January 17, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 12

Day 12 - I awake to foggy, rainy weather. This was not in the forecast. The seas are about 4 feet with some whitecaps. The ship is rolling a little more as the waves and the 24 knot winds are hitting us directly on the port side. The captain announced that we had a 2 knot current behind us, giving us a push that is used to conserve fuel not alter our arrival time. Today's highs are expected to be in the low 80's.

Barbara the location guide, and Byron the shore excursion manager, give a presentation on the various excursions available for the next few weeks. The information is interesting, but useless for me as I booked all my excursions weeks ago. Byron is a riot, and does a good job of explaining the pros and cons of each tour. At one point where a couple of guests are shown catching fish, and he is explaining an available fishing tour, he announces that the slide on the screen is a complete fraud and is totally deceptive and misleading. Barbara can't believe what he is saying. He goes on to tells us he took the photo in the Caribbean, not New Zealand.

I haven't written much about the passengers. As a group they are well seasoned travelers. It wouldn't surprise me if half the passengers have done one or more world cruises before. I shared a table for lunch today with 2 other passengers, one was on his seventh world cruise and Linda was on her third.

At the other extreme, the other night in the theater, the lady sitting next to me was on her second cruise ever. When I thought I was safe saying something like "you must have enjoyed your first cruise to have signed on for going around the world?" I was emphatically told that it was the worst thing she had ever done in her life, it was terrible, and she hated every minute of it. Unfortunately, or more likely fortunately, the lights dimmed, the show started, and the conversation ended. There must have been more to the story.

I have encountered several other passengers that have only done a few few previous cruises. There probably are about 2 dozen passengers under 25, more than I anticipated. While there are a number of passengers in their 90's there are very few with scooters or walkers. Many less than on shorter cruises. Most passengers are Americans with the next largest number coming from Canada. I have also met passengers from the UK, Belgium, Spain, Austria, Russia and quite a few other countries. If I were to list Brooklyn in this list it is because of accent not geography.

I think my original estimate on the number of solo passengers was probably low. HAL has said nothing about passenger demographics, but customers have said a large number of repeat world cruisers, and a large number of solo passengers is quite common on the World Cruise.

Tonight's dinner theme is "Tropical Paradise Dinner". The dining rooms are decorated with palm trees, some real tropical flowers, but mostly plastic and glitter from china. The tablecloths are white with symmetrically spaced multicolored napkins. There is a silk lei for every guest. And this is just a dinner, not even a "gala" event. And no, they don't save and reuse the decorations, tomorrow there will be dozens of cabins sporting plastic palm trees and paper parrots as guests will be allowed to remove whatever decorations they want after 10 PM.

Returning from taking a few pictures of the decorations, one of the 5 "recliner" type chairs in the library is unoccupied. I have had my eye on them since I boarded the ship, but they have always been occupied. They look like they are probably the most comfortable seating on the ship.

I settle in to the soft over-stuffed leather seat, take my shoes off and put my feet up on the ottoman. I've been anticipating this for days to be able and sit back with my feet up. They just haven't started putting Lazy Boys on cruise ships yet.

Well these chairs may be comfortable for some people, but for me there is no back support and I find it to be the most uncomfortable seating I have found on the ship. I abandon the chair within a few minutes. I'm glad there are others that can enjoy them.

Speaking of the Library, The Amsterdam has a librarian on board. He helps with recommending and locating books for guests, and checks them in and out. He also calls guests when a requested book has been returned. In addition to the legacy library functions he also assists passengers with their ipad and smart phone questions. Not the largest library in the world, but I bet the most used if measured by customers per day per square foot of floor space. The pay probably stinks, but the travel benefit is awesome. Sorry Melinda, don't quit your job, I haven't spotted a job for Fluffy yet.

Tonight's menu has several of my favorite dishes. Definitely a dining room night. I work on a plan. It probably has been several days since I attended happy hour. I think I will have a drink tonight, actually two as the second is only $1. If I go to dinner 15 or 20 minutes later than usual, most likely I will be seated with a different group of guests. After dinner I can listen to Debby at the piano for an hour or so and then go to the second show. All I know is that the show is about dance styles originating from different countries of the world. After the show I will finish writing this post and if I have Internet service will post it. Yes, this sounds like a plan, time to clean up for the evening and head to the crow's nest.

The first part of the plan works as planned, I have a couple of drinks with Dan in the Crow's nest. There are only about 30 people in the room, and just 6 of us at the bar. I get to the dining room about 20 minutes later than usual, just as planned. Then the plan goes astray. Everyone else is late tonight, and I'm seated at the same table for 10. There are only six of us for dinner. We have been together 4 or 5 times now, the chicken kiev is good.

Dinner is served quickly, so I go to the early show instead of the late show, I will catch Debby later.

Julian and Carlisa are from Australia and New Zealand respectfully. They have danced all their lives, beginning as young children. After a few twists and turns in their careers they found themselves as competitors for about 10 years on the international dance competition circuit.

Finding the cost of international competition becoming prohibitive, they both moved to London for a change in career direction. Most recently they have been exclusively working on cruise ships. They married a few weeks ago, and are on a working honeymoon.

The program was a series of different dance styles that originated in different nations such as Spain, Cuba, United States, Brazil and several others. Dance styles that you see primarily in competition.

After the show I listen to Debby for an hour, then finish writing this. It will be posted when we have satellite service.