Wow. I'm spending a lot of time in harbors.
I get it. Of all the maneuvers a ship has to do in its day-to-day operations, entering and leaving the port is the most fraught with potential mishap, requiring the most careful and precise use of the ship's controls. It's the place where you're going to encounter the most obstacles, and have the most scenery to see in the background.
On the other hand, it kind of makes the campaign mission descriptions seem a bit like false advertising - SAVE THE WHALES! (by spending 5 minutes maneuvering on the open sea and 10 minutes each entering and leaving Sydney harbor). It's a little disappointing.
But, maybe I just don't get the genre. Maybe the missions are just an excuse. Maybe the real point of the game is watching the different ships pass by famous landmarks. It was pretty cool seeing the Sydney Opera House, and I enjoy the camera mode where you can wander around the decks as if you were a passenger. Yet, I suspect that even if digital tourism is the entire point of the game, Ship Simulator Extremes is not a great example of the form.
I'm not usually a huge stickler for graphics, but it seems to me that if looking at stuff is the whole point of the game, there could stand to be more detail to the ships and environments. As it is, a quick walkthrough is enough to see the whole ship, and the harbors look more or less the same. So, piloting mostly involves a lot of waiting.
I guess it's a pretty causal way to pass the time, though. Maybe not every game requires high levels of engagement and attention. Maybe there's a place for a game you can occasionally monitor while watching the Simpsons marathon.