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Old May 4th, 2008, 09:33 PM
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May4- Not much mayhem- Freedom
We woke up yet again to calm seas, though the morning temperature has cooled just a bit. Today is the last day of the crossing before we touch land, in Funchal, Madeira. If you’re never stopped in Funchal, it’s a gem of a port of call; more about it tomorrow after our visit.

Today I tried to dig a bit deeper into the situations that arose yesterday. I’d left a note for the CD, Todd, asking to meet to discuss them, with no response, so today through another officer I tracked down the Chief of Security. He, however, told me he’d have to speak with the Staff Captain to get permission to tell me anything, so at the moment at least it seems I am being stonewalled.

I gently explained that I was writing about the incidents anyway, and I would think they’d like to help make my reporting accurate. I also explained that I didn’t want names, just information on policies with handling guests who get involved in these situations, and what may happen to them after the infractions. We’ll see if anyone onboard returns my calls or not.

Today’s activities schedule was once again pretty standard for Carnival. Arts and Crafts, Big Screen Trivia, Dance instruction, bean bag toss, in the morning, with a wine tasting, Art Auction, Blackjack Tournament, a game of “What’s My Line”, Mini-golf tournament, and Bingo in the afternoon.

In the evening, during late seating dinner, there was a “Love and Romance” game, and a “Sea Feud” game in the showroom. With late seating, we of course didn’t see either.

Speaking of dinner… imagine my surprise when Jack the Knife Sr. was back at his table for dinner tonight, along with the friend he’d kill if we were armed with more than a butter knife.

I was when we discovered that one of our CruiseMates from Florida knows these people, because the night before I had been kidding her that they were her cousins.

Their story, to her, was they had agreed they wouldn’t talk politics, but then Jack the Knife’s “girlfriend” began to “talk politics”, and “the friend he’d kill” told her to stop, and the situation escalated from there. The entire situation more certainly falls into the “???!!!” category. And the fact that they are back sharing a dinner table tonight, though apparently agreeing they’d no longer be friends, but would still break bread together, has me feeling as though I’ve been witness to a taping of Punked, or am living a Monty Python skit.

Sadly the only entertainment in the dining room tonight was the wait staff dancing. Too bad, I was rather looking forward to another episode of “geriatric mentalpause”.

By the way… dinner was quite tasty again! I especially enjoyed the Braised Ribs.

I also spoke to Dino tonight about Carnival’s change back to offering only two dinner seating times, as they used to do (rather than the 4 they’ve been offering more recently). His explanation seemed to be that demand was high for the 6:15 seating, while very few wanted the 5:45 seating. Therefore they felt it best to return to the 6:00 PM and 8:15 PM dining times only.

Throughout the trip the speed of the ship’s internet service has been pretty reasonable… for a ship at sea, but today I’ve been struggling with it a bit, so apologize for not posting pictures again.

The ship hits land tomorrow, with a stop at Funchal, Madeira, and I don’t think anyone will be happier than the ship’s staff!

I did have some discussions today with some friends who believed Carnival should have done more to plan activities specifically for the demographic they should have expected on this cruise, such as more enrichment lectures, as well as bridge instructors. My argument was/is that it’s not Carnival’s style to include such activities; they were simply doing what they do. The activities schedule was very similar to what Carnival does on all their Caribbean sailings.

Now, knowing this sailing, and the repositioning cruise back to the Caribbean in the fall, will draw atypical crowds for Carnival, the question is – Should they make changes and adjustments to their “standard program” for just those two cruises?

To some extent I believe they should try and do more. However, as this was not a theme cruise, I don’t think anyone could expect them to know they were going to have 87,403 bridge players onboard, out of the 3400 passengers, whose play forced them to use many of the lounges and public areas onboard, which made the lounges unavailable for other uses, and I don’t believe Lawrence Welk is touring any more.

At 10:30 tonight one of Carnival’s top performers Marcus Anthony did an encore performance “Under the Stars” (well, under the Big screen) above the pool on Lido Deck. Comedian Eddie Capone appeared to tell a few jokes as well. The outdoor concert was well attended, and the audience appreciative. I thought it was an outstanding idea, and it was a beautiful night.

We were turning the clocks ahead yet another hour, so I didn’t stay for the entire concert. I am tiring of having some unknown force stealing time away from me. I'm now not sure if we're having dinner at 2:00AM, or going to sleep at 7 PM. The good news... because of it I feel I am fitting in better with my fellow passengers
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