Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Cruise Diary : The Baltic As The New Mediterranean

During our recent Baltic cruise I kept a diary. Here is just one entry - it was a day at sea, a day when you have time to sit down and watch the waves pass by.

Cruise Diary : Wednesday 8th June 2016

I never realised that the Baltic Sea was so big. After passing through the Karra's and the Skarra's yesterday, under the bridges and between the wind farms, it has opened up into a sea worthy of the name. If you took the Baltic, fed it up a bit, turned it on its side and added a hefty dose of global warming you might finish up with the Mediterranean. And then Riga might become the new Rome, and Vilnius the new Venice. 

Life on board the ship at sea remains both quiet and restful. For some reason the ship seems less crowded than such very large ships often do, and H speculates daily on the possibility of unsold cabins. The weather is pleasant but is hardly sun-bathing weather and only the most hardy take to the sun beds up on the lido deck, and I assume the rest remain in their cabins or encased in a good woolly jumper on their balconies. Meal times always brings cruise passengers out - like moths to a 100 watt bulb - but whatever delights await them in the various self service restaurants seem to be dimmed and less attractive than normal. For breakfast you normally need a strategy if you are going to claim a table to eat your corn flakes from: some prearranged battle plan that involves a form of medical screening to identify those who will need to retire to their cabins in short order so you can claim their table and defend it against all comers. But this time we always get a table with ease, indeed we are often faced with the dilemma of having to choose which table is most suitable.

Today I finally managed to persuade the on-board authorities that Isobel really is my wife, and the same wife that has accompanied me on every cruise I have ever been on and, therefore, is entitled to the same number of loyalty points as myself. I have now got a printed sheet recognising her status as a frequent floater along with a voucher which can be exchanged for a free glass of champagne and a pair of slippers. Ah, the rewards of loyalty. 

Tomorrow will be our first day ashore, and Helsinki awaits us. Or perhaps, if climate change continues as it is going, it will be Halkidiki that awaits us.


  1. Sounds not quite as you expected but very nice...

  2. "Frequent floater?" I'm assuming that clever phrase is yours, and that they don't really call it that...

  3. Congrats on your loyalty points. Free champagne AND slippers? What a weird combo. I'll take the champagne please!
    I flew back from Japan over the Baltic in....1999 I think it was, and it seemed to go on forever. After weeks of flying over Siberia (fascinating - lots of meandering rivers and oxbow lakes) we arrived at the Baltic and I thought aha! we're nearly home. But not a bit of it.

  4. Wow...I love that view! I could sit there a few days and soak that in for sure!


Black Friar

For a time, during the late 1970s, I had a job leading parties of foreign visitors on tours of historic London pubs. One of my favourite sto...