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Old March 2nd, 2009, 12:14 AM
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Default Speed Dating Without the Speed

Day 12 – Silver Shadow – Acapulco, Mexico
In yesterday’s report I talked about the sociability of the dining experience. To illustrate what that means; we’ve met two couples, who are good friends at home, who are cruising together. Interestingly they rarely have dinner together. Some people will wonder… then what’s the point of cruising together? Well, they spend lots of time together, doing tours together, lounging by the pool together, having drinks in the bar together, playing trivia together, etc. Yet when dinner times arrive, most often they enter the dining room separately, and request a “joined table”. They do, what we originally did unknowingly, request to participate in the sociability of the dining experience.

There’s no doubt, if you’re at all outgoing, you can always meet people on a ship by participating in any activities onboard, during tours, etc. However there truly is something unique about meeting and sharing dinner with new people every night. Dining with someone in this setting is somehow a more intimate meeting than say a pool-side conversation. In some ways it’s like the speed dating concept, without the speed.

You have 2 – 2 ½ hours together to get to know one another, and it’s surprising how in that time, in that situation, you can determine who you like, and who you may not get along with so well. Later during the cruise, when you meet those whose company you enjoyed, all the preliminary discussions are done with, and it’s like running into old friends again. The dynamics of how well it works is intriguing to me. And from what I can tell, it also has a great deal to do with why Silversea cruisers continue coming back to sail Silversea’s ships.

Acapulco was our port of call today. We’ve been several times, and it’s not one of my favorite cities. We’ve already seen the famed cliff divers, and toured the area several times, so I booked a round of golf with the ship’s golf professional. Mrs. Kuki’s tour included seeing the cliff divers again, and then a tour through Las Brisas, a well known exclusive resort, which included time at their Beach Club.

Today’s round of golf was at the Fairmont Princess Golf Club. It’s a rather “regular” resort golf course, and at $335 including golf, club rental, and transportation, it is over-priced. I haven’t used the services of Elite Golf’s ship’s program for several years, and that’s one of the reasons I decided to try them again. I enjoyed a beautiful day, and a nice outing, but honestly they haven’t improved much since my last experience with them. In some more exotic locales the simplicity of letting them handle the arrangements might be worth the premium, but in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Hawaii, I’ve had no problems, and got much better value, booking my golf on my own.
It may not be that different than people booking excursions through the cruise lines; they want someone else to tend to the details, and the security of being taken to and from the ship. I expected Elite to tailor their golf program for Silversea passengers and that’s not the case. It is pretty much the same as on all the cruise lines they operate on. Though on the ship Bruce Mendelson, the golf professional, did have almost daily putting contests, and also a presentation on his list of “Best golf courses in the world”.

I was disappointed the program is pretty much as it was, but it won’t stop me from going with them again for the final outing I’ve booked in Puerto Vallarta. However it’s not likely a service I’ll take advantage of again when I’m cruising.

Mrs. Kuki very much enjoyed her day. She said the guide on her tour was excellent, and after seeing the Cliff Divers from a reserved patio area at a restaurant with excellent views (we’d dined there during a show on a previous visit making our own reservations during a pre-cruise), and then touring Las Brisas, they were served a very nice lunch at the Las Brisas Beach Club.
It’s not difficult to get a taxi at the pier in Acapulco, and negotiate a price for your own tour, and many passengers chose that option.

We were docked in Acapulco until 11 P.M. tonight. Some passengers disembarked the vessel today, and more were joining the ship through the day and evening. After 12 days onboard it was relatively easy to spot the “newbies”.

During every journey Silversea holds a Dinner on Deck evening, and tonight was chosen for the event for this cruise. It really is an event. Tables and chairs are covered to dress up the deck, and fine table and glassware set on the tables. Food and wine are abundant, and once dinner is done, the very festive party atmosphere takes over, and the enthusiasm almost took me by surprise.

A Mariachi Band was brought onboard to entertain, and the passengers got right into it. Dancing, drinking, carrying on, enjoying the evening like they thought they were on a Carnival ship. Even the Captain was out dancing with the guests tonight. This is a very happy ship; both crew and passengers alike; and everyone was smiling tonight!

If you can’t read the sign below, you had too much wine at the party tonight!

Tomorrow is a day at sea, and Mrs. Kuki and I have invited a few of our favorites, of the people we’ve met, to a pre-dinner cocktail party in our suite. Even since we made the decision to host a cocktail party… which is pretty easy to do when everything is included … it’s been difficult not to invite more people! Every day we meet new people and want to invite them as well. Vierny thought a dozen would be comfortable. So far we’ve invited 16 I think, so 4 will be uncomfortable.

I’ve left it entirely in Vierny’s hands to decide what’s going to be served, and I have no doubt at all it will be fabulous.
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