January 28, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 23

Day 23 – January 27. A sea day, no excursions, no alarm clock. I stayed up late listening to Debby at the piano last night. In the middle of the night I downloaded my email, and posted yesterday's ramblings. I have found that if the internet is going to work at all, between 2 and 5 AM is the best time. Not many other passengers are up and about during those hours, and most of the crew doesn't use the internet on the ship as it is too expensive. So if I write something really stupid, blame it on the author being half asleep, or just realize it may be the words of a drunken old salt, your choice.

The seas are about the same, skies are cloudy, with temperatures expected to be in the high 70's. The ship has its usual slow gentle roll. A training drill for the crew at 9:30 awakens all of us that are not up. I go to look at the damaged life boat. Both props are badly bent, probably beyond salvage. Both rudders are bent, and there are several gashes in the hull, but I don't think the hull was punctured. In several areas the fiberglass looks spongy as if the internal honeycomb structure has been destroyed. I wasn't able to get too close as the area was roped off for workers removing trash from inside, and removing the stainless guards from around the propellers.

The other day I related stories about some eccentric passengers that frequently sail the World Cruise. Last year there was a passenger that soon earned the nickname "glove lady" as she always wore gloves. She had the habit of going thru the buffet and picking at all the food with her gloved hands, and then putting it back. The staff quickly observed this behavior, and replaced any food she touched. Obviously she was spoken to, and the behavior didn't stop. At the next major ports she was physically escorted off the ship, probably wearing gloves, never to be seen again.

Another lady became known as the "Hat Lady". Everywhere she was seen, she was always wearing a very outrageous hat. Nothing unsafe or disruptive to others, just eccentric.

The last eccentric tidbit for the day. A few days ago Dolly reached the milestone of 4000 days aboard the Amsterdam. On second thought there is nothing eccentric about this, just smart retirement.

I take my Kindle out to a deck chair on Deck 3 to read. The salt spray is most annoying, and I doubt if the salt is good for any electronics. I don't stay too long.

Many public areas of the ship are cool or downright cold depending on your temperature preference. This afternoon I go to the Queen's Lounge to attend a lecture by Alan Wright. The person in front of me is bundled in a heavy sweatshirt with the hood tied snugly around his head. He is not alone, nearly everyone is wearing a jacket. Yes I would even say it was cold.

Alan is the best of all the speakers we have had so far. His thoughts organized, his diction clear, and he is obviously very well versed on the subjects of his presentations. During the 60's he was the head of the Australian observatory, and during the various Lunar explorations he worked closely with NASA. His talk today was about the moon.

I went to the gym today to weigh myself. I was happy to see my weight hadn't changed even a tenth of a pound since I weighed myself about 2 weeks ago. My joy was shattered when I got off the scale, and the reading still didn't change. No matter what I did, it always displayed the same. There was nobody around to ask, so I left with an unknown heavy burden. How heavy, I have no clue.

Tonight's show is another performance by the Amsterdam Singers and Dancers, a tribute to Elton John. An entirely different show than the previous one's they have performed.

I am very curious as to just how much pitch and roll the ship is experiencing. The Captain doesn't tell us during his daily updates, and the navigation TV channel doesn't either. I'm thinking about how to construct a simple instrument in my cabin to give me actual measurements. I don't have much to work with, but I think I have everything I need. Later, its time to change for the evening. (Long pants and unsalted shirt.)

I ultimately decide on the MDR for dinner. If for no other reason we are offered free wine as a result of the problems yesterday. My worst dining room experience so far.

There are 6 of us seated at a table for 8. All people I have not met before. One couple orders dinner, eats their shrimp cocktail and then leaves stating that it it takes too long to get served in the dining room, and they prefer the Lido except for the shrimp which unlike everything else sometimes takes 20 minutes in the Lido. OK, I wouldn't feel comfortable doing this, but to each his own.

I don't order an appetizer, and order pasta for dinner. Everyone else has their appetizer as expected. We have to catch a waiter and ask to get water and beverage refills. Three entrees eventually come, but not mine. I tell everyone to go ahead and eat while it is warm. I wait and wait. After about 10 minutes, the waiter is nearby and I ask him where my dinner is. He mumbles something I can't understand and runs off to the galley, to eventually return just as everyone else finishes. Dinner takes over two and one half hours! When we leave, the rest of the dining room is empty.

All is not for nothing. I learn a little more about Holland America's wine selection. They only buy in bulk from wineries that can supply the entire fleet at the lowest cost. They do not have any type of wine steward on board, nor any one even attempting to be a wine steward. No one on the HAL staff knows much about the different wines, only its name and the price. Maybe now I understand why one passenger felt it necessary to bring 12 cases of his favorite bottle. He simply did not trust HAL to have a wine he liked.

Tomorrow, Thursday/Friday is another sea day.