Serenade of the seas

From Shetland we sailed further north to Akureryi in Iceland just outside of the Arctic Circle.

Serenade of the seas

The Serenade of the Seas

This time we sailed over 2 nights and a day to reach the port of Akureryi which is at the end of a beautiful fjord in northern Iceland. Instead of writing about the next port of call I thought that I would write a blog about our ship and how to keep busy on what is known as “a sea-day”. When we learnt that we had our first whole day at sea we wondered what we would do all day. There was no need to worry as there was so much to do it was difficult to choose.

Lift in centrum

The lift (elevator) shafts on either side of the curved bannisters

Our first cruise was on the Royal Caribbean ship, the Serenade of the Seas. On board were about 2000 passengers and 800+ crew from Captain to Cleaner. To us it was a very big ship but we know that there are some much larger and one shipping line is in the process of building one which will take 7000 passengers! One of the first things we had to do was to find our way around this big ‘moving home’ we would inhabit for 2 weeks. It was quite daunting at first. Find the theatre, the dining rooms (there was one for dinner and another for breakfast as well as one that served food all day), the library, Guest Services and all the other places where different activities would happen.

Pool area

The swimming pool area. The Lifeguards had to stand on the platform for a half hour at a time

Each evening a pamphlet titled Where and When would be left on the bed in our State Room, what used to be called a Cabin. This detailed all the happenings of the following day and when there was a sea-day it had nearly twice as much information. No one could do them all as there were times when 2 or 3 different activities took place. Of course, you could spend the day reading a book on the deck or sitting in the Jacuzzi or just sitting on the deck enjoying the opportunity to relax. One of the most interesting activities for us was to attend the lectures by a geologist, Prof Jim or as he referred to himself, Geologist Jim, where we learnt how the different countries we would be visiting came into being, usually through volcanic activity. There were other talks on the way of life, the economy and the agriculture of these countries. There was a psychologist who talked on how to enjoy traveling and all it entails without getting stressed.

Each day the Cruise Director of Entertainment and his deputy would tell us, via the TV of all the various activities and games such as Trivia, General Knowledge Quizzes, a walk around the ship with the Art Director etc. There were also church services for those who wished to attend and classical music concerts. Movies were shown in the theatre during the afternoons of sea-days. Every evening there was a show starring a comedian, a magician, the ship’s dancers or interviews with the crew in from different sections.

Every second evening the State Room Attendants would leave an animal made of towels on the couch. We recognised most of them but there were a couple that we really could not make out what they were. One morning the attendants gave a demonstration of how they had been trained to make these. It was quite amazing at how tightly they could roll and intertwine the towels. What was most annoying was if we bumped or moved the ‘animal’ it fell apart and we could not get it back to its original shape.

Towel Dinosaur

A Dinosaur? (so the attendant said)

Towel elephant

An Elephant

Towel Rabbit

A Rabbit

We were allocated a table for dinner which was supposed to seat 10 but after the first night one couple chose to move to sit with friends at another table. Our table companions were from Canada, USA and Australia and we got on very well.. The Senior Steward allocated to us was from Indonesia, as most dining room attendants were, and he kept us rollicking with laughter. We quickly learned that if one of us wanted more vegetables a platter would arrive for the whole table immediately and then every night thereafter. His assistant was a young Thai girl who had lived in Norway since she was 15. Her plan was to start hotel school in January and this was practical experience for her. She was quite delightful and took a real shine to Trevor.

There were times when we were at sea for up to 3 days but were never bored with so much to do.

The bridge of the ship

The Bridge from our Deck