Pandemic Relief – Simulate Your Favorite Cruise at Home

Getting tired of lockdown? It’s been about three months since my wife and I dined in a restaurant. Almost four months since we returned from our January transatlantic crossing. I decided to surprise her with a “virtual day at sea.”

Could This Work for You?

Is this you? You are a couple. Age doesn’t matter. You live in a house with some outdoor space. You own two lounge chairs with cushions. A patio table with chairs.

What you will need: Let’s assume you have a Costco, Aldi or Lidl supermarket near you. If not, any decent, large grocery will do.

  • Two pain au chocolates or other pastries
  • Good coffee
  • Caesar salad from Costco
  • Good bread
  • Cunard scones recipe
  • Interesting tea
  • Home delivery of take out dinner
  • Wine

How to Recreate a Day at Sea

Here’s our itinerary, and how you could do it too.

9:00 AM  Breakfast in your cabin. Get up before your spouse. Tiptoe down to the kitchen. Put the coffee on. Plate up two pain au chocolates or other pastries. Put it all on a tray with white cloth napkins. Knock on your bedroom door and softly say “breakfast.”  Once inside, put on your bathrobes.  Use your iPad or tablet to access a YouTube video of the ocean filmed from a cruise ship balcony complete with sea sounds and ship engine sounds.

Breakfast, by Bryce Sanders

How it worked:  Perfect. The video wasn’t necessary. It got boring after about a minute.

9:30 AM Crossword puzzle. After breakfast, you might stop in the library and get the daily crossword and quiz. You can fine printable crosswords online.

How it worked: Great! My wife was surprised!

10:00 AM Morning lecture. It’s time for one of the ship’s educational lectures. Turn to your PBS TV channel and find a documentary. You sit, watch and possibly fall asleep.

How it worked: Pretty well. There’s a PBS documentary, “The Queen at War.”  I recorded and saved it the night before.

Noon Lunch indoors or on deck. One spouse prepares the Caesar Salad for lunch and invites the other to the table. Say: “Can I get you a glass of wine?”  They say yes. You pour. You take the plate of good bread and ask: “Would you like some bread?”  You sit and finish lunch.

How it worked: We did Salade Nicoise with rose wine. We dining inside because it was about 40 degrees outside.

1:00 Relax on deck. Change into your clothing for relaxing around the pool. Leave the house. Pull your deck chairs into the sun or shade. Stretch out until one spouse gets up to discretely arrange lunch.

How to worked: We looked at the deck chairs, but that was about it. Today was too cold to sit outside.

3:00 PM Afternoon tea. Earlier, you visited the Cunard website and printed off their recipe for scones. One spouse presents to the other along with tea in china cups. This can be done inside or outside.

How it worked: My wife was having such a good time, she baked our scones. It was great.

4:00 PM Time for a movie. Return to your TV. Find a movie you’ve always wanted to watch on your streaming service. Watch for an hour.

How it worked: Great. We found something British on our streaming service.

5:00 PM Nap time. You return to your cabin, set the alarm for an hour and fall asleep.

How it worked: Perfect. We are experts at napping.

6:00 PM Dress for dinner. One spouse reads from the “program” and remarks it’s a formal dinner tonight. You dress appropriately. One spouse has set the dining room table for two with china, crystal and linens. The other spouse has remembered to order home delivery of dinner from a good local restaurant.

How it worked: We actually didn’t dress up.

7:00 PM Cocktails with fellow passengers. As arranged ahead of time, you initiate a Face Time or Zoom call with another couple you met on vacation. They are thrilled to see you, wondering why you are dressed up while they are in sweats. You have cocktails, clinking glasses at the screen. You talk for an hour, having a great time.

How it worked: This was actually done on Sunday, earlier in the afternoon. I forgot about the five-hour time difference between the US and UK. 7:00 PM for us is midnight for them. We had a good time doing it at 3:30 PM the next say.

8;00 PM Formal dinner. One spouse plates and serves the takeout dinner that has been delivered during the cocktail hour. The other spouse opens and serves the wine. You enjoy dinner, ideally by candlelight. You put on background music.

Filet Mignon Dinner by Bryce Sanders

How it worked: Very well. My wife prepared dinner. Filet mignon, green beans and baked potato. A nice wine too.

9:00 PM Dancing. It’s time to party. You have researched livestreaming virtual nightclubs earlier. You access via your iPad or tablet. You join in. (Some actually charge admission as a charitable donation to help the staff.) Perhaps you are at a rave in Berlin tonight. You dance in your living room.

How it worked: Very well. We have a NYC friend who organizes a weekly Saturday 80’s dance party during the pandemic. We accessed via WebEx and joined in.

Midnight. Look at the stars. Turn in. You leave the “club” walk back out on deck and look at the stars. You head back to your “cabin” and turn in. Tomorrow is another day.

How it worked: We were in bed by 11:00.

Think about it. When you cruise, you relax. You eat, drink, sleep and dance. You can do a pretty good simulation at home for little or no expense.


Cover photo: Salade Nicoise by Bryce Sanders


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