Spirit of Adventure Entertainment
Lectures are a big part of the daily entertainment programme on Spirit of Adventure, but there are also more frivolous activities during sea days, such as salsa workouts, spa seminars -- actually more like friendly talks around a table in the Yacht Club -- deck quoits and table tennis.
Marjorie Bishop was also doing a great job in her painting workshops, teaching wannabe artists how to produce masterpieces with watercolours.
The lectures, vaguely related to the places we were visiting, ranged in quality from a rather confusing and disappointing read-from-my-notes talk about Helen of Troy -- the day before we tied up in Turkey, where passengers would be going on excursions to Troy -- to an interesting look at the development of the European Union. Coming into Turkey, there was a talk about Islam Today, and in the Ukraine, we heard about Viking Venturers and the Origins of Russia.
All the talks were 30 to 45 minutes long, which seemed just about the right length to stop too many people from nodding off.
Come evening, there were quizzes each night, either in the Yacht Club or Sirocco Lounge, and pre- and post-dinner performances by the resident string quartet. Welsh piano wizard Clive Carrington was also to be found playing every night in the Yacht Club.
Spirit of Adventure Public Rooms
The hub of the ship is the library, a huge room packed with books on every subject from history to travel. It also features desks for reading hefty reference books and comfy chairs for reading and chatting. The library also has a selection of DVD's and an Internet cafe (actually just four computers that appear to work on steam, so they aren't much good for anything, other than e-mailing), where crewmembers hold "how-to" classes on using computers and digital cameras.
The other popular meeting place is the Yacht Club, an open-plan bar that is, indeed, very yacht-like on account of the wooden floored corridors that run down both sides of the room.
Lectures and evening music concerts are held mainly in the Sirocco Lounge, which is functional for big gatherings but which lacks the Yacht Club's intimacy.
There is a tiny pool on Deck 6, surrounded by seating for the Veranda self-service restaurant, which makes it all rather goldfish bowl-like.
The Top of the Yacht is a very grand name for an enclosed area, featuring a Ping-Pong table and film screenings each evening. Blankets are provided against the cold, but if it rains, the film has to be called off or screened in the tiny briefing room used for computer classes.
Spirit of Adventure Spa & Fitness
The spa is actually just one treatment room in a small area at the bottom of the ship, where there is also a sauna, a heated pool and what passes for a gym -- one treadmill, one cross-trainer, four cycles and a rowing machine.
Given the area is so small -- and there is only one therapist -- there is a surprising number of treatments, from facials to body wraps and massages, with a few therapies for men. Prices range from £42 for a 60-minute facial to £90 for a two-hour body wrap and massage.
There is a separate hair salon on Deck 6.