There were one or two lectures each day when there was no port call, and we went to almost all of them, but as noted only a handful were outstanding. There were performances every night, both in the big theater and in a smaller venue, but again these are not really "our thing." We found one comedian fairly funny, another so bad we walked out within 10 minutes, and we watched the film Water For Elephants, which we loved. Two or three times we watched an old movie or a History Channel program on the tv in our stateroom. That was it for ship-provided entertainment on the 23-day cruise. We spent far more time reading, Louise on her Kindle and Jeff on the iPad.
Our cabin was one of the least expensive, an inside one on deck 9. It was 2 to 4 decks down to the main public areas in the lower part of the ship, and 4 to 6 decks up to the ones on the upper decks, and we rarely used the elevators so we got plenty of exercise. 12 days on our 23-day voyage we had no port call, and our pedometer tells us we walked 75 miles total on those days, or just over 6 miles a day. A few times when we felt we hadn't gotten enough exercise, we started on the bottom deck and walked every public corridor we could walk without covering the same point twice until we reached the topmost deck, and found that we had hiked over two miles! And that was just inside -- add the outside decks on 7 and 15 and you can add about a half mile more. It was truly a big ship!
There were several dining rooms with sit-down service where we more commonly had dinner, usually asking to be seated at a table for six. Our past experience was that a table for eight put some people too far away for conversation, but six allowed you to converse with everyone and gave you two couples to chat with in case one of them turned out to be duds. Our favorite couples were these folks from Delaware who knew each other and spoke Mandarin between themselves but were happy to have us join them and chat in English. One had come from Taiwan, the other from a Chinese community in Burma, in both cases emigrating to America when the husband got a scholarship to graduate school in the US. Their life stories were quite fascinating to us, and our wide-ranging travels were equally amusing to them, and we all enjoyed a similar eagerness and excitement about seeing the world from our cruise ship.
Muroran was a disappointment, though a lot of the blame goes to the Japanese Customs and Immigration folks who decided they wanted an electronic fingerprint as well as the usual passport check of everyone getting off the ship. It was so badly bungled that we stood in line 90 excruciating minutes, watching any hope of getting out of Muroran to a national park 50 km away drift away and finally vanish. There just wasn't time enough left for the train-bus trip there and back to work and still have enough time to see the sights so tantalizingly described in our guidebook.
It's now on to Vladivostok and our first visit ever to Russia. We'll tell you all in our next entry.