Quarters

Unflattering but fair (most of the other photos feature The Lovely One) — this is me and a towel monkey. Please contemplate the cheesy art (apologies, artist) and the chocolate coins that comprise the monkeyʼs eyes.

Janet in the narrow lounge area before the door to the balcony (behind curtains).

Having promised you information and description on our cabin (and having written 1500 words yesterday, a bit on the high side for my modest ambitions), my best plan for todayʼs post seemed to be to follow that promise.

When we were on the Westerdam in the Caribbean years ago, enjoying our first experience with a balcony “stateroom,” the space felt huge (especially in contrast to our decade-old recollections of the Carnival interior bunk-bedded closet in which Harry Potter might well feel uncomfortably at home under the stairs). As we entered our assigned Oosterdam room, after only a brief holding session on the Lido deck, pleased to discover our big bags in the hall by the door, the chamber felt… cramped. I think the picture below gives the appropriate effect.

Alternatively, Holland America has a 360° tour of such rooms here (you will have to click on the “Accommodations” tab) which gives a somewhat different sensation (hint: ours was a “Deluxe Verandah,” I guess). Having tried the “tour” before we concluded our booking process, I found the room nothing like what I had expected once we were onboard and in the room on Sunday, September 12.

Go ahead, take a look; itʼs free. Just choose the correct ship and kind of room from the menus.

Looking into the room from our door — the corridor effect is created by the bathroom to the right. Check out the narrow passage between bedfoot and wall (in which I am standing with monkey towel above)!

The view Janet has in the photo above — from the glass door to the balcony. (The towel animal on the bed is a doggie!)

The seating area between the bed and the balcony door. Effectively, my view from the towel monkey.

Nope, not telling. The toilet.

Compare (or contrast) that “tour” with the photos I took of our actual room. The perspective and viewing point for the surround-experience tour appears to be by the corner of the bed, an interesting choice since that hides the fact that the foot of the bed (two singles put together making a very large queen, which we appreciated) is only about two feet or a little more from the wall. And the couch area (with desk and TV across from it), which looks so large in the video, is only about six feet long from the bed to the door/windows. Furthermore, as you can see in my pictures, our desk and TV set up were reversed from the tour (and our artwork was pretty cheesy — our reaction to the statuary and other decorations around the whole ship, actually*).

However, I dontʼ mean to complain (Iʼm not really). We liked our cabin (it still feels wrong to call it a “stateroom”). After all, the main point to the place is for sleep, bathing and dressing. So letʼs move on to bathing.

I found cruise-ship bathrooms interesting from the first time on. Theyʼre so tiny! (We actually encountered an equally tiny — and plastic — one at our hotel off Piccadilly Circus in London, 2002; that room was where I first invented the Tourist, lying in bed, not asleep in the dense and unanticipated heat at about two in the morning. I have news on his fictional adventures in days to come.) This bathroom was small and entirely plastic and vinyl, too, with the usual (but odd) vacuum toilet (with which I had an unpleasant and revolting encounter on our second day that I wonʼt include in detail here — sufficient to remark that no steward was needed to clear the problem…) and a very narrow shower stall/bathtub. I am not sure about Janetʼs opinion, as she made greater, feminine use of the chamber, but I felt the bathing space worked out just fine.

Bathroom view #2 — the sink area (well stocked with what TSA wonʼt let you carry on these days).

…and third, the shower/bathtub.

The best element in the bathroom, at least the most comical, was the Delft tile sea-thing over the toilet. If thatʼs a mermaid, and if mermaids resulted from lonely sailorsʼ fantasies, then (if you look closely) legends and jokes of all-male navies retain an eerie and disturbing existence… (I can explain my abhorrence/amusement personally if you need the problem with the image elucidated.)

When I said the art was “cheesy,” I was understating: the worldʼs most repulsive mermaid, or something.

Our steward fashioned this towel into an elephant, obviously. We discovered towel creations on four evenings after dinner.

The first manifestation of towel art. We think itʼs a sea creature of some kind.

Our cabin was immaculate and clean. Our steward did an excellent and continuous job, even replacing towels at night that I had used to clean up before dinner (while guests are at dinner, the stewards do a turn-down on the bed, leaving cute towel animals, of which I have a couple of pictures here, and two foil-wrapped chocolate coins, usually presented as the animalʼs eyes, which we, okay I, enjoyed every night), although we had instructions in our room to reuse towels if possible (as so many hotels do these days, selling cheaper-for-them as “green”). Iʼll spare you the bed-linen photos from a hotel room in Seattle that revealed the romps of previous guests. Our shipboard stateroom never hinted at othersʼ earlier presence whatsoever.

Even though the idea is to enjoy the shipʼs public areas while trapped onboard for days at sea, we did want to get the pleasure of having spent the extra money for a balcony, so we spent a couple of hours in the room most days in addition to our daily preparation and sleep time. Although the days were cool (for even southeastern Alaska actually fairly warm and brilliantly sunny, and that was for the locals and the crew unusual and evidently — although my weather.com ten-day forecasts had predicted exactly what we got, even to the final days of rain — unexpected), we sat outside often, both on the balcony and elsewhere on the ship.

As Janetʼs spin sessions were slated for eight in the morning, we had set one of my watch alarms for seven. Although I slept well on the trip (certainly better than since my lipoma “dentistry” — of which I learn the results and lose the stitches today), I, at least, always awoke shortly before the alarm went off, and one of my favorite memories is stepping out onto the balcony, once I had fished my glasses onto my face, into the cool dawn air to see what vistas the new day had brought (and since our first two ports of call were designed to begin at break of day, that meant truly new vistas).

Here are some shots of the balcony. You can observe the “walls” on hinges that separate the one long gangway into private balconies for each room.

The smaller of two chairs beside the folding screen between us and the next stateroom.

The Lovely One reclining in the other chair on the other side of the balcony, beside the other unbarrier.

Like yesterdayʼs post, thatʼs probably far too much on our sleeping quarters. With luck Iʼll take a break from the vacation stories tomorrow.

* I neglected to mention yesterday that the Oosterdam appeared noticeably much more used than the Westerdam had. The theater featured chipped tables and edges of steps and the balcony parapet and definitely worn seats, for example. The ship gets a drydocking for a complete renovation — in a year and a half or more; it needs the work now. On the other hand (I always have to present one, donʼt I?), it was a nice vessel on which the industrious crew was working hard and diligently to maintain and improve it every day, and we enjoyed our time aboard.

Does the emphasis on me and a monkey (even one constructed of towels) need exegesis?

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

2 thoughts on “Quarters

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