January 13, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 8

Day 8 At Sea – The weather continues to co-operate 100%. Partly cloudy skies, low 80's, calm seas. The ship has a very slight slow pitch, not even noticeable unless you are watching the horizon. We are several hundred nautical miles west of Panama.

This morning a free galley tour is offered to all guests. I specifically included the word "free" as on most ships they have realized that a galley tour can be another profit center. About 50 passengers take the tour.

The galley is similar to others I have visited, but with several differences. It is much smaller which one would expect on a smaller ship. The galley on the Oasis, the last galley I toured, needed to prepare 5 to 6 times as much food as they do here on the Amsterdam.

They claim many of the entrees are cooked in very small batches. There is also no evidence of any system to help the wait staff communicate with the galley. It appears they hand carry the orders to the kitchen. This may help explain why the waiters often make multiple trips from the galley to serve 6 entrees.

I also observe that much of the galley equipment is showing its age. A coffee machine is dripping water where it shouldn't. The frame of large Hobart mixer is severely rusted. The wall around a walk in cooler has just been patched and welded, and in many places the floor is cracked and covered with stains. All signs of age and/or the need of maintenance, a need that I did not see in the Monarch of The Seas galley when she was older than this ship.

The entire tour lasted a little over 5 minutes. I had expected much longer so I decide it is time to see about doing laundry. I have just over a weeks worth of dirty clothes, and still have enough clean clothes for 4 or 5 more days, but I don't want to get in a jam if the machines are busy.

I go to the front desk to get quarters. Nothing is said but I notice the clerk goes to the back office with my $2.00 bills, a detour not made by others. I gather my clothes and head for the laundry on deck 6 instead of deck 3 which is actually closer to my cabin. My rationale is that the expensive suites are on upper decks, and it is probably more likely that they are having HAL do their laundry whether it is a free perk or they are paying for the service.

I find 3 of the 4 machines empty. The instructions don't match the machines, but for the most part the operation is obvious. At $2.00 per load including detergent, and free dryers, self service laundry is a relative bargain. The machines work flawlessly, and I have dry clean clothes in just over an hour.

I take several strolls around the ship, primarily for the exercise. The visibility is at least 10 if not 20 miles in all directions. There is no land in sight, but I do spot 3 small fishing boats several miles from the ship. There are a few birds hitching a free ride by gliding along in the updraft caused by the ship. I have no clue as to how long they will stay with us.

Tonight's show is a comedian from Hawaii. Being in his 30's he struggles a little with our mature audience but not much. He has been doing the cruise ship circuit for several years, and this is his second appearance on a World Cruise, having been on the Amsterdam last year as well.

I have an extra hour tonight, as we turn our clocks back 1 hour again, so I will tell you about my saga with the cabin plumbing. The first day of the cruise I notice that I am unable to drain water out of the sink. No big deal I figure and call the front desk to report the problem before dinner.

When I return from all the evening activities I can see that someone has lifted the stopper and drained out the water. I run a little water in the sink, close the drain, and I am unable to open it.

I call the front desk and they will send someone in the morning. The next day my room steward is aware of the problem, and he has also called to get it fixed. By evening I try it again and it still is broken. I pry out the stopper and tell the room steward that it is fine, just leave the stopper out.

Well that works for a day or so, then the room steward does his job and puts the stopper back in. I take it out, later he puts it back in. I quickly see that ignoring the broken stopper isn't going to work.

I shower in preparation for dinner. The shower does not drain. By the time I dress and leave the room there is still an inch of water in the shower. Time to stop at the front desk to explain both problems. Just after dinner I stop in my cabin, and get I get a call from Donna. Is everything fixed? I didn't think it had, but checked again. No, the sink had not been fixed and I haven't used the shower again. She was very apologetic and promised again to have it taken care of.

When I returned to my room at about 11, a staff member was just leaving. He was obviously sent to see if the plumber fixed the sink. Amazingly the broken stopper was replaced and it worked like a charm. Four attempts to fix a $3 broken plastic drain stopper.

The next day Donna leaves me a message asking to let her know if the plumbing problems have not been fixed. Do stories like these help build passenger confidence in crew training?

Time to change my clocks and call it a night.