Friday, October 21, 2016

Rhythm of the Ship

The Noordam is a large ship, almost 1000 ft. long and 82,318 tons, with 11 guest decks, 6 restaurants, 10 lounges, two swimming pools, a gym, casino, sports court and duty free shops. Our room is like a nice hotel room, and dinner is served in a beautiful upscale dining room like a fine restaurant in any city. Although luxurious and comfortable, it is still an ocean going vessel making its way across vast amounts of water, and you are always aware that you are on a ship. But you quickly become accustomed to the rhythms of the ship.

Getting Ready to start Engines
Although we have had nice pleasant weather and calm seas, the ship still moves with the waves and rolling oceans. After a day or two you get used to it and learn to walk the decks and hallways without stumbling from side to side.

Everywhere you go, you hear and feel the rhythms of the ship. As well as being rocked to sleep by the motion of the ship, there is also the hum of the machinery from the AC unit cooling the room to the rumble of the engines deep under the room. The motion of the ship causes other little noises; our balcony door had a little squeak, that was mostly white noise rather than annoying, and on certain days at certain speeds and wind conditions, there was a constant rattle from a balcony down from ours.

As you walk the Promenade deck which goes completely around the ship (Three times equals one mile for the walkers), you get a variety of noises, from the rumble of the engines and propellers as you cross the open back deck looking down at the wake streaming out behind the ship, to the ventilation fans cleaning and circulating air throughout the ship.

When the ship is underway, there is a gentle constant vibration everywhere you go on the
The Atrium
ship caused by the massive engines generating power to run this floating town and to push the thousands of tons of steel through the ocean. The sounds increase when entering or leaving port or anchor, as the ropes are untied, anchor chains raised or thrusters activated to move the ship in the desired directions. We often leave port at dinner time and the hustle and bustle of getting hundreds of people efficiently fed can hide much of the initial movement and noise, but the sudden increase in the rumble under the ship as the propulsion pods push us away from the dock lets people know we are underway.
Loading the Tenders

If the seas get a bit heavier you get an additional sound added to the rhythm of the ship as, instead of slicing through the waves, the ship gets lifted on one swell and crashes into the next one sending a shudder through the entire ship. In very heavy seas this becomes a constant addition to the ship’s ongoing symphony of sound and motion.

Sunset at Sea
After a week on a cruise you get very comfortable with the ship’s rhythms, and the first day on land you miss the gentle motion and noise. I imagine that after 43 days at sea it will take a few days before I get a good night sleep without the ship rocking me to sleep.

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