One has to choose one’s book carefully for every occasion. So, ES is reading Moby Dick. And the choice seems to be right. Let’s listen to Ishmael on his way to the whaling ship:
“Why is almost every robust healthy boy with a robust healthy soul in him, at some time or other crazy to go to sea? Why upon your first voyage as a passenger, did you feel such a mystical vibration, when first told that you and your ship were now out of sight of land?”
Of course, now it is boys and girls on the ship. And no, on our ship not everybody is in good health. On a long trip like this most passengers are retired, and quite a few are older than us. DHH calls it the floating Altersheim. The mystic vibration is there, however. Being at sea is special, every time. We have been cruising before: several trips on the Mekong earlier this year, many trips along the Norwegian coast and a month on a container ship from Hongkong to Hamburg. But a proper cruise, together with 2000 other passengers – that is a first. The Luminosa sails for the Costa group and is our actual home for 3 months. Yes, we are on a cruise, on our first trip on a big cruiser. We started in Savona, Italy, and are now on the way to the Panama Canal.
After 10 days in our floating home we still feel like Newbies, struggle with the meanings of the dress codes, look for places on the ship where you can’t hear the loud voices of the “animatrice” and wonder about some “security” policies, like not bringing food or drinks on the ship after a day out or not filling our own bottles on the water dispensers. We do understand that they want to sell us all we can drink, but why disguise it as a security issue?
After a week we got at least familiar with the geography of the ship. There is a nice pool area with the smaller pool in the aft – with no animation. And a bigger pool area with all the dance and gymnastics and handicraft lessons. Bars you can find all over, the Casino we have located but not checked out yet. The restaurants are fairly elegant, but there is big and not fancy buffet for breakfast and lunch, close to the pool areas. The ship is not so wide (so it can pass the Panama Canal), but 300 meters long. On deck 3 and 11 you can walk almost the full length on both sides which makes it ideal to do your walking meters. Or you go to the gym which offers a great view from the bow on the 10th floor. Pedaling your bike and watching out for the whales like Ishmael. So far, all we got to see was flying fish and diving birds. By the way, just going to the gym is healthy. Our cabin is almost at the very back, so walking back and forth gives you 600 meters.
Ishmael does not go to sea as a passenger:
“For to go as a passenger you must needs have a purse, and a purse is a rag unless you have something in it. Besides, passengers get sea-sick – grow quarrelsome – don’t sleep of nights – do not enjoy themselves much, as a general thing; no, I never go as a passenger.”
Well, Ishmael, you are right about the purse, but we do enjoy ourselves. This floating little town offers good food, interesting talks with other passengers, lots of sport and entertainment. But the best moments are those on deck or on the balcony, watching the water. Or, in your words:
“Yes, as everyone knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever.”