There are whole tidal waves of cruise passengers- both potential and actual- who loathe the very idea of a day or more actually spent at sea, anywhere in the world. Horses for courses, of course and, as they say, each to his/her own.
The main bugbear seems to be that people think that they will be ‘bored’ on board. God knows how that one ever gained any kind of leeway, Modern ships today are virtual floating theme parks, brimming with ice rinks, rock climbing walls, flowriders and the rest of all the mod cons that have mushroomed on modern cruise ships. The only way not to enjoy an action packed day on a modern ship is if you embark in a sealed wooden box.
The other one is that ‘there’s nothing to see but the sea’. This one never fails to make me laugh. Anyone who has actually looked at the sea for any length of time, instead of merely glancing idly outboard between burger and cocktail tasting sessions, will tell you that the sea is a fantastical magic carpet, one that changes every few minutes of the day. Endlessly fascinating, it’s moods, whims and occasional bouts of temper is exactly the template that the romance of ocean voyages was built on in the first place.
Think I’m kidding? Consider the sight of dolphins, leaping in and out of the bow wave as the ghost of an early morning breeze drifts across the decks. Or how about early evening, when the slowly setting sun can turn a calm, sedate ocean into what looks like a sea of polished glass?
Crossing the Atlantic, you might get serried tiers of surging grey rollers, flecked with tips of white foam, that lunge at the side of the ship like a series of furious cavalry charges. Or consider midnight off the North Cape of Norway, where the endless summer sun can turn the sea around you into what resembles a field of blazing straw.
Take yourself off to summertime Alaska, and watch giant, glistening icebergs- the true ‘great whites’ of the ocean- as they fracture and calve, and literally thousands of tons of ice impact the sea with a tremendous, thundering roar. Or head down to Antarctica, and watch rose tinted regiments of field ice, drifting skittishly in the austral light across a silent, gunmetal sea.
And the nights…. have you ever dined alfresco on a cruise ship at night, with a sky packed chock full of twinkling stars and a side order of deep, dreamy moonlight shimmering on the ocean? And, on the right night, you might even see a meteorite shower of incredible clarity, blazing fiery, fantastic trails across the endless expanse of the tropical heavens. Once seen, forever savoured.
These are just a few of the stunning natural brush strokes that can embellish the amazing, sprawling canvas of the ocean. Different times of day cast even the stillest of seas in a literally different light. Stare in idle wonder as fleets of huge, fluffy clouds drift across an endless sky like fleets of giant, ghostly galleons. It’s a quite incredible sensation, an immediate connection to the beauty and sheer immensity of the world all around you.
Nothing to see at sea? Think again…..