November 01, 2016

Day at Sea

As we leave Miami, the wind is quite strong from the North West. There are periods of rain, and the ship exhibits a little motion throughout the night. We are headed South of Cuba and then West to Ocho Rios, Jamaica. During the day we can see Cuba off our starboard side. We are told that MSC will soon have a cruise ship berthed in Cuba, the first line to do so.

The weather is quite pleasant all day with a few clouds and the wind gradually decreasing. The seas subside to under 4 feet.

My cabin is adequate, and free of machinery noise. I'm on deck 12, the last inside cabin at the extreme aft of the ship. Storage space is good, and everything is clean. The shower is unique. On past cruises I have had showers with curtains, showers with a single hinged door, and showers with rolling circular doors. This shower has two hinged curved doors that swing both in and out of the shower. Unfortunately the doors don't meet properly, and no matter how I try the floor becomes flooded with water, as any water that hits the door runs to the outside of the shower. In addition the bottom lip around the shower is just placed on top of the ceramic tile in the bathroom. I suspect there are some cracks in the joints.

I spend much of the day exploring the ship. I soon have formed some opinions. The ship is what I would describe as modern elegant. I think MSC must have an interest in a glass company based on all the glass and mirrors throughout the ship.

Corridors zig and zag about the ship, the floor goes up and down, sometimes with a step, at other times with a sloped section. In general the passageways are quite narrow compared to other modern ships.

The main theater is quite large, and was designed without offending columns to obstruct anyone's view. However there are only a handful of seats that are accessible without climbing or descending stairs. Most people sitting in the balcony, unless they are very tall, have to look thru glass panels to see the performers on the stage. Some of them distort the view. Personally, being of shorter stature, not only do I have the glass panels to contend with, but two inch chrome bars right at eye level. I quickly learn the balcony is not for me.

Other venues throughout the ship have their own quirky characteristics. At the jazz bar traffic coming or going to the theater walk between the performers and the audience.

The piano bar primarily has sectional couch seating arranged in large semicircles. Each couch large enough to hold 20 people.

Seating near the Atrium is the most comfortable of any of the venues.

Late in the afternoon passengers that are cruise critic members meet with several of the staff. There are only 4 passengers and we have pleasant conversation with the purser and the assistant hotel director. They were prepared for a much larger crowd, and as a result we each could have had 20 drinks and there still would have been some left over. One tidbit of note, MSC has ordered a ship that will hold over 7500 passengers, 1 of 13 scheduled to be completed in the next six years.

At dinner, the menu is very limited for formal night. The "classic menu" items are not offered tonight. My earlier assumption is proven inaccurate. 4 of the 5 items contain fish or seafood. Had I checked the menu earlier, I probably would have gone to the buffet. I ask Sophia for the steak without the shrimp. She assures me they are not cooked together and she can do it. She also shares she is allergic to seafood herself, and clearly understands my concern.

While waiting for our food another waiter trips a few feet from our table where the tile on the floor is about half an inch higher than the adjoining carpet. It takes an hour before someone arrives with a broom and dustpan to clean up the broken glass. In the meantime they just covered the mess with a couple of chairs.

After dinner I listen to the jazz group for a little while on my way to the main show. Being formal night, during the first 20 minutes we are introduced to many of the officers. The captain also welcomes the passengers in about 15 different languages. He shares that the passengers come from 86 different countries. Only about 600 of the 3900 passengers are from the US and Canada, and I suspect many of them don't speak English. On my visits to foreign countries I always have heard more English spoken than I do here.

The show is very good, a combination of dance, singing, acrobatics, gymnastics, etc. The showroom is about 75% full, not unusual for the second show. I stop and listen to the jazz group for awhile after the show.

Tonight we set our clocks back and hour, and therefore will arrive in Ocho Rios an hour early tomorrow morning.

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