February 12, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 38

Day 38 – At sea. Another beautiful day. Temperatures this morning in the 70's, essentially calm seas, and mostly sunny skies. We are headed almost directly North towards Mooloolaba. We can see the Australian coast about 25 miles off our port side. We occasionally pass other commercial shipping. The winds and seas are expected to increase significantly later today and tomorrow.

The captain has given us a copy of our trip log from Florida to Sydney, the first segment of our World Cruise. We have officially traveled 11,066 nautical miles or 12,725 statute miles. On board we have 1067 guests and 635 crew. I'm suspecting the 824 I was told earlier in the cruise was not the total number of passengers, but the number that are doing the entire world cruise. That would be consistent with the number of passengers that are only doing the first one or two segments.

If we were traveling at our rated speed of 21 Knots, we would consume 39,500 gallons of fuel per day. Since we usually travel at 50 to 75% of that speed, our fuel consumption is much less, how much less is carefully guarded proprietary information. That sounds like a lot of fuel, but when calculated as people miles per gallon (includes crew) it works out to be about 25 miles per gallon per person. And that includes fuel for operation of everything else on the ship. The larger ships are much more fuel efficient.

Tonight we are having a beach party by the Lido pool. That portion of the Lido deck has been closed all day as the decorating crew makes preparations. In addition to the expected decorations of beach balls, umbrellas, and six foot long sandals, at least 2 tons of sand is being spread on one end of the deck. It has been stacked in the corner for the last 3 or 4 days, hundreds of 100 Kg bags of "play sand". Putting it down will be easy, but I expect it is going to get tracked throughout the ship and will require a major cleanup effort following the party.

Entertainment is going to be provided by the top rated Australian party band "Hypnosis". I could hear them rehearse from deck 9, they are loud. Ear plug night for sure, free drinks courtesy of HAL will help. The last two nights there has been no entertainment in the Queen's Lounge. Having lavish parties instead of entertainers is the norm for HAL when the executives from the main office are on board, a usual occurrence during a world cruise.

The captain has just announced that the Port of Mooloolaba is closed due to unfavorable sea conditions. He and the staff are evaluating alternatives. It is totally to be expected that there will be deviations, it's just that Moo-Loo-La-Ba is such a fun name to say. This was going to be the first time HAL has visited the port. At least I can say I listened to Barbara's talk. I think the only port on our entire itinerary she hasn't visited during her long career.

I walk around the ship several times. Lifeboat 9 appears to only be missing shafts and propellers. For field repairs at sea, the fiberglass work looks good. Given a little time and dirt, you will never know where the repairs were made. Time goes by so quickly, the "reef excursion" seems like a distant memory.

As late afternoon approaches, temperatures have risen to the mid 80's, winds have increased and are now directly on our starboard side. The moans and groans of the ship and slapping elevator cables have returned. Maybe before bed I will take a measurement of pitch and roll. At the moment it is no more than on previous days.

All the chairs from the Crow's Nest have been moved to the Lido Pool for the party, effectively canceling happy hour for tonight even though it is still listed on the schedule. I don't know if it a misprint, but the schedule is showing only the dining room on deck 4 for open seating being open for dinner, no listing for the 75% of the passengers on fixed dining times. All appearances are that HAL is expecting that everyone will be at the pool party. Maybe an unreasonable expectation as the area is not large enough for all the passengers. I'll find out.

I head to the party about 20 minutes after it opens. It is packed. Ear plugs are not enough. The band can be heard in many areas of the ship, sound traveling down open staircases. The only food being served is seafood. I pass for obvious reasons. I get a free drink, heavily poured by Oliver, and go to the Lido for some food. Pea soup and a small Australian meat pie. Both are good. I hear comments about the beach party from other guests, many negative, probably the best being "The Holland America Brand has just been Carnivalized".

Debby is the only alternative entertainment tonight. When she arrives for her show, she has totally lost her voice. Even with a microphone she can't be heard. Being the trooper she is, she plays, but obviously does not sing.

There has been no word on the medical emergencies of yesterday. There is no decision yet on any alternative for Mooloolaba, but the passengers are hoping for an extra day in Cairns. Even though the ship can't stop in Mooloolaba, we are handing off an officer to a pilot boat as we pass by. He is needed on another ship. We weren't told which officer we will be losing.