October 05, 2021

First Two Days at Sea

My body rewards me for taking it back to sea by sleeping nearly 11 hours. I can't remember the last time I slept that long. I guess all I can say is that the cabin was very comfortable and very quiet. I did have an issue with all four pillows on the bed being about a foot thick, and still 9 inches when crushed. Too much for me.  My cabin steward quickly found me a thinner one.

Two tiny chocolates on the pillow at bedtime is a nice touch that most cruiselines have eliminated in the push for profit.

Breakfast in the buffet finds more than the usual offerings. Eggs any way you would like. Many bakery items, an extensive fresh fruit section. Everything is served by the staff, not the passengers. A very welcome change for obvious reasons.

A unique feature on the Edge is the flying carpet. A platform on the outside of the ship that can be positioned at different deck levels, and used for different functions.  At deck 14 it serves as a bar with a fantistic view of the horizon, the side of the ship, and the ocean below. When at the deck 5 level it can be a restaurant during dinner time, or a bar. Probably because of adjustments caused by the pandemic, the restaurant function is not being utilized on this cruise

When we need to tender into port, the flying carpet becomes a loading platform on deck 2 for the tendering vessels. This should greatly speed up the tendering process compared to traditional methods of boarding the tenders.

No one can be on the flying carpet when it changes locations as it in not approved as an elevator. Capacity is restricted by evacuation standards, not weight or phyical space.

The flying carpet is a very popular destination  and with a limited capacity of 100 people, under normal conditions you will find it crowded. Not on this cruise. With such a small compliment of passengers I always find seating available.

On sea days there  is an enrichment program that consists of a series of talks on the discovery of the Caribbean, the various voyages of Columbus, naming of the islands, island history etc. The speaker is very articulate and knows his subject matter very well. A retired history professor. I have heard similar talks many times in the past. A disadvantage of not being a first time cruiser. 

A couple of offerings in the buffet at lunch time are worthy of note. Filet mignon, and rib eye steak. Grilled to order if you want to wait the few minutes, or ready to be put on your plate. Tenderloin in the buffet? A first for me.

The seas are only one or two feet as we head west 30 miles off the north coast of Cuba. The skies are clear with just a few puffy clouds, the sun hot, and the air humid. Exactly what one should expect in the Caribbean. The ship remains rock stable as we head to our first destination, Roatan, Honduras.  When I booked this cruise we were going to Costa Maya first, but that port of call was cancelled, probably due to the pandemic.

With an extra day to get there we are blasting along at about 10 knots, less than half of the  most efficient cruising speed. No one on the ship cares, they feel like I do, just happy to be back at sea.

The captain gave an interesting presentation this morning. Mostly things I already knew, but some that I didn't.

In recent years the captain usually works 3 months on, 3 months off. They are working towards changing that to 10 weeks on 10 weeks off. Not because of physical burnout, but because of mental fatigue dealing with all the information available to the captain on today's modern ships.

Unlike previous designs this ship is very stiff through the center of the ship instead of having its primary strength in the outer hull. This was dictated by the large expanses of glass on the outside walls. As a result the ship is nearly void of mechanical noise and vibration from mechanical propulsion systems. 

The radical  hull shape which was first proposed decades ago, but seldom adopted, has resulted in a 14% reduction in energy needed to propel it through the water.

The navigation systems can pinpoint the ships location within 1 or 2 cm anywhere in the world. That is within a half inch. What's the point with a ship that is a thousand feet long?

A large group of cabins on deck 8 are being set aside to quarantine crew members if neccessary. Deck 8 so they have access to lots of fresh air which may not be the case in interior cabins on the lower decks where crew quarters are located.

The captain said inside cabins were not being sold for the same reason. Someone forgot to tell someone, I am in an inside cabin. Oh well.

While the normal crew would comprise of about 1500, and we are currently sailing with about 1000, the ship is certified and licensed to sail with a crew of just 20. And that number of 20 provides backup as it really can be done with 17 people working normal hours. Over 90% of the normal complement of crew members is strictly to serve guests, not operate the ship.

Dinner in the French restaurant, Normandie, is again excellent. The service perfect and it is impossible to think of anything that could be improved. Baked brie cheese for appetizer, beef wellington for the entree.

My daughter has decided I don't like her anmore. After dinner I suggest we go to the buffet to see how busy they are what they are serving and then go to deck 3 in the Grand Plaza to listen to the entertainment. Having vowed to always take the stairs and not any elevators, I have just suggested an extra 20 flights of stairs. She sticks to her commitment.

The buffet is not busy, and I really don't notice anything extraordinary being offered, Not surprised as the dining rooms have been so good.

The production show is a combination of arial acrobatics and singing. A good show that makes extensive use of video projection. 

My sleep time is more normal the second night. A sound is never heard. The seas and the wether remain near perfect. We have passed or been passed by a couple other cruise ships in the past two days and a small cargo freighter. Too far away other than to be identified as a Celebrity ship returning to Florida and a Carnival ship in a hurry.

Dinner in the Greek restaurant, Olympus is again perfect. Saganaki and veal chop. Saganaki is one of those treats I make at home, but not recently. I have to vist Tarpon Springs, about a four hour round trip from my home to buy the greek cheese. 

I pass on the main entertainer and listen to a violinist and then a guitar player in Eden, another very lush entertainment area. With a capacity of probably 200 or more it was disappointing that there were not more than 5 or 6 passengers enjoying it.

Hidden out of the way in the stern of the ship, it wouldn't surprise me if 70% of the passengers didn't even know Eden exists.

We are scheduled to arrive at Roatan, Honduras at 8:00 AM. I will not be setting an alarm.