Is Three Company or a Crowd?

  • Day 17, Voyage of the Vikings 2019
  • Thursday, Aug. 15, At Sea, North Sea

At the midpoint of our 35-day Voyage of the Vikings, my two sisters and I have settled comfortably into our inside cabin (category J, forward on deck one). We briefly considered booking an ocean-view cabin but decided we would spend the savings on shore excursions instead. I don’t think we have missed the window, as we essentially only sleep, shower and dress in the cabin.

The sleeping arrangements were not what we expected. Nine years ago when we sailed three to a cabin on the Amsterdam, the seat of the sofa flipped to a comfortable mattress. This current cruise originally was booked on the Rotterdam, sister to the Amsterdam, and we expected the same. The cruise was changed to the Zuiderdam, and the beds have changed, too.

Our cabin has two options for the third bed: a drop-down bunk and a foldout sofa “cot” with a thin mattress. Either would be fine for children. Not so much for sisters who sometimes get a senior discount without asking.

To add to the challenge, when the main beds are separated into singles, the open cot blocks easy access to the bathroom and blocks the desk with its storage and single chair.

Eloise took the first rotation and opted for the bunk. It was awkward to access but had the more comfortable mattress, especially after our cabin steward added a foam pad. Of course, it also meant no one could sit up in bed and with the ladder between the lower beds, they too were challenging to get in and out of.

Knowing the ship isn’t full, I escalated the issue at the front desk, asking if there was another room that had a better sofa bed that didn’t block the bathroom. Every time they came back to say we already had the largest non-suite cabin. I patiently repeated that we didn’t want large, we wanted comfortable. I knew several other passengers had been moved to better cabins, but we didn’t get anywhere on that front.

We reached an acceptable solution by moving the single beds closer together and using the foldout sofa, but switching its thin mattress with the bunk mattress and foam pad. Our cabin stewards have to switch them every morning and evening, but you no longer feel the sofa’s metal structure through the mattress. And we have a narrow passageway to the bathroom.

Otherwise, three is not a crowd. We each packed sparingly, knowing that there wouldn’t be lots of closet space. Our only drawers are small ones in the bedside tables. Of course our free laundry meant we could bring less, and we send a bag every other day. Turnaround is in less than 24 hours. And we get along remarkably well, going our own ways during the day. Our mother would say someone must have raised us right.

Our biggest sharing challenge has been the Internet plan. When one person logs out, the system doesn’t always acknowledge it, so there has some inadvertent bumping a sister off. Morning and evening are popular times. I’m sure I have hogged it, trying to keep up with my blog. Eloise solved the problem yesterday by purchasing a second plan.

All three of us are booked on the 128-day 2021 world cruise, but in two cabins. Three is company for 35 days – for much longer it would be a crowd.

As if our cabin stewards didn’t have enough to do, they worked in the wee hours to create a towel-animal wonderland around the Lido pool. Thanks to sister Elaine for the photo gallery!

My reward for getting up early was a spectacular sunrise.

To see the Zuiderdam main kitchen earlier today you might wonder if there is any cooking going on at all. We wandered through empty food preparation, serving and dishwashing areas as the executive chef described activities currently hidden from our view. I’m sure it is all in the name of health and food safety. But I do miss the days when the food tours showed chefs in the midst of preparing our meals.

To make up for the lack of activity, our tour leaders gave us printouts describing what takes place in each area.

Executive Chef Pillai did share some good news: Yesterday in Bergen he procured fresh cod. It was the highlight of dinner tonight, and everyone at our table loved it. The chef also loaded up on fresh salmon, cheese and sausage.

We have loaded new food along our journey, some of it flow to a port to meet us. That was the case in Iceland, where we replenished with fresh berries, asparagus and fresh herbs. Rotterdam will be a major port for reprovisioning.

During the tour I also learned that the demographics of cruisers determine the menus. More Australians mean more lamb and less prime rib. Cruises with lots of Vancouver residents have more interest in Chinese and other Asian dishes. I’m guessing everyone likes chocolate.