March 27, 2022

Day 6 - At Sea

With the easterly winds remaining strong at 25 to 35 knots the seas remain choppy, but since the waves are following, the ship remains pretty smooth. There are certain areas on the ship where vibrations are a constant reminder of the large engines and massive equipment that propels us across the ocean. Fortunately my forward cabin is not one of those areas.

It is now very apparent to me why the balcony latch was corroded to an inoperable state. The deck 5 balcony is constantly covered with salt spray kicked up by the choppy seas.

The buffet is nearly empty this morning. Last night we turned our clocks back one hour to switch to Panamanian time, probably the hunger clocks of the guests didn't change and they are in and out of the buffet before I arrive. 

The staff captain answers questions for the passengers during an interview or "chat" with the cruise director. Only one rather stupid question. This is immediately followed by another cooking demonstration presented by the executive chef.

After a few minute pause, a presentation about the history of the Panama canal. Probably attended by 70% of the passengers. Currently the "reservation" fee is $35,000.00 per ship. Basic passenger fees for cruise ships, $375.00 per passenger, of course passed on to the passenger under "port fees and taxes"

For the first time on the cruise there is a few minute wait for an elevator as everyone leaves the theater at the same time.

It is going to be hot and humid in Panama tomorrow. I have a 7 hour shore excursion to visit the jungle and Panama City, and try to find out if there will be water available on the bus.  After several attempts, the apparent answer is no. I will bring some.

The helipad on the ship's bow is going to be open while we transit the canal. Other good viewing spots are scouted out on deck 11, deck 9, deck 3, and of course from the stateroom balcony. Maybe a combination will be best.

After some piano music, dinner tonight will be in the Pinnacle Grille, Holland's equal to Royal's Chop's Grille. So equal, the menu is almost identical.

The food is as good as I have ever had on Royal, and the service is much better. The downside is that the restaurant is about 65 or 67 degrees, even cold for me. The manager says there is nothing she can do about the room temperature. This had been a common thread of complaint among the majority of the guests. We have some control over individual cabins, but the common public spaces are way too cold. Many guests wear jackets all the time. Rather silly in the subtropics, and fookish from a business  viewpoint considering customer dissatisfaction and wasted fuel.

As we cruise into the western caribbean the seas begin to slowly subside. The skies are partly cloudy and a passing shower  is a remote possibility, less than 10%.

A couple hours of entertainment and early retirement is in order.

We  are expected to arrive at the canal entrance holding area about 5:00 AM and enter the locks about 7:00.