A long cruise - we're on our way, part 2

jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)May 13, 2014

First full day at sea means getting into the pattern of doing what comes naturally on a ship - not much (unless you want to).

Holland America listed in the Daily Explorer that "knitters and knatters" would have an un-hosted gathering most mornings at 10:00. The woman who lives with me (my loving and adored wife, Karen) is a knitter. This was perfect for her to spend a couple of hours doing what she likes to do. Sit and knit and talk! She enjoyed the time being with others and made many new friends, folks she would see for the rest of this long cruise.

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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

The needleworkers would meet in The Crow's Nest, a nice venue high up at the forward part of the ship. There is a bar there, that opens in the late afternoon and a dance floor where a DJ does his/her thing until late (no established end time). There are chairs and benches around the perimeter that are comfortable and make it easy to watch whatever is happening ahead of the ship. There is a small TV area and some recliner chairs where many people read, or through some miracle, nap!

The Crow's Nest was a meeting place for many organized groups. As you can see, there are small vases with flowers. This is another one of those middle-of-the-night pictures. it was great because no one got into the shot, but not so great because you see only black reflections in the glass.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 8:52AM
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Sure looks like a comfortable place to hang out in

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 9:11AM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

Now - about our group. There is a forum very similar to the Garden Web forums; Cruise Critic is a forum for folks who cruise or want to cruise. It has several categories, but the most popular one is the Message Boards. That is where you can find out about or ask questions about ports of call, information about specific cruise lines, reviews, and the most popular one - Roll Calls.

A roll call is where folks "gather" to meet each other prior to a specific cruise. Each cruise line and each ship has its spot. When someone wants to meet others, you look for your sailing; or if not there, then create a roll call.

There is a lot of chatting about where you are from, whether you have been on that itinerary, what plans there might be in each port, etc. I have been a member there since December, 2003. I don't post a lot, for I have posted less than 2,000 times through the years. However, there are some posters who are posting almost daily and have tens of thousands of posts.

For this 42-day cruise, we had a lot of messages. Counting traveling companions, there were more than 100 people involved on our Roll Call. We had never been to Europe and Africa and wanted to take advantage of our time there, Karen got online and lined up at least 10 shore excursions. Then she posted all the important bits of information and asked if anyone on the roll call wanted to join us. On a couple of them, the response was huge and the original plan of one small bus, became one very large bus.

After many months of planning, we still needed to put names and faces together. A meet and greet was planned for the first full sea day. We met in The Crow's Nest, and since we were such a large group, beverages and breakfast treats were supplied by Holland America. (Holland America also hosted their own Facebook meeting.)

This group was wonderful, since we would be travel companions for a long trip and we would go ashore with several of the group many times, it was the perfect opportunity to make friends. It was great! No one person was in charge, there was one person who had contacted Holland America prior to sailing to ask for a reserved time and place. Not everyone who was on the roll call came to this meeting, but there was a decent size group.

We had been on other cruises when fewer than 10 people were on the roll call and the connections were not as good. If you want to look at some of what Cruise Critic is, there is a link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cruise Critic

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 9:13AM
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The " "knitters and knatters" group sound good to me, and I think your" Crow's Nest " photos are great.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 6:07PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

Crow's Nest dance floor in the middle of the night.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 6:16PM
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The crowsnest looks comfortable. I think the real crowsnest on ships pre cruiseships and radar was that inviting.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 6:53PM
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Yes, the Crows nest is on the upper part of a ship, and the look out point for sailors.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 7:31PM
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