Yesterday I showed you a representation of the activities available inside Explorer. But that only represents a portion of what is available. There is a whole range of activities outside on deck as well. Because of the cooler weather of this cruise these weren't the activities of primary interest and most times the decks were pretty empty, but on Caribbean cruises these are the most popular places to be.
Several mornings, especially at the beginning of the cruise Jerry and I took advantage of this track on deck 12. Officially its a jogging track, but on this cruise most people walked it. Five laps around the track equaled one mile. It was a nice place to walk. A bit breezy and some days when you rounded the back end of the track, which actually was a t the front of the ship you felt like you were going to be blown off your feet! And it wasn't a warm blast of air either. I think if you look carefully you can see how people were dressed. This picture was actually taken on one of our colder days as we were cruising up the Saguenay River in Quebec. It was the farthest north we went and also it was late afternoon.
Deck 4 is the official walking area when there a lots of joggers aboard ship. With the exception of the very front of the ship you can walk totally around the ship on this deck. At the front you need to go up a flight of stairs to deck 5 walk around to the other side and then head back down a flight back to deck 4 to complete the circuit of the ship. I'm not sure but I think two laps of this deck is a mile. Maybe two and a half laps. Its a pretty walk and you are definitely closer to the water at this level. Also you are a bit more protected from the wind, though not much.
Despite the weather not being tropical, much of the on deck entertainment was still tropical in flavor. I felt so sorry for this band. I think they were all natives of the Caribbean Islands and they played on deck 11 every afternoon we were sailing. So not only was it cold it was breezy. A few afternoons they had a few listeners. Most they were on there own with a random person walking by.
Of course cool weather does not keep some people from enjoying the available water activities. The hot tubs were very popular. Though most times the people using them were sitting in the warm water up to their necks unlike this hardy soul. Just for a temperature check point this picture was taken about five minutes after the first picture of the people in winter coats was! I beleive there are six large hot tubs on deck 11 and three pools. Other than our last day at sea I didn't actually observe anyone swimming in the pools. I did however see two young boys swimming in one of the hot tubs. And I mean swimming. It was a short lap across the tub but they were having fun.
Minature Golf is another popular on board activity. I had hoped to find time t play it, but didn't. Jerry did play in the Mini Golf Tournament. No he didn't win. This is on deck 12 at the aft, back, of the ship. Being at the aft it is somewhat less breezy but there still can be a stiff wind. At those time the sport is referred to as Air Golf. Also from what I hear and can imagine golfing on a ship can be very challenging when there are rough seas. Under those conditions you are never quite sure where your ball will end up after you hit it.
Also challenging on rough seas can be in-line skating. I watched this gentleman for quite awhile. He never fell, but then I'm not sure I ever saw him let go of the side wall. He did seem to be having a good time though.
For the truly adventurous there is the climbing wall. It is built on the back side of one of the massive smoke stacks of the ship. It was not a particularly popular activity on this cruise. No long lines like on the cruises with a younger set. When we came on board I actually thought I might give it a try, because I knew there would be few people there to watch me make a fool of myself. Then I watch a couple of people do it and saw how much upper body strength it took. I could see their arm muscles straining and well I already knew I don't have much upper body strength at all so decided this probably was not an activity for me. I'm also scared to death of heights. Oh well something must be left to the younger set. Jerry being younger actually went up to try it, but just as he got in line they announced the person in front of him would be the last climber. Maybe next cruise.
There also is a full basketball court, several shuffleboard courts and a ping pong table or two scattered around the decks. And the young children have their own private outdoor area complete with pool and hot tub. There really is something for everyone.
Not to be forgotten is one of the favorite activities on any cruise. Reading on deck! It's a bit more challenging to find a place out of the cold wind on a northern cruise, but then on a hot southern cruise you have to look around to find a spot out of the broiling sun. Between the four of us on the cruise I think we finished at least seven books and maybe more, plus another four were begun. Not only did Nancy and I read on deck but she crocheted hats and I worked on knitting my socks. This has got to be the most relaxing part of the whole trip.
So that is it for the out door activities. Of course throughout every day at sea there are organized activities for fun. The Mr Explorer contest is always a favorite among cruisers. There is also line dancing and on warmer trips there are pool contests and water aerobic classes. They may have had those on this trip, but if they did I doubt too many people took part and if you were brave enough to do so you probably won!
By now if anyone is reading these posts you may be tired of my ramblings but I will continue because I am getting great enjoyment out of reflecting and reliving this wonderful trip. I wonder what I will write about next? I think it may be time to visit a port city......tomorrow Sydney, Nova Scotia.