Monday, April 15, 2013

Cruise Control: Day 3

A cruise ship is a luxury hotel on water, it's that simple. The opulence in the central gathering area--with a variety of names like The Atrium of The Piazza depending on the cruise line--is hard to believe when you contrast it with the price of the ticket. Soaring skylights, mosaic floors, floating staircases, and exquisite lighting everywhere can trick the traveler into believing they paid a lot of money to be there amid it all. The payoff for the cruise lines, of course, is that everyone wants to do it again, and as quickly as possible. (Just to make sure, though, you can reserve a future cruise for a mere $100 refundable deposit before you step a foot off the one you haven't finished yet. These people aren't stupid.)

The Piazza

The Piazza

The Piazza
Once you leave these areas, though, and head to your stateroom (which is a generous term for the kind of cabin most of us working folks can afford), be prepared to downsize quickly--including your basic turning-around radius. They have done the best they can, I must admit. Well-placed mirrors expanded the approximately 800 square feet of "living space" we were allotted in a regular sized cabin for two. The bathroom/changing area might add an additional 20 square feet, but I "paced off"

It WAS a king-size bed!

Desk, refrig, TV area

Main part of the cabin

Dressing area


Sink in bathroom
(without moving any part of my  body other than my toe) about 2.5 feet by 3.5 feet in the toilet/sink area, and another 3.5 feet by 4.5 feet in the shower. Suffice it to say, plan on exiting the shower stall completely if you drop the soap. There is no bending over room for retrieval.

But when you consider that you spend very little time in your cabin, the small size is not too great a burden to carry in exchange for being in this beautiful space to begin with. Coupled with the service and the great entertainment that is offered practically around the clock, you simply fall into bed at night, and rush out in the morning to eat, drink, and be merry.

Of course, you can pay more for a bigger space, right on up to a family suite with a balcony. (I imagine if you reserve that one you might need that balcony to toss off annoying family members after a few days at sea. At least, that's the nasty rumor I heard.) So far, however, I have been in an outside cabin (which means you have a window looking out at the ocean) with single beds when I traveled with two family members, an outside cabin with one huge bed taking up the majority of the square footage, and most recently, an inside cabin with no window at all.

And I learned a valuable lesson in this inside cabin. Well, actually two lessons: One, it won't ever happen again. The "no window" aspect, I mean. I WILL cruise again, I can assure you of that. And two, I won't get stuck without a window again because I was disoriented all the time without it. When I woke up in the morning, I never really knew if it WAS morning. It could have been midnight for all I knew, I had no way of knowing. In an ocean view room I could look outside and tell. Without it, I was simply at a loss about what time it might be. So, in the future, we will pay a bit more (less than $100 usually) for a room with a view, as water logged as that view might been.

Have I mentioned how large these ships are? Stay tuned.....

Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.

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