February 02, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 28

Day 28 – Auckland, New Zealand. The forecast for the day is partly cloudy with high temperatures in the low 80's. We dock on time and I gather with others in the Queen's Lounge for my tour of Devonport and the North Shore. The group is randomly divided into two groups, some on a small bus, and the majority of passengers on a larger bus. We learn that the others on the large bus will later have to transfer to smaller vehicles as the roads to North Head and Mt Victoria are too narrow for the large buses.

The majority of homes in Devonport are 100 years old, but in excellent condition. The views from the two volcanic peaks are excellent. I really wish the internet were better so I could include some pictures. I'm just resigned to adding them when I return home.

I depart the tour about 5 blocks from the ferry terminal, and walk past many local shops and cafes, typical of any upscale resort tourist area. As I see a barber shop with prices similar to what I would pay in the US, I make my big purchase of the day, a desperately needed haircut. The proprietor has lived in Devonport for eight years, and owned his own shop for four. With about 90 cruise ships visiting Auckland each year he sees a small but steady stream of customers from the ships year round. The ship passengers he sees most often are American, English, and Australian in that order.

As I wait for the ferry to go back to the ship in Auckland, I have access to free Wi Fi and send off a quick text message to the kids. Really nothing new to tell them as most of what is happening I write about here.

Yesterday on the tender several guests pulled out paper surgical face masks as soon as a passenger coughed. I wish I had internet access to research if these really prevent the catching of colds. I have my doubts, but will have to wait until I return home to research a definitive answer.

Last night I learned why the scale in the gym doesn't work. It is an electronic model and while we are at sea the motion of the ship prevents it from initializing. When tied to a dock, the motion is small enough that it will work. After lunch I go to the gym. Since I left home I have gained about four pounds, not great, but it could have been much worse. I have heard of passengers gaining ten pounds during a 7 day cruise.

Today while in port we take on some provisions, I'm not sure what, except for two items. The bar ran out of limes, and Oliver says we took on more today, but they just haven't made it thru the process to get to the Crow's Nest. In my cruising career this is at least the third time the ship ran out of limes. I really wouldn't think my consumption would make that much difference.

We also take on fuel today. A lot of fuel. There are several tank trucks lined up on the dock, and a tanker pulled along the side of the ship off loading fuel into our storage tanks. I don't know how much fuel can flow thru a 10 or 12 inch hose in 6 hours, but I bet it is a whole bunch. I imagine the tanker is loading us with heavy bunker fuel, and the tank trucks with lighter fuels such as diesel.

After a shower I finalize my questions for the CEO Q&A session. Number one on my list is when will HAL update internet capabilities. I have the questions in a PDF and check with the help desk on how I can print it. The only way is to email the document to myself as an attachment from my computer. Get online using one of HAL's computers. Open my email and then print it from their computer. Of course this must be done during the middle of the day when the printer is available, and the internet is the slowest. Despite my poor handwriting I decide to transcribe the questions to paper by ball point pen.

Dinner tonight is in the Lido again. This is becoming the rule instead of the exception for me. It is packed, I guess I am not alone in choosing the Lido over the dining room more and more. Chicken is chicken, nothing special.

After dinner I go to my room to write part of today's blog before I go to the show.

Agung comes to turn my bed down and leave me a critter. Tonight it is a gorilla. He stays and we chat for half an hour or more. I learn that everyone on the ship is getting a gorilla tonight. It is dictated by management. He has been with HAL for nearly 20 years. His current contract is for ten months, and this is his first world cruise. He has 30 cabins, and many of them are solo passengers. With tips based per person, not per cabin, he does nearly the same work for less pay. He doesn't know it yet, but I will give him an extra tip just before he sees his family in Bali, Indonesia in a few weeks. He hopes to be hired by RCCL. The word amongst crew members is that it is the best cruise line to work for. I give him my thoughts as a passenger having sailed with them many times.

The entertainer tonight has a combination of skills. Part magician and comedian that also entertains with a yo yo, spinning tops and spinning ropes. Certainly unique.

At the moment we are traveling almost straight East before we turn southwest towards Picton for arrival in two days. My high tech instrumentation tells me we have about a 3 degree roll and no pitch as we cruise along at just over 12 knots. No alarm for tomorrow, its a sea day.