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John and Diane's 125-day Adventure at Sea


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Saturday, February 4, 2017 - Day 31

At Sea en route to Guam

 

Another day, another series of rainstorms and another day on which people have to stay inside. At breakfast we were speaking about people who may be on their first world cruise and may not want to take another because of the rough waters and bad weather. While the seas are pretty calm, the weather really does stink. We also recalled the eight-day crossing between Panama and the Marquesa Islands which was made up of blue skies, calm seas, and warm weather. What a difference!

 

We had a great Canaletto dinner with our friend Denise Vivaldo, exploring more treats from the new menu. John and Denise loved the sea bass, while I thought the prawn ravioli was just plain yummy. We couldn’t decide what to have for dessert, so we ordered three of them along with three spoons and had them placed end-to-end down the middle of the table. My favorite was the tiramisu, but the cannoli and the lemon torte were pretty good too.

 

After two and a half hours at dinner, it was time for the show. Don McHenry, a comedian, was on tap. He’s a Los Angeles regular and was one of the writers for the movie A Bug’s Life. We laughed out loud time after time as he brought up some everyday situations and made us look at them in really amusing ways. It was really conversational humor, as he just stood up there with the microphone and a bottle of water and talked and talked and we laughed and laughed.

 

One of the nice things about the entertainers on board is the way they support one another. As Don performed, the back of the Queen’s Lounge was filled with several of the guest entertainers who either have been or will be on stage during this segment. We could hear them laughing and clapping and just generally showing support for their fellow performers.

 

Another nice thing about the onboard entertainers is their availability. They’re almost always available for dinner invitations, they wander around the ship, and most of them are just as friendly as can be. Our friend Yuri, from Black Tie, always sits in on our Trivia team when he’s on board (he’s a very smart guy) and we really enjoyed having dinner several years ago with Larry Hagman, AKA J. R. Ewing from Dallas. In fact, in a chat with the Protestant minister this morning, he told me that Bobby Brooks Wilson is going to be leading the singing in tomorrow morning’s church service. Bobby is probably one of the most friendly and visible entertainers we’ve ever had on the ship - he’s just everywhere!

 

Tonight is another gala night, with a boogie-woogie theme. We’ll have a formal dinner in La Fontaine Dining Room, and then Bobby (yes, him again) is heading up a dance in the Queen’s Lounge. The fun never stops around here.

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Sunday, February 5, 2017 - Day 32

At Sea en route to Guam

 

It ought to be illegal to have as much fun as we’ve had in the last 24 hours. While we only came in fourth at Trivia, we had our usual barrel of laughs playing it, and then, as usual, sat around for almost an hour afterward just shooting the breeze and bemoaning the questions we missed. Who knew that “broccoli” in Italian means “the flower that grows from the cabbage?”

 

At dinner, our officer was George, who is the Assistant Culinary Arts Manger, and who had been introduced to us earlier by Florin, his boss and a shipboard friend. I did ask and found out that officers host tables at both early and late seatings, but as I said before, they are usually sent to large tables. George is a great guy and we had some good conversation about his first job on the ship (as comptroller) and his new nephew, who was recently born to his sister who lives in New Zealand.

 

When we sat down, there were only seven of us (including George) and we wondered where Susie and Woody were. We waited until almost 8:15 to order, and we fretted and fretted about their whereabouts, since they hadn’t called me to let me know they wouldn’t be there and they didn’t answer their stateroom phone. At about 8:20, one of our tablemates said that they might have told them the evening before (when we were at the Canaletto) that they’d be dining in the Pinnacle with their cruise agent’s group. Then both of those couples agreed that that was where they were and Susie had told them the evening before - but only after a few glasses of wine had been consumed.

 

It was a gala evening, and the “show” was Bobby Brooks Wilson singing in the Queen’s Lounge combined with dancing in the middle of the room. If that wasn’t enough fun, Gene and Bobby were both wandering the stage and tossing out handfuls of “dam dollars.” You can have no idea how vicious some women (yes, women) can be when on the hunt for blue pieces of paper that have very little spending value. John reached for a couple of them as they fell, but he was literally shoved out of the way by an elegant blonde woman dressed in a white couture gown. Another couple, whom we know to be multi-millionaires, were grasping for “dollars” as though it were manna from heaven. If nothing else, it was entertaining to watch. The dancing, however, was great.

 

For the after-party, we headed up to the Crow’s Nest, where the group that plays like Lawrence Welk during cocktail hour had ramped up the music and was playing some really danceable rock and roll. We danced there until about midnight, but since it was “an hour back” night, we actually returned to our room at 11:00.

 

This morning, for the first time in six world cruises, all eight friends at our dining table went to church together. I don’t know if the draw was their good friends John and Diane or the fact that Bobby was leading the singing (I suspect the second), but it was good to worship with friends, as we do at home. Communion was served, and we had a choice of wine or grape juice. It was amazing to me how many good “grape juice Baptists and Methodists” headed to the wine station.

 

The weather is again warm, humid, and rainy, so there aren’t too many people outside (if any). I stopped to talk to Tina, the Future Cruise Consultant, who told me that, although the 2018 WC is sold out, they are taking deposits of $1750 per person to be put on a wait list - which Tina said is quite long. A couple of our friends have already put a $100 deposit on 2019, figuring that if the 2018 cruise around Africa is sold out that soon, the 2019 cruise will probably repeat a similar itinerary. We have no idea what we’re doing next year, so we have neither a reservation nor a wait listing.

 

In answer to other questions, no we haven’t seen a breakdown by nationality, but we’re sure that the first three nationalities, in order, would be USA, Canadians, and Dutch, with a scattering of many other groups.

 

Our friends who had to move because of flooding had their room readied for occupancy in about 36 hours, and then they received, with a note saying “Sorry for your inconvenience,” nine (yes, nine) cans of Diet Coke. Amazing! Susie is not the type to take things like this lying down, so she headed down to the front desk (with the Diet Cokes) and ended up with a $100 shipboard credit. The moral of this story: stand up for what you think is right.

 

Today should be quieter than yesterday, and we’re looking forward to dinner because Maddie and Oliver, two of the singers (of the Amsterdam Singers and Dancers) are coming to dinner. We got to know them on the holiday cruise and have spent time with them on the WC. They’re pretty excited to come, but whether it’s the opportunity to spend time with eight people old enough to be their grandparents or to order from the dining room menu instead of the officers’ mess, I don’t know. I guess I’ll just have to ask.

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I am really enjoying your posts, thank you so much for taking the time to write, and you do it so well. We are booked on the WC next year and it will be our first WC. So this info you give is really helpful.

Cyndi

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Sure wish I was cruising into Guam....:)

 

This is a photo of my arrival on Guam in January 1947. My father and all military personnel were ordered to carry arms as there were Japanese soldiers hiding in caves on the island.

 

We lived in a quonset hut on the beach at Camp Asan....Headquarters for the U.S. Navy Seabees...

 

It is now a National Park - Asan Beach....

 

Hope you have great and sunny weather.....!!!

 

219njph.jpg

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Monday, February 6, 2017 - Day 33

Final Day at sea en route to Guam

 

I’ve always enjoyed Super Bowl Sunday. We’d get together with friends, eat too much, complain if the game was boring, and just have a great day. Now it is Super Bowl Monday, of all things, and the game began at 9:30 this morning and was in no way boring, but over in time for even more lunch. As our friend Will said, we were in a beautiful room, in the middle of the Pacific, watching a great game with people bringing us food and beverages - it doesn’t get much better than this.

 

The schedule said that Super Bowl festivities would begin at 8:30, although we knew the game wouldn’t start for another hour. On the way to the gym at 7:30, just out of curiosity, I peeked into the Queen’s Lounge and saw one man who had already staked out his aisle seat. I just hope he brought a book.

 

For the early part of the game there were coffee, tea, OJ, fruit and pastries, and then after halftime, the buffet switched to hot dogs, chile, sliders, the makings for nachos and potato chips. It was far more food than any ten people needed, but no one seemed to worry about that.

 

It was, of course, an unbelievable game, and after it was over we made one plate of nachos and another with sliders and took them up to our verandah for a seaside picnic. Afterwards it was time for a nap, but just then the phone rang, and Jacques, our cellar master friend, was calling to tell us that he was pouring some Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc for a few friends in the wine cellar (really more of a wine area outside the Pinnacle) and did we want to come. How could we turn down such a great invitation?

 

We thought it would be a glass of wine and then finished, but two hours later, after a few glasses of such a wonderful wine along with croissants and cheese, we finally had our naps. I’m pretty sure that dinner will be about two lettuce leaves for me, but we will go if for no other reason than to socialize with our friends and express amazement at how a perfectly good football team could let a 28-3 halftime lead go up in smoke.

 

Last evening, we had our two new young friends, Maddie and Oliver, join our table for dinner. They are two of the four singers on board and we had promised them that they need not sing for their supper. They were excellent company and we learned about their upbringing, Maddie in Oregon and Oliver in England, and how they’re aimed at finding careers in West End theatre in London. They are both so talented and we wish them all the best in the future.

 

Tomorrow is Guam, and since we’ve never been here before, we’re really looking forward to it. We’ll have a shuttle to the Guam Premium Outlet Mall, to continue our shopping cruise of the Pacific, and I think we’ll hire a taxi for a couple of hours to see some WWII sites to satisfy our historical interests. While we arrive at 8:00, we each have to have a face-to-face meeting with a Guamanian official, passport in hand, before we are allowed to debark. It should be an interesting port, and with 82 degrees forecast, it should also be a pleasant one.

 

P. S. Thanks so much for posting the photo. It really is lovely and we hope to visit Asan Bay tomorrow.

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I didn't find the shopping in Guam that exciting. There's a fairly large mall in downtown Hagatna but a bit blah. There was a nice crafts market on the seaward side of the highway close to downtown, I found a baseball cap with the seal of Guam on it I liked.

 

You'll see Asan beach on your left as you travel from the port to the town.

 

Getting off the ship was a rather slow and painful process on the Statendam. I hope they've improved it.

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Thank you for allowing me to follow.

 

I hope the game didn't ruin your day. I was totally sick to my stomach as I couldn't believe how bad the coaching was for Atlanta at the end, as they basically gave the game away.

 

From what I understand, the airport on Guam has a very interesting approach for a landing coming in over a very steep cliff. They have had a crash or two there. It might be interesting if you like that sort of thing.

 

Wishing you more happy adventures.

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How fun to be going to a new port. Can't wait to hear what you think. Photos of Guam look wonderful.

 

Thank you for answering my questions. And, good for your friends for not accepting some sodas for the inconvenience of being out of their room for so long because of water damage. Cherie

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Sure wish I was cruising into Guam....:)

 

This is a photo of my arrival on Guam in January 1947. My father and all military personnel were ordered to carry arms as there were Japanese soldiers hiding in caves on the island.

 

We lived in a quonset hut on the beach at Camp Asan....Headquarters for the U.S. Navy Seabees...

 

It is now a National Park - Asan Beach....

 

That reminds me when my mother and I joined my father in Hawaii in late 1948 .. we too lived in Quonset hut and I thoroughly enjoyed the time there.

harry

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - Day 34

Guam, US Territory

 

Did you ever imagine what a place would be like and then find that you were completely wrong? That’s what happened to us today. For some reason, we expected Guam to be more like the Marshall Islands and not very developed. Boy, were we off base. Guam is a beautiful tropical island, parts of which are heavily developed, and the population is about 270,000.

 

Because we had come from Majuro, a non-American port, we had to go through immigration and customs, which we were told would begin about 7:45 this morning. I guess they’re more laid back than we are on the mainland, because they began showing up just before 9:00, after which every passenger on the ship had to collect his/her passport, line up outside the coffee bar, and meet first with the immigration officials and then with the customs officials. Fortunately, we were pretty high on the list for going through, so we were officially approved and welcomed to Guam and then hopped on the first shuttle bus to - shockingly - a shopping mall. It did not contained the famed K-Mart, so I can’t say if it really is the biggest one in the world.

 

It was a beautiful drive into Agana, the principal city of Guam. We drove past Asan Beach, and it was easy to imagine a little girl being held by her father, and the swaths of grass would have been perfect for Quonset huts. The water here is many shades of blue, green and turquoise, and if we had a few more days, we would have checked into a beachfront hotel to enjoy some swimming.

 

We were dropped off at the Guam Premium Outlet Mall, home to dozens of stores and, more importantly, free wifi. It really is funny to walk along mall seating and see everyone sitting quietly while staring at their electronic devices. The only problem was that soon there were so many people using the wifi that it slowed down almost to a stop.

We looked into a few stores including our Hawaiian favorite, the ABC Store. We wanted to pick up some candy and Valentine’s cards for our kids in California, and that seemed to be a perfect place. After finding what we needed, we headed down the street to the post office and the candy and cards are now on their way to Davis, California.

 

We looked around the mall a bit more and when we saw a Ross Dress For Less we decided to look inside. It was a huge store, but the amazing thing was the length of the line of people waiting for a checker. There must have been a hundred people in the line and we weren’t about to use our time in a port we’ve never visited to wait over an hour to pay for anything.

 

We wanted to see something of the island, so we asked about taxis and found out that they are, indeed, $50 an hour, but there is no minimum. Just then we met up with our friends Jane and Bill, and they were also interested in seeing more than the mall, so we found a taxi driver and booked him for a two hour trip to see as much as possible. He took us to a couple of beautiful parks with historical monuments, including Lotte Stone Park, where mushroom-shaped stones are exhibited. They were the foundations upon which the early settlers of Guam built their dwellings. We also went to Spanish Park, to see the ruins of the Spanish governor’s palace, which was destroyed by the 1944 invasion. We stopped for a much needed (but quick) late lunch of quesadillas at a family-run store-front, and then continued to the Two Lovers’ Point, where the legend says that two young people jumped to their deaths so that the young lady would not have to marry the Spanish Captain to whom her father had promised her. So romantic!

 

Then it was time to head back to the mall for the return shuttle bus, and on the way we drove through a part of the city that looked like Beverly Hills. There was every high-end store you could imagine, but I was reassured by seeing another ABC store on one corner.

 

We were well and truly ready to return to the ship, but just before we pulled into the port area, we had to pull over, have drug dogs smell the luggage compartments under the bus, and have a policeman come on board to check everyone’s identification. They certainly weren’t going to let anything or anyone undesirable board THIS ship.

 

It’s been a really nice day, quite eye-opening in many ways, and we have yet another place that we’d like to come back to and spend some time. Tomorrow is Saipan, and perhaps it will welcome us just like Guam.

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Saipan we went to on the Statendam too. Make sure you go to Suicide and Banzai Cliffs ... if you are looking for a T shirt, advise against the I (heart) Saipan stores because those seemed a bit geared towards the Japanese market, still they are somewhat like ABC Stores so you may like them. Or try one of the resorts. I got one at the Pacific Islands Club where we stopped to use the rest room.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017 - Day 35

Who would have guessed?

 

Today is a very good lesson in cruising. Just because it’s on the itinerary, it doesn’t mean you’ll actually get there. We’ve learned this many times, because on almost every one of our world cruises, there has been at least one port that had to be cancelled for one reason or another. In 2008 it was Split and in 2015 it was everything in Egypt. There have been others, but you get the idea.

 

When we opened the curtains this morning, I couldn’t see anything except fog, rain and a few lights in the distance. In addition, our verandah was about an inch deep in water, letting us know that the rain during the night had been heavy. The seas had been rough enough to wake me at about 5:30, so I wondered what weather would greet us for the day.

 

In the gym, the rain pelted against the floor to ceiling windows and I had to hold on tightly to the treadmill’s handles when we went up and then, suddenly, down. I think I’m ready for one of those mechanical bulls now. When we headed out to the Lido for breakfast, the fog still persisted and the rain was just as heavy. We were sitting with Rich, our retired Delta pilot friend, and at 7:50 he said, “At 8:00 the captain will tell us that we’re not calling at Saipan today.” He had the time only a little off; it was actually at 7:55. We had a “perfect storm” of high winds across the bow, high seas, and a very narrow harbor entry, and those factors combined to determine that we’d have another sea day today. Apparently the harbor master had also called to say that there were 11-12 foot waves at the port, which would have been higher than our gangway.

 

A lot of people were very disappointed, since Saipan is an important WWII site and there were some interesting HAL and private tours to show off the island. However, some people just took one look out the window and said, “I’m not going out in that!” and were perfectly happy to stay on board. While we’re disappointed not to see Saipan, we can certainly see the wisdom in not chancing a dangerous situation.

 

Rich, in addition to having flown for Delta, was also a pilot during Viet Nam, so he’s familiar with many of the islands in the Pacific. He suggested, since we have lots of extra time, that it would be interesting to circle Iwo Jima, which would have given us a view of Mt. Suribachi, the site of the famous raising of the American flag. I dropped a note to the captain relaying Rich’s idea, but we haven’t heard anything in response yet. I really hope we get to do so.

 

A day like this is particularly disappointing to crew members who were planning to have a light day with most passengers ashore. Gene came on the intercom with an announcement that a revised daily program was being put together and would be distributed ASAP. Later, he came on again and read through the morning’s activities. I felt especially bad for Mark, whose job it is to prepare that daily program, and when I later saw him, he said it definitely wasn’t a happy phone call he received with the news.

 

So . . . another quiet day at sea, with a long line at the coffee shop and a lot of people grousing. Another lesson: you can’t please ‘em all.

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Thursday, February 9, 2017 - Day 36

At Sea - Yet Again

 

We have now begun our three scheduled sea days between the Mariana Islands and Osaka, and we can tell that we are approaching Asia and winter. It’s clouded over and the temperature is lower than it has been since San Diego. We thought we might be able to take a circumnavigation of Iwo Jima, but the captain said that it would take us quite a bit out of our path and the increased fuel cost prohibits it. Oh well, it would have been nice.

 

Last night’s singer was really very entertaining. He had a deep, dramatic voice for his introductory songs, and then he began his singing impersonations of such performers as Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond, Tom Jones (complete with wiggles) and a few others.

Most people seemed to be well entertained as were we. The show originally scheduled for the evening was the Amsterdam Singers and Dancers, but it was just too rough for the dancers, so they were postponed and the singer took their place.

 

We had more fun than usual last evening at dinner. Jane and Bill had stopped by the Piano Bar on their way to dinner, where Debby Bacon was handing out “Debby’s Brain Teaser - LOVE.” It was a form with 60 spaces on which to enter the titles of songs with “Love” in the title. Well, we got started early on in the meal and just continued throughout dinner coming up with titles. Near the end of dinner, we had our waiter, Indi, and our wine steward, Kaye, giving us song titles, and we finished dinner with the form filed out and a couple on the back. John and I were assigned to continue the form and hand it in this evening, and today John checked his IPod play list and added even more. The form now has 106 titles, everything from “April Love” to “Love Me Tender” to “I Love My Truck.” Although we have a murder mystery dinner tonight in The Pinnacle, we’ll make sure it gets turned in on time.

 

One of the nicest things about Guam was that our friends Susan and Michael rejoined the ship. Michael was medically debarked in Honolulu for some health problems, but after a few days in the hospital and then in Waikiki, they made the 8-hour flight to Guam and reboarded yesterday. We are so happy to see them back on board.

 

Today is a very quiet day, and we’re always happy for those. Usually we just bumble through the day, doing what we wish except for Trivia (which hasn’t even deserved a mention lately because of our scores). About half the time we head up to the Crow’s Nest before dinner, and we almost always go to the show afterwards. Tonight, however, we’re going to the “Murder Mystery Dinner” in The Pinnacle, and the “show” is the movie The Magnificent Seven. I’m not sure I want to stay up until midnight watching the 10:00 show. Maybe we’ll just go back to the Crow’s Nest for dancing.

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Friday, February 10, 2017 - Day 37

At Sea - Still!

 

There are so many joys on board ship, both at sea and in port, but some joys are even brighter than others. Last evening is a good example. When our young singer friends Maddy and Oliver asked if they could sit with us at the Murder Mystery in The Pinnacle, we assured them that we’d love to. When I checked, however, I found that we had not reserved that Pinnacle event, so we were forced to add our name to the waiting list. Fortunately, we received a phone call at noon yesterday saying that we had cleared the waitlist and were scheduled for the show. I then went down to talk to one of the lovely young servers in The Pinnacle (all Pinnacle servers are really attractive - I think it’s a requirement) and asked that we be seated with Ollie and Maddy, with Rich and Ginny as backup.

 

When we arrived at 6:30, as scheduled, we found ourselves sitting across from Rich and Ginny with an extra seat at the table. It turned out that the “actors” in the mystery were seated at various tables and, between courses, rotated among the tables. Because of that, we not only had Maddy at our table for awhile, but we got to know the other singers: Tom (the mistreated chef) and Brianna (the rejected lover) even better.

 

The “show” began as each character came in and introduced him/herself with a selfish bias. The main idea was that Alexander (Gene Young) was celebrating his birthday and everyone at the party - his daughter, wife, former chef, former lover, and a couple of others - hated him for a whole raft of reasons. Scenes played out throughout dinner, and right around the soup course, the doctor (our friend Dr. Dave) came in, white coat spattered with “blood,” and announced that Alexander had been murdered. He stepped over to us, put his hand on John’s shoulder, looked at me and asked, “How long has this man been dead?” Later, he told us that since he knew us, he knew that John would be a good sport and straight man. From then on, the mini-scenes were for the purpose of discovering “who dunnit.” Mark, the Events Manager, played the detective Richard Johnson (which gave a lot of people a lot of laughs) and he would take the actors outside, one by one, to “interview” them.

 

At the end of the evening, each of us was asked to write our guess for murderer on a sheet of paper, and Mark read through them, highlighting the diners’ reasons for choosing a particular person. Finally he announced that the murderer was Alexander’s estranged daughter, who had killed him by shoving a silver spoon down his throat. While she was proclaiming her innocence, several spoons fell from her dress. She had hated him for insisting that she was illegitimate, although DNA proved she was not.

 

What made the evening so much fun was the encouragement for the audience to call out comments, clap, jeer, or whatever they felt like, much like a melodrama. We also loved that each character had only brief lines for their scenes, so they ad libbed the rest, and many of the ad libs were absolutely hysterical and somewhat unrepeatable.

 

Of course the food was excellent. I don’t like oysters (the only exception to my love of seafood), but the amuse bouche that was a battered and deep-fried oyster in a tasty sauce and was really good. My favorite course was a squash, red pepper, and prosciutto soup, followed by the cleverest little palate cleanser I’ve ever seen. It was listed on the menu as “green apple sorbet,” but the clever part was that the sorbet was served in a crescent of green apple peel, looking for all the world like a piece of a green apple. I do so admire creative chefs. The main course was an incredibly tender piece of filet served alongside a shrimp so big that it should have been embarrassed at the name. Finally we had dessert, which was two items on a platter, one of which looked just like an eyeball. When I cracked open the white chocolate shell, however, (ignoring the red lines of the “bloodshot” eye,) it was filled with a chocolate truffle - yum! The other piece was a little red cake. In fact, red was the theme color for the evening. The plate for each course was spattered with red, to keep us in mind of the evening’s crime.

 

As I mentioned yesterday, the “show” last evening was a movie, and Mark, the Event’s Manager (and detective) explained to us that two entertainers were to board in Saipan, and since that didn’t work out, we had a movie. John and I skipped it and opted, instead for reading, since dinner had lasted three hours and we were tired from all our relaxation yesterday.

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Saturday, February 11, 2017 - Day 38

Last Day at sea before Osaka

 

The worst “ride” we’ve ever had on the Amsterdam was in 2010 when we were sailing from Antarctica to the Falkland Islands (where we could not land). There were 30-foot seas and it was so rough during the night that I once had to grab hold of my night table to keep from being thrown out of bed. Last night wasn’t that bad, but it was a close second. For two eager sailors like us, it was even a bit intimidating when the ship would move sharply from one side to the other and then slam down onto the high waves. We found out this morning that the wind had been 10 on the Beaufort Scale (out of a maximum of 12), and the captain had actually deviated our course in order to avoid worse weather. When I showed up at the gym this morning, it had been closed for safety reasons. There really was some interrupted sleep, and this afternoon’s nap will be quite necessary.

 

The evening, however, was a “ten.” There will be fourteen Captain’s Dinners for full world cruisers, and last night was ours. The diners fill the entire Pinnacle for a specially prepared menu and well-chosen wines. When I (literally) ran into the captain earlier in the day, he said, “See you at dinner.” I didn’t realize that it meant that I would be his dinner partner in the back room of The Pinnacle at the Captain’s Table. I have no idea why I was so honored, but Captain Jonathan (“Please just call me Jonathan”) is great company and the conversation flowed easily for the entire meal. I heard about his early goal of becoming a pilot (which obviously didn’t work out) and lots of other interesting tidbits. John was at the other end of the table with Jonathan’s wife Karen, who has become a friend of sorts on the cruises since they began the world cruises in 2012. The menu was lovely. Our amuse bouche was paper-thin tuna wrapped around crab with little dabs of a delicious sauce. That was followed by butternut squash soup (my favorite course), and then we had a “palate cleanser” called “Impressions of Tomato.” Doncha just love silly names for things. The main course was a petite filet with a small lobster tail aside. Dessert was a combination of dark chocolate and cherry mousse and was really even more than I could eat - but I made an effort. Captain Jonathan was the smart one; he had a fruit plate because, “I have to watch my sugar.” All in all, it was a lovely evening.

 

The evening only got better at the show. Toni Warne was the singer and boy, was she ever a “10.” She’s an English woman who was a finalist on “The Voice - UK” and it was well-deserved. Toni has an amazing voice and gives the performance her all. When she sang Barbara Streisand songs, anyone with their eyes closed would have have thought that Babs herself was on stage. We have almost never been as entertained as we were by Toni’s show. If you ever get a chance to hear her, don’t miss it.

 

The seas have calmed somewhat - at least nothing is flying around the cabin any more. There are still people who look a little green around the gills and will no doubt be thrilled to be on dry land tomorrow in Osaka, even with near-freezing temperatures and the possibility of snow flurries.

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