Friday, July 27, 2012

Fifteen minutes of fame and other happenings on board…

One of the performers on board the ship was a “mentalist” by the name of Brent Webb. I wasn’t too excited about going to see him but our friends inveigled us into going and then, against our better judgment, to sitting in the third row—nobody sat in the front row (they know better) and only one couple was in the second row. Sure enough, about halfway through the performance Brent picked on me to come up on stage to participate in his act. He is actually pretty good and very entertaining—which is all he purports to be, an entertainer; he didn’t try to convince us he could actually read minds. He did a couple of tricks with me but the memorable one was asking me to think of a place that I like to be and a person to take with me who wasn’t on the cruise with me and to tell him and everybody. I thought of our cabin (which provoked a laugh until they realized I didn’t mean our cabin on the ship) as the place I like to go and our daughter Katherine as the person I would take with me. He thanked me for participating and pointed across the stage to a table where there was a gold bag with Godiva chocolates that was my gift. There was a tiny envelope stuck to the bag, I opened it and it said:

Obviously it was some sleight of hand, but it was so well done that nobody could remember his going anywhere near the table. At another point he asked me to think of someone well known, not necessarily really famous (but they could be) but not so unknown that nobody would recognize the name (I thought of Clint Eastwood). He said, “is the person in the film industry?” and then said, “Clint Eastwood.” I have no idea how he did THAT since I  never said anything but “yes.”

Just in case you think we have a dull life onboard, there are, unfortunately, few interesting moments. Two afternoons ago we had to have a helicopter transfer of two patients from the ship. The US Coast Guard sent two helicopters to get the two critically ill passengers and fly them to a hospital in San Juan. Most of the back end of our ship was closed and passengers evacuated from their cabins but not, for some reason, the suites so we had an up-close and personal view of the helicopters coming in. We couldn’t see the actual transfer as that took place about three decks above us but we sure could hear them! The helicopters never landed, just hovered for the transfer. It had to be extremely serious for them to do this as we were only 12 hours from St. Thomas and the ship is not made for helicopters to be flying about her. Additionally they did it just before dark and dark comes very, very quickly in the tropics. Half an hour after the second helicopter left, it was dark!

Another view from our cabin

This C-130 flew cover for the helicopters the whole time, just circling the ship.

Getting ready to recover the patient

One of the paramedics coming down to the ship
Other than that, however, our lives onboard are pretty dull relaxing. We have lectures about the upcoming ports, some very entertaining and others, well, let’s just say there is often the sound of soft snoring coming from around the audience. And now that we’re in the Caribbean, we have a “shopping specialist” on board who tells us all the best stores to go to for diamonds and emeralds and crystal and tanzanite (we’ve been cruising since 1991 and early on we were told that we should buy tanzanite because there was only one mine and it was going to run out “soon;” it obviously hasn’t run out yet!) and where to go to get freebies (always a popular topic!). Then there are the games (the bridge lessons are a bit too beginner for us to enjoy) like Carpet Boules and Trivia (fights have broken out over trivia) and various other activities like get-togethers for  like-minded folk (singles, Americans, GLBT, aviation enthusiasts, teachers, etc etc etc) and presentations on finance and cooking and space. There are classes on beading and pottery—they actually have a kiln on board—and mah jong and other things. The cooking demos are good but not anywhere near as good as they were in the dedicated kitchen on the Holland America ships. Here they just set up the Vista Lounge with all the accoutrements that the chef needs to demo his cooking.

Every evening we go to the Rendez-Vous Bar where several of our Cool Cruiser friends gather every night for cocktails and stories about what we’ve been up to over the past day or so. And of course there is the occasional lunch with the Cool Cruisers and the day after every segment starts we have a “Meet & Greet” for the new people to meet the Cool Cruisers on board already. If you have no idea who the Cool Cruisers are: there is a website called Cruise Critic where they sell cruises but also have a lot of very active forums (ideas for things to do in ports, answers to all kinds of questions to do with cruising, that sort of thing) including the “Roll Call” for each and every cruise. Some roll calls are more active than others. The seven-day Caribbean cruise roll calls are not too active but our World Cruise was extremely active with over 2500 forum messages, including a list of everyone who wanted to be listed as going on the cruise. We named ourselves the Cool Cruisers and that is how we’re know on the ship (we didn’t like Cruise Critic because it sounds rather negative, which we are NOT!).

Food is a BIG part of shipboard life; not perhaps as much as on other ships merely because of size. Our ship is kind of small (compared to the Oasis of the Seas that was in St. Thomas with us; she has over 5000 passengers, we have fewer than 2000) and doesn’t have all the venues that the bigger ships have. We have a pizza place (I’m less that enthusuastic about that), the Horizon Court (aka, the Horror Zone), and the two main dining rooms. There are a couple of others that are only open in the day time. We almost always have breakfast in our cabin. Just like a great hotel, we order the night before, choose the time for delivery, and George (our Room Service waiter) brings it along with whatever else HE thinks we should want—like strawberries or a plate of bacon—and a tablecloth. Nevermind that we only have a coffee table, he sets the table as if it were at the finest restaurant. Now that we’re back in warmth, we may start having breakfast on the deck. Aren’t you feeling sorry for us? Last night we had a traditional Australian party in the Regency dining room, Christmas in July, with a gift exchange at our table including our head waiter Johann, our senior server Lisa, and the assistant server as well as the eight of us.

Steve, celebrating at Christmas in July! I tried to post this on FB and it wouldn't post, no matter how many times I tried!

Joe, Lyn, and Angela, three of our tablemates

Cheryl has a birthday that she didn't really want to celebrate!

Our Christmas in July table

So life will continue for another 34 days. I can’t believe how close we are to finishing this trip of a lifetime! And Bill, we’re not even close to a divorce, so I think I’ll take down the Cheap Divorce for Cruisers certificate you gave us; it’s been on the wall for 70 days and I don’t think we’ll need it. Probably.

1 comment:

  1. You are missing a very rainy July and your yard looks great with all the rain. Nothing new here except Ashley and Keith are moving into a new house not far from us and Meliisa and Marc just closed on a house in Phoenix. James is working hard as usual.