We have never been on a cruise before, never been part of an organized travel thing of any kind and we will expound on that later, but for now, we will comment on other aspects, like
Christmas Markets in Europe.
They are bustling and feel festive. Most people are speaking German and they are eating and drinking, as at least a third of the shops are dedicated to guhlwine or bier or some other beverage that will warm your cockles, as it were, and an endless array of edibles; none that might be called healthy. Waffles with Nutella anyone?
As to goods, there are many, many ornaments, mostly made in China, and apparel, mostly from India and alpaca from Peru, and many candles and scented thingys and such from who knows where. And at each Christmas market in each city, things are pretty much the same, though the small towns do have some sheds that sell home made goods, usually in support of a charity, school or sports team.
Clearly their are those on this ship that greatly enjoy the shopping. We are not among them. I don't know what I expected, but I really shouldn't be surprised by the mostly imported goods.
Another thing I didn't expect was that these markets are extremely popular with Germans, Italians, Russians and others from within Europe, so the crowds in some cities are huge. Packed. Cheek to jowl.
Time for illustrations.