Sunday, July 3, 2011

Honeymoon Day 5 – June 5 – Baltic Sea

We had breakfast delivered to the room at 9am, which was a bit too early, because the knock on the door ended up being our wake-up call. Jeff and I weren’t thrilled with the breakfast – the coffee is not very good (Jeff still drinks it, though I’ve given up on it completely) – though the espresso is alright. Luckily there is a huge breakfast buffet available also, so there are lots of other options.

We started unpacking, but at 10am, there was a safety drill, so we put on our lifejackets and headed out. Instead of having a particular area, everyone just went to the third floor and half the people stood on the left side of the boat and half on the right side of the boat. I must have forgotten when we left the room that we were on a Baltic cruise and not a Caribbean one, because I wore a little white dress, and was pretty cold out on the deck – oops! The safety drill was definitely more chaotic than others I’ve been on – people were blowing their safety whistles and joking around. They did read the safety information in 6 or 7 languages, though, so I suppose there’s a limit to how long you can expect to keep people’s attention. Towards the end of the last announcement, people began to wander back in.

We finished unpacking back in our room – it’s so nice to have everything laid out. Although, since we’re traveling for a month, we have quite a few things, and the 14 hangers available in the room doesn’t quite do it – even for just my dresses and shirts. But we have a little vanity area, and a desk and couch, and a second little desk, which is much more spreading-out room than you could usually expect on a cruise, which is really nice.

Our first real stop outside of our room was at the Luminosa Club for cocktails with the Captain of the ship. We went in, and they served champagne – which kept being refilled – not our usual pre-lunch plan. They also had really cute little hors d’oeuvres. The captain stop by our table and introduced himself and said hello, which was really nice. We also met Rebekah – one of the English hosts on the cruise. There are about 2300 people on the cruise, and 39 of them are American. Eighty people in total are native English speakers, though about half of the people on the ship probably speak English, Rebekah guessed. Also, the ship translates everything into seven languages or so, and if you’re not covered by one of these, you get lumped in with “English” also – so all-in-all, Rebekah is responsible for about 200 people. It’s kind of funny to be such a minority on the boat (part of the 2% American population), but have such personalized attention. Rebekah greeted us, told us about the ship, and gave us a map of Tallinn. She also offered to try to move us to a table for two at dinner, since we’re on our honeymoon, and we gladly accepted. Rebekah definitely knows and recognizes us now, and often says hi or brings us extra information in English. After the cocktail reception, which went from 11:30am until about 12:30pm, Jeff and I decided we should probably get some food in our stomachs, so we filled up at the buffet.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksWe spent all of the hours between lunch and dinner just reading and napping, which are two of our favorite activities on cruises. I’m now reading “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” which is about an African-American woman whose cells were used to create the first immortal cell line in the 1950’s – HeLa cells – her cells continue to be the most common used, and have been central to countless medical discoveries, but she never knew anything about it, and her children didn’t learn about it until almost 25 years after the fact. The book is about the science behind the cells as well as the personal story of Henrietta Lacks and her family, and it’s really interesting. Highly recommended!

We had our first “dinner for two,” and even though we do like our table-mates, it’s really nice to have that time to ourselves. Also, it was formal dinner night, so it was extra romantic, with candles burning on every table.

After dinner, we decided to continue our reading day. It’s a bit chilly, so we brought our blanket our on the balcony and stayed there reading until late, with the exception of one late-night pizza run.

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