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Old May 2nd, 2008, 09:31 PM
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May2- Crossing the Atlantic – Freedom
Here’s another from “you can’t make this up department” – This morning I was enjoying a coffee at a pool-side table for six, chatting with one of our CruiseMates friends, Phyllbo, when a lady asked if she could join us. Of course we said “sure!”

A short while later Mrs. Kuki came wandering up to join us, and as she went to sit down, the “may I join you” lady told my wife, “Sorry, that seat’s taken”. Apparently once she had joined us, she wanted to save all the remaining seats for her friends, for whenever they showed up.

Mrs. Kuki, being the angel she is, began to walk off in search of a seat elsewhere, but I stopped her, and reminded “may I join you” that she had joined OUR table, and how terribly RUDE it was of her to now attempt to turn my wife away because she wanted to save the empty chairs. When she had joined our table, there were plenty of other tables around; she just preferred the location of the one we were sitting at I guess.

Mrs. “May I join you” just sat there steaming. And naturally her “friends” didn’t come by for another half hour or so. Oh how I wished she would have said something more to me!! I’d have quickly forgotten my good Canadian manners! I swear some people have less manners, and less brains than a mosquito after a dip into a Margarita.

One draw-back involved in a transatlantic crossing is the loss of television signal. We don’t watch a lot of TV on a cruise, but being three days without any news coverage at all does make one feel a bit isolated. This isn’t a crucial issue, but if some sort of calamity arose, our only information source would be the internet. Well that issue, and all those people who are peeved because they are missing All My Children.

Available activities today:
- Arts and Crafts Instruction – 9 AM
- Trivia – 9:30 AM
- Dance lessons – 10 AM
- Bean Bag Toss – 10:30 AM
- Poker Pro Tournament – 11 AM
- Mark’s Basic Italian lesson – 11 AM (by Mark Silver- our CruiseMates volunteer.. still packing them in)
- Horse Racing Pool-side – 11:30 AM
- Cooking Demo – in the disco – 12:30 PM – first time this had been held in the disco rather than the Supper Club, because of high demand
- Tea Time with Classical Music – 3:30
- Singles Dating Game – 3:30
- Dance lessons – 3:30
There were other trivia events, a basketball challenge, etc., which were also scheduled, but the above gives you a basic view of the days planned events. Planning an activities schedule for a cruise such as this, which is an atypical cruise for Carnival, compared to the Caribbean, is quite a challenge for the CD.

The more typical Carnival activities don’t go over all that well with crowds on these crossings. This is our second transatlantic sailing on a Carnival ship, and it was the case last time we did it as well. The problem is the crossings are done twice a year; once heading to Europe in the spring, and returning to the Caribbean in the fall. It’s no doubt difficult to adjust an entire program on a 14 day cruise, that isn’t likely to be effective again on the following sailings.
Also I believe the loss of television programming has exasperated the “activities issue” a bit as well.

Todd has certainly gone the extra miles, several times asking passengers for input on what they’d like to see happening about the ship. He has obviously been somewhat frustrated at times by the lack of ideas offered (that he would be able to enact on the go) or feedback, other than some folks complaining. And with the effort he’s put in, one can’t blame him for a bit of frustration. I’d personally, without doubt, be way beyond frustration and ready for fisticuffs already, if I were him.

Each morning Todd broadcasts the Morning Show, on in-cabin television, and on the big screen pool-side. During the phone in portion of the program, the telephone rang, and Todd jokingly commented that it if was another bridge player calling he was going to hang up.

Frankly I’m not sure how Todd or Carnival would be expected to know there would be so many people on the cruise interested in playing bridge, or how much better prepared they could have been had they known.

The seas today remain as calm as me before my encounter with “ Mrs. may I join you”, and the temperatures are still hot and Caribbean like.
This afternoon I wandered around the ship to see what was doing, and who was out and about. I was rewarded with a great chuckle when I discovered that on this sailing, Club 02, the Teen Disco was overflowing with card players. Normally this room is reserved for the 15-17 year olds. I wondered if for this cruise it’s designated for the younger 51-71 year old set.

While I may tease and joke, I have to be honest here; I’m 58 and not even close to being a part of the party hardy crowd. Particularly since I’ve been away since April 12, I’m more than happy to relax, eat, and visit with CruiseMates friends. Even my 27 year old son and his 26 year old fiancé are enjoying themselves immensely. There’s no driving disco beat to dance to late into the mornings, but they’ve both recently graduated college, and were ready for some laid back “veg time”. Therefore with sunny, clear skies and the superb weather we’re experiencing this cruise was perfect for the four of us.

Just like many cruises, every CruiseMates Group Cruise is different. Pre-cruise I always begin to email those who’ve booked into our groups. This particular bunch seemed very reserved and quiet in their responses. And that’s the way I try to gauge what, if any, types of group activities I should be planning. On some sailings I’ve planned some pretty “kuki” group activities. On this sailing, all I pre-planned were dinner time team trivia sheets, and several get-togethers for the group. At yesterday’s social gathering I asked how many would like more things planned for them, and the response was quite silent. I have a scavenger hunt set up for two 9 person teams. But most of the group, though they seem quite social, also seems to be happy to be left to enjoy the socializing, without the group games or challenges. That I think is a wonderful thing about our group cruise program, people in the group are free to get as involved, or not, as they care to be. A large part of my job is to get a read on just how “kuki” the group wants to get.

Once again we enjoyed a very good dinner. I asked our waiter if he could find me a simple garden salad to begin with, and he happily obliged. I followed that with very tasty pasta in cream sauce, and the prime rib tonight was excellent.

That’s two very enjoyable dinners in a row; maybe we’re on our way back to the Carnival food I enjoyed so much during our January cruise on this ship!

We turn the clocks forward yet another hour tonight. Mrs. Kuki had a nice long afternoon nap today, so after dinner she went off with “the kids” (son and fiancé) to watch the 10 PM showing of the movie on the Seaside Theater. The production show, The Big Easy, was on in the showroom tonight, but we’ve both seen that show. I didn’t nap today, and knowing I had to adjust to another time change, spent a bit of time in the Piano Bar, before retiring to the cabin, to tell you about the day, before going to sleep.
There was another brilliant sunset tonight, so I’ll leave you with that.
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