Posted by: Jerry Garrett | April 23, 2012

Day 8: Adventure of the Seas Trans Atlantic Cruise

OFF THE COAST OF AFRICA

“Land ho” ?

135,000 tons of fun in the sun! (Jerry Garrett Photos)

I wish. Our fifth straight day at sea just ended, and we are entering our sixth and final day on the waves. Land is supposed to come into view Monday night, when we approach the Canary Islands, just off the coast of North Africa.

Even the most stalwart cruiser, I believe, would agree six consecutive days at sea is quite enough.

It’s not that we’ve been bored. The crew has done a rather heroic job, I think, of coming up with things for us to do: trivia games, a pool party, a midnight buffet, games, raffles, language classes, history lectures, and even a belly flop contest in main pool. (Trying it in the kiddie pool might have been more challenging! But I digress…) A highlight was the crew talent show. What a talented bunch of folks. And that doesn’t even include the waiter who, for a few minutes after his shift, softly plays the piano like Harry Connick Jr. in a deserted bar.

This two-week voyage from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Malaga, Spain, is a real departure from Adventure of the Seas’ usual duty – which is comprised of week-long cruises in either the Caribbean in winter, or Mediterranean in summer. Hence, some of the need to come up with novel ways to fill the extra week onboard. You can’t just do everything twice!

The offerings have been more than I expected, frankly. Everything I had heard about re-positioning cruises suggested that the ship might not be operating with a full programme of entertainment and amenities. Because, really, the main job here is to get the ship from one area of duty to another. The prospect that some passengers might be interested in going along is something of a bonus. In fact, some re-positioning cruises might go half full – if that.

But not this cruise. Royal Caribbean threw an attractive price out there, and the ship sold out.

“Every cabin is booked,” Capt. Ole-Johan Gronhaug confirmed.

That doesn’t mean a full load of 3,200-odd passengers; there are actually about 2,800 paying customers onboard (I’m one!). There are apparently about 400 solo travelers.

Capt. Gronhaug said Royal Caribbean started re-positioning cruises in 1985. They have been slowly growing in popularity, it seems. Adventure of the Seas, which launched in 2001, spent its early life entirely in the Caribbean; it started being re-positioned to Europe for summer about three years ago. The response has been good, and the sailings in each region are usually well subscribed.

The ship is going somewhere night and day, every week, all year.

I asked Capt. Gronhaug an off-the-wall question: Ships don’t have odometers, do they? Can you tell how far Adventure of the Seas has traveled so far in its service life?

“No,” he answered, “but you could probably figure it out.” We made a few rough calculations of the eight years of exclusively Caribbean routes and the last three years of Mediterranean routes, plus the re-positioning voyages each way.

I reckon this ship has, as of this sailing, traveled between 600,000 and 700,000 nautical miles. (When Adventure of the Seas goes into drydock in 2014 for a scheduled tuneup, she could have between 850,000 and 1,000,000 miles on her!)

That’s like around the world at least 24 times over, isn’t it? 25,000 miles divided by… Well, those are the type of things you do to keep yourself busy after six straight days at sea!

Jerry Garrett

April 22, 2012

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