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Home > Virtual Cruises > Oceania's Insignia: Dover to Dublin
Oceania's Insignia: Dover to Dublin
Day 1: Departure from Dover
Day 2: At Sea
Day 3: Edinburgh
Day 4: Peterhead
Day 5: Inverness
Day 6: Shetlands
Day 7: Orkney
Day 8: At Sea
Day 9: Dublin
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Day 8: Monday, At Sea
At SeaWhen I awoke this morning at the usual 4 a.m. (I'm used to it now), sun -- yes, sun! -- was streaming through the windows. It was a good omen for a full day at sea. Indeed, Insignia traveled today through the Sea of the Hebrides, past the Isle of Skye and on into the Irish Sea (as we neared the north channel we could see the white cliffs -- very much like Dover's -- of Northern Ireland's Antrim Coast in the distance).

Not only was the day bright and cheerful, but it also was relatively wind-free, and for the first time in a week cruise passengers flocked to the sundeck. While warm-ish, the temperature wasn't quite tropical and so most people wore slacks and sweaters -- and occasionally made good use of the deck blankets provided by the ships as they lounged. Folks were drinking Caribbean-style cocktails (pina coladas and such), the jazz band was engaged in a spirited rendition of "When The Saints Come Marching In" and a rousing Ping-Pong tournament was underway.

Insignia's day-at-sea rundown of activities would put it in the "traditional" class of cruise ships. There wasn't anything that would surprise you -- "jackpot bingo", "champagne art auction extravaganza" and a Latin dance class. Probably the most interesting offerings occurred in the cyber center, which had scheduled a pretty full day of classes.

For us, pleasantly worn out from days of exploring, the best part about today is not the activities but the chance to just unwind. And while some of the passengers -- I didn't meet one who wasn't an experienced traveler -- took part in organized fare, most of them were quite capable of entertaining themselves, reading books, engaging in conversations, briskly striding around the walking/running track. I overheard one couple in mild debate about what to do -- ultimately, they decided on a game of bridge accompanied by an order of caviar and chilled vodka.

The card room, in fact, did a rousing business today with bridge foursomes. It's a lovely room (dark wood walls, floor-to-ceiling sea views) in which to spend an afternoon. One thing we (inexplicably?) love to do on sea days is to play Ping-Pong -- a simple activity that makes us feel like kids again.

A sea day offers an opportunity to further explore the ship and one area that had heretofore escaped serious attention was Insignia's spa. It's gorgeous -- all dark paneled woods, colorful window treatments in elegant primary colors and a heartening low-key atmosphere punctuated by Enya soundtracks. The spa facility is operated by Harding Bros., an English spa operator. I've found that that company, unlike Steiner Leisure, a major competitor who operates most of the spas on American-based cruise lines (from Carnival to Silversea), offers lower prices and a much more laid-back staff. Today, I checked out the steamroom (men's and women's bathrooms each have one), took a dip in the secluded thalassotherapy pool, located all the way forward and offering incomparable views of the sea, and finished up with a multi-headed shower.

The best place to have lunch onboard -- this being one of the few sunny and warmish days -- was the Terrace Cafe's outdoor deck, aft. Afterwards, an afternoon and evening passed pleasantly. One of the highlights was a second passenger gathering in Insignia Lounge -- the ship hosted a cocktail party that was aimed at stirring up interest in future cruises. As always it was accompanied by the in-ship band, which played some of the great romantic slow-dancing tunes. It was a merry affair.

Tomorrow, we dock in Dublin.
Day 7: Orkney red arrow Day 9: Dublin

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