February 03, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 29

Day 29 At Sea. We are headed South South Westerly about 20 miles off the coast of New Zealand. The temperature is 70 and the skies are mostly sunny with a few clouds. There are very long period swells which the captain tells us are the result of very heavy storms more than a thousand miles to our South. The swells along with the natural tendency of the ship to porpoise results in a slow 3 degree pitch and an occasional 2 degree roll. Nothing uncomfortable, but enough to make the ship talk to us and the elevator cables slap about.

There are occasional small fishing boats nearby, and the captain told us he has spotted an albatross gliding with us. I haven't seen it as yet. Isn't there a superstition about an albatross sighting being an indication of death?

Yesterday several workers from Harding, the life boat supplier, were flown into Auckland and boarded the ship to work on the damaged life boat. After a day of work, their body language and shaking of their heads gives the impression the job is not progressing as expected. They have power sanders and grinders, but no routers or saws to cut out the damaged fiberglass. They are having to sand it all away, a very slow and tiring process especially considering the hull they are working on is over their heads. Every so often more water runs out, indicating the inner foam hull structure has been crushed and become water soaked. I would expect that all traces of moisture will need to be removed in order to make a good repair.

I have mentioned that many of the public areas on the ship are cold. The captain and the navigation channel both say the outside temperature today is 70, so I am able to eliminate my personal preference by observing that outside in the shade and breeze it is warmer than inside. I have no clue why they are keeping the environment so cold. Simple observation of the passengers would show many passengers are cold, and many have told the cruise director, the hotel manager, and the front desk that it is too cold. Some things just can't be fixed, or maybe its a case of a system that isn't receiving needed repairs. Fortunately the heat works fine in my cabin.

This morning I attend another interesting presentation by astrologist Alan Wright. His topic today is about the impacts of asteroids colliding with the earth in the past, and the probability of more collisions in the future and the resulting consequences. Will there be future asteroid collisions? Absolutely. Will all life be destroyed? Quite possible. Likely in our lifetimes? Not really.

The passenger dynamics are quite a bit different on this cruise compared to what I have experienced on most of my previous cruises. I'll start with the casino. Now that we are a month into the cruise I can report that the most people I have ever seen in the casino actually gambling is about 10, and that is when they are holding something special like a poker tournament. 75 percent of the time when I walk thru there is nobody gambling. No money being made here.

The shops on board are empty. So much so in fact that most often there isn't even a clerk in a particular shop, but one will walk in from another nearby every 15 minutes or so just in case there is a customer. Jewelry is a big item on this ship, at least floor space wise, they devote a higher percentage to jewelry than anything else. During special events, like the big Opal sales event of several days ago, maybe 25 people attended. Considering the prices they don't need to sell many customers. I don't know if they did or not.

This morning they were having a 50% off sale on the pool deck. I was sitting nearby for about 15 minutes and observed exactly zero passengers stop and look.

I'll write about other venues in the months ahead.

The captain just informed us that the Port Authority in Picton has requested that we arrive earlier than originally scheduled. We have increased our speed a little to meet the moved up docking time. I doubt that my shore excursion time will change, meeting time is 8:30 which still means an alarm clock day.

Several nights ago I overheard a passenger in the piano bar. Unfortunately I didn't get to meet him. He was getting off the ship in Waitangi to take a train through most of New Zealand. He is then boarding another ship to travel to Australia where he is taking a train around and across Australia. Somehow he is getting to India where he again boards multiple trains to take him all the way to the UK. Obviously he likes train travel more than ship travel and is just using the cruise as a mode of transportation to his next train. Though I like trains, I think that would be too much packing and unpacking. I like the idea of only packing once in four months.

Tonight's entertainment was an hour with Debby at the piano. Songs from broadway musicals that begin with "C" was her theme for tonight. The main show in the Queen's Lounge is "Ashley Carruthers, Music and Comedy". Ashley is an excellent young pianist from Australia. His humor is mostly true stories that he has experienced as he pursued his career.

The weather is forecast to be excellent for tomorrow, I set my alarm for 7:00.