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Room and Board



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I didn't really know what to expect, as far as accommodations, as I climbed the gangway for the first time.  It didn't take long, however, to be comfortable with the general atmosphere inside the ship.  The living areas were clean and, for the most part, well decorated.  I felt very comfortable on the Katrin S.

Romeo Toledo ("Cookie") begins preparing our next meal. I thought the food aboard the Katrin S. was pretty good.

My Cabin:

The best word to describe my cabin suite would be “huge”, (with “comfortable” and “quiet” following close behind).  The suite, which occupied nearly 580 square feet, included a huge day room, a small sleeping room, and a bathroom with shower.  The day room included a desk, credenza, boom-box/CD player, sofa and a couple of comfortable chairs.  It also contained a dorm-sized refrigerator, which I quickly and cheaply filled up with beer, Coke and wine from the duty free “stores” aboard the ship.  (Passengers and crew on board fill out an order form listing what they want, and within a day or so, the steward delivers it to their door.)  My personal bar was topped off with the one-liter bottles of Bacardi rum and Teacher’s scotch that I purchased for about $7 each.

Ports are very noisy places around the clock, but my cabin was very well insulated for sound.  It was amazing how quiet my cabin was in port when I “dogged down” the two large portholes that faced starboard.

The Food:

Overall I was quite satisfied with the food served on-board.  Passengers on the Katrin S., as on most freighters, eat with the officers in the officers’ mess.  The food served was basically “European”, to accommodate the tastes of the top-ranking officers, who were German.

Breakfast usually consisted of eggs made-to-order, breakfast meat and toast, though cereal was also available.  Lunch and dinner included a lettuce salad and a main dish consisting of beef, chicken or fish, along with a side of vegetables.  A pre-dinner appetizer of cold cuts, cheese and bread was always present.  I had heard about the “cold cut sampler” from reading about other freighter cruise adventures, and I have since had it confirmed that this is a “German thing”.

I have to admit that the salads were a bit bland for my taste (just lettuce and some vegetables – the same each day), so I seldom ate them.  Also, I am usually a big milk drinker, but the milk on board was a special kind that was designed to tolerate warm storage.  After a few days on board, I gave up on the milk, which seemed to have a peculiar flavor.  Other than those two minor things, the food was fine.

One of my regrets of the trip was not making an effort to dine in the crew mess.  The biggest difference being that the crew’s food was Filipino (like most of the crew), rather than European.  I like all sorts of food, so I think it would have been a treat to try Filipino food (lot’s of fish and rice) as an alternative to pot roast and green beans.  Aside from the menu, the other difference in eating with the crew is that I would have had to serve myself, instead of having the steward serve me.  (This certainly wouldn’t have bothered me.)

For between meal snacks, there was a refrigerator just off the kitchen with leftovers in it.  I always knew that if I got hungry late in the evening, I could count on cheese, cold cuts, ice cream, or any of a number of different things in the refrigerator.

Other Living Areas:

The living areas of the ship included “common areas” for recreation and relaxation.  The captain’s lounge was about the size of an average living room, and contained a number of books and magazines along with a VCR and an extensive video collection.  This is where the immigration and customs personnel met with the captain to go through the procedure of checking into and out of port.  This room, though nice and comfortable, was seldom used.

The crew mess was the most popular of the common areas.  It was fairly plain, but contained a VCR and a collection of tapes.  The tapes often get traded from ship to ship while in port in order to maintain some variety.

Below the main deck was a small gym with a stationary bike and a rowing machine.  For some reason, having a rowing machine on a ship struck me as amusing. It is too bad the gym wasn’t set up to provide a good view out the porthole while rowing.

Also onboard was a sauna (which I used regularly) and a swimming pool, which I used a few times.

The laundry facilities were available according to a fixed schedule, with everybody assigned one day a week in which to do their clothes.  Sextant (section-end indicator)

Continue to the next section of Freighter Bum: Officers and Crew.



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