Sunday, January 4, 2014
They call days like this: “At Sea”, and the description works. We sailed along about an average of 18 kts all last night, all today, and will arrive at Grand Turk in the morning. It was windy – at the moment, (midnight) there is a wind directly head on at 50 kts which is substantial, so this 15 story floating hotel/resort is moving about a bit. 42 Catholics started the day at 8:00 am for Mass, and 38 Catholic crew members finished the day about an hour ago with 11:30 pm Crew Mass. This evening an officer asked me to visit with a crew member whose mother had died today back home in the Philippines. He will be going home from San Juan in a couple of days. It is always distressing for these people who are so far from home and gone so long to experience these losses in such a lonely way.
I learned something today about cruise ship vocabulary. When I came back to my cabin after the Crew Mass tonight, it was hot and very stuffy with no air moving at all. I went down to the Main Desk and reported the situation saying that the air conditioning seemed to be broken. A delightful your night clerk promptly informed me that a section of deck 8 was “challenged” and a crew of engineers was working to resolve the challenge. Apparently, nothing breaks on a ship. There is just a challenge now and then. To my relief as I finished the paragraph above, the air came on. So what was “challenged” is no longer “challenged”. There must be a Department for Challenges somewhere on this ship, but certainly not a repair crew. Best of all, just seconds after I heard and felt cool air, a knock on the door brought a fan. Challenge resolved!
Having family and friends on this cruise is quite different from previous experiences. Now instead of reading about and commenting on events scheduled during the day, I am expected to actually attend. It is like being back in school. The teacher, Norma Nixon, continues to tell me what we are going to do and when. I am actually attending some of these things, but not all. The best part of the day was the morning because the two of them over slept, and I settled onto a deck chair for three hours of reading and dozing. Both of the morning cooking classes went on without us in spite of the fact that I was told last night we would attend. After lunch on Lido deck I made the mistake of walking through the Lido pool area where there was a side-walk sale in progress. Another forty minutes of reading time lost which made us late for “Team Trivia”. We arrived with half of the game completed, and we would not have done very well anyway after hearing the answers to the questions. Then three of us went to “Dancing with the Stars” and sat through 45 minutes of “Cha Cha” instructions. I emphasize the verb: sat. Members of the Westerdam Dance Troupe, and people from the actual TV show were instructing and and then chose four people from the sizable crowd of passengers who were bumping into one another, sliding around the dance floor, and grinding their hips as finalists. They then danced with the professionals and the voting commenced. It was actually very entertaining: much or so than sleeping in a deck chair.
Following the Dance sessions we retired to the Crows Nest where Thelma and Louise played some game for about two hours while I watched a sail boat come up from the horizon and pass behind us looking very lonely and small on the open sea. Norma insisted that we attend the Martini Sampling at five, but a waiter came by our table announcing “Happy Hour” in the Crows Nest. We did our sampling without moving. Dinner was routine and we invited a couple from Ontario whom we met over martinis to join us. From dinner we went to the 8:00 pm Stage show which was exactly the same production with a different cast from what I saw last month on the Eurodam. This crew is stronger with the dance than with the vocal whereas last month they sang better than they danced. Keryoche finished off the evening because Norma and Judy wanted to see what it was like. It did not take long for that curiosity to be satisfied. It is amazing what a combination of a little talent and a lot of alcohol will get people to do in front a a crowd under bright lights and a live microphone in hand. I fell asleep when the School Superintendent from a small Indiana town did his second imitation of Bing Crosby. Need I say more? I wonder what that school system is really like?
Enough for now. Grand Turk on Monday, San Juan on Tuesday, St Martin on Wednesday, and another “Sea Day on Thursday.