November 13, 2019

Dec 12 - At Sea

We leave Cartagena, Columbia and head North to George Town, Grand Cayman.

The seas are smooth and the clouds spotty. Periodically the near full moon peaks thru the clouds and provides a shimmering glow across the sea.

The day is filled with the usual activities plus some that only occur occasionally on longer cruises.

Volunteer crew members stage a show in the theater. Singers and musicans, the crew has lots of talent. The house is packed.

For nearly two weeks guests have been building contraptions to safely allow an egg to be dropped from deck 7 to the Centrum dance floor 40 feet below. 20 of the 25 entrants are successful. One entrant earns a bottle of bubbly for his excellent efforts.

My son would be proud to see the towel folding demonstration. Along with the turtles, elephants and swans was a roasted chicken, better known to my son as a dead chicken, a skill he mastered as a youngster and introduced to ship staff 30 years ago. OK Roasted chicken is probably a better name.

The battle of the pianos featured three of the piano players on the ship. One of the pianists played blindfolded. The same as last cruise, it was declared a tie. Actually, the audience won with an hour of top piano music.

The lounge is empty at 5:30 when the first seating in the dining room begins, but quickly becomes over crowded. Reynaldo is still the best bartender. Most of this trip I have been asking him to make me "baby" drinks. It has worked, the pours are normal not triple as he would do  on his own. I think it inappropriate to ask what he will do with all the $2 bills I have tipped him.  From my observation this group of passengers is good about tipping.  Last trip I observed a demanding guest  pretend to tip, but he put nothing in the tip jar. I can't say he didn't know better, only that he was cheap.

A few passengers have begun to pack. One couple, having been on the ship sice before she left Barcelona, is particularly concerned since they bought stuff in nearly every port. They will probably buy additional luggage in George Town

It is lobster, and formal night. I am talked into joining others in the dining room. Cheese tortellini for an appetizer and prime rib for the main course. The dining room manager and the head waiters were very pleased to see me. Despite assurances to the contrary, when a guest doesn't go to the dining room they assume it is because of them.  Yes, I was offered real apple pie for dessert.

Not all passengers were happy. They did not have enough lobster for the last seating. Allegedly it will  be offered again to those guests.

Lobster is not the only thing in short supply. Banannas have been rationed for the last month. Skim milk is scarce, and the supply of english muffins is gone. Hot chocolate mix and potato chips are hit and miss. Somedays they are available, others not. Nobody will starve.

Motion of the ship is negligible with the seas under three feet. We should be ready to go ashore by 8:30 in the morning.

Dec 11 - Cartagena, Columbia

There is some motion to the ship as we cruise to Cartagena, Columbia. I am not aware of it unless I pay close attention.

The area at the end of the pier is one of the nicest I have ever encountered. In addition to the usual shops and restaurants there is a small zoo or sanctuary area where there are many monkeys, peacocks, parrots, flamingos, anteaters, etc.

I spend about an hour. The merchandise looks to be fairly priced, but of course I don't purchase anything.

Back on the ship I find the Solarium neary empty and spend nearly 2 hours in the pool. Too deep to walk, but swimming is easy in the salt water.

Getting back on the ship, security insisted on x-raying my shoes. Now I will concede that I could conceal over a pound of emeralds, diamonds, or drugs in my left shoe. Having passed through security checkpoints hundreds of times in the past seven years of cruising, this was another first. Security really wasn't busy, so it was easy for them, and no other passengers were held up.

It is mostly cloudy, and at the docks the temperature is about 80. In the city it is much warmer.

The ships officers lead a recognition ceremony for veterans of all countries. A few words of thanks, a moment of silence, and the playing of taps. Every veteran is given a certificate. Very well done and appreciated by all. Many of the passengers in the Diamond lounge are veterans, and many experiences are shared. Even two of the ladies are 20 year veterans.

The comedian headliner is decent, and his language clean, unlike many comedians. It was either catch his show or eat dinner. I chose the show, I have been eating too much anyway.

I sign up for internet for the last several days of the voyage. Starting on my next cruise it will be free, well free if you don't count the cost of a hundred cruises to be rewarded with the perk.

Today only two passengers are missing at all aboard time. Hopefully they really are onboard. I had that happen to me once, and even when I called, they didn't believe me. I don't know how as my card was scanned and my picture displayed on the screen when I boarded. Sometimes technology just doesn't work.

Tomorrow is a sea day.