April 20, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 106

Day 106 Cadiz, Spain. As we head into the port it is an hour before sunrise and still dark except for the flashes of lightning from the passing thunderstorm. The temperature is 55, and the forecast is for a "chance of rain". We dock at the best possible spot, directly across the street from downtown.

By the time I leave on my tour, the rain has stopped, but the clouds are heavy. We tour Cadiz and then Jarez which is known as the sherry capital of the world. Our last stop is at the Fundador winery for a brief explanation of the sherry making process and the opportunity to taste several of their products. For the bottles each of us liked, drink is a more descriptive word than taste.

I think that all tour guides go to the same school regardless of what country they are from. Today when someone asked where the best olive oil came from we were told Spain, and that the Italians import the Spanish olive oil and sell it as their own. When we were in Athens and then again in Olympia, Greece we were told with exactly the same words that olive oil from Greece was the best and that it was exported to Italy and sold as Italian olive oil. And of course in Italy we were told Italian olive oil was the best.

While headed back to the ship, the sun comes out. Once back at the dock, Spanish security is similar to the TSA process for boarding a plane. Nearly everyone was hand scanned after going thru the metal detector arch. All bags and jackets were x-rayed. A nail file was confiscated from one passenger. Interestingly they did nothing to check or verify ID. So, if a known terrorist wants to get on the pier, he could as long as he isn't carrying a nail file.

I go to my cabin to leave anything I don't need and head for the gangway to go back into town. By the time I get there the sun is gone and it is pouring, I decide I have seen enough of Cadiz for this trip.

I am sure all of you heard of Carnival's "poop cruise" a few years ago. Well this morning I was beginning to have my concerns that we might be in the same boat. Sometime during the night my toilet stopped functioning. When I stopped at the desk on my way to breakfast to report it, I was told they were aware of the situation and none of the toilets on the ship were working. Fortunately by the time I returned from my tour five hours later the problem had been resolved.

There are several other cruise ships that arrived in port after we did. The MSC "Splendida", the AIDA "AIDAblu", the "Deutchland" which I believe is a "college at sea" ship, and "The World". There is at least one other one which I couldn't identify. The World probably shouldn't be classified as a cruise ship because you can't book a cruise on her. For many millions you purchase your suite, and just like a condo you then pay for its decoration, operation, and up keep. Last I knew subletting was not permitted, and all new owners have to be approved by the governing board of residents. You do have input as to where she sails. Generally they will cruise the world to attend major events like yachting races, tennis tournaments, the Olympics, carnival in Rio, etc. Space is limited to less than 200 units. The World may be more exclusive, but we have the better docking space.

Being in port with some free time, I visit the scales in the fitness center. Bad idea. I have gained several pounds since early in the cruise. Probably was the bread and wine this morning.

We leave port about half an hour late today because some scheduled maintenance is still being completed. Tomorrow is a sea day, and tonight we set our clocks back an hour. After the change I will only be five hours ahead of Florida time.

Our entertainment tonight in the Queen's Lounge is Stephen Clark, a world class solo Flutist born in Scotland. Probably about 30 years old. I think his flutes say it all, they are made of solid gold. My guess is that the scrap metal value is near $100,000. Debby doesn't think being made of gold gives the flute any special technical advantage, but he does play well.

Gene Young, our CD (cruise director), has a personal issue he is struggling with. He has a birthday coming up in a few days, but his contract prohibits him from divulging his age. I believe this came about because some of the older passengers didn't want a "young" CD, and this was HAL's way of hiding his true age. Actually Gene does a good job, a job that most CD's don't want because it is so much more difficult than doing 7 or 14 day cruises.