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Old February 23rd, 2009, 01:15 AM
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Day 5 – Silver Shadow – San Blas Islands, Panama
Our suite is on Deck 6 of the Silver Shadow. The lowest Deck where passenger suites are located is Deck 4, and the highest is Deck 8. Deck 6 is the lowest deck where private balconies are located. Deck 5 has Vista Suites, where the suites share open deck space (basically a lengthy balcony, but no furniture is allowed on it).

From our balcony, it gives one a bit of an odd feeling standing on the balcony, and being so close (low) to the water. At times it does feel as though the waves are going to sweep right up onto your veranda. Though an odd feeling, the location certainly also gives you a feeling of being more connected to the seas; you’re not standing on the balcony looking down 7 or 8 Decks, to see the water. It’s more like feeling you can reach out and grab the waves rolling by.

Last night, while sailing from Cartegna, Columbia to the San Blas Islands, in Panama, the seas were fairly high, and with our location at the bow we felt fairly significant “jostling” in our suite. I understand last night seas were 8 to 10 ft, and this morning closer to 5 or 6 ft. Neither Mrs. Kuki nor I felt even an inkling of sea sickness, after-all we’ve got pretty good “sea legs” since we’ve basically been cruising since Feb. 7.

We’re getting so comfortable in our suite it’s gotten quite difficult to resist the urge to just stay in all day.

Earlier in this thread Darlene asked if it would be difficult to compare future cruises to this one. By that I take it mean, comparing future cruises on other cruise lines to this one. On the flip-side of that question are the reactions I’ve seen or heard from the passengers on this ship, to hearing we had come on this ship directly from a cruise on Carnival.

You’d have thought they had just found out I was a leper. The evening we dined with the ship’s Hotel Director, Paolo, and the discussions led me to mentioning we had just disembarked a Carnival ship. Our fellow tablemates, who were a lovely and fun couple, had that “deer in the headlights” look of disbelief in their eyes.

It was absolutely not because these people were “snobs”. They were quite delightful. It was because they somewhat rely only on what they’ve heard about Carnival, and other mass market cruise lines.

I talked about how one has to enjoy the strengths of each cruise line, and enjoy what it is they do well, and see if they do it well. Of course, you only try one of them if you think that it will be a match for you so you can enjoy it. Obviously people’s tastes in cruise lines vary as much as their tastes in all areas of life, and Pualo agreed, that the cruise market place offers a wide variety of styles, to try and supply a product for everyone.

He himself joined Silversea only 1 year ago, after nearly 20 years with Costa Cruise Lines. Obviously Costa was a very different operation, and required different management strategies compared to the running the operations of a luxury ship like Silver Shadow. Yet, his abilities to adapt to the variations of the operation seem to have gone very well because at this time he’s been designated to bring out the line’s new ship, the Silver Spirit, in 2009.

It’s also true that passengers who’ve never sailed on Silversea should not discount sailing them because of what they preconceive it to be. I’m living proof that a rather “normal” (perhaps a bad choice of words.. ) person can really enjoy each taste of the variety of products available in the broad spectrum of the world of cruising.

Today a booklet was delivered to everyone with a list of the passengers onboard “The Shadow”, listing where they were from as well. About 1/3 of the guests on this sailing are from Great Britain, and I found that somewhat surprising. Amongst the list were several Sirs, Ladys, Dames and Lords. Those are titles designated by the Royal Family, not nicknames, like when Mrs. Kuki calls me Sir Kuki.

There are also quite a few people from California on this cruise, which is perfectly understandable since the cruise ends there. They only had to fly one way.

Amongst all the passengers there are a great many single passengers. I’m betting most will list the reasoning I passed on from one them a few days ago, for the reason they chose Silversea.

This morning it was Continental breakfast pool-side again. They’ve got wonderful chocolate croissants, and I had some sort of buttered pastry that I wanted to have another dozen of.

The ship was scheduled to be anchored off of the San Blas Islands, Panama by 1 P.M. and Mrs. Kuki and I had intended to tender ashore. Mrs. Kuki was still not feeling quite right, and she thought the tender ride might not be great for her, but she was insisting I go alone.

Not that I would be going alone, but I found it harder to get motivated to go without her, and ended up staying onboard, and enjoying the balcony, while she slept on and off. I apologize to anyone who was waiting to hear about San Blas, and see some pictures of its Indian residents.

I have to be honest, I’ve gotten so relaxed getting off my duff” is becoming harder to do. My mind was saying… “Go ashore, it’ll be interesting”. My body was saying “I’m comfortable right here. Order another BBC”. My devotion to having interesting stories to tell you about the Kuna people, lost out to having a drink with an umbrella in it.

At 6:00 P.M the ship hoisted the anchor and pulled away from the San Blas Islands, headed towards our transit of the Panama Canal. Almost as soon as we got underway the seas got very rough and the ship began to pitch and roll quite significantly. It felt a bit like we were on a midway ride at the fair, and I hate midway rides. I was in the shower, and balance was a bit difficult. At one point I thought I was going to fall out and finish my shower in the sink, or go for a dip in the bidet.

Thinking the ride might be a bit smoother closer to mid-ship, we decided to head to The Bar (another wildly imaginative name) on Deck 5, for a pre-dinner drink. The Bar is about the busiest place on the ship aside from the Restaurants. I’m not 100% certain why, because there are others bars on the ship, not called “The Bar”, that are also very nice spots. They don’t seem to do as well when they have nice names like Panorama Lounge, or Observation Lounge.

That silliness aside, the walk down the hallway, and downstairs to The Bar was a bit of adventure, but the ride was indeed a bit smoother there. From there we went to The Restaurant for dinner. We were seated at a table by the window, and on Deck 4 that gave us a pretty close up view of the waves, and they were rolling on by the ship at a pretty good clip.

Most people seem to have pretty solid sea legs now, as there certainly didn’t seem to be many missing at dinner.

Dinner was once again very tasty, and tonight I did get coffee served with dessert, rather than after.

Mrs. Kuki went to watch the production show after dinner, while I went to visit the casino. The casino onboard has 2 blackjack tables, 1 roulette wheel, a table game called Oasis Poker, and 22 slot machines. The blackjack tables have a $5 and a $10 minimum bet, respectively. The casino staff are very friendly, and I try my best to entertain them, because other than me, they tell me very few people come in to gamble. Even I have spent very little time there, though I try to drop in every evening for an hour.

I actually wondered if the show might be postponed tonight because of the choppy seas, but Mrs. Kuki tells me the show went on, and the dancers did very well. It is amazing that they can do this stuff on a ship when there’s a lot of movement, when I can’t walk down a hallway without bouncing from wall to wall.

By the way, Mrs. Kuki is beginning to feel better, so hopefully that will continue for the remainder of the cruise, and get back to what we do best… not much
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