In part one I noted that the temporary lifestyle of a cruise on the high seas (such as the Mediterranean) provides a wave (pun intended) of experiences, which in turn mean opportunities for reflection. Whether partaking in activities on board, or on shore excursions, hopefully high points resonate stronger than miscues and challenges.
When it comes to what to do while on board, cruise lines are prepared with plenty of options, scheduled or otherwise.
Mind you, the breadth of what’s available will be affected by what class of customer one is. Paying for a more exclusive class of cabin comes with perks, including exclusive access to certain restaurants and other facilities. Perhaps it helps reduce the frequent entreaties from staff, or implied in the daily newsletter, to upgrade – which, therefore, all passengers would seem to be exposed to in time.
Also, floating photographers move and lurk around the ship, their snap shots available for purchase in the ship’s photo gallery, so again all are welcome to grin on cue.
It’s interesting to consider the variety of on-board activities. Using our recent cruise as anecdotal evidence, first of all, the approach is multimedia: the ship has promotion on its own TV channels, with programming rotated and updated throughout the day; there are live performances, featuring as few as one or two artists up to the theatrical show groups for large evening audiences; there are fitness classes early in the morning, and health facilities ongoing; naturally, there’s a range of pools and hot tubs, outdoor and covered; there are sporting and trivia challenges held; there are shops, not inexpensive; and of course there are restaurants, and plenty of bar lounges. Finally, there is a time-honoured tradition of the cruise: taking time for simply reading in deck chairs or staring out to sea. This unstructured option continues to be the most peaceful.
Some of the cruise directed activities included: ‘brain waker’ trivia in the morning, general knowledge trivia in the afternoon, adult comedy game about weddings in the evening; spa health and acupuncture presentations, yoga; sales of designer leather, leather handbags, pearls, watches, and art; casino tournaments such as blackjack; and fee chargeable liquor tastings.
One trivia type in which we participated involved a ‘name the landmarks’ contest between senior crew members and groups of the audience. We connected with a small group from England, and our combined efforts permitted us to just miss out on having the best score in the room. It can be fun to get involved cooperatively with other passengers in such games.
With all that, there are some categories of uncommon fun I believe could be explored:
- Create lifeboat rescues of passengers, named at random, with wind machines to churn up waves
- Hold a ‘Captain for an hour’ daily auction
- Put different colour dyes into the pools to change their ambience
- Have a treasure hunt with no place on board off limits
- Early each afternoon hold a ‘find two empty lounge chairs together’ contest
- Hold ‘disaster movie’ marathons at the outdoor theatre
- Have a ‘person on your left chooses your meal’ night at each restaurant
- Gather a large group of shore excursioners to wait until the last minute to re-board prior to ship departure
- Hold contests for creatively built statues of discarded beverage cans and bottles
- Post giant, multilingual, crossword puzzles on several decks, and track who fills in the most correct words
Who knows, a consulting fee for developing innovative cruise activities could be in the offing.