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Old March 6th, 2009, 07:26 PM
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Default Day 17 - Silver Shadow

Day 17 – Silver Shadow – Ensenada – treated as a day at sea
It’s not that Ensenada isn’t a beautiful place to visit, though it’s not. It’s that I can’t for the life of me figure out why any ship would visit, other than to meet the requirements of the Passenger Services Act, which is a “bullocks” (note the British accent I’ve developed) law anyway. It requires every vessel leaving from a U.S. port to visit a “distant” foreign port before returning to the United States.

However, in the case of the itinerary we’ve traveled on the Silver Shadow this law does not apply. So, most of my day was spent deep in thought trying to comprehend why we stopped here.

That was probably much better than the despondency that would’ve set in if I spent the day thinking that this is the last day of our voyage.

Going back to the beginning of the cruise, I don’t think I mentioned that everyone boarding was required to turn in their passports. It has been some time since I cruised on a ship with this requirement, though it used to be the norm for aliens cruising out of the United States. (Aliens- being non U.S. citizens, not visitors from another planet… though I’ve been accused of that too).

I have no idea why that was a requirement on this cruise. I find it would be very unlikely that anyone would abandon ship to seek a better life in Guatemala, unless their surname was Madoff, or Stanford.

I’ve paid several visits to the shop onboard looking to purchase a souvenir Silversea logo item. I found the selection for men, even simple things like a ball-cap, extremely limited, and ended up disappointed, with nothing to purchase. The only thing I’ll leave the ship with is my wonderful memories and a 4 month supply of Bvlgari bathroom products I’ve squirreled away.

At this moment Mrs. Kuki, tools is hand, is busy trying to disconnect our drinking fountain, to stash away in our luggage.

After 30 days of diverse, exciting, fun and unexpected adventures, Mrs. Kuki packed the luggage for a final departure, to head home. It’s a scary thought, as it seems the world events while we were living this fantasy have become more complicated, not less. Before leaving I had my life in some sort of sense of order, and no doubt returning I’ll find it requires much attention and restructuring to get it livable once again.

Though we’ve lived a dream the past month, we face variations of the same problems all of you face. As we enjoy our last day on board we reflect on how fortunate we’ve been to only have to worry about if the superb service has been off by a hair, or if the entertainment onboard has been the best or the worst we’ve seen, or if breakfast is better on deck, in the Restaurant, or at La Terrazza.

In the 17 days I’ve no doubt drunk a cruise fare worth of Diet Cokes and BBCs, and all the wines I’ve had a little taste of.

Things went so well over the 17 nights we never did get to try the in-suite dinner service, or the ship’s other alternate dining venue, Le Champagne. Le Champagne is the only restaurant onboard where there’s a surcharge for dining. There’s a $30 per person charge for food and service, or if you choose to participate in the Relais & Chateaux dining experience, with Degustation wine pairings the charge is $200 per person.

One has to wonder how after 17 days onboard a ship this size I haven’t seen every square inch of the ship. Yes, a part of it is I’m lazy, but more importantly I’ve been occupied the entire time doing things that please me. That is such an integral part of cruising; being able to do what you like, when you like… and that includes doing nothing more than relaxing. It’s probably been 8 or 9 days since I’ve turned on the television in the suite, when at home my eyes are likely fixed on it for 3 or 4 hours a day.

Captain Corsaro invited us to the bridge to watch the sail into Ensenada. It was very interesting, because though we’ve been on the bridge several times for sail-away, this was a first for us sailing in and docking. Today was a windy day, with temperatures reaching only 60 degrees F.

The Captain explained that combating wind conditions can be difficult, and even with the technology available today he’s very reliant on his experience, and his “feel” for the movement of the ship. I loved the open wings off the Bridge. The larger ships are now more often built with enclosed wings. Captain Corsaro too prefers the open wing as well, explaining feeling the wind and sea, and watching from that position aids him guiding the ship comfortably to it’s berth without putting dents in it.

Another low-tech maneuver in a high-tech world is getting the lines used to tie up the ship, to the shore. A crewmember throws a light-weight line, with what looks like a tennis ball or hacky sack, to those waiting on shore. They then attach the much larger ropes to that line, and the workers on shore drag the lines across to their positions.

I am going to end today’s report here. We fly home directly from Los Angeles tomorrow. On Sunday, I’ll load the videos I’ve shot, and post more miscellaneous pictures, and write the final summary of this cruise.
Hopefully when I’m done I’ll have succeeded in describing this voyage in a way that you might experience it when you take your next, or book your first Silversea voyage.
For now, I’ll leave you with last night’s Farewell address, and dessert

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