“At the boat, we hustled up the gangway and were stunned to find that we had in fact booked a trip on some sort of crazy mini-cruise. The entrance opened into a huge, 3-story shopping arcade, with a casino at the prow and all sorts of bright lights beckoning us to shops and eateries from end to end. I thought instantly of the spaceship in Wallee. Just then, a parade of characters passed by, with Silja Line employees dressed up as a genie, some Moomin animals, and a pirate. Erich and I just looked at each other, shaking our heads and laughing. What had we signed up for?
Up top, we managed to snag a couple of deck chairs. We sat down and drank soda water while our deck compatriots broke out the booze and stripped down to their swimsuits. Scandinavians, they never miss a tanning opportunity! The rest of the ride was beautiful and fairly peaceful. The partyers wound down and dispersed as twilight came on. We took a brief detour to the duty-free store, where everyone else was loading up on alcohol; some had luggage carts full of beer.”