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Enjoy the "Treasures of the World" with Bill & Mary Ann on the 2014 World Cruise

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Report # 19 Callao (Lima), Peru Day Three January 16, 2014 Thursday Partly cloudy, 79 degrees


We have never stayed two nights in Callao before this trip. The reason for the extended stay is mainly for the guests who went on overland tours. Most of them arrived on time at about 10:30am, looking a bit worn around the edges. They had been up since 4am to get to the airport in Cuzco for the flight to Lima. Looking forward to their stories.


There was not much to do off the ship this morning, because the all aboard time was 11:30am. Our shuttle bus was gone, and only being used for the Prinsendam folks. We decided to take a walk to the reduced-size Peruvian Market set up on the pier. The few vendors that are left were selling the same items we saw in the Indian Market in town two days ago. There weren't as many shoppers as there were people trying to access the free wifi here. Crew members and passengers alike were crowded side by side trying to get online. At this point, we did not know that the ship's new service had been shut down. So many problems with the internet have popped up, that an IT tech had to be flown here to join us enroute to Easter Island to fix the bugs. We cannot figure out why this switch of services has been implemented on a Grand Voyage? We turn into the worst complainers when they mess with our internet....some more than others. One of the major problems is the internet shutting down while you are in the middle of something online. Many times, we have had trouble logging off, while the clock ticks away minutes. So if you do not see the blog being posted daily, it means we have lost the ability to log on, and the entire system may be shut down.


All we did was window shop at the market, comparing prices with those of the big Indian Market, then walk back onboard. We did have a brief meeting with former hosts, Wendy and Steve, before they had to board a bus for a tour. After today, our paths will not cross again on this trip.


The sailaway was delayed due to the fact that a new group of entertainers for French Polynesia were joining a half hour later than expected. A new concept was used at the sailaway party today. The Cruise Director had a drawing for some local beer and some Peruvian souvenier items. The chance of winning something sure brought the folks outside. Also, the new band that joined us, Serendipity, were performing for an hour at the aft pool. Now their music was our type of music, and obviously everyone else's. People were clapping and dancing to the tunes of Elvis, Neil Diamond, and the Beach Boys, etc. We appreciate the change of music, since we have been asking for this for many years now. Someone has listened.... finally.


The further away we got from Callao and Lima, the cooler it got. In a short time, the back deck had cleared, and it was quiet once again. In fact, we left the shroud of haze and light fog that hovers over the city most of the time, but picked up the wind. As we sailed out of the harbor, Captain Jonathon went into some details regarding the less than efficient internet system. He promised that the technician from the new provider company will resolve the problem, but it may take a few days. We feel bad for the library team, that has had to take on the extra task of the internet, since those experts have been dismissed. Their jobs...eliminated.


We had company for dinner this evening......the guest chef, George Geary, a most popular repeat demonstrator. He will be onboard until Tahiti, and will conduct several cooking classes while here. Being that we are 5 star Mariners, we are eligible for one complimentary cooking class. It would be nice to do one with George, because despite being a professional, he is a lot of fun. An extra bonus with the class is receiving a free culinary arts apron.


By 3pm, we were getting hungry. So we decided to check out the new menu at the Terrace Grill. Now you can get seasoned fries, with or without sauce. Sorry, no more sweet potato fries. There are three types of hamburgers, one portobello mushroom or veggie burger, and a chicken sandwich. The dogs are Nathans and are served three different ways. What is nice is that the sandwiches are wrapped in a foil wrapper, and the fries are served in a disposable cup. All the food is placed on a metal tray, instead of plates. And so far, we liked what we ate, and will go back again.


Did we mention that the special coffees at dinnertime in the dining room have a charge attached now? In the past, they were free. Now the espresso costs $1.25 and the cappuccino will cost $1.75. Never thought we would see these changes on any grand voyage. Guess we are not as special as we are led to believe.


The entertainment was Groove Tonight, the first performance of the Amsterdam singers and dancers. Will report about the show tomorrow. By the way, the rehearsal at 11:30am was open to the public. Sometimes that works better for us.


We have several days at sea now until we reach Easter Island. Hope the weather holds up and stays nice.


Bill & Mary Ann

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Report # 20 Sailing Towards Easter Island January 17, 2014 Friday Sunny, partly cloudy, 82 degrees


Today is the start of four full days at sea before we reach Easter Island. If the weather is like this all the way, we will be happy campers. We have lost the humidity we experienced in Lima, and are enjoying a crisp, clean breeze mixed with warm sun. The seas are rolling with some pretty sizable swells however. If that continues, there may be problems with tendering at Easter Island. But we are a long ways away at this point, so we will keep positive thoughts


On the front page of the daily newsletter, there was a long explanation about the problems with the internet. Seems the fault lies with the satellite tracking equipment that does not stay locked on to the communications satellite, causing it to lose the signal. We are asked for our continued patience in the interim. With no other options, we have no choice but to wait it out.


At breakfast, we asked Presti about how many passengers are full world cruise guests. He said 672. He added that this first segment to Sydney will be the fullest the ship will be with a total of over 900 plus guests. The nice part of these numbers is that nothing has been over crowded. No lines anywhere. Now that may change when we try for the tenderboats to Easter Island. With priority tendering, we should not need to get tickets. Last year, we found that the tour people took priority over the high star Mariners, even though we should be mixed with those groups leaving the ship. We shall see if this works better this year.


A new guest speaker is on the scene. He is David Smith, a very friendly camera guru, and his wife Anna Banana, as he always introduces her. On previous trips, he has made himself available to guests who need to ask questions regarding their individual cameras.


Diamonds and colored gems are the subject of Bea Kessler, who will present the collection by Kallati with a champagne reception. At the same time, the first wine tasting event was held in the dining room for the price of $15. At some point, we should be invited to one of these as a perk of the Mariner club.


Another guest speaker appeared on the roster by the name of Michael Bikerman. His speech will deal with an introduction to Planet Earth and the historical explanation for the existence of the Pacific Ocean, the largest body of ocean in the world.


At 7pm, we were invited along with the rest of the second seating CS guests for the first cocktail party in the Explorers Lounge. Earlybirds went at 4:30pm, an hour before their dinnertime. It was a great opportunity to visit with folks we know from many past cruises. You know what is funny? Some of these folks we saw the first days of the cruise, then never ran into them again. We have come to the conclusion that those on different schedules according to their assigned dining times, seldom cross paths during the day. Anyway the drinks were flowing freely and we never had empty glasses. Tom M. gave his short and sweet welcome at the end, and we all went to dinner. The only one missing from our table was Barb, who does not book with the same agency.


The newly-boarded Tahitian team gave a short performance in the Queens Lounge at 7:30pm. That would have cut into our party, so none of us went. We are sure to see these girls around the ship doing some dance teaching, just as we saw on the Statendam last fall.


The show from last night, singers and dancers, was OK, according to our tablemates. Kind of the same/same, but according to Bill from New York, he enjoyed the costuming, or should we say the lack of costuming. Well that kept the fellows interested for a change. Tonight's show was a comedian, Rick Starr.


An unexpected gift was waiting for each of us tonight in our room. They are Easter Island guide books about the history, culture, and individual archaeological sites of Rapa Nui. And both were personally signed by Captain Jonathon.


Bill & Mary Ann

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Report # 21 Sailing Towards Easter Island January 18, 2014 Saturday Partly cloudy, 71 degrees


When we left the room this morning to trek off to breakfast, we noticed we had an invite in our mailslot. It was one of our Mariner perks of a complimentary wine tasting. But we had to go at 11am this morning. Kind of last minute we think. However, if we were true wine connoisseurs, it would not matter what time or day the invite was, we would attend. Those that know us well, know that is not the case. So we passed on the opportunity today. There will be other invitations during the course of this cruise, just in case we change our minds.


The day began with heavy clouds blocking the sun. There had to be a drop of 10 degrees from yesterday's temperatures. We still went to the aft pool, because we knew some sun may come out by noon. And it did. Perfect for reading and relaxing, although we have yet to try out the pool. Actually, few folks have gone swimming. Gone are the crowds and lounge savers from the shorter cruises. Being that we are shy of about 400 passengers, this trip is beginning to feel more like we have a private yacht. Lots of space, and short lines, if any at all.


We did hear there was a long line for the first Mongolian Cookout at the Lido pool at 11:30am. While we were out back, we could smell the aroma of sizzling garlic in the woks. Too lazy to check it out, we know they always offer an array of fresh, raw vegetables, meats, and seafoods. You create your own meal, then take it to the cooks for frying. We heard that some folks made a foot high mountain of the ingredients, like they were starving. It does cook down to at least half of the original amount. One of us has a serious seafood allergy, and even if something shellfishy was previously cooked in the same wok, it the result would be the same. Sick as a dog. So we don't usually partake in this cookout.


Another letter was delivered to us regarding the internet. Another complication has arisen. We are now in an area where we are in between two different satellite feeds. So, we are not receiving the signal for CNN, TCM, HLN, and ESPN. It is always like this here, and is not due to malfunctioning equipment. The letter indicated that the feed should be continuous by January 21st. That sounds about right to us, although, we sure hope it will not affect the two football games tomorrow on TV. Reception permitting, they plan on broadcasting both playoffs starting at 3pm in the Wajang Theater and the Sports Bar. Go 49ers!


Dinner was good again tonight. We sure are noticing many new entrees, or should we say, entrees that are looking different in a good way. We both ordered the entree salad of shredded iceberg lettuce and crispy fried chicken pieces. It was mixed with crunchy croutons, then drizzled with ranch dressing. Then we split an herb crusted pork chop topped with a pear and raisin sauce. Sounds like a lot, but we did not have lunch today. Maybe that's why the food tasted so good.


The 7:30pm show was on again tonight, featuring a game show. It must run only a half hour, because the next performance, violinist Michael Bacala, came on at 8:15pm. Instead of going to the lounge, we went outside for a stroll. We found the moon rising, almost full, but a peculiar color of burnt orange. At home, we have seen this, but never while so far out at sea. Wonder what this phenomenon is? There must be a scientific explanation.


Bill & Mary Ann

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Report # 22 Sailing Towards Easter Island January 19, 2014 Sunday Partly cloudy with a chance of meatballs ( just kidding ), 73 degrees


Logically, the clocks should have been changing, going back at least two hours by now as we head southwest towards Easter Island. However, Easter Island belongs to Chile, and the government has chosen to keep the island on Santiago time, or Eastern Standard Time. It makes things easier for their banking and government operations. The odd thing for us is that the sun is not setting until well after 8:30pm. After we leave Easter Island on Tuesday, the clocks will roll back one hour for five days in a row. That should be a trip.


The On Location Tahitian team that boarded in Callao have been busy teaching crafts, such as weaving kukui nut headbands in the Lido Pool area. Later at 2pm, they were giving instructions on how to play the ukelele and blow into a conch shell.


Guest speaker, David Smith has continued giving camera hints. We find his talks to be quite informative and usually look for them on TV later in the day. Michael Bikerman also spoke about volcanoes and the ones that are still active in the South Pacific.


After spending some time at the aft pool, we headed back to our room to watch the first game of the football playoffs. It had been advertised that the games would be broadcasted in the Wajang Theater as well as the Sports Bar. The plus side to going to those venues, was that they were serving treats of sliders and mini hotdogs. Wondering if they would include our room TV's with the programs, we stopped by Henk Mensink's office to ask him. With one phone call, he verified that we would get the signal in our rooms too. Great.


The first game began at 3pm, with Denver winning over the New England Patriots. At 6:30pm, the 49ers took on the Seattle Seahawks. Since that game was more exciting, and we ended up staying in our room during our dinnertime. Our hopes were high for a surprising win, but it would not end that way. We did enjoy room service salads and burgers for a change. Superbowl Sunday should be broadcasted for us on February 3rd, since by then, we will have crossed the International Dateline, and will be a day ahead of USA time.


Rick Starr, a comedian, was on stage tonight at the new 7:30pm slot. A new group has joined us, or should we say, the old familiar group, The Unexpected Boys. They have performed on every world cruise and also shorter HAL cruises we have done recently. They do a routine including Frankie Valli and Four Season's songs and seem to be pretty popular with the passengers.


One more full sea day, and we hopefully, will arrive to Easter Island.


Bill & Mary Ann

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Report # 23 Sailing Towards Easter Island January 20, 2014 Monday Partly cloudy, sunny, 77 degrees


While reading the new books we got as gifts this morning, one of us noticed something strange. When looking for a map of Easter Island, we found that 12 pages of the book were missing. Wonder what the chances are that we got the only amended book? Well, the best place to ask this question was at the front desk. The answer was no, there had not been another passenger with that problem so far. Hmmm, bet that most folks have not even looked at them yet. They handed it back after showing Christel, the guests relations manager, and promised to send another complete book to our room. It arrived within the hour.


That was one job out of the way. We needed to reserve a space with George, our guest chef, for our one free cooking class. We booked his final class on January 26th, before we arrive to Papeete, the day he leaves. Most of our tablemates went to his class today, and reported that it was fun. They each get a job of preparing several items for lunch, but do not eat the food that is prepared. While they are learning the techniques, the real lunch is being created in the kitchen by the pros. And that is what is served for their lunch in the Pinnacle Grill Restaurant after the class is over. It is possible that a glass of wine is included as well.


Making Pinnacle Grill Restaurant reservations was the next task. With a total of 18 formal nights, several specialty dinners, and occassional closures, we were afraid most all the other dates may be filling up. On a world cruise, there are usually hundreds of 5 star Mariners, who are entitled to two free dinners in this special restaurant. As it turned out, making reservations at 8pm was not a problem. We have one in February and the other in March. Did we mention that the menu choices have changed a bit? Gone is the baby arugula salad with warm bacon dressing.. That was the best. Another favorite is the Caesar salad, which we heard is no longer made tableside. Gone are the entrees that were flaming, but perhaps that may be a safety measure, and a good idea. As long as the bone-in ribeye steaks, the baked potatoes, and the sauted mushrooms are still there, we will remain happy campers. And we trust the quality of the cuisine is the same as we have always enjoyed on the grand voyages. We'll let you know.


The final job was to get some money.... small bills, ones, fives, and tens in case we find some treasures on Easter Island. The money that you get at the front desk is always new, so new that you think that they are making it in the back room. No, just kidding, but you have to be careful when spending the money.. New bills tend to stick together, and you have to be careful or you lose it.


The weather was so nice outside, we have been making it a point to get out early. By 10am, we can be found walking the lower promenade deck with a handful of other walkers. So far, it has not been the least bit crowded. Teak lounges have been easily found all day long. No need to save seats there. The same applies to the aft pool, where there have been many available lounges every time we go.


A Lido Pool party was happening from 1 to 3pm once again. The Tahitian team and one of the bands entertained folks while dancing and games went on, and prizes were given. We missed it, preferring the quiet of the aft pool.


Tonight's dinner was a formal one, the theme being Las Vegas. The decorations were not as splashy as they usually were. Big gold dollar sign balloons hung on the walls, and huge $100 bills were hanging overhead. We think the real Las Vegas decorations were probably in the casino, hoping to draw the folks in for a night of gambling.


We did have company at our table. A young and handsome Dutch navigation officer, Dorus, joined us. It is not often that the younger set joins tables, but he seemed to enjoy meeting all of us. This is his first contract on a world cruise, and is loving every minute of the experience.


Naki Ataman was the entertainer tonight. Not sure what he does, but since he is standing in front of a piano in the daily newsletter, we can assume he is a pianist.


Looking forward to Easter Island tomorrow.


Bill & Mary Ann

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Gotta love the Unexpected Boys and their Frankie Valli music ;) Dorus is a 3/O Have a great time on Easter Island

Edited by Copper10-8

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Thanks for taking the time to write about this wonderful journey. I sometimes feel I'm right with you on the ship. Did you meet King Neptune when you crossed the equator?

Looking forward to reports from "around the world".

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Report # 24 Easter Island, Chile January 21, 2014 Part One Tuesday Mostly sunny, 77 degrees


Easter Island has to be one of the most remote and isolated places on earth. It is also one of the most mysterious islands we have ever visited. Where else can you find evidence of a civilization that utilized so much of their time carving giant statues called moais that were placed along the coastline mostly facing inland? Were these statues placed as guards to protect the inhabitants from outside forces, like a parent would guard their children? To date, there are around 900 moais around the island and also in the quarry. Perhaps if their natural resources had not been depleted, more of the native islanders, the Rapa Nui, would have survived to explain the mysteries of this island. And perhaps the work of the UNESCO World Heritage Site will uncover the true meaning someday in the future.


The island is a mere 15.3 miles long and 7.6 miles at its widest point. Being of volcanic origin, there are three freshwater crater lakes, but no permanent streams or rivers. On Easter Sunday in 1722, a Dutch explorer happened across this island quite by accident, while searching for another island. Today, the largest town on the island is Hanga Roa. They have several restaurants, cafes, bars, a museum, bank, hospital, and a church. It is also the spot where we tendered for the ship or independant tours. Or folks like us that were on their own. Since this is our sixth visit to the island, we knew we could navigate our way to see several moais from the pier. It was a long walk, but we were up for it. No, we really needed it.


Our last visit here almost did not happen. The dangerous swells in the ocean caused the tendering service to stop after 1pm. If we had not insisted on our priority tendering service, we would not have made it to shore. There had to be a better solution to their tendering procedures. So here was the plan for today, as was announced in the newsletter. The handful of President Club members onboard were informed last night that they would get priority tendering, mixing with the tour groups going ashore. Everyone else had to get a tender ticket outside the Wajang Theater. Those that had a booked tour would get their stickers and proceed down to the gangway when they were called. They did not need tender tickets. Now we could have gone down to the Wajang an hour earlier, like at 7am, to wait in line, but what was the rush to get over there? Some independent passengers had pre-booked trips, and did need to get to the pier to meet up with their guides. Not us. We were our own guides for the day.


We ended up with tender group # 20, which was called about 9:15am. Boarding the tenderboat was a breeze. So was the 10 minute ride to shore. The seas were the calmest we have ever seen, which was great. Upon debarking the boat, we handed in our customs and agricultural affidavit to the officials, who also took the time to search our handbag. We knew better than to bring any fresh fruit, or sandwiches, or any food for that matter. Risking a steep fine would not be the way to start our day here. You would be surprised how many people still bring the bananas or oranges with them.


Several tables of souveniers were set up as we made our way from the boat to the main road. The main items were t-shirts, cement moais, island jewelry, and everything that represents Rapa Nui. We would have plenty of time to look on our way back. Minivans and private cars were filling up with passengers as we worked our way to the road.


Our hike began around 9:30am and took us by hostels, restaurants (not open yet), private houses, and one very rocky shoreline. The waves were pounding against the volcanic rocks on the seawall. About a mile up the road, we spotted many surfers trying their luck riding the waves, but well away from the boulders which could cut them to ribbons. Believe us when we say that surfing here is for the young and very fit.


Once through the heart of town and past the cemetery, we began seeing many moais on their ceremonial platforms. Busloads of tourists were being led by their guides to the main moai groups and given long detailed explanations of what they were seeing . Scattered in the fields were grazing horses. Even large dogs ran in and amongst them. These smallish horses are allowed to roam freely to graze anywhere they please. All seem to be branded, and do belong to the locals. We've heard the rumor that these horses are sometimes eaten on this island, and we are sure it is true. There has to be a way to control their numbers.


The walking trail continued all the way to the northern tip of the island where it ended at lovely Anakena Beach. On two previous stops to the island, we have made our landing at this beach, because we were unable to use the regular pier. It sure would have been nice to go to the beach, but from where we were, it would have been a prohibitive walk that would have taken way too much time. If we ever come back, that may be the area we wish to spend the day.


Even though we had brought a large bottle of water with us, dehydration was setting in. The idea of sipping an ice cold beer or two was getting stronger and stronger. So we backtracked towards town and stopped at the nicest looking restaurant in Hanga Roa. Te Moana sits right on the water's edge, is open-air with most seating facing the ocean. Right down the cliffside we could watch several locals surfing the crashing waves. We ordered local Chilean beers, Escudo. They were great. Then we shared an order of large tempura shrimps with Japanese dip and sweet and sour sauce. Our waitress brought a platter of lime-marinated salsa with slices of fresh French bread. It wasn't a huge lunch, but certainly delicious. Pricey? Yes, but since we did not pay for a tour, we felt we could indulge here. Actually, it was mentioned in our Companion to Easter Island booklets that the only other area of the world with prices so high as here is Tahiti. Debatable for sure. By the way, we discovered that the personalized signature inside the covers of the books was from the author, James, not J for Jonathon, as in Captain Jonathon.


Another excellent excuse to stop on the way back was at the ice cream kiosk in the center of town. The navigation officer we met last night, Dorus, happened to be eating a cup of ice cream as he greeted us along the way. He said it was great and the girl took US dollars. We could not resist the vanilla and mint chip, even though they were $4. each. Many wooden benches along the roadside provided some needed places to enjoy the sweet treat.


Once back at the pier area, we found a number of guests watching the water around the many small fishing boats tied to the dock. Swimming in and among the boats were schools of fish, followed by large turtles. We are not positive, but they sure looked like the green turtles we saw in Kona last fall. They were not going after the fish, but interested in the bait the locals were using to hook the small fish. Looked like bits of white bread to us. The usual diet of the turtles is algae, which was plentiful in this protected tiny harbor.


It was near 4pm by the time we decided to go back to the ship. While waiting for the next tenderboat, we checked out the many tables of Easter Island treasures. The most usable item was a t-shirt, so that was all we purchased. Continuing on with the new process of tendering here, we were given a tender number, even though there were only a handful of folks waiting in the chairs on the dock. At least, there were dozens of folding seats to keep the waiting passengers in the shade and comfortable. This is one of the least popular things we have to do when tendering. People can get so testy and sometimes nasty. To help us out, the staff always offers chilled washcloths and a cup of ice water, tea, or juice. Today, we had chilled pineapple juice....perfect.


The boat pulled alongside the pier, and we piled inside.....all eight of us. How nice is that? They left immediately, and we were back in 10 minutes. It was apparent that the winds were picking up as we watched the huge waves pound the rocks on the coastline. At least, the conditions held up all day and none of the transfers to shore or back to the ship had been cancelled.


By 5pm, all were back onboard, except the last two tenderboats. The Captain announced that he had to do a wheelie with the ship in order for the sailors to get the boats lifted. The winds by now were blowing a gale. It took some time, before we were heading west, into the sun, and on or way towards Pitcairn Island. Everyone we talked to at the sailaway had a most memorable day on this island, especially those, like our tablemates, who had this place on their bucket list for many years. Oddly enough, they had encountered a good rain shower while at the quarry. Did they have umbrellas......no, but they dried off eventually. And when we went back to our room later, we had Easter Island certificates to prove we were here once again....actually for the sixth time.


Every single one of us was worn out at dinnertime, except for Barb, who had chosen to stay onboard today. For the first time this trip, not everyone was happy with their entrees. One of the fish choices turn out to be a bad choice. They always look good, but you can never tell for sure. Our nice waiter offered to bring two of our group new entrees, but they chose to fill up on rolls instead and dessert too. We discovered that it is not a great idea to ask for the outside cut of prime rib. It came so dry, you could not cut it with the steak knife. Most times, that cut of meat is well-seasoned and cooked medium, still tender. Not so today.


With an extra hour of sleep tonight (due to the clocks going back one hour), we are sure everyone is thankful..... especially the crew, who worked hard getting us over and back safely today. A very memorable day, except for the one couple who were sent to the hospital in an ambulance. That makes four people from our travel group that have had to go to the hospital or back home due to medical problems.


Bill & Mary Ann

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So glad that your day on Easter Island was a good one. I recall last year the horrid conditions of the tendering.

Also I made note of several of the places you visited to place on my to do list.

I know last year when visiting Pitcarin that it was limited due to illness(?) by the people living there and none came onboard. I hope this time the visit is alot better.

Enjoying the trip!

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Report # 25 Sailing Towards Pitcairn Island January 22, 2014 Wednesday Partly cloudy, showers possible, 75 degrees


It was so nice to have a day at sea to rest up from yesterday's marathon adventure. The skies were mostly cloudy, but when that sun came out, it was strong. From here on throughout the rest of the South Pacific, we need to remember how easy it is to sunburn. Another area of concern with the sun's rays is anywhere around the Equator. We did cross the magic line back in the Ecuador area, but we did not celebrate the occasion. We will however, have that King Neptune ceremony towards the end of this voyage.


Many classes took place today, as they have been since the beginning of the cruise. We are certain much can be learned from the culinary arts demos, Tahitian crafts, tai chi, photo editing, creating interesting videos that do not bore your guests, and learning how to samba without crushing your partner's toes.


Cruise director, Gene, announced that all the ladies playing in the casino at 8pm would receive a free glass of champagne. He added that anyone wearing a dress would qualify, however, he hoped that would not entice any of the fellows to wear one. Be careful what you say, Gene, because anything is possible. The casino is one place that we never participate. Gambling has never been an appealing passtime for us, so we can live without it.


We were personally invited to attend an exclusive event in the Merabella Boutique from 7 to 8pm. In fact, everyone on the ship was personally invited. The official unveiling of the collection of Tara pearls should attract some customers. On a previous trip, we did buy some gorgeous South Sea pearls from the shop onboard. The main reason for the extravagant purchase was to use a significant shipboard credit. If we did not spend it, we would have forfeited the money. In other words, use it, or lose it. And since we did not exceed our customs limit, we did not have to pay extra taxes on the necklace. A win/win.


The pool area was fairly empty this afternoon. We believe the taped Hawaiian music has driven some folks out of there. No we are not heading for Hawaii, so some Tahitian music may be approriate. There was a Tahitian music class at 2pm where you could learn to blow a conch shell again or play the ukulele. That was in the Crows Nest, so no student would drive other passengers crazy. Around 2:30pm, the sun disappeared under a black cloud, and the rain started. It looked like it would be brief, but most all the sunbathers picked up their stuff and left the area, including us. Good time to have a bite to eat, and work on yesterday's photos.


Have we mentioned that the internet hotspot devices have been increased all over ship? We happen to have a new one right outside our door, and it really does give us a good signal most times. Propping open the door seems to give us a boosted signal. For the last week, we have been emailing right from our cabin, without having to go to a public area to go online. The downside is that we have not seen a lot of the regulars we normally see and chat with on deck five near the Ocean Bar.


Dinner was great tonight with our choice of the veal cordon bleu plate. Sometimes we wonder if the chicken cordon bleu is a frozen pre-made product, as they all look suspiciously the same. Our entrees appeared to be put together from scratch tonight, cooked crispy and tenderly moist. The nice thing is that all of the courses are conservative, and you do not go away from the table stuffed to the gills. There were two birthdays celebrated near us, so we all joined in on the special birthday song, sang by the waiters. Looks like the birthday cake is the 5 inch x 5 inch dense brownie covered with whipped cream. Hardly enough to pass around a table fo eight. We have requested a regular size white cake with lemon filling, and they said it would be done. Hope they remember in two days from now.


And not by surprise, the clocks went back one more hour this evening.


One more lovely day at sea, and we should be in the vicinity of Pitcairn Island, another small dot on the map in the middle of nowhere. But what history surrounds it!


Bill & Mary Ann

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Love it. Pitcairn Island. Remember it in Geography classes many moons ago. Your blessed.



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Interesting you just complimented the internet access, Jeff posted on his blog entry today he may give up blogging as the internet he said is worthless and worse than ever before.

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