Friday, November 22, 2019

Sea Day, November 22

Our first cruise ever was on the Diamond Princess, the sister ship to the Sapphire Princess. Our second cruise ever? It was right here on the Sapphire Princess. This ship is one of the reasons we fell in love with cruising and it taught us what cruising was all about. Obviously it worked out well because here we are, some 85 cruises later, flying thousands of miles to sail on her again.
Today's sunrise from the Gulf  of Aden. Somalia is to the right of the sunrise.
There is so much to love about this ship. She’s reminded us of some things we’ve missed by sailing so much on the Royal Class ships. Here on the Sapphire Princess we are reminded:
  • The Promenade deck is great for both walking and sitting.
  • The atrium is a great place to listen to music without the noise level being way too loud.
  • You don’t need to have 50 crew members being robotic in their serving of drinks in the buffet. Since there are fewer passengers, you can have fewer crew members who can also be more engaged with passengers.
  • Covered pools are downright awesome in rainy and cool weather and the uncovered pools, at least on this itinerary, are relatively empty.
  • Riding an elevator doesn’t have to be a bad experience. The elevators here are empty, with me only once having to step into a full elevator. Think about how the Royal holds 1,000 more passengers than the Sapphire Princess - with the same number of elevators. Actually, the aft elevators here hold more than the Royal Princess' aft elevators. No wonder the elevators on the Royal are so crazily jam packed!

We’ve even seen a huge difference with the passengers. First of all, this itinerary has attracted a different kind of passenger than what we see in our 7-14 day Alaska, Mexico, and Caribbean cruises. It takes a special kind of person looking for a special kind of experience (with plenty of time on their hands) to visit places like Jordan, Dubai, and Oman, and also be okay with 15 sea days (actually 17 if you count our two days in the Suez Canal). It seems most of the passengers are in their mid-60s, adventurous, and so far, kind, polite, friendly, and relaxed.

When E found out the nationality make-up today, the numbers confirm what we've felt. Only 915 are Americans with the friendly and kind Aussies and New Zealanders, Brits, and Canadians totaling 1,511. This cruise is like a breath of fresh air and makes us so happy we ventured away from the US. (Jeannie, you were right about this ship, and Vickie I wish you and Bernie were here to feel the difference.)

No one seems to be bothered by the Promenade Deck being closed at night because of the crew on watch or the very high winds we are experiencing. (Gale force winds plus the ship having to travel at maximum speed through these risky waters make for very, very, very windy decks.) I haven't heard one person complain once about all the sea days and no one seems bored. And like I said, the elevators really are heavenly. 

I do love this ship. What don't I love? We have yet another time change tonight. Yep, another hour forward and another challenge to getting up before 6 AM on our way to another sea day tomorrow.