January 16, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 11

Day 11 (Jan 15) – Another gorgeous day at sea. Partly cloudy, high about 80, light winds with waves less than 3 feet. This morning at 9:30 ships time we crossed the equator and are now in the Southern Pacific. We are not quite half way from Panama to Nuka Hiva.

First I need to correct a previous detail. I have since learned, directly from the source, that Dolly is not 97, but 92. My apologies Dolly.

The few months a year she is not on the ship may be at any port/country in the world. She says she considers herself a gypsy and doesn't have a place on land that she calls home.

For Adrienne I can now report that today was the day you have been waiting for. The first day that I saw a woman having lunch in the Lido with uncombed hair, wearing pajamas, slippers, and robe. You read where others have reported this behavior, I can now confirm it has happened on this cruise, and probably will again.

Actually I will add that I have been a little disappointed at the passenger dress. During the day, the proliferation of tee shirts, with some of them sleeveless was unanticipated. In the evening the dress is better, and there are some men with jackets every night. For formal nights the dress is pretty much as I expected with about 15 percent of the men wearing tuxedos, and another 10 percent of the men that don't wear any jacket.

In the dining room last night there were two situations that I find of encouraging interest. The lady that was making a fuss insisting that she be seated at the table I was at did not get seated there. I don't know where she went, but she didn't get to bully the system and have her way.

There also was another incident in the dining room where a passenger was creating a fuss, possibly it was the same woman. I'm not sure whether if it was an issue with the service, the food, or what, but when she wouldn't calm her temper after a few minutes she was forcefully escorted from the dining room. Thanks Holland America for having a spine.

Considering this is so early in the cruise I can only expect there will be more lapses in acceptable behavior.

I attended a presentation by Barbara our location guide. She talked about what to expect at our stop at Avatoru, Rangiroa French Polynesia. The short version is not to expect any tourist infrastructure, just enjoy the natural beauty. I will write more after I have been there.

Barbara's presentation was immediately followed by a lecture on giant squid. They have been spotted and written about for centuries but none has ever been captured alive, and only one has even been filmed, in Japan 3 years ago.

I spent most of the afternoon reading, the first time I have even turned my Kindle on since boarding the ship. When I return to my room, I find my room key no longer works. The key code was corrupted by the magnetic Kindle cover. Another of many reasons that I realize I made a bad choice is choosing a Kindle. The front desk reprograms my key, I am now very conscious to carry the Kindle away from where I carry my key.

I download about 300 camera images from my camera to my laptop. Since the internet is so sporadic and slow my plan at the moment is to sort the images while on the cruise and then post them to the appropriate locations in the blog as soon as I return home.

Tonight's show is the "Jack Pack" a group of four young (26 to 34) male singers from the UK. They formed the group only two years ago and sing songs similar to the Rat Pack stars of the 60's and 70's in the US. They were semifinalist on a UK TV talent show, have released 1 album and have their first song in the top 10 in the UK.

It is the first time any of them have been on a cruise, and they find keeping their balance on stage difficult with the rocking of the ship. Their performances have been in the UK, Europe and Asia. Interestingly their past bookings usually only comprised of doing 2 or 3 songs, often doing two venues in the same evening. Here they were on stage for an hour non-stop. Audio feedback was a nagging issue throughout the show., and even though they came close I still did not need earplugs. Gene Young, our cruise director is juggling the schedule so they can do another show before leaving the ship in Papeete to return to Europe.

Tonight we turn our clocks back again, the last time for a few days. No we don't turn them back an hour as you would expect, but 30 minutes! I can't tell you why. If I had good internet service I would research that question and share the answer. I will speculate there is a political answer, I can't imagine a business one.

World Cruise 2016 Day 10

Day 10 - At sea heading west. The skies have cleared and the sun is back. During the night the seas increased a little. I am awakened at 9:30 by a practice fire drill for the crew. We were given notice of the drill the night before, and it was time to get up anyway.

The first thing I read this morning is a note from the captain explaining that we will have very little if any satellite communications for the next 6 days or so. Any TV will be spotty and internet connections will be nearly impossible. This is because we are located in an area where there are very few people and therefore no satellites positioned to service this part of the world. I try, but there is no connection.

The ship is talking to us with her characteristic groans and moans as she pitches and rolls a small amount. I try walking around on the outside promenade deck, but there is just enough motion that walking is a little difficult for me. Probably if I had a few drinks it would be easier, but I choose instead to walk a treadmill in the gym.

During the day I listen to several presentations on world explorers. Milt Keiles is the guest speaker. He covers many of the early explorers, but not my favorite, Henry Hudson.

George Stosur is also doing a series of presentations focused on geography. So far all the presentations he has given I have heard on a previous cruise, probably HAL but I'm not sure.

Guest speakers are usually retired, and have some sort of expertise in a subject that will be of interest to the passengers. I don't know the details of the financial arrangements, but they are part passenger and part staff with duties limited to the presentations.

Tonight there is only the one show instead of the usual two. If I go to the dining room, I most likely wouldn't be able to attend, so I go to the Lido instead. Unlike most other ships the food in the Lido is prepared to order and served by the staff instead of being piled in steam table pans and picked over by the passengers. The Lido also serves every item that is being offered in the dining room ad then some. I have spinach linguine and ice tea, skipping any rolls or dessert.

The entertainers, Jeff and Tessa Evason, are "mind readers". How they do it I don't know, and just like when I watch a magician, I don't want to know. The show is very well done. They have performed all over the globe and have an exclusive arrangement with HAL for cruise ship performances.

Shortly after the show, the musicians are doing a jazz program in the ocean bar. Often this venue is used for ballroom dancing each evening, and this will be the first time I go there. I share a table with Karla from Miami and Mike from the UK, two younger solo travelers. They know each other having met several months ago playing trivia on a different cruise from Singapore to Hong Kong. The world of cruising really is a small world.

The sax player is exceptional, and just like everywhere on the ship I find no need for earplugs like I usually do on other ships.

Tonight we turn our clocks back another hour. As I write this we are nearing the equator, have traveled 3000 miles from Florida, and have over 2300 miles to travel to our next port.