April 29, 2024

Day 8 - Ponta Delgada

With all the diversions we have had in the past week, we arrive in Ponta Delgada only 15 minutes lates. Local authorites quickly clear the ship and passengers begin to disembark.

The weather is great, partly sunny with skies expected to further clear thru the day. The temperature as we disembark is in the high 60's, definetly jacket weather for a Floridian.

We do not have an excursion here and have elected to just walk the water front and local shops near the port.

We spotted a local shop with lots of chocolate choices and decided to pick up a few on the way back to the ship.

The dock itself is quite old, but the small stone walkways are in good condition. Many crabs are spotted on the rocks, several locals are swimming in the harbor. Fishing boats, whale watching boats and rental houseboats occupy many slips in the harbor.

Many small shops, restaurants, and bars stretch out along the harbor. On the other side of the street there are many high rise buildings which appear to be condos, scattered among some structures that date back 300 years. None of the pushy salespeople like in much of the Caribbean.

With a local population of about 60,000, the 4000 passengers form the ship definitely have an impact on the city for the day.

Headed back to the ship, we do not go past the chocolate store. Our loss.

Back on the ship, it is very quiet in the afternoon. Our dining table mates have an excursion that will not get them back to the ship until 6:30, too late for their 5:00 pm dinner.

The "kids" are absent again tonight raising speculation if they will return to the dining room at all. 

At 7:00 PM we set sail for Malaga, Spain. Two sea days way.  Everyone returned to the ship on time. A good sign.

Tonights entertainment is provided in the context of a talent show for crew members.  Many crew members have auditioned for inclusion and are competing for a first prize of a new IPad.

Simply put, most of them are better than the paid performers. Two native dance groups, two solo singers, a concert pianist and a magician.

The magician won with a mind boggling card trick that had everyone scratching thier heads as to how he did it.

Yes the captain sang also, but not as a competitor.

The head waiter has been working on his phone problem. Someone has given him a phone and he hopes while he is in Italy next week he can get the needed sim card.

The next two days will be sea days. The weather is cool but otherwise great. The seas are expected to remain under 2 meters, or 6 feet.

April 27 - Last Sea Day in this stretch.

At one point the seas were 12 to 15 feet, but have now subsided back to 6 feet or less. the rolling of the ship is negligible in these seas.

The skies vary from bright sun to overcast, but there is no rain.  We continue to be in a high pressure area with the storms hundreds of miles behind us. The air temperature is expected to reach a high of 64 today which will keep nearly everyone off the pool deck.

I am not sure that I mentioned this earlier, but I have started using Facebook, not so much for a narrative of my journey, but a place to easily post images.  If you care, you can find me at "Steve Raiford".

Possible one of the worst things that can happen to a crew member happened to our head waiter last night. He accidently dropped his phone, the screen smashed, and his phone is totally non-functional.  No repair facilities on the ship, and we don't stay in any port long enough to facilitate a repair.

Other crew members have let him use thier phones, but unfortunately he doesn't remember the phone numbers of many of his relatives that he kept in touch with back in the Phillipines. He is very sad and frustrated.

Gary Lovini, a violin and fiddle player that did a production show in the theater, is doing a matinee show today. We pass. Interestingly he is from England, he built his career there, but now resides in Celebration, Fl.

The only entertainment in the theater tonight is a 2 hour movie. Jumangi. Probably 20 years old. I remember the name, but not the movie.  It is something to do that keeps me out of the Schooner bar.

Tomorrow we will be in Ponta Delgada in the Azores, our first scheduled port since leaving Florida last Sunday. Many transatlantic cruise stop at one of the islands here just to break up the trip. I only have heard a few passengers complaining about being away from land, hopefully they will soon feel better.

Every venue is packed most of the time. Even though we are sailing at 75% of capacity there are not enough seats for everyone seeking one whether it is the Two70, the main theater, the Schoooner bar, The pub, the Solarium, or Boleros.