We are sailing North West and although it is more North than West, it still means that every day the sun rises a little bit later. We also went over the Greenwich Prime Meridian. Thus we entered another time zone which meant that last night we put the clocks back one hour. As a result we are now on British Time. Everybody who has travelled knows about the issue with time changes and most cruises have one or several of them. From one hour in Caribbean between the USA and all the Islands in the summer time; to losing a complete day when on a world cruise.
This around Africa cruise is more of a vertical than a horizontal cruise and that limits the time changes needed to stay on local time when in port. From Rotterdam it was one hour forward to Greece and then another hour forward to the Suez Canal. When going south the time stayed the same and when finally heading west the hours went back. Since Capetown we have had 2 hours back and that will be it for the time being. Once we are nearing the Continent again we will have to put the clock forward again.
On a world cruise putting the clock back is an almost daily occurrence when the ship is on a crossing. That is the good part as every evening there is an hour more to enjoy. The fact that you lose a complete day is hardly noticed. Going the other way is much more irritating as you do gain a day but nearly every night on a crossing is an hour shorter. Hence Holland America World cruises go west when you gain hours, not lose them. It was tried in the past to go the other way but the feedback was not very positive. Not from the guests and certainly not from the crew. There are still cruise company’s out there that go “the wrong way around” and they must fill the ships otherwise they would not do it but it must call for very empty ships in the evening and/or very quiet mornings as nobody wants to get out of bed.
To make things as best as possible we try to get the most out of these hours. If we can wrangle it the hour back is during formal nights, our crew shows are during hour back nights, and so are show buffets. We had the Indonesian crew show during the previous hour back and so last night, late-nite-comedy was scheduled in. It still gave the option for everybody to be in bed by 11 pm. – new time- if they wanted to go. If most guests go, I do not know as I was in bed by that time. I normally get up at 06.00 to review the day’s trainings and by 06.30 it was still very quiet in the Lido. Maybe a lot of people stayed out for Happy Hour which runs four times a day, including at 11.30 pm. offering the 2nd drink for $ 1,–.
What is also different on a longer cruise are the lectures and the entertainment. During a 3 month cruise you have to offer new things and thus entertainers fly in and join the ship in various ports of call. Same for the lecturers although if a lecturer has a large repertoire than he/she can fill a whole cruise. You have to see that in context I suppose. I was a bit bemused the other day to see a lecture about penguins while we were sailing in the tropical waters of the equator. You seldom see penguins there. But it was part of a series on Nature & the Sea so it did make sense in the context. Today the lectures were about Woman Pirates and Wildlife of the Tropical Islands, while the Shorex Team and the Location Guide got everybody informed about the Canary Islands.
Looking through the daily program there is another significant item. More and more extensive – fitness options. 07.00 sunshine stretch, 07.30 Fab abs, 08.00 Tai Chi, 10.00 Healthy habits, 11.00 Spa Seminar, 11.00 Acupuncture, 11.00 Hot Stones, 11.30 Dance Class. And then it starts all over again in the mid afternoon. If you do not want to be fit, the only places you can hide is at the Lectures or in the computer classes. Or go to High Tea in the dining room.
Today we had mixed day at sea with a bit of everything. The winds varied and the cloudiness varied. We are now nearing the continent again having passed over the Basin of Guinee and tomorrow morning we will be sailing past Harper which is in South East Monrovia. From there the land will move away from the course line again but our courses will now follow the coast of West Africa until we can turn to the north but that will be another day.