Today is our first full day at sea, and the drama began even before we left our stateroom. We were in the middle of breakfast when the captain came over the loudspeaker to tell us that there had been a medical emergency, and that someone was being evacuated by helicopter. We could leave our rooms, but we could not go out on the balconies or any of the outdoor areas until we were told otherwise. Almost immediately, we heard the sound of the helicopter.
I feel for whoever got evacuated, especially if they’re just starting out their journey. It turns out, this is not just the first leg of our cruise, it’s also the last leg of a cruise that left Southampton, sailed around the Caribbean, then came up to New York before heading back to Southampton. Our world cruise is, in fact, three separate cruises. Of the approximately 2700 people on board, only three hundred and forty five are doing the entire world cruise. So far, we haven’t met any of them, but from what I’ve heard, we’re the youngest by at least a decade. Not sure what that means, other than we’ll spend a lot of time talking loudly and slowly at World Cruise get-togethers (there are several scheduled), and helping people up from a seated position. Worse things could be true.
Also today, I made a couple of discoveries about our bathroom. The bathrooms on cruise ships are tiny – not a whole lot bigger than the bathroom on an airplane. But this one has, above the toilet paper holder, a sort of glass tray with what looks like finger marks impressed into one side, attached to the wall with a metal bracket. Right next to the door frame, there’s a triangle of metal that I realized has a hole in the side nearest the floor. It took me a bit to realize that these are, respectively, an ashtray and a bottle opener.
There are no other ashtrays or bottle openers in our room, which raises the question: Just what kind of party are they expecting people to have in their bathrooms, and do I have to say “cool” before coming in? We’re not allowed to smoke in our staterooms, but I guess they want to make sure that if people do smoke, they’re getting all they can out of it by hotboxing in the tiny, enclosed space. Sadly, I don’t think we’ll be making use of either of those things, unless I need a handy toiletside tray for holding my earrings, and a nice anchor to tie my balloons to.