Vision of the Seas Voyage # 782
Denmark – Russia 11 Night Cruise
Can you believe that I have been on 3 cruises already? No… Me neither!
This cruise we visited 7 countries – not bad for an 11 day cruise right? These were Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Latvia, Estonia, Russia and Finland! I have dubbed this cruise the Musical cruise, because everywhere I went there were street performers filling the air with their traditional and some not-so-traditional music! There have been musical mini caravans, soloists (mostly kids) playing violins, accordions and guitars, small ensembles with trombones, tubas, trumpets, French horns, euphoniums and an actual choir with a band and dancers singing traditional songs.
My favourite port this cruise was Warnemünde in Germany. After 2 ½ hours of Gangway, I set out with Marli (cabin mate and fellow SA Photog) to explore the small, yet festive town. There are a lot of shops and café’s around the pier/harbor, which was just a 5 minute walk from where we were docked. We giggled at a flamingo boat set against the magnificence of the Vision of the Seas and stood bewildered, staring at a McDonald’s that has a “walk-through” if you’re too lazy to step inside! It was a stunning day and we spent a good while chilling on the beach, digging our toes into the sand and doing some good ‘ol people-watching. There really wasn’t that much to see, so we popped into the information centre for some ideas. It was suggested that we take the train to visit Rostock, about 20 minutes away. Ooooo! Outing time! We managed to get off at the right stop and wandered around the old town before heading to the shopping stretch. We bought some gummy bears that were absolutely delicious and gobbled a whole packet between the two of us – Mmmmmm!! All day long I had been on the look-out for a phone box to call my wunderbarer freundin, Vanessa and just before we returned to the ship I finally spotted one! It was SO cool to say “was geht ab?” to my favourite German, especially since we were in the same country for once!
Another port we visited was Riga in Latvia and it was here that I had my first “character experience”. There are a bunch of costumes that we wear in order to dress-up as different characters for guests to pose with. Just another (genius or devious?) way to tempt guests into having their picture taken. So I began my day off as a “Peasant girl”. It was actually pretty fun, but by the end of the session (2 ½ hours) I was finding it a bit challenging to be as cheerful as I was in the beginning…
It’s quite an impressive city, with a spectacular bridge that greets you as you walk from the pier to the town. As it was the 23rd June (Summer Solstice), there was a big summer party planned. This festival is actually quite a big deal and the residents get 4 days off to celebrate. I think they must have been celebrating pretty hard, because the town was absolutely dead until about 2pm! Everywhere had been decorated with tree branches and flowers as well as cow, sailboat and sheep sculptures made by nailing together small planks of wood and decorated with flower wreaths. I can only assume that these were meant to be burnt in the evening as part of the celebration. I wish we could have stayed to party with the Latvians!
On our second night in St Petersburg, there was a barbeque on the back deck for the crew. The sticky ribs made me a little homesick – I miss Ribs night at Homewoods! That evening there was also an all-crew party. Lots of music and dancing and a few beers resulted in fun times all round!
Funny guest story: This cruise we had a lot of Americans on board and they made some funny comments that I HAVE to mention…
- I was taking photos of the town square in Visby when I overheard 2 American ladies chatting to a Swedish man while they petted his dog. The conversation went something like this: “Oh I love dogs.” “Oh do you?” “Yes, we have a lot of dogs in America!” So just in case you weren’t sure, there are dogs in America! I think maybe you had to be there for the story to be funny, but it’s become a bit of a joke in the Photo department so I thought I would share!
- My AMS (Assistant Manager of Sales) Nikola actually told me this story. He went on a tour to Berlin and during the bus ride the tour guide informed the guests that they would be driving through some farmlands and that they might see some deer crossing t he road. A little while later a lady (American of course) shouts out: “I saw it, I saw it!” Yes, she saw a deer and I’ll admit that I would have been on the excited side too. This next part is where it gets funny. A few minutes later (obviously still thrilled by the sight of the deer) she very over excitedly shouts “I see cows!” “Yes Ma’am” the tour guide patiently replied, “I said we would be driving past farms.” Not to be deterred by his placid response she continued on the same excited note, “There are brown ones and black ones! I love cows! I like to “Moo!” at them.” How nice for her. It’s important for everyone to have an interest, don’t you think?
Highlight of the cruise: Having music everywhere!
P.S. I got to spend a few precious hours in Stockholm, Sweden this cruise. I hope I get a chance to explore some more, as it’s amazing! So beautiful and clean and so much to see! Marli and I took great pleasure in viewing one building in particular… Here’s a parting snap shot for you! If you don’t understand Afrikaans, you might want to translate “kak” into English!