Sixteen Days flew by just like that, and suddenly our transatlantic cruise was docking in Copenhagen, and it was time to change our mindset and get ready to explore the Baltics. So what was different about the two cruises? Well to begin with, a 16-night transatlantic sailing typically attracts a different type of passenger. Often, those with more time, and more money. Usually these are older cruisers. I don’t want to say that they were a whiny, complaining, self-entitled bunch… so I won’t say anything. They were also overwhelmingly American. The Baltic sailing was much more international with a lot more Europeans, Asians, and children on board. It made for a completely different vibe.
The transatlantic cruise was 16 days of relaxation, interspersed with ports we had (mostly) been to before. The Baltic sailing was to be seven new countries in a row. Each with new sites, culture and candy to explore. Most importantly, our friends Ben and Caitlin were joining us for this sailing, and we were looking forward to seeing them.
So what’s it like to spend all this time cruising? Well, a picture is worth a thousand words.
On the transition day, we took a local bus into Copenhagen to do some exploring while the ship transitioned off the first batch of people, and welcomed the new cruisers on. We really wanted to get inside City Hall, but it was closed for a wedding. Fortunately, we would be spending a few days here with Ben & Caitlin after our cruise of the Baltics. We did see the famous Round Tower, and found a lovely park in which to stroll around.
With time running out until our ship sailed, we made the decision to go see the Little Mermaid statue. This statue was a gift to the city of Copenhagen to commemorate the works of Hans Christian Andersen. By the time we got there, we had about 20 minutes to snap a photo, and find the city bus back to the ship. A panicky crisis was averted when we saw a bus labeled “Free shuttle to the cruise port.” We were able to relax enough to get some tourist-free photos of the Little Mermaid, and enjoy a nice leisurely ride back to the ship where we made it with seven minutes to spare before “All Aboard.” Bye Copenhagen. See you in ten days!
Back on board, we got settled into our new cabin. Originally, we had arranged to stay in the same cabin for the entire sailing. But when the price for our Baltic cruise dropped dramatically, Royal Caribbean offered us a free stateroom upgrade. Our “guaranteed ocean view” cabin ended up being an extra-large balcony cabin all the way up on deck 10 (right next to the suites). Usually, we stay down in the depths of the ship, so it was weird being so close to the top. We both decided that while the views from the floor-to-ceiling windows were spectacular, we prefer being lower down so we can get some exercise on the stairwells. In fact, in 26 days of cruising, we used the elevators exactly once (by accident).
Another factor that made the Baltic cruise a little more fun was that we had at last achieved diamond status with Royal Caribbean. What did that mean for us? It means some free photos, some free internet, and various other discounts. Best of all, it means free drinks. The free drink menu, however, is very limited. For example, you can get tequila, but not triple sec, so t-e-c-h-n-i-c-a-l-l-y, you can’t get a margarita. Fortunately we found a bartender who was willing to make me my daily ‘rita for free, and they were damn good!
More importantly, Ben and Caitlin were on board at last. Let the frivolity commence!