Haynes World - ships, ferries, a laugh on the ocean wave, and other interesting things...

Friday, 12 August 2011

Summer 2011 Part 9

VISTAMAR - Day at sea

Thursday 14th July
We have a day at sea, sailing south towards Cuxhaven, at the mouth of the River Elbe. Early morning tea and coffee was available each day but we took meals in the Restaurant at our assigned table, and after breakfast today we had to prepare for Lifeboat Drill at 10 a.m. Every passenger had to stand outside his or her cabin wearing a life jacket, and then wait to be taken to muster stations outside on the deck. There was a roll-call of names and cabin numbers, the usual instruction of what to do in the case of emergency, and then we were dismissed.

4 Deck atrium

Small but perfectly formed

Lots of greenery throughout the ship

Lifting the spirits?

We didn’t want to be involved in the Keep Fit so-called entertainment so decided to investigate the free beer and music (the 4 piece Convoy Band again) to be held out on the Lido Deck by the pool. By this time the weather was deteriorating, as we were heading into the stretch of water between Norway and Denmark (the Skagerrak), and it was windy and cool. The flapping flags above the deck were rigid with the strength of the wind, and the ship was moving a lot, so even the band decided to move inside. Some hardy souls continued to enjoy their drinks out on deck, but it wasn’t comfortable so having filled our lungs with just enough fresh air, we went inside too. I was ill for a few minutes (what a nuisance) but recovered in time to walk into lunch.

Restaurant lunch was very poorly attended, and there were sympathetic looks and remarks from the staff. I took to my bed and had a wonderful deep sleep and met my chums for Afternoon Tea. We had all missed Playing Darts and Shuffleboard but felt better for a rest. As forecast, the ship’s motion lessened; there was still a swell but no visibility.

Hospital waiting area

Card room

Afternoon Tea in the Musiksalon was really well attended so obviously everyone had managed to get back on their feet again ready to enjoy more wonderful cakes and pastries – the Feasting part of the trip continues. The Boutique staff brought some of their goods for sale into the Musiksalon where we were all queuing for dainty food, so I bought a reminder of the fact that VISTAMAR is registered in Venezia – a small item of Murano glass that couldn’t be ignored. Postcards, key rings and photographs of the passengers were on sale in the Reception Foyer at the foot of the atrium, so it felt as if the ship had come alive again with so many people around.


The next Entertainment started soon after tea, which was a Lecture about the North Sea with slide pictures. The language difference didn’t seem to make a problem as we listened and saw pictures and graphs about tides, sea beds, birds, animals, the coastlines, weather and currents. It was all very interesting until the moment we were instructed about the life cycle of the Danish worm that lives on their beaches. That became so detailed and rather horrifying because of what it eats and produces, that we vowed never to go barefoot on a Danish beach, ever.

Captain Antonio Mattera had invited all passengers to a Cocktail Party so it was posh frock for me and smart gear for everyone as we sat with a glass of fizz in hand in the Musiksalon as the Cruise Director introduced the Captain, who made a speech and in turn introduced his senior Officers. Fifteen minutes later everyone was heading down to the Restaurant for Gala Dinner, in a very happy and jolly atmosphere.

Gala dinner

Gala dinner

The food was enjoyable and then, just before dessert was served, the lights were turned out. Music started, napkins were waved, and yes, the waiters walked in with cakes and fireworks blazing. The catering staff appeared and were introduced en masse to great applause, and then they all went back to work, the lights were turned up and we were served with Baked Alaska. It may have been rather predictable, but there’s nothing wrong with that on some occasions.

Music was provided back in the Musiksalon and then it was Show Time again, with international songs and Anton of the Tyrol appearing with other singers. Later there was music for dancing, Snacks were served to everyone sitting in and around the room, and there was a chance to see a Cabaret Show up in the Veranda Club.

One of the suites

Another view of a suite

Keeping tabs on the passengers

We went for a walk out on the damp decks,

Caring for passengers...

and found out that our speed today had been between 10 and 12 knots. At 7,500 tons this is a small ship and vulnerable to low pressure weather fronts (again/still) as well as sea conditions. Earlier we had been told about future cruises and itineraries for VISTAMAR and how she was going on a wonderful trip across to South America leaving just before Christmas, but I can’t quite see the appeal of this small vessel going across the Atlantic from Tenerife .

I really like this ship and the way she is run and I would certainly consider sailing on her in warmer waters, perhaps on one of her short Mediterranean or Aegean port-intensive cruises. This ship VISTAMAR has an original style and I certainly enjoyed my short cruise on her.

Tomorrow we are due to arrive early in Cuxhaven and then go to Heligoland, so that promises to be interesting.

Ships seen: none

To be continued…

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