December 16, 2017

Day 20 At Sea

The seas are very calm this morning as we head back to Florida. The skies are partly cloudy and as the morning progresses we pass thru several areas of showers. The temperatures are around 80.

I have a tour of the bridge today. Our guide is the newest member of the staff. Ben, is a "Cadet", the official term for an interning college student. His career path is quite interesting in comparison to the paths of most senior officers. Unique to the United Kingdom, he was hired by Royal before starting maritime school. Royal is paying for his education, paying his salary while he gets his required "sea time", and most likely will retain him once his education and internship are complete in several years.

Several years ago ships were still maintaining paper navigation charts. The Serenade does not. In fact they don't even carry paper charts anymore, relying 100% on electronic charts. The staff claims they can still navigate with compass and sextant, but I would imagine that to be difficult if there were no charts to work with. I know there are redundancies, but...

The bridge was pretty quiet during my visit. No ships, floating debris, land, or storms within either visual or radar range. Nothing but nearly flat seas for miles in all directions. Good, but boring. Yes, the bridge was decorated for Christmas.

A little later there was the usual captain's corner. Well attended, but of course there wasn't much else to do at the same time. In a move I have never seen anyone attempt before, a microphone was taken over by one of the participants from the private poker group. He spent 10 minutes telling us how great he was and that he was more qualified than the ship's captain. He then went on with a speech of how smoking was bad for us and that we should all demand of Royal that they make all their ships 100% smoke free. He asked the captain several times to support his position as he rambled on and on. Finally the other passengers had enough and started yelling at him to sit down and shut up. Probably Royal didn't see this coming, but has had it happen before, and just let him ramble until the other passengers had enough. The incident ended without Royal hardly even acknowledging his tirade.

A few other more meaningful tidbits, questions often asked, but seldom answered. This ship can cruise for over 30 days at a running speed of 20 knots without refueling. That works out to over 16,000 miles. Because of the uniqueness of having two turbine engines, the most efficient running speeds are 20 knots, maximum speed when running one engine, and 24 knots if having to run faster than 20 knots and both engines must be run. When docked, hotel services can be maintained by a diesel engine that was not part of the original build but was added during a refurbishment.

Though not the best in the fleet for fuel efficiency, the gas turbines and the higher quality fuel they must burn, make her environmentally very clean.

There is supposed to be a meteor shower tonight. I don't know if the skies will be clear enough, but I will venture outside to take a look. Also being just 12 days before Christmas, Santa is going to be making a visit in the Centrum just before dinner. Another photo op for the ship photographers.

The show tonight is Bobby Arvon. I have seen him about a year and a half ago and didn't care for his show, but I give him a try. It hasn't gotten any better so I leave after 15 minutes. I venture to the top deck to see if there are any meteors to be seen. After allowing my eyes to adjust to the darkness there aren't even any stars visible. No chance of seeing meteors.

Tomorrow is another sea day.

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