Boarding the Ship and First Day Aboard

I’ve gone on two cruises before, both were on Royal Caribbean. On those, they funneled us through lines, made us fill out papers, took our pictures, then handed us a sea pass. On MSC the sea passes are in the rooms for us to find when we arrive. There are other small differences which made the first day a little bewildering and overwhelming. On the first day, the ship feels like a maze. I don’t yet know how to get from one end to the other. It will only take a day or two to sort out, but the first day is always long. The difference that is going to have the biggest impact on me is that MSC has a much stricter limit on data usage even for the highest levels of internet access. I’m not going to be able to blog as I go the way I did earlier, which makes me sad. I was enjoying that process quite a bit. I may still be able to blog words. In fact this post is a test to see how much data is used when I upload a blog post full of words.

This isn’t a particularly good picture of the ship. I took it through the window of a shuttle bus and it was raining. But it was the only real view I got of the ship before boarding. Perhaps there will be better photography opportunities later.
Right off my stateroom balcony was a view of the German Naval Yard, which I found interesting because there was a ship docked there.

One of the nice things about being part of a large conference group who are all wearing badges, we can identify each other in the crowds and help each other get oriented to the ship. It was from a fellow staff member that I learned where to find the little maps of the ship. Then I was able to walk both of the through decks to orient myself. On a cruise ship there are only a couple of decks where it is possible to walk from the front of the ship to the back of the ship. Most of the decks don’t go all the way through without obstruction. And sometimes the routes are … odd. For example: the dining room where we eat dinner is on deck 6. However the only way to get to it is to use the aft elevators or stairs. This means that if you’re in the fore, you have to use deck 5, 7, or 14 to transit to the aft of the ship and then use elevators or stairs to get to the dining room. Once I learn where things are, it isn’t a problem, but on the first day it is confusing.

Once the ship leaves port, the feeling of being misplaced/confused/lost subsides a bit. I’m not sure why that is, but somehow being under way changes the feeling. And then we have our first writing class of the trip and having all of the writers gathered together is even more reassuring. Today was the first day when part of my brain started freaking out because I’m so far away from my home. Being with the other writers sets that aside and gives me new thoughts to think. Of course the down side is that when I go to bed, my brain keeps thinking them, which is how I end up awake at 2:18 am wondering how things are going at home and writing up the rest of a scattered blog post. I’m afraid I won’t be editing these travel posts as carefully as I try to do usually. I feel fortunate to find brain to write them at all.