January 19, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 14

Day 14 – At sea. Another beautiful day in the South Pacific. Temperatures are in the high 80's, seas almost calm with no whitecaps. There is a very small pitch to the ship today and no roll. Less than 2 days of travel to Nuku Hiva and our first glimpse of land since Panama last Monday. No ship sightings, no birds, no sea life, but lots of water. Warm, blue, undrinkable water with trash floating in it from our throw away society.

Sarah Chandler, the saxophonist for last night's show, was the guest on the "Good Morning Amsterdam" show this morning. She divulged that for the several days on the ship without luggage, she wore clothes scavenged from lost and found. After attaining a masters in music and art in London, she turned down a full scholarship to further her musical education to do her first contract with a cruise line. That was about 15 years ago, and she has been on cruise ships ever since doing a ship gig about once each month. In London she has put together a group of female saxophone players, that do concerts and convention entertainment. They are also working on their first album. At sea while not performing she pursues her other passion of painting watercolors.

Holland America awards Grand Dollars to the winners of various games like trivia and staircase golf instead of the trinket prizes awarded on most cruise ships. This morning just for attending the "Good Morning Amsterdam" show, everyone was given four grand dollars. To undertand the value of thee precious dollars, if I accumulate 4996 more I could get $100 on board credit. I doubt it.

Barbara tells us about our upcoming stop in Moorea in six days. Another French Polynesian island noted for its scenic beauty.

This morning there is a packet of forms that need to be completed for immigration officials at a number of our upcoming ports. The forms are all filled in with our passport information and whatever else the ship can complete. The accompanying letter very clearly states what questions on which forms we need to finish. What they do not give us is an interpretation of the question.

For example many countries ask our embarkation port. For some that means Port Everglades, for others it means the previous port the ship stopped at.

The other common question with different meanings is "How long were you in the country?" If we enter the country multiple times with sea days between entry ports such as Australia, they want the sea days counted as being in the country. Other countries interpret the question differently, only wanting the days on land.

This lack of clarity creates the longest lines yet at the customer relations desk. It is quickly explained that no one on the ship knows how to complete these questions either. A decision was made, maybe a coin toss, and the front desk personnel complete the 6 or 8 questions the guests couldn't figure out. Whether right or wrong, all the passengers are in the same boat.

My cabin is near the bow of the ship. Sometimes when I look down the long hallway, about a sixth of a mile away, I see what looks like an outside window. Is it a suite with the door open? Today I decide to investigate. It turns out to be an outside door that leads to a small deck on the aft of the ship. This is the only access to it as the stairways are roped off with signs that say "no access". There are a few lounge chairs, a space that is always shady, an excellent unobstructed view behind the ship, and no passengers. I need to remember this. I would be a perfect place to take a picture of the sunset, except we are headed the wrong direction, and no I'm not getting up at four AM to see a sunrise.

Tonight is another formal night. No special decorations, just chair covers and floral centerpieces that do not block anyone's view. I arrive a little later and am seated at a different table with a different waiter. One of the guests I have dined with previously, the others are all new faces. As always the food is good, but too plentiful. I have blackberry soup, lamb chops, grilled cherry tomatoes, and a sugar free fruit crisp.

After dinner I stop and listen to Debby on the piano for about an hour. Every night she has a different theme. She prepares it during the day and then does the same set at 7 and 9 to precede the theater performances. She has told us that every night will be different for the entire cruise.

Tonight's show is the Amsterdam Singers and Dancers. The second show of six they will do before leaving the ship in March. I suspect in Hong Kong but don't know for sure. Basically the main showroom will also have a different show each night for the entire cruise. Nothing but the best for Holland America's World Cruise passengers. That reminds me that even the front of the ship has been specially painted for the world cruise. I have a picture, but unfortunately won't be able to post it until I return home.

I also learn today that the captain officially announced that there are 824 passengers. Many are getting off in Hong Kong, and many more in Sydney. I haven't met anyone getting off in Dubai. I would guess only five or six hundred are doing the full cruise. Put another way, we are currently sailing at about 70% of capacity, probably not enough to be profitable.