Lying here, on a surprisingly comfortable sunlounger (mesh, not plastic), watching the roof open (and about time too, it’s like a sauna with it closed), it is quite a marvel to behold. It rolls back so quickly and quietly that if it wasn’t for the health and safety alarm that accompanies it, you’d probably never notice. At least not until the breeze kicked in. And yet, as with all British cruise passengers, immediately people start jumping to their feet and complaining that their shade has been taken away. Like there’s none of that available anywhere. One man actually waved his arms in the air to signal to whoever it was to stop opening the roof. Thanks. What about the rest of us?! That’s the thing about cruise passengers, they only think of themselves. I think it’s very refreshing and that we need some fresh air. We certainly didn’t get much of that in Madeira!
It’s quite exciting in the pool at the moment. We are currently pitching every now and then (if you don’t remember the difference between pitching and rolling, you’ll need to delve into the archive, I’m afraid!), but not rolling, which means, from the point of view of those in the pool, that one well-timed stroke can get you carried from one end to the other on a very large wave which then breaks over the end of the pool and soaks those in the immediate vicinity. One bloke has hooked his feet over one end and is just using the waves as a sort of training pool, letting the force of the waves go backwards and forwards while he stays stationary. He’s working very hard for someone going nowhere. I’m sure he’s getting quite a workout, but I’m getting worn out just watching him.
Funnily enough, here, where I can see the three communications golfballs on the top deck between me and the funnel, and where I am maybe less than fifty feet from them with no obstructions between us, is one place on the ship where there is no internet signal at all. Ironic, really. But it gives me a chance to just lie back and watch the swimmers hurtling, willingly or otherwise, from one end of the pool to the other, while the rhythmic clitter clatter of the table tennis behind me patters away quite hypnotically.
I’m still not in holiday mode yet. I can’t shake the feeling I should be DOING something. It’s very annoying! I can’t even go for an afternoon nap because I crashed at 9.30 last night, as soon as we got back from dinner ashore, and, having slept twelve hours straight, and gained an hour as the clocks went back, and then had another hour and a half for good measure, I’m so completely rested, I don’t think I could nap, even if I tried!
Factoid of the Day: there are 46 liferafts, each with a capacity of 35 people, and 18 lifeboats which take 150 each. By my maths, that makes 1610 in the rafts and 2700 in the boats. That’s a capacity of over 4000. In fact, to be precise: “Arcadia has a normal operating capacity of 2016 passengers and a maximum operating capacity of 2120 passengers who are looked after by 880 staff and crew”. So that’s a maximum of 3000 people and 4310 lifeboat spaces. I know some of my readers worry about me perishing in some dramatic catastrophe, but as I can both float and swim, I’m not worried, so you shouldn’t be.
It seems as though there is going to be quite a turnover of passengers during this cruise. Whilst about 1000 are doing the whole thing, the rest are not. In fact, quite a number aren’t even doing the entire first sector to LA. I’ve met several who are getting off in Barbados, which presumably means quite a lot getting on there too. Can’t blame them really. What a lovely place to be stranded for a few days! Apparently, Barbados is about two weeks into the cruise, which is as much holiday as some people get from work, so it’ll be quite a dramatic All Change, I imagine.
Several embarked in Madeira, which was weird, although they may have been mostly crew, who are pinballed across the planet from one ship to another in such a random manner, I’m starting to wonder if P&O Logistics isn’t a whole new branch of mathematics, rather like Disaster Area’s tax returns*.
Happy Palm Sunday.
The nice people at Passenger Services have found me an adaptor. Amazing what an open letter to the Managing Director of P&O handed in at Reception can do…
Late night last night. Got to bed about half two. But as the clocks went back again, I still got the best part of ten hours’ sleep, so although I feel a little, what’s the word? vague, I think fits best, I’m physically fine.
Which doesn’t seem to be the achievement it might be. We are currently going through a Force 9 and are rolling quite considerably. The water from the pool is being distributed all around the deck. Oddly, however, the sea appears so smooth outside that if it wasn’t for the swimming pool doing its rather dramatic thing, you’d have no idea we were in a rough patch at all. But the restaurant is nonetheless packed to the rafters. I mean, granted everyone knows that the best way to ward off queasiness is to ensure your stomach is never empty, but this is ridiculous!
The average age on this ship is much lower than I was expecting. I don’t know the exact figure, probably in the 50s or 60s, and it will probably go up after Barbados, when all those with two-week holidays go home, but there are very few really “old” people on here. Although this is not classified as an adventure cruise in the publicity, it is, nonetheless, for the more adventurous cruiser, and clearly that has an effect on the demographic it attracts. There aren’t even that many wheelchairs or walking sticks, although with the current bumpy weather there are a few more than usual about. No point in going for a Burton for the price of a little pride. The proportion of white hair is quite high, but that may have more to do with the fact that letting it turn white saves money which can be put towards helicopter trips, than a conscious submission to advancing years. It’s more about being comfortable with who you are, rather than trying to be something you’re not. They’re quite an honest, down-to-earth bunch on this cruise. No one is trying to seem richer or younger or healthier than anyone else. Everyone is just happy doing their own thing and to hell with any onlookers. Which may be why, in the middle of a Force 9, there is someone in the pool, just quietly doing his thing as the water carries him along.
*First Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference of the cruise!