What do you do on a sea day that follows visits to six new countries over a span of nine days?
Nothing. You do nothing at all.
To be fair, too, the Freestyle Guide didn’t have a ton of activities for us to choose from anyways – a seminar with the captain, a trivia session, a wine and chocolate tasting – but after such a port intensive trip, with a week since our last sea day, we just wanted to relax.
And I had plans to do things. I did. I wanted to make a firm Paris itinerary so we didn’t spend four days gawking at the Eiffel Tower (which, if you know me well enough, you’d know was an entirely possible scenario). I wanted to read one of the books I’d brought with. I wanted to make a video of the public areas of the ship and maybe attempt the ropes course.
I did none of those things. Not one. In fact, I don’t even know where my day went. It’s amazing how you can spend a day doing nothing and how it becomes the quickest day ever.
To be fair, we didn’t do nothing. We just…didn’t do much. We were up early enough…8:30 am maybe. The high of the day was listed as 50 degrees on the Freestyle Guide, so I knew we were destined for a day of indoor fun. We ate breakfast every day in the Garden Café, so we figured with nothing else to do and no where else to be, we’d try something new and we had breakfast in the dining room at Savor. The quality of the food was generally on par with that of the buffet, but at the very least, we had different options to choose from.
Open-Faced Smoked Salmon Bagel
Traditional Buttermilk Pancakes
Omelet to Order with Hash Brown Potatoes
After breakfast, we headed towards the shops, where there was a big crowd hovering in the middle over watches and Russian souvenirs. I don’t know why people go crazy over watches on cruises. I never have. You can get better quality watches for cheaper at TJ Maxx or Nordstrom Rack, but every time there’s a watch sale, it may as well be Black Friday on a cruise ship. Oh, and can we talk about how they only had souvenirs from Russia on a cruise that visited six different countries? Royal Caribbean still carries the crown here – when we sailed the Med with them two years ago, they had different souvenirs from every country we visited.
We took the first of many siestas after our excursion to the shops. The television channels were limited (better than the selection on Royal Caribbean, worse than the selection on Carnival), with MSNBC, a couple of European news and sports channels, two kids channels and then two channels, one of US television favorites and one with US movie favorites, that cycled through the same movies and television episodes all cruise long.
Norwegian doesn’t have laundry facilities onboard the Getaway, a disappointment given how new the ship is, so the options for doing a little bit of laundry were limited to having it done by the ship or doing it Pinterest style – in a freezer bag with a small bottle of detergent that we had brought with us. It wasn’t ideal, but it got the job done.
The rest of the day passed by in a blur of packing, naps and random strolls around the Waterfront. And, speaking of the Waterfront, have we discussed the see through panels that allow you to look down over the side of the ship down to the water? I loved them.
When it came time for dinner, we only had one thing in mind: one last round of noodle soups at Shanghai’s, where the line stretched through the casino before the noodle bar even opened because the food was that good. We were seated up at the bar overlooking the kitchen, which provided ample entertainment as we waited for our spring rolls and fried rice.
Pork Pot Stickers and Vegetable Spring Rolls
Vegetarian Fried Rice
Beef Chow Fun
Char Siu with Rice Noodles
Glass Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables
After dinner, we had reservations for the final performance of Million Dollar Quartet, a Broadway musical about a snowy night in December 1956 and an impromptu jam sesh between four musicians you may or may not have heard of – Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and some dude named Elvis. The cast was really great and the show was a perfect way to cap off our cruise.
With one last sunset on the Waterfront, we headed back to the room to finish packing. Well, Mom and Stephanie packed. I’m completely incapable of packing to go home until the last minute. Come to think of it, I’m also completely incapable of packing to go on vacation until the last minute, either (which is probably why I’m sitting here writing this at 12:30 in the morning instead of packing for the Carnival Journeys cruise we’re leaving for the day after tomorrow). I suppose it’s part of the anticipation: packing to leave means vacation is happening, which means all of that anticipation is coming to an end. And packing to go home is just depressing. I’d much rather watch the sunset. Or write in this little blog thing here.
When I couldn’t avoid it anymore, I packed, carefully packing my moderate weather Baltics clothes on the bottom of my suitcase and my warm weather Paris clothes on top – between the weather we left in Stockholm and the weather we’d fly into the next day, we were going to see a 20+ degree swing in temps, and I sure hoped that the air conditioning in Paris would be chilled and waiting for me (spoiler alert: it wasn’t – apparently the French don’t believe in air conditioning). And once everything was folded and packed and all of the suitcases were weighed to ensure none exceeded the 23kg weight limit SAS would impose when we checked in, Mom went to bed and Stephanie and I went off to have one last adventure.
One of the more unique attractions onboard the Norwegian Getaway is the ice bar. Ice bars are native to Sweden (and are especially popular in Scandinavia), which made it a fitting way to end our trip (except, you know, much like the ship, this one was South Beach themed). The cover charge is $19.95 and includes two drinks from a preset menu with five alcoholic options and two non-alcoholic options. All drinks were premixed, so nothing fancy, and there was no waiver to the cover charge (even if you couldn’t drink because you were on, say, some heavy decongestants – but if there was a loophole to it, Stephanie would have found it!).
All in all, though, it was an odd experience. There was only one other group there, the drinks weren’t great and with all of the random art deco accents, I felt like we were the last people left after a rave…in a walk in freezer. But you know. New ship. New things to do. We’d try just about anything once.
And after we channeled our inner ice queens, we headed back to the room. This trip was beyond any expectations I could have come up with and all of my worries that it wouldn’t live up to our Mediterranean trips were completely unfounded. The Baltics are so different from the Mediterranean – rich in history and steeped in a different brand of culture. I couldn’t believe everything I’d seen and done and I was so sad that it was coming to an end.