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Old May 4th, 2011, 07:27 PM
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- At Sea- May 4 ‘11
As this cruise begins to make it’s way back to Los Angeles, we awoke to fairly significant headwinds (about 24 MPH across the bow). However, for some relief the sun was shining. Deck chairs located in areas protected a bit from the wind were put out, but half remained tied up.

On decks 8,9 and 10 aft, there’s some small areas, protected from the wind by the structure of the ship, made good areas to sit out and catch some sun.

The Cruise Director, Paul McFarland, had to work long into the night I imagine to juggle the activities schedule and entertainment. He did a very good job of “moving on his feet” to get things set up, and get the information out.

I have to admit there’s something special about waking up, calling your butler, and having your pot of coffee delivered by the time you’ve brushed your teeth. My butler David isn’t near as good looking as Mrs. Kuki, but who knows, as I get older his services may become more important than those Mrs. Kuki provides.

At 9:30 this morning there was a CU(Crystal University ) @ Sea Class on “Ten Terrific Tools Using Microsoft Windows 7. Pre-registration was required (and I hadn’t registered), but thought I would pop in to just watch for awhile.

The internet café and the Studio for CU were packed to the rafters. I looked over some shoulders and saw many of the people playing solitaire. I assumed that was application must have been one of the ten.

By 10 A.M. I moved on the Starlite Club, where past member of the Washington press, Dan Thomasson, was doing a special interest lecture on “How We Set The Stage for Middle East Turmoil”.

In light of the recent killing of Usama Ben Laden, the topic was certainly going to be of current interest, and the lounge was packed. While Mr. Thomasson did supply bits of interesting historical background, in my opinion the session was not well directed, nor focused.

It’s a very difficult topic, with the opportunity for diverse political views to be expressed. Near the beginning of his presentation Mr. Thomasson told a joke, which he began with “at the risk of offending some of you”, that was an ethnic joke. As someone who jokes around a lot, with even the odd ethnic joke along the way, I can tell you that this joke was totally out of place, and not even close to being anywhere near the topic of discussion.

There’s certainly a place for levity, but this was not one of them. And I think it set a tone for what I viewed as a less than quality discussion on a topic that had the potential for being very informative and lively from a presenter whose experience should have had the topic right in his “wheel house”, but he struck out.

From there I attended the wind-up cocktail party and prize presentations for those who’d participated in the golf package. The party was well done, with nice etched glass trophies for the winners.

Cruise Director, Paul McFarland, talked about the golf theme cruises being a “value added experience”, and with the exception of the middle day of the three (Ko’Oloua”) the program fulfilled that description in my view.

I have an interview scheduled tomorrow with our LPGA Pro, Shannon Kneisler to discuss her thoughts on the golf program, and learn a bit about her history.

It was mentioned that Crystal does 3 or 4 of these golf themed cruises a year (this was the first one in the Hawaiian Islands), so if this interests you, you should keep an eye out, or have your travel agent check out future sailing dates for these theme cruises.

Moving on to a totally different and I think very pertinent and confusing topic; Cellular @ Sea.

Many ships now have the technology which allows passengers to use their own cell phones to make and receive phone calls, receive and send emails on smart phones, text messages etc.

Due to the situation with my mother being hospitalized I turned on my cell phone yesterday, and used that available service to call home.
As soon I turned on the cell phone it noted “Carrier - Cellular @ Sea. I knew this meant I was now paying International Roaming Charges, and high per minute usage rates.

I’ve seen many passengers out and about on the ship, talking on their cell phones, texting, or emailing. And I believe many are simply leaving their cell phones on all day. But I don’t believe they know that is automatically adding International Roaming Charges to their phone bills, even if they don’t use the phone. They are going to be surprised how hefty a bill they are going to have amassed, later, when they get home.

Frankly, I think the cruise lines should be posting notices in their daily newsletters, or with a notice posted in every passenger cabin, warning passengers they will incur charges from Cellular @ Sea. Unless communication is urgent cell phones should be powered off when you are at sea.

When Paul McFarland and the staff were rescheduling events, he said the #1 request was for another presentation by Ken Venturi. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one on the ship who’d thought Mr. Venturi’s presentation to be the best on the ship.

Mr. Venturi agreed to do another session. I’m off to it now, and will report on it, and the remainder of the day later this evening.
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