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Old January 9th, 2006, 11:52 AM
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Default Sunday.. Jan 8

Jan 8 – Island Princess

We woke up to a less than ideal weather day, though it’s not as blustery as yesterday. The seas have settled down nicely as well, so the hallways no longer look like they are filled with drunken sailors.

This morning lots of passengers are taking full advantage of the outdoor promenade deck for walking, because on the Island Princess, it extends completely around the outside of the ship. Keeping with the theme of my exercise regimen, I’m watching them walk by through the windows of Crooner’s Bar.

Mrs. Kuki and some others in the group went to arts & crafts classes today, where they were making bracelets, others cruisemates attended the wine tasting seminar, while others chose from the cooking demonstrations, bridge lectures, trivia or golf games, and bingos.

As the afternoon progressed, so did the weather, to the point people were able to sit out and sun on the open decks, and live music played poolside. With any luck, we’re into more tropical weather for the next week or so, before we come back eastward on the homebound trip.

This afternoon was our CruiseMates cocktail party in the Wheelhouse Bar. The Wheelhouse Bar, though quite large, is a wonderfully comfortable area with large overstuffed chairs, and leather sofas, broken up into smaller areas, creating their own “conversation pits?.

Nearly everyone in the group attended today’s party, and it was proven once again that CruiseMates folks are the best. Introductions and conversations seemed to be relaxed, and flowed easily. Even as the party officially ended and people with early dining left, many others stayed in the lounge, chatting and getting to know one another. I’m delighted because as we talked about some of the group activities we’ve got planned for the balance of the cruise, everyone was enthusiastic. It seems like it’s going to be a very participatory group of people, which is what can make these group cruises special.

Dinner was another delightful experience this evening. Though tonight’s menu was a bit more hit and miss with selections, our dining team is so delightful and fun it makes us eager to anticipate the next evening dinner time.
And yes, once again tonight, we “celebrated my birthday? ?

After dinner a few of us headed to the casino and got a cruisemates blackjack table going. The casino staff is, as usual, a very friendly bunch, and therefore we had a great time joking and teasing with each other and them. And oddly enough, none of us lost any money tonight, and a few even made a couple of dollars.

The casino on the Island is decorated in a Parisian theme. It’s very large for a shipboard casino, but much of the room is taken up with slot and poker machines. For the size of the area, the numbers of table games is surprisingly limited. Although tonight was the first night of the cruise we found a lot of people in the casino.

Unlike many shipboard casinos, the Island’s is not situated as a throughway, that passengers are forced to pass through on their way to other parts of the ship. One must pretty much purposely enter, rather than be forced. So, if the casino holds no interest, or the smoke might bother you just passing through, it’s all quite easily avoided.

We go to bed tonight reading a forecast for the weather in the Princess Patter predicting highs in 70s F, which should lead to some reasonable outdoor poolside weather as we make our way to Hawaii.

Our next scheduled group activity is tomorrow afternoon - for the “gift representative of your area? exchange, and no doubt we’ll have some fun with that, as it’s an ever popular event!

But now that we’ve met everyone in the group, there’s no doubt we’ll be running into and visiting with folks throughout the day, as we go about our individually selected activity choices.
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