Sunday, December 14, 2014
Msgr Fetcher from St Sebastian drove me over to the ship after the first Mass this morning. I was on board early and spent at least an hour getting reacquainted with this ship. This is the same ship I sailed last December. All the Holland American Ships are just enough alike to get me confused, and just different enough to keep me lost for a day or two. This is one of the larger ships in the fleet. It is full with 2,670 “guests”. For the record, I walked 4 miles today. It was sunny and warm in Ft Lauderdale as we sailed at 4:00 p.m. By dark out of the sight of Miami and Ft Lauderdale skylines, the wind was up and it was not so “warm”.
Before sailing, at 3:00 pm we had the “Boat Drill” which is always a circus. It amazes me how many people ignore the announcements and directions wandering around completely oblivious to what’s going on. As usual, I’m in Life Boat Number 1, and I know how to get there. So if anything happens, you should all look for boat number 1. It was just total chaos for 35 minutes. If I didn’t enjoy watching people, it would have been awful. The best part of the who thing was having a very nice lady collapse about 30 feet from where I was standing. She seems to have simply fainted for some reason. With 2000 people on the deck under the life boats the medics had quite a time getting to her. When they finally fought their way through the crowd, she was back on her feet and laughing.
There were about 60 of us at Mass, and they were good singers. Folks from Nova Scotia, Ottawa, British Columbia, Australia, Choctaw, Oklahoma, Stillwater, Ft Worth, San Diego, and best of all someone from Oklahoma City that I know quite well. Rabbi Packman retired from the Synagogue on Pennsylvania walked up to me during the Boat drill and was as surprised to see me as I was to see him. He joined us for Mass.
Probably about half the people on the ship have already been on for a week. This is the second half of a 14 day cruise that started at the Western side of the Caribbean. There is a large group on the ship with name tags that say: “Nation”, but I have not figured out what “Nation” is yet except that they had a private party around the Lido pool tonight closing the pool to the rest of us. There were some people grumbling because getting from one end of the ship to the other without walking through the Lido is a problem. The stage show tonight that is usually big classy introduction to the cast did not happen because an entirely new cast got on today in Ft Lauderdale. They are still setting up and rehearsing. Instead. the Cruise Director gave a twenty minute introduction to the ship and the options for entertainment and dining. The piano bar with “Larry” is a C+. He is from Boston but lives in CoCo Beach, Fl. He talks a bit more than he plays, and sings more than he plays. The troubling thing for me is that he isn’t playing a real piano, and the digital piano he is playing blares out of speakers in the wall. He does great Elvis and Johnny Cash imitations. I think I’m just spoiled after that great experience in May.
As we were sailing out out this afternoon, Msgr Fetcher and I were on the phone. He wanted me to know a bit a trivia he thought was important. The word: “Posh” has its origins from ship transportation. It seems that the word is originally an acronym that means: Port Out Starboard Home. This word was the way the English remembered what cabins to request when they were sailing around the Horn of South Africa wanting to be in sight of land. On the way OUT (O) you should have a cabin on the Port side. Hence: Port side Out – On the way Home (H) you should request a cabin on the Starboard Side, which means SH: Port Out, Starboard Home= POSH. Aren’t you glad you read all this?
Mass tonight with the crew and staff was delightful, prayerful, and joyful. There were about 25 present. You count them from the picture. To my delight Christine was at Mass. I call her “Madam Librarian”. She was on the Veendam in May when I sailed up to Canada: delightful, charming and witty. Walking back from Mass about 12:15 the Monday morning, there were ten ships visible in the darkness out there somewhere in the Atlantic. All but two of them must have been tankers or cargo ships. The cruise ships are very obvious by the lights and size. I stopped by the “Screening Room” where “THE MAZE” was showing earlier in the evening. I always drift by there late at night and gather up all the pop corn bags that have not been taken. I’ll watch that film tomorrow during the day.
My favorite picture of the day: The crew at Mass tonight on the Eurodam