.
I also have heard good reviews about Oasis of the Seas operated and managed by RCI. But, what's this news I read that a Hamilton woman named Michelle Ligori was barred from boarding this cruise ship because she was pregnant.
Beware: Read the fine print when booking and read the news, it can be of help on your next cruise.
I am giving you details of my close encounter with the major port of Southamption and the city of London ENGLAND, the famous Vigeland Sculpture in Frogner Park in Oslo NORWAY, the little mermaid in Copenhagen DENMARK, the medieval Old Town of the city of Tallinn in ESTONIA, the architecture of St. Petersburg in RUSSIA, The land of the midnight sun of Helsinki FINLAND and the Venice of the North ~ Brugges BELGIUM.
This and all are bigger-than-life cruise experience, I believe. Memories that will never last.
Blogs that should be written. Stay tuned!
From the desk of:
A blogger and a freelance writer based in Toronto. He shares the value of his travel experiences and discoveries with his friends and fellow travellers. Share your passion, join and visit him. Send him a message if you will @ fromatravellersdesk(at)gmail.(dot)com.