Sunday, July 26, 2009

Voyage of the Vikings, Day 02 - At Sea off Nova Scotia

It's a foggy day on the Grand Banks, but I think it's getting brighter in the east.

Some of you may understand this allusion to another dismal day in Hamburg Cove. For the rest of you, just take my word; it's the curse of the weather gods.


A Foggy Morning Perspective

After the hurley burley of yesterday's embarkation experience, it seemed heavenly to have nothing/none/zero/nada commitments today. Just total relaxation.

What, one may ask, does one do to fill one's time during a sea day? Dunno - it just seems to fill itself.

First off, Holland America stole an hour from us when they set the clock ahead at 2am. Keith, of course, dutifully arose at 2 to reset his watch (and to visit the head, which he does every hour or two these days), then had difficulty getting back to sleep. He finally arose at 6, after a couple hours of fitful dozing, showered, shaved, dressed, and went up to the Lido for breakfast at 7.

Still no blankaty blank serving trays in the cafeteria. Head office policy, they say.

It's difficult to say where the time goes while you are is sipping coffee and staring at the water, but it does go by. Punctuated, in this case, by the dulcet tones of the fog horn every two minutes. We sailed across the Gulf of Maine overnight, and are sailing up the east coast of Nova Scotia today, but all we see is water; liquid under us, and vapor around us.

Our Route Around Nova Scotia


Morning Coffee

About 8:30, Kathy arose, showered, dressed, and joined Keith for breakfast. After another hour of eating, sipping, and wave watching, we descended to a lounge on the upper promenade deck named "Explorers", which houses a small library. Keith composed (someone has got to write these things) while Kathy read, and dozed. And we both kept an eye on the waves, just in case the captain should call on us for help driving the boat.

Speaking of the boat, this may be a good time to describe a few of it's features. Being an engineer, Keith always puts the numbers first. Displacement of the Maasdam is 55,000 tons. This number, BTW, is a measure of theoretical cargo volume, not weight, although, by coincidence the two measures are not too far different. The Maasdam is 720' long by 100' wide and is 13 stories tall, counting the observation deck above the Crow’s Nest. Detailed stats follow:

Maasdam Stats

The Numbers


Maasdam Ship Plan

Decks 1 through 3 are service decks where kitchens, laundry, stores, machinery, and, oh BTW, crew quarters are located.

Most of the passenger cabins are located on decks 4 through 6, along with laundromats (one on each deck), doctor's office, "hotel" offices, etc. The minimum cost cabin we paid for is sandwiched in the interior of the lowest of the passenger decks. We booked this cabin about 18 months ago. As the economy descended into the "U" bend last fall, and people stayed away in droves, the "!ist price" for this cabin fell like a stone. The first two times HA lowered the price, they were willing to re-book us at the lower price. The third time they balked, but agreed to upgrade us. As a result, our cabin has a window, so we can wake up in the morning and look out to see the fog. We are also close to an exit door, so we can conveniently walk out on deck to sniff the fog, as well as see it.


Lower Promenade Deck Plan


Early Morning on the Promenade Deck

Decks 7 and 8 are devoted to public infrastructure, including dining rooms (lower and upper, in the stern (back of the boat, for you lubbers)), the show stage with balcony, various lounges, bars, and shops, and, of course, the casino.


Kathy Explores the Casino

Decks 9 and 10 include the high rent district, (veranda suites), officer's quarters, and the bridge (the place where the captain drives the boat).

Deck 11, the Lido deck, incorporates the Lido cafeteria in the stern, the pool area amidships, and the fitness center in the bow (foreign territory to K&K).


Lido Pool

Deck 12 includes a really neat observation lounge forward (called the crows nest), and various sports facilities aft. In between is a retractable roof over the pool area below. Above the Crows Nest is an open observation deck for the hardy cruiser.

We began this post with a ramble about liesurely days at sea, then digressed to a description of the boat. Returning where we left off, late in the morning in the Explorers Lounge, Keith and Kathy completed the Day 1 text. Kathy then went to reconnoiter the casino.


Composing in the Library

About 11:30 we forced ourselves into the elevator, emerging at the Lido Cafeteria for lunch. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in the formal dining room, but we prefer the more casual atmosphere for breakfast and lunch. Keith loves to "graze".

Dinner is negotiated on a daily basis. Our first night we stayed in the Crow's Nest to view the departure from Boston, and to imbibe (ice water for Keith and a Mohito for Kathy), then ate in the cafeteria. Tonight the dress code is formal in the dining room and Kathy wanted to get dressed up, so Keith broke out his engineer's tuxedo (a new blue blazer). Keith took a formal oath when he retired, that he would never again wear a tie. He breaks that oath ocassionally, for Kathy, but not for Holland America. Opting for the retro look, Keith bought an ascot which he wore to dinner. He hid a real tie in his coat pocket, but the ascot passed muster as "formal" with the maitre-de, so the tie is going overboard.

And then to bed, for tomorrow is another day, same time, same station. Don't forget to tune in for the next exciting episode on the Voyage of the Vikings!

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