Pickleball at Sea by Carlos Felip

Carlos Felip

Pickle Balling on the Sea

It was one of those nice long days at the sea. My wife and I were on a cruise ship crossing the Atlantic for a visit to England when I saw this group of people playing an unusual game on the ship’s basketball court.

They had a portable net, paddles and a funny hollow plastic ball…. This was my introduction to Pickle Ball, courtesy of a Florida fellow who had boarded the ship with a full Pickle Ball set: Net, paddles and balls. I do not need to tell you that his efforts were very well received and a large group of men and women played the game every day in that cruising trip.

I was hooked and I have practice Pickle Ball at every possible opportunity since. It was natural, therefore, that when we planned our next cruise we looked at the possibility to play some Pickle Ball.
Although we could not find any cruise advertising the game, we chose to book a cruise to Hawaii in the Zaandam because this ship has a “practice” tennis court. We thought that we could at the very least practice our Pickle Ball in that court.

As it turn out, we met early in the trip the Social Activity Director for the ship, who got interested in learning about the “new” game. From there, was a matter of buying a couple of additional paddles in Honolulu, adding the lines for Pickle Ball (the Social Director did it himself), and we had a group of people playing the game on board every morning for the balance of the trip. We were delighted, and thought it had been a great experience.

But the best was still to come. We had already booked another cruise with the same company, this time a long one, from San Diego to Buenos Aires. To our surprise, few days after returning from Hawaii we got an email “from the office of the president” of Holland America.

The President wanted to thanks us for having brought the subject of Pickle Ball to their attention! He advised that Pickle Ball was going to be incorporated into the daily activities to our next cruise to Buenos Aires and that the company was considering incorporating Pickle Ball as a regular activity in all its ships and cruises in the near future.

So there you have it. I am not sure if other cruise companies do offer Pickle Ball, but the likely hood that you will have at least it in a Holland America cruise in the future is very high.

Carlos Felip

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