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Old February 27th, 2009, 12:46 AM
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Default Day 9 - Silver Shadow - at Sea

Day 9 – Silver Shadow – Day at Sea

- For pictures of the golf course I played yesterday in Costa Rica, check out this photo gallery. It's titled Panama transit, but just scroll down for the golf course pictures....

Early this afternoon I was relaxing (something I’ve got very good at) on our veranda, when I heard a splash, and turned to see several Dolphins playing in the waters just off of my veranda. I have spotted Dolphins from a ship before, but always from a loftier point of view, high on deck. I was mesmerized by the fact they couldn’t have been more than 20 yards from where I was standing. It was me, the ocean, and several Dolphins at play. By the time I thought I should grab my camera, of course, they’d moved on.

Thinking perhaps they were playing with the ship, I went up to Deck 8, to check the horizon on the starboard side. As I stood, I did see two or three in the distance come up out of the water. They seemed to disappear again, so Mrs. Kuki and I sat pool-side to have a drink. We saw some people on the port side pointing in the distance, so we went back down to sit on our Veranda. Just as we got there we saw a group of Dolphins right next to the ship, and below our balcony. I managed to get this picture of two of them in the air, and the splash as a couple more of them landed in the water.

As I took it, right below us, just a few feet from the ship, a line of them six across jumped out of the water. They were magnificent, and they were so in sync they looked like a trained act at Sea World.

I would have had an amazing picture, except it unfortunately was directly into the sun. When we looked up, as they disappeared, we noticed there was a huge school of Dolphins perhaps 100-150 yards off the port side. We got a great view of them using the binoculars that were in the suite when we arrived. There had to me 60 or more in the school. If it weren’t for luggage weight restrictions for flying I’d have had my camera with telephoto lens with me, and could have had some magnificent photos, but you’re going to have to live it through my excitement, rather than pictures.

After that excitement ended I met with the Hotel Director, Paulo, to have a look at some of the other categories of suites. The handicapped cabins are enormous, with a very wide doorway, large enough to easily have a wheel-chair pass. The interior space of the suite is plentiful, and someone in a wheel-chair should have no problem moving around the suite. There is a small ramp for access to the verandas.
I shot some video of the other suite categories on the ship, which I’ll post on my return.

Today, being the middle of our cruise, I sat staring at the ocean, looking to spot more Dolphins, and contemplated the service onboard. Other than a couple of very minor “blips” I’ve mentioned, service in all departments onboard has been nothing short of stellar. From the reception desk to the shore excursion department, to the bar and restaurant servers, I can’t imagine what more they could do for me to improve my cruise experience.

I’m dazzled and amazed that the Maitre D’ in The Restaurant is able to choose the perfect tablemates for us each evening when we want to join a table… until tonight.

Tonight, we were seated at a table for six; us, a very nice elderly British couple, and an inebriated American couple, who argued amongst each other about whose turn it was talk. The food and service was once again outstanding, but I have to admit this was the first time I couldn’t wait to finish dinner. But it took us 9 days into the cruise to meet anyone we really didn’t care for!

Considering that we’re purposely dining with new people almost every night, that’s a very good record.

We had to sit through stories of them first having sailed on The Shadow when she was new, and how much better it was when… , and how they’d hired three helicopters to fly their entire family over New York to tour it, and how their boat is fastest thing on the water, and how incredibly successful they are in business, and on and on and on. They’d interrupt conversation to talk more about themselves.
This couple was really a caricature of pomposity, both in actions and physical appearance. They would have been easily cast in a movie about this type of “character”. I was beginning to write a script in my mind, and I had to cover my laughter with my dinner napkin several times as I thought about it.
Interestingly I think they fit in worse on this cruise than any of the other passengers. Certainly, of any we’ve met.

What has really taken me on this sailing, and makes me feel quite inadequate, is how easily other passengers remember our names. I’m sad to say my ability to remember names pales in comparison with staff, crew and fellow ship-mates.
Having such a long history in the hospitality industry one would think it’s a skill I’d have naturally developed. But, I’m great with faces, and horrific at remembering names. It’s a social skill, and the fact it’s one I’m unable to master bothers me somewhat. I’m just going to have to stay on the ship, as a study program, until I have it down pat!

A rather unique program that Silversea offers is the ability to “create your own voyage”. You can look at their itineraries, and then choose which portions you’d like to sail on. You can choose your port of embarkation along the itinerary, and choose where you’ll disembark the vessel… as long as the personal itinerary meets all government requirements. There were some people who disembarked “the Shadow” in Cartegna, others left yesterday in Costa Rica, and others will leave, while new guests join the ship in Acapulco. With this system those who join in Acapulco can choose to stay onboard until they reach the port they’d like to disembark at during the ship’s next itinerary. Of course you have to check fares individually if you choose to personalize your itinerary.
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