For many cruisers the nights are long and the mornings come late. These passengers revel in the late night festivities offered by the various cruise lines. They are the reason the breakfast buffet stays open until almost lunch time. They keep the disco jumping into the wee hours of the morning. They are getting what they want out of their cruise and more power to them! However, for many of us the evening ends before midnight. Our revelry begins with a before-dawn reveille, when we awaken to our favorite part of the day.
You see – I am one of those people known as an Early Riser. Mostly an older crowd, we look forward to "getting up with the chickens". For many of us it is simply a habit formed over the years. For me it comes from many years of military service where the day starts early. I have come to cherish these early morning times. They are special to me and set my rudder straight for the new day at hand.
We early risers quickly develop a casual familiarity amongst ourselves. We know who "one of us" is and who the interlopers are. We knowingly nod to each other as we congregate in the ship's outdoor buffet area. Each of us takes a mental muster of those present. You don't know everyone by name, but you do note if someone is missing. Not many words are spoken. Indeed, speaking for too long can be grounds for expulsion. We won't even discuss speaking loudly. Our group basks in the serene quiet of those last moments of the night. Coffee and tea is quietly sipped. On most ships there are trays of pastries for us. The crew is finishing up the cleaning and maintenance they have been working on all night. They are quiet too, and probably exhausted from their labors. (Yes, the crew works around the clock cleaning and fixing things!)
The sky slowly brightens as the ship glides to our next island port. Off our port side there is another cruise ship, heading to the same place. One can almost feel a mental bond with the early risers over on the other ship. I wonder if they have blueberry danish and donuts too? Ours taste better than theirs.
The horizon is filling with colors now – orange, yellow, light blue. The clouds take on the appearance of pink cotton candy. Things start happening quickly as the Sun begins to rise into view. You can't look directly at the horizon now, as the brilliance and warmth of our star floods into the new day. It is at this moment that you see smiles come across our collective faces, providing a different kind of brilliance and warmth.
The group slowly moves inside the ship. The breakfast buffet is opening now and this is the best time to go. No lines to wait in, all the food is fresh and undisturbed, and tables abound. The ship is still quiet and the food tastes great. Grab one more cup of coffee and wander down to the promenade deck. Take a couple strolls around the open deck area and take in the sea and salt air. Hear the waves crash against the bow. The Sun is now fully exposed in the early morning sky. If you are close to land perhaps some birds will be flying about the ship. The great ship is coming to life now as more and more passengers awaken and head to their breakfasts or to stake out precious poolside chairs. You have been up for a couple of hours already and you feel simply grand.
And so begins another beautiful day at sea. I hope to see you on my next cruise – 5:30 am sharp! You don't have to say anything. Just nod knowingly and everything will be fine.
PHOTO courtesy of Dave Beers.
Dave Beers is the head administrator for the SeaLetter Cruise Forum and lives in Alabama with his wife, Vanessa, and young son Jacob. Dave served in both the Marines and the Navy, and spent a great deal of time in several far east and Mediterranean countries. He took his first "civilian" cruise in 1992 and cruising has been a primary interest for him ever since. He has written numerous reviews and articles about cruising. Dave and his family are also veteran SeaLetter Cruise Bashers.
In his professional life, Dave works for the federal government as a supervisor with the Tennessee Valley Authority. He may be reached for questions or comment at: email@example.com.
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