March 16, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 71

Day 71 - Headed Northerly towards Phuket, Thailand. The air temperature is a manageable 86, but the humidity is an uncomfortable 80%. Winds are very light and the seas are calm. Until about 1 PM today we are still in the controlled shipping lanes of the Malacca Strait. Early this morning there were numerous ships around us, but by noon the traffic had thinned out considerably. I actually suspect the ships are just a little further away from us and the limited visibility from the heavy haze prevents me from seeing them.

I spend the rest of the morning salvaging my wet camera. Several Q Tips and the selective application of a hair dryer, and it appears I have been successful. This probably only worked because I already had purchased a non returnable replacement. So be it.

Nyron and Barbara give a quick presentation on all of our upcoming ports and excursions for the next two weeks. I learn a few details that have led to me cancel a couple of my intended shore excursions. For example a boat ride where we have to sit on the floor, no seats, no cushions and no standing. Impossible for this mature passenger, and most others also.

Last night I hear about a few of the mishaps that occurred recently on various shore excursions. 5 passengers were left somewhere in Singapore when the bus left without them. They were about 20 feet from the bus when it drove away. Obviously no attempt to verify the presence of all passengers. Four of them found a taxi, I didn't hear about the fate of the fifth person.

A private (Not HAL) tour that was described as a factory tour where Chinese medicines are made turned out to be a handful of bottles set on a card table in an otherwise empty room of an old abandoned factory. The risk of booking dockside, a classic tour excursion scam.

A lady walking up and down the hills of the Orchid Garden severely injured her knee and can barely walk today, even with a brace and the aid of a cane.

Another person on a different tour was sent back to the ship in the middle of the tour because of medical issues.

This cruising life isn't as plushy as you may think.

During his noon address the Captain's weather forecast for tomorrow is temperatures in the low 90's with partly cloudy skies. Warmer than today. He also shares that the turning basin in Phuket harbor is silted in to the point we can't use it. He will back all the way thru the harbor to the pier, a process that he is expecting to take an hour and a half.

This afternoon I will listen to Kate Ross talk about very early Global trade that took place centuries before Columbus sailed. I don't make it. Kate's monotone voice reading her presentation puts me to sleep. I return to my cabin and continue my nap. I must have needed it.

At 5:30 I go to the Lido for prime rib. One of my favorite dinners. Before I am half finished the Manager comes and asks me if the meat is tough. I reply that yes it is, not a result of how it was cooked, but the result of purchasing low quality meat to begin with. After dinner we chat a little more and he thanks me again. I relate it is just another example of the "Carnivalization of Holland America". He laughs and indicates his total agreement.

Our entertainment for the evening is Mel Mellers, a magician and comedian from London. He is hilarious. My alarm is set too early, at 6:30 in the morning for another day of excursions.