First impression were positive. We arrived at the cruise ship terminal and were the only passengers...which meant no line. We handed over our tickets and headed for immigration: again no line and a jovial inspector (the only one in captivity on this planet). It was a long walk to the gangplank, but it was enclosed, carpeted, and air-conditioned. The greeting was overly friendly (which I do not need, but goes with the territory) and check-in at reception was speedy. Being early, the cabin was not ready, but the lounge was open and free drinks and food on offer. Because the ship has about one third the passengers of a comparable size, we never feel crowded.
Once in the cabin, I pleased with our choice of a larger size and surprised by the quality. Photos will follow in the future, like the sound wave chasing a jet. The is an entry hallway, a large sitting room/dinning room, a separate bedroom, a walk-in closet (not a standard feature of even German homes), and a separate bath with tub and shower and toilet. One nice feature is that one can walk in a circle. There are two flat screen televisions...but who has time. I usually leave it on the map of our route, when in the cabin. Of course, the bath is in marble, which one expects from an Italian company. The furnishing are all good quality.
As with first class on an airplane, a higher price ensures more space. Everyone gets the same unlimited food and drink, but cabin size makes a difference. I find that it is worth price. There is a saying that the common British expression posh means “port out, starboard back” and originated during the time when many people sailed to the colony of England and back. Supposedly, experienced travelers booked a cabin on the side away from the sun, because air-conditioning had yet to be invented and the sun heated the cabins to the point of being unbearable. We have a cabin on the port side, so we must be posh! In fact, I booked it because I wanted a cabin on the side facing the coast for most of the voyage. Air-conditioning precludes the need for clever acronyms.
The food is far better than I expected on a cruise ship, and it lives up to its billing. I am particularly surprised by the quality of the meat. For lunch, I enjoyed the best pizza, which I have ever had outside Italy. On a ship in Asia!
I used the gym on the first day. It is not large, but has enough to work up a sweat. One experiences a strange sensation on the treadmill, because it faces perpendicular to the ship’s direction. On top of that, there is yaw and pitch, which messes with equilibrium. One is eight stories above the water, whose movements add to the confusion. Swimming is rather strange, because one swims in ocean water high above the real ocean.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.