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Transatlantic Cruise--Anything to Do :)?


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Hey all, We are actually tentatively thinking about doing something really crazy in 2022--cruising back from Rome to one of the Florida ports so we can 1) avoid that awful air flight back, and 2) get a cruise in along with a land tour of Italy and 3) see some of the farther western places  (perhaps Morocco? Gibraltar? Canary Islands?) that wouldn't normally be on a Rome-Rome roundtrip. But here is what I am wondering: there are generally five or six days of sea cruising while crossing the Atlantic and I am not real good for just sitting around and staring at the sea and sky. We are too old to do much pool activities or bar activities so...what have you who have done a Transatlantic found to do for the long sea days when there are no stops and excursions? Will I end up going crazy from doing too much reading and playing board games? Thanks for any counsel or suggestions!

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15 minutes ago, Minnesota Rookie said:

Hey all, We are actually tentatively thinking about doing something really crazy in 2022--cruising back from Rome to one of the Florida ports so we can 1) avoid that awful air flight back, and 2) get a cruise in along with a land tour of Italy and 3) see some of the farther western places  (perhaps Morocco? Gibraltar? Canary Islands?) that wouldn't normally be on a Rome-Rome roundtrip. But here is what I am wondering: there are generally five or six days of sea cruising while crossing the Atlantic and I am not real good for just sitting around and staring at the sea and sky. We are too old to do much pool activities or bar activities so...what have you who have done a Transatlantic found to do for the long sea days when there are no stops and excursions? Will I end up going crazy from doing too much reading and playing board games? Thanks for any counsel or suggestions!

 

Howdy @Minnesota Rookie emo22.gif

 

Welcome back to the Cruise Critic message boards! emo34.gif  I see it has been a while since you posted on the boards.

 

Thank you for your new thread titled Transatlantic Cruise--Anything to Do :)? on the Ask a Cruise Question forum. 👍  However, it is the forum for general questions regarding cruising. Your thread was off-topic there since your post concerns Transatlantic cruising.

 

To help you out, I have moved your thread to the Transatlantic, Transpacific, Repositioning & Trans-Ocean Cruises forum where it will be on topic. Browse through the thread titles l👀king for titles of interest. You will probably find your fellow Cruise Critic members have already posted questions and received answers that will be of interest to you.

 

And don't forget, if you do decide to take a Transatlantic cruise, be sure to submit your review for publication by Cruise Critic. Many cruisers will benefit from your experience! See How To: Submit a Member Review.

 

I hope this will be helpful and glad to have you back aboard the Cruise Critic message board! emo35.gif

 

Happy sails,

 

Host Kat  emo32.gif

 

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5 minutes ago, Minnesota Rookie said:

Thanks Kat. Sorry for the misplacing of the thread!

 

You are most welcome!  emo34.gif  And don't worry. I look at it as "job security" for this non-paid volunteer position!

 

Glad to be of service,

 

Host Kat emo32.gif

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3 hours ago, Minnesota Rookie said:

Hey all, We are actually tentatively thinking about doing something really crazy in 2022--cruising back from Rome to one of the Florida ports so we can 1) avoid that awful air flight back, and 2) get a cruise in along with a land tour of Italy and 3) see some of the farther western places  (perhaps Morocco? Gibraltar? Canary Islands?) that wouldn't normally be on a Rome-Rome roundtrip. But here is what I am wondering: there are generally five or six days of sea cruising while crossing the Atlantic and I am not real good for just sitting around and staring at the sea and sky. We are too old to do much pool activities or bar activities so...what have you who have done a Transatlantic found to do for the long sea days when there are no stops and excursions? Will I end up going crazy from doing too much reading and playing board games? Thanks for any counsel or suggestions!

The standard description for transatlantic sea days is “Nothing to do, and not enough time to do it”

So far,  Mrs Bear and I have made four crossings on QM2 - a pair of round trip sailings, with much longer “Norway and Northern Lights” round trip planned for 2022.

QM2 spends most of the year on crossings, sometimes with cruise segments at either side of the Atlantic.

 

Cunard offers full day programs, including special theme events. Our 2019 sailing featured the Anthony Inglas & English National Symphony with two evening performances (one with a passenger chorus) on the eastbound crossing, followed by presentations and performances by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts on the westbound.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Minnesota Rookie said:

Hey all, We are actually tentatively thinking about doing something really crazy in 2022--cruising back from Rome to one of the Florida ports so we can 1) avoid that awful air flight back, and 2) get a cruise in along with a land tour of Italy and 3) see some of the farther western places  (perhaps Morocco? Gibraltar? Canary Islands?) that wouldn't normally be on a Rome-Rome roundtrip. But here is what I am wondering: there are generally five or six days of sea cruising while crossing the Atlantic and I am not real good for just sitting around and staring at the sea and sky. We are too old to do much pool activities or bar activities so...what have you who have done a Transatlantic found to do for the long sea days when there are no stops and excursions? Will I end up going crazy from doing too much reading and playing board games? Thanks for any counsel or suggestions!

As you can see by an entire CC forum dedicated to transoceanic cruises, you’d hardly be “doing something really crazy.” 
 

We tend to do a lot of multi-segment cruises on a single preferred line. And many of our booked trips (past and future) include transoceanic components.

 

Our next one of that ilk will occur in May 2022- with 45 days CPT-LIS and LIS-NYC. Later in 2022, we’ll do another 45+ days trip including a segment crossing from Rome to Miami. The only downside there is ending up in Miami, which holds zero allure for us. Can you imagine how quickly that cruise would sell out if, instead, it was headed to NYC?


FWIW, our preference is for TransPacific cruises (e.g.,SYD-LAX or preferably SFO [home]) for all sorts of reasons.

in any case, the answer to your “boredom” question(s) really depend on which cruise line. 

Perhaps most importantly, on a longer cruise with an ocean crossing, the quality of food/cabin/service is a set of major considerations. As for activities, our preferred line has a bona fide/hands on cooking school in a dedicated teaching lab where world renowned chefs can be found (see pic).

Add to that excellent lecturers, many of whom are retired professors in specialties associated with the itinerary, wine and spirits tastings, art and photography lessons, etc and even a “country fair” full of competitions/prizes as well as an “on-demand” film collection and excellent library collection and you’ll quickly realize there’s no need for wet t shirt contests, phony art auctions, etc.

191619BA-AF20-4CAD-9383-86A614D418AF.jpeg

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Until now, if you have only taken port intensive cruises, a Trans-Atlantic, Trans-Pacific or even a World Cruise can be a daunting prospect.

 

Our preferred direction on longer cruises is Westbound, as the extra hour many nights really helps to fit everything we want to do in a day. Honestly, we are so busy we rarely have time to sit and watch the ocean go by. Personally, I did that for a living for 40 yrs and it's highly over-rated.

 

We also don't sail on mega ships, or mainstream ships, as we also have no interest in wacky pool games, marriage games, etc. We attend some incredible lectures, most of which are presented on topics relevant to where we are cruising. At Noon our preferred cruise line has Trivia right after the Captain's noon announcement. Breakfast, lunch and dinner - we almost always enjoy in the MDR, at sharing tables. We often meet some extremely interesting fellow pax to chat with and have spent up to 3 hrs over dinner.

 

Entertainment - we often had the Cruise Director's staff performing afternoon concerts in the Atrium and in the evening, they had shows or guest entertainers. A number of evenings, they may also host special nights of entertainment up on the pool deck.

 

Activities - even smaller ships have a host of activities, fitness programs, arts/crafts, music/choir, card games, dancing lessons, etc.

 

Even with 25 hr days it is tough to fit it all in. I find I have less time to read books on a longer cruise than at home.

 

Been across the Atlantic & Pacific many times and last year, spent about the last 50 days of a world cruise ship without getting ashore. Bored - never, we were actually very sad to eventually disembark. 

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23 hours ago, Minnesota Rookie said:

Thanks for any counsel or suggestions!

 

All of Heidi13's comments, I can support!  

 

I'll add that a longer cruise allows one to become more than superficially familiar with fellow guests and crew members.  That can add another dimension to a cruise that is sometimes difficult to develop on a short and/or port intensive cruise.  

 

With one trans-Atlantic crossing (really wasn't a cruise) on QE2 when there were labor problems on the ship being the exception, I am never ready to disembark after a long cruise.  There is so much to experience; to do; I can't do it all.  

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On 7/27/2021 at 5:13 PM, rkacruiser said:

 

All of Heidi13's comments, I can support!  

 

I'll add that a longer cruise allows one to become more than superficially familiar with fellow guests and crew members.  That can add another dimension to a cruise that is sometimes difficult to develop on a short and/or port intensive cruise.  

 

With one trans-Atlantic crossing (really wasn't a cruise) on QE2 when there were labor problems on the ship being the exception, I am never ready to disembark after a long cruise.  There is so much to experience; to do; I can't do it all.  

I agree.  My days on a transatlantic are so busy I rarely have time for a nap!

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I love sea days because there is so much to do and I still get to relax.  On the ship I always get in a group for Every Day Trivia.  On Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific cruises they do trivia every sea day and keep track of points for groups.  Then there is also Music Trivia, Silent Disco, White Party Nights besides other orginized ship activities.  

Because we have the extra sea days the Cruise Critic Boards for the cruise will be much more active.  I have a Trans-Atlantic Cruise and Trans-Pacific Cruise booked for the next year and both boards are very active; 18 pages and 66 pages.  Then you have the activities that the Cruise Critic Board organizes themselves to do on sea days.  Here is what is orginized so far and we still have 8 months before our cruise.

  • Sail Away Gathering
  • CABIN CRAWL
  • SLOT PULL
  • Poker Pub Crawl
  • Left Right Center Game
  • CHEF'S TABLE
  • Bering Book Club
  • Dinner at le Petit Chef
  • Trash Card Game
  • Knitting Group

Note:  Your Cruise Critic Board will also most likely organize their own shore excursions on port days.

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  • 1 month later...

Let me add a couple of more things:

There are typically a talk or two from guest speakers - typically very interesting - as you approach your few ports, and along with the usual sales pitch port talks. On HAL we have had a speaker with fascinating talks on historical aspect to the religions resulting from WW2 activities.

Multiple Music venues in afternoons and evenings

I love to get a Sauna - grew up with them, but now nowhere near where I now live - usually (but not always) free access

Sometimes light physical workouts, or walks around the tracks. 

I do housekeeping on my poor, mistreated, cluttered laptop computer - a task I never have time/inclination to do at home. Kind of like taking out the garbage...

There are typically 1 or 2 talks from the ships officers and the ships systems or ships operations. Once had a very interesting discussion/panel with three of the very junior bridge crew officers on what their training /life was really like.

Always trivia games

Typically a movie each day in one of the theater (or two)

For the hard core gambler - there are always bingo games (or three)

There are typically dance lessons, or even Flash Mobs (Had "Thriller" on one cruise)

The captains typically have a Q&A session

Once had a navigator show us how to Shoot the star with a sextant, and do the calculations as to where we were. (FYI: this was just recently removed from the US Navy Annapolis curriculum.)

Typically the Chefs have demonstrations, sometimes kitchen tours

Point Pong tables available

 

 

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3 hours ago, RGEDad said:

Once had a very interesting discussion/panel with three of the very junior bridge crew officers on what their training /life was really like.

 

On one of my TA's the Cadets, under the supervision of the 2nd Officer in charge of safety, put on a demonstration of the use of one of the life rafts that are stored in those white canisters we all have seen.  This was done at the ship's mid-ship pool with the 2nd Officer providing narration/explanation of what was taking place and why.  Most interesting!  

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1 hour ago, rkacruiser said:

On one of my TA's the Cadets, under the supervision of the 2nd Officer in charge of safety, put on a demonstration of the use of one of the life rafts that are stored in those white canisters we all have seen.  This was done at the ship's mid-ship pool with the 2nd Officer providing narration/explanation of what was taking place and why.  Most interesting!  

Yes - I also saw that same demonstration once. After inflating they also pulled out everything in the life raft and showed that. I "THINK" they stated they had to periodically do that to verify the integrity of the rafts, and training for the crew of course.

They also showed the environmental surviver suits, along with the timed effort to put-on.

Quite frankly, that is the only way I ever want to see the life raft or survival suit - In the pool that is...

 

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19 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

On one of my TA's the Cadets, under the supervision of the 2nd Officer in charge of safety, put on a demonstration of the use of one of the life rafts that are stored in those white canisters we all have seen.  This was done at the ship's mid-ship pool with the 2nd Officer providing narration/explanation of what was taking place and why.  Most interesting!  

 

This doesn't happen very often with the operational rafts, as the additional CO2 inflation does reduce the raft's life expectancy. Must have been an excellent Master.

 

Hopefully they deomonstrated the procedure for righting an upside down raft, if it wasn't one of the reversible ones. Did they also pull it out the pool and let pax see the inside.

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15 hours ago, RGEDad said:

I also saw that same demonstration once. After inflating they also pulled out everything in the life raft and showed that. I "THINK" they stated they had to periodically do that to verify the integrity of the rafts, and training for the crew of course.

They also showed the environmental surviver suits, along with the timed effort to put-on.

 

I recall seeing that as well.  I wonder if we were on the same cruise.  Was it a HAL ship?

 

3 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

Hopefully they deomonstrated the procedure for righting an upside down raft, if it wasn't one of the reversible ones. Did they also pull it out the pool and let pax see the inside

 

Yes, the Cadets did show that procedure.  I also recall the  raft was taken out of the pool so that we could get a peek inside.  

 

3 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

Must have been an excellent Master.

 

This demonstration took place during one of two TAs.  I remember the Master on one of them, but can't recall who the other gentleman was.  I am going to get into my journals and see if I can identify who the Master was for that cruise.  

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15 hours ago, RGEDad said:

Yes - I also saw that same demonstration once. After inflating they also pulled out everything in the life raft and showed that. I "THINK" they stated they had to periodically do that to verify the integrity of the rafts, and training for the crew of course.

They also showed the environmental surviver suits, along with the timed effort to put-on.

Quite frankly, that is the only way I ever want to see the life raft or survival suit - In the pool that is...

 

 

Negative, the operational crews are not trained and certified to open operational rafts. They are sent ashore to an OEM approved service centre when the raft is inflated, with either air or CO2 depending on the year. The raft remains inflated to check for leaks/porous fabric and all equipment is checked off and replaced as required. With Transport Canada, every raft that was due for CO2 inflation also required a Flag/Class Inspector present.

 

The raft is deflated, folded and packed into the container. I can assure you, it is no mean feat.

 

Any rafts used on board are normally training rafts, carried in addition to the ship's compliment of survival craft.

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2 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

Any rafts used on board are normally training rafts, carried in addition to the ship's compliment of survival craft.

 

During a couple of cruises, I have seen inflated rafts hanging from a davit that either was going to be used or had been used in a training session.  Those were training rafts, I assume.  

 

4 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

The raft is deflated, folded and packed into the container. I can assure you, it is no mean feat.

 

I have wondered about how do they get that inflated raft back into its canister.  Who does that?  Is that a Cadets' responsibility as well?  

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4 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

During a couple of cruises, I have seen inflated rafts hanging from a davit that either was going to be used or had been used in a training session.  Those were training rafts, I assume.  

 

 

I have wondered about how do they get that inflated raft back into its canister.  Who does that?  Is that a Cadets' responsibility as well?  

 

When rafts are inflated on a ship, we can deflate them and remove a cap. You then use a hoover to continuously suck the air out, as we fold the raft. We weren't OEM trained so didn't know the required fold procedure, but generally folded 1 side in, then the other. We then rolled it up and held it together with rope.

 

It was placed in the canister, with all the small equipment and supplies and shipped off to a service station. 

 

Liferafts must be serviced every year by an OEM approved service station employing OEM certified technicians. When rafts are due for service the service station will service a number of rafts, then deliver them to the ship. They remove an equal number of rafts, installing the serviced rafts. The rafts removed from the ship are returned to the service station, serviced, then returned to the ship to complete the exchange.

 

During this time, the ship may retain 1 or more of the expired rafts for training purposes, then once used ship them back to the service station.

 

Every 5 years, each raft must be inflated using the CO2/Nitrogen bottles to test the system and ensure it inflates within the required time frame - 1 minute. Other years, the rafts are inflated with dry air, as it causes less shock and degridation of the fabric. A brief summary of the process - liferaft over-inflated to test the pressure relief valves, inflated and pressure/temp recorded after an interval the pressure/temp is again checked to ensure it remains within specs. All fabric visually inspected, soapy solution used to aid in identifying leaks and/or porous fabric. All supplies removed, inspected, date checked and replaced as required. All small equipment removed, inspected, date checked and replaced as required. Davit Launch L/R also have to be load tested about ev 5 yrs. Inspect, weigh and date check the inflation bottles. 

 

 

 

 

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Getting back to non-raft stuff:

Beginner Bridge classes

Towel folding exhibit, demonstration & Classes. They had an entire Zoo with like 50 animals roaming  the pool area. 

 

IMG_1870.thumb.JPG.a47f0768186a29e653551090d4d38d53.JPG

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19 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

During this time, the ship may retain 1 or more of the expired rafts for training purposes, then once used ship them back to the service station.

 

Thank you for your entire post.  I appreciate it very much.  

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On 9/29/2021 at 4:38 PM, rkacruiser said:

 

On one of my TA's the Cadets, under the supervision of the 2nd Officer in charge of safety, put on a demonstration of the use of one of the life rafts that are stored in those white canisters we all have seen.  This was done at the ship's mid-ship pool with the 2nd Officer providing narration/explanation of what was taking place and why.  Most interesting!  

 

I found my journals concerning the cruise when this took place.  A small revision as to who the participants were in the demonstration.  The 2nd Officer in charge of safety was supervising and providing narration.  The crew members were the Cadets and a couple of 4th Officers.  

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On 9/30/2021 at 3:07 PM, rkacruiser said:

This demonstration took place during one of two TAs.  I remember the Master on one of them, but can't recall who the other gentleman was.  I am going to get into my journals and see if I can identify who the Master was for that cruise.  

 

The demonstration took place during the Viking Passage cruise (Amsterdam to New York) in 2013 on the Eurodam.  Still don't know who the Master was for that cruise.  (Maybe I can find my memorabilia for that cruise that will identify the Master.  I'll look.)  

 

RGEDad, were you on that cruise?    

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On 10/1/2021 at 5:45 AM, RGEDad said:

Getting back to non-raft stuff:

Beginner Bridge classes

Towel folding exhibit, demonstration & Classes. They had an entire Zoo with like 50 animals roaming  the pool area. 

 

IMG_1870.thumb.JPG.a47f0768186a29e653551090d4d38d53.JPG

What ship was the towel folding exhibit shown on? 

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That was April 3rd, 2019  - Homeward bound from a 29 day cruise From San Diego to Tahiti RT on the Eurodam. That was our longest cruise to that point (well really, with all the cancellations - it still is,) but we have longer ones now booked - and hope springs eternal.

Really Really enjoyed that trip, have to do it again real soon. The homeward bound leg was 7 days straight sail from Nuku Hiva, Marquesas island to San Diego

On the leg down the captain crossed the Equator, simultaneously with the International Date Line, simultaneously with the  hour of the Vernal Equinox. He actually counted down when the ships bow touched that point in time and space. King Neptune conferred the honor to the pollywogs. We all became members of the "Order of the Purple Porpoises" (a step above the "Golden Shellback") - still have my certificate - signed by the captain.

***

But to the point of this whole discussion thread - we found there is always something to do with our time, or time to do nothing at all. 

I listened to a number of Audible books and doing puzzles on my iPad, sitting on our veranda, watching the waves.

If in doubt - start with a 7 Day TransAtlantic, then maybe an 18 day circle Hawaii with it's 2 sets of 6 day legs, then start looking at Trans-pacific.

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