We’ve been having fits and starts here with the internet. It was down most of the day yesterday, and when trying to get on this morning (Sunday) I got kicked back off in less than five minutes. So please forgive the lateness of getting some of this stuff posted. I’m staying on top of writing the entries up, but having a very difficult time getting them posted. I would have expected this once we crossed the equator, but am surprised to be having these problems before even reaching Hawaii.
Last evening our little band of troublemakers (Trisha, Virgil and myself) had dinner in the Pinnacle Grill. We had a great time, though I think Trisha would had had an even better time if she wasn’t feeling so poorly. She is coming down with a cold, though she’s trying to deny it, claiming her throat is only sore because she’s been smoking too much. It was only towards the end of our dinner that she finally admitted to herself that she is catching a cold, and probably got it from me, who caught one on the day we left San Francisco (because I was freezing at the sailaway party on the aft deck, and was too lazy to run back to the cabin for a jacket).
Another problem is that many of the public rooms onboard this ship are so cold. The Crow’s Nest is like a freezer most days, and even the Ocean Bar is far from warm. Because it is cold outside, we are spending a lot of time in these venues. Fortunately, we are just wrapping up our second sailing day in route to Hawaii, so things should improve temperature-wise by tomorrow and we should be able to start enjoying the outside decks more.
The price for dining at the Pinnacle has once again dropped back down to the original $20 per person (it’s $10 for lunch). I haven’t yet found out why, but presumably it is because people hesitated to spend $30 per person when there are so many other places onboard where they could eat perfectly good meals without the surcharge.
The menu at the Pinnacle certainly had more than enough of a selection, including a huge Porterhouse steak, lamp chops, several seafood items, and – of course – filet mignon in both regular and petite cut. I enjoyed my filet mignon, while Trish had her favorite, the lamb. The restaurant was fairly crowded last night, and most of the tables around us were occupied.
Service was very good, and we were finished dining by around 8:30. We were seated at around 6:00. Service was very attentive, despite reading reports on these boards about a decline in same. Someone was regularly checking on us, and anything that we requested was promptly brought to us. I asked for some butter and sour cream for my potato, and it was brought to me in a matter of minutes. Trish and and Virgil left before desert, as Trish was feeling worse and worse as dinner progressed. But arrangements were made to have their desserts delivered to their cabin within the hour. I enjoyed mine at the restaurant, though – the three flavor cream brulee. You can only get this in the Pinnacle, and it is absolutely heavenly. It comes on a special plate, with separate sections for the chocolate, vanilla and coffee-flavored cream brulee. Absolutely heavenly!
We also spent time yesterday doing some staff interviews for this blog, and the first one – with the Pinnacle’s Executive Chef, is being posted today (internet access permitting). Darlene, the vocalist who performs with the HALCats and Osagie, a dancer with the Statendam cast, made for very interesting interviews as well, and these will be posted over the next couple of days.
I have to say right here that Guest Relations Manager Hanna Kielczewska and Cruise Director, Mike Connachan, have been of tremendous help in facilitating this blog and these interviews. We’ll be sitting down with them later on in the cruise as well, to get some insight into what their jobs are like. I’ll write these interview entries up just as quickly as my fat fingers can type on this piece of junk laptop I’m stuck with. I swear, next long cruise, I’m gonna bring a full sized keyboard along. My fingers are entirely too big for this laptop and I’m spending more time backspacing to correct than I’m spending actually typing.
We got a notice in our cabins the other day about some of the events that are being planned for this cruise. We will have a Statendam Superstar competition – one for the crew and one for the passengers. There will also be a guest talent show later on in the cruise. There will be some theme nights, such as the Black and White Ball (oh, good! I can get some more helium balloons for my cabin!) and something called a Sailor’s Ball (where everyone wear’s something white). There will be a “craziest costume party” and a “crazy hat night” in the Crow’s Nest. Of course, because we are crossing the equator on this sailing, we will have the traditional King Neptune Ceremony. This is the event where I always offer up a prayer of thanks that I am a passenger and not a member of the crew. That’s because they have to “kiss the fish” while I’d sooner kiss the devil himself before getting within a foot of that stinking Monk Fish they have roasting out there in the hot sun for half the afternoon. The crew members who have never crossed the equator before not only have to kiss it, but they also have the pleasure of being smeared by all manner of gook and cooking leftovers before being allowed (hopefully) to jump into the aft pool and clean off. Of course, after the ceremony, the aft pool is closed down for a thorough cleaning, but you’ll notice that it gets very little use for several days afterwards. People just wrinkle up their noses at the memory when walking past.
We’re also going to be treated to some afternoon concerts on this sailing, as well as some local shows that will take place while we are in Hilo, Lahaina and Tahiti. The nice thing about these local shows is that picture taking and video recording is not only permitted, but encouraged. This is not the case with the regular entertainment offerings in the show lounge.
We’re also going to have some local music on deck during the deck barbeque in Lahaina and we’ll also be able to take advantage of Hula Lessons that will be offered by a group of Hawaiian ladies who will come onboard in Hilo.
As I was telling Trisha last night, I think we are in a bit of a slump at this point in the cruise because we are anxiously awaiting our arrival in Hawaii. There is a lot of stuff going on each day at sea, but many of those things do not necessarily appeal to us. We’re like two little kids in the back seat of the car – “Are we there yet?” We were both Polynesians in a former life, and we are dying to get home, so to speak. So the days seem to be dragging by. The weather, too, is still not very good. With the exception of our day in San Diego, it’s been downright chilly and windy. While some diehard joggers are out there using the Sports Deck, you can see the wind flapping their running jackets and they don’t look very comfortable. Lots of people are coughing, and Trish laughingly remarked that between the two of us, we sounded like a TB ward. But by tomorrow it should start warming up, and that will allow for sitting outdoors being warmed by that heavenly sunshine.
Let’s see. What have I got on tap for today? Well, there’s a cooking demonstration at 10:00, but since I’m only interested in eating, not preparing the food, guess I’ll head to the Lido. Then, oh, bestill my beating heart – it’s time for LAUNDRY! It doesn’t get much better than that!
Blue skies …