Mar. 21st, 2009

notyourmonkey: (if I held my breath)
When even the guy supposed to be selling you the phone and internet cards is like, “Uh, it’s really expensive and massively slow,” I think it’s time to take a hint. No connection for me, then, except in an emergency. I have the work ‘berry, but I’m actually starting to feel guilty for using it while on leave. Okay then.

So here I am at my desk in my cabin on the ship, my all-you-can-drink-coffee-and-tea-souvenir-mug holding about three fingers of Bushmills (not Jameson as I originally wrote; I have no idea why I mixed the two up), and we’re eight minutes from leaving Bergen. I can feel/hear the…enginey things doing their…enginey stuff.

[Interlude]

And now I’m back from actually watching us shove off. I’m apparently a little dense, because I heard the “we’re about to leave” message and immediately dashed off to the top aft deck…without a coat. It’s hovering right around freezing, so it’s unclear whether it was raining or snowing, but either way - coldandwet falling from teh sky, and there I was, beaming like an idiot as I swiftly froze.

Still, that’s quite the moment, when you start to see the land slide away from you. I’m on a boat! For a week! Ish! (It’s five days and twelve hours, give or take.)

My cabin, it’s kind of ridiculous. I’m pretty sure it’s bigger than my hotel room last night. Better storage in any case. I was originally going to go with the lowest-cost cabin (inside, tiny), but I sprang the extra hundred bucks to upgrade two levels to the baseline, nothing-wrong-with-it-to-knock-money-off cabin. I checked, and technically my cabin is classified at that level, but *dude.* It’s a triple, meaning I have two Murphy beds arranged like bunkbeds and a couch that turns into a bed. I have a desk and chair with storage. I have three closets. I have random extra space (where I think a tv used to be). All my toiletries are in triplicate. And it’s just me! I have a full-size, unobstructed-by-lifeboats window, and unlike the similar cabins on the fifth level, no one will be walking past it, so I can keep my blinds open.

(Okay, for as “big” as this cabin is, I still can’t think of a single person I like well enough to share it with, much less two. I mean I would, but wow. We’d be spending a lot of time elsewhere. As I plan to anyway.)

For a cruise ship, this is pretty much my ideal. Bunch of cabins, a dining room, a 24 hour cafeteria, a couple of bars, a library, and the majority of the public space devoted to comfortable seating and huge windows. There’s a couple of outdoor jacuzzis, which makes me regret the “of course I won’t need a swimsuit; I’m going to the Arctic impulse.”

No casinos. No shuffleboard. No onboard entertainment.

\o/

(Plus, that’s what the wee little mac and my dvd stash is for.)

My fellow passengers are pretty much what I expected - way, way, way older than I am and mostly in couples. The vast majority of people are at least thirty years older than I am, and a huge swath is forty to sixty years my senior. The few younger people are 95% couples, although I’ve spotted a few roving duos/packs of twentysomething German boys in the bar. I’ve been exchanging furtive nods/conversation with my fellow singletons, including the British gentleman who had decided that he wasn’t ever going to leave the UK again before he died (possibly any day now, if I’m being less than generous), but he realized he still had six months left before his passport expired, so he decided to sneak in another trip or two to the Continent.

(There was also young crewmember trainee Sven - I am so not making that up - who made light conversation and admired my Kindle. Ah, there’s the way to a young woman’s heart: admire her technology. No, seriously.)

Dinner was a buffet like I imagine lunch will be most days. All’s I can say is…wow. Wow. Wow. That’s a lot of something right there. For the record? Fish does not ever belong in jello; I don’t care how dire the situation is. The last cruise I went on put jello on top of cake, which I felt was pretty damn wrong, but this takes the, so to speak, cake.

I’m making it a point, though, to have at least one new culinary adventure per day, as long as the opportunities present themselves. I think there will be plenty. Today I’ve had two, and frankly the reindeer heart was far tastier than the overly-spiced pressed meat/bologna thing. I might, uh, actually have some more tomorrow.

(Although it was tasty, I will admit to having my first moment of profoundly getting vegetarianism in a way I never have before when I forked that little sliver of organ meat. Delicious, and the texture wasn’t even that funky, but, uh, wow. Heart. And tomorrow may be Reindeer Tongue Day.)

We hit thirty ports of call, first one this morning around 4:30, and there’s at least one each day with enough time to get off and poke around. (You can get off at any port, but some are for fifteen minutes, and nobody wants to get left behind, now do they?) I’m passing on most of the arranged excursions (I can walk around a town by myself plzkthx, plus I have to go buy a corkscrew to open my duty free wine), but I’m definitely doing the tour of the North Cape, unless I can figure out how to do it on my own. I am regretfully passing on both the dogsledding and snowmobiling, as I’ve done those before (but not in Sami territory! ::pines::), and I’m egregiously bummed that my flight from Kirkenes leaves too close to docking to leave me time to go see the ice hotel there. (Ice hotel! ::pines::)

Tomorrow is Alesund (imagine a little circle perched on top of the A for proper spelling) at noon. We’ve got three hours, and apparently the whole town was redone Art Nouveau style after it burned in 1904. Am inordinately excited, as Brussels has inspired in me quite the fascination/appreciation for Art Nouveau. (Also, that’s totally the style of illustrations in the versions of some of the Oz books I read when I was little.)

In the meantime, I’m still exhausted, even after one night of mostly-decent sleep. You’ll have to pardon me for not rhapsodizing over the train ride from Oslo to Bergen tonight (even though part of it was some of the most unbelievable scenery I have ever seen or may ever see - oh, Norway), but I am going to go curl up with the Kindle, a second Heyer novel in as many days, and my coffee cup of whiskey. In just a little bit I will fold down my bed and crawl under its lumpy down blanket and sleep the sleep of the righteously on vacation.

ETA: ahahahahaha. I just figured out what the random ladder in the closet is for. Not for daring sea evacuations, no. It’s for getting into the top bunk. ::facepalm::

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