January 08, 2024

2 Days at Sea

Entering the gulf after having left New Orleans about 11 PM last night, the skies begin to clear up. Rain is reduced to an occasional shower. Other than cold, I can't tell you what the outside temperature is. The ship has chosen not to share such information with guests. The public spaces on the ship continue to require heavy clothes and a jacket for most passengers. Other than a few brave soles in the hot tubs, the pools are deserted.

The days are occupied by the usual games, speaker presentations and trivia. The winds today are about 35 knots, almost directly on the port side. The ship is rolling slightly, the stabilizers doing a good job.

As often happens,  information on the "app" is out of sync with reality. Dozens of us waited in the theater to no avail for Clelbrity's equivalent of the captains corner. It just wasn't scheduled for today despite what the app said, or no one bothered to tell the captain. Take your choice.

Duck hiding is progressing. I watched one that remained for 24 hours before disappearing, major success. I watched another scooped  up by a beverage server within a minute. I have not spotted any others than one's I have hidden. Considering the demographics and the fact there are only about a dozen kids under 25, I am not surprised.

As we progress southerly the temperatures begin to warm. By the end of the second day many people are on the pool deck, that is until the rains return and drive everyone for cover.

The quality of food in the dining room remains good. Short  ribs, were delicious. Pasta is made to order in the buffet. Perfectly cooked. Steak of various names seems to often be my go to choice.

The pool dance party is moved indoors because of the rain. I didn't plan to attend anyway.

Our next port will be Cozumel, Mexico. Arrival is expected about 6:30 AM.

Jan 5, 2024 New Orleans

I am dressed and in the lounge on Deck 11 shortly after sunrise to watch our arrival in New Orleans. 

As expected the river winds back and forth like a slimmering snake. Many tankers, freighters, and barges are anchored just out of the channnel or tied to docks waiting to load or unload. One tanker is being slowly loaded with coal being scooped out of barges with a clam shell bucket crane. A very slow process. A few other tankers are loading or unloading oil products at one of the many refineries.

The skies are overcast and a dark plume of smoke from a nearby fire is impervious to any sunlight. Our decision to cancel our excursion is reinforced.

The captain makes the decision to use the deck 4 ramp for disembarkation instead of the ramps on deck 2 which would normally be used. A move to protect the passengers from some of the impending heavy rain that is forecast for most of the day. 

Passengers begin to disembark about 10:30, a little late. The rains begin an hour or so thereafter. We elect to just stay on the ship.

I have pulled a tendon or muscle in my leg. Sometimes walking is OK, othertimes, painful. The cure is gin muscle relaxant and rest.

The dining room is nearly full, with a few passengers probably electing to dine in the city. There is very large mall with shops and restaurants adjacent to the pier.

The entertainment in the theater is a comedian. Well attended  and an excellent  show. Not one word of profanity!

The ship leaves New Orleans about 10 PM. I am sound asleep as we head down the river towards the gulf on our way to Cozumel, two and a half days away.

Jan 4, 2024 A Gulf Day

Our passage across the gulf is uneventful. Seas remain slight, the weather cloudy and cool with a high of about 55. Needless to say there are lots of chairs available around the pools.

The ship is very clean, and in excellent repair. carpets are fresh, seating good, and shipwide I must say some of the most comfortable seating I have encountered in a long time. The carpets look brand new and show no sign of wear anywhere.

The corridors are bright. The big deficiency is in heat. The public spaces are very cold throughout the ship. In all my ship travels to Alaska, Europe, the North Atlantic and around the world, this is the coldest I have ever found a ship. Not a mechanical failure, but a management decision to put profit way in front of passenger comfort.

When we return to the cabin, just before lunch there is a note on the door advising us of our new 6:00 PM dinner time in the main dining room. Our contingency plan was to have a good lunch in the dining room if we could not get earlier seating for dinner. We go to the dining room anyway even though our contingency plan is no longer needed. Lunch is decent. I have a cheeseburger and fries. Being a sea day and only a dozen people outside by the pools,  the dining room is packed, not something the staff appears prepared for.

The afternoon is filled with several trips to hide ducks, and a "beyond the podium" presentation by David Fantle, a professor from Marquette university relating experiences of interviewing 200 entertainment greats over a 50 year career.  A very entertaining program with unknown details about the likes of Bob Hope, Gene Kelly, Judy , George Burns and many other great Hollywood film and stage stars.

The 5:00 to 7:00 cocktail hour starts at 4:30 compliments of our server. While in the lounge we watch the line grow for the my time dining room from a few dozen people to a line stretching from the dining room entrance through the elevator lobby, completely thru the Rendezvous Lounge and beyond. Many wait 45 minutes to just get through the lounge.

Our dining room on deck 5 is much better organized. We arrive 2 minutes before 6:00, are immediately greeted and taken to our table. A table for 6, seated with passengers that were able to switch from late dining to early. Not surprising, all are from Florida.

Dinner takes 2 hours, not unexpected. The food is good and they do a good job dealing with the two passengers with special dietary needs.

The main show tonight is Jared Freiburg and the Vagabonds. A high energy piano, bass, and drums in the style of Jerry Lee Lewis.  Excellent.

Our speed has been in the neighborhood of 12 knots as we journey towards New Orleans. It is appproximately a  8 hour journey up the river from the gulf. Not a passage for the inexperienced at night. We expect to  be docked by about 9:00 am.