Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – mid 70s - Sunny

We are back from our Grand Caribbean Cruise – 21 days of great weather and calm seas (except for that glitch in Cozumel). 

Wake up call at 6:30 AM because we have to be in the Equinox Theater at 8:00 AM to debark the ship with our group.

Ft. Lauderdale is sunny and warm.

 Ft Lauderdale 3-19 (Small)

The Seabourn Spririt I thinik (Small)

Seabourn Spirit – A future ship of ours?

The buffet is surprisingly not crowded for debark day and the offerings appear to be the usual (not abbreviated for the last day).  Breakfast is not that hurried and soon we are ready to leave the ship.

Check out is quick – I had a chance to wave goodbye to Ian on the way out.  We find our bags right away, move quickly through immigration, and soon we are on our bus (we have transfers) headed to FLL.  We arrive in just a few minutes and await our 1:00 PM flight about four hours away.  I spend the time blogging this trip and actually chatting a bit with passengers from the ship (attendees) who put me onto a cold case new to me.

WIFI is free at FLL (listen up ORD) so am able to check out that cold case (maybe for a future presentation) and catch up on e-mail.  The time passes pretty quickly – we have some lunch (lox and cream cheese sandwiches made from items from the buffer).  Soon our jet arrives ready to take us to Cincinnati.

Our chariot FLL (Small)

Our MD-88 is here

From our vantage point in the airport, we can see the Celebrity Equinox at Port Everglades.  The new passengers are just coming aboard and searching out the buffet.

 FLL and the Equinox (Small)

The Equinox at Port Everglades from the airport

Our flight leaves on time and the ride is smooth – Delta serves pretzels and cookies plus drinks on their flights and we still have a little lunch left over. 

Climbout FLLO (Small)

Climb out from FLL

Florida Everglades (Small)

The Florida Everglades

Cincy Airport (Small)

Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Regional Airport

The layover in Cincinnati is less than an hour so we hustle over to the new gate (we already have boarding passes) and we are good to go.

 Cincy our Chariot (Small)

Our mini-chariot awaits

Our flight boards on time and pushes on time and soon we are in the air.  I was skeptical about these regional jets but, except for the washroom (I have to bend over to use it), it is a relatively comfortable aircraft (leather seats and OK legroom) .  The other nice thing they do is “valet check” the carry on bags (the overheads on this jet are tiny).  There is no charge for this and your bags are waiting in the jet way for you when you leave the plane.

IMG_3975 (Small) 

Climb out over Cincinnati

The flight is very short – less than an hour so you can only get spring water and pretzels on this flight.  Soon, a very dreary looking Chicago appears on the horizon.  Fortunately, we had stored up some sunshine for just this situation.  The pilot does tell us that the temperature is in the 60s so that helps.

Approach dreary chicago (Small)

Lake Michigan and Evanston 

Final Approach  ORD (Small)

Approach to Chicago ORD

Racing another plane (Small)

Neck in Neck without another jet on approach

The landing is smooth – the weather looks OK.  I prearranged a taxi so there is no wait. 

We are going to Dova and Danny’s place for dinner and everyone will be there (what could be better than this following a trip of over three weeks).  The kids are glad to see us and it is good to be home.

Bottom Line:  A wonderful cruise…

Thursday, March 18, 2010 – At Sea – Florida Straits – 70s – Partly Cloudy

Our last day at sea and it is a beautiful one – barely a cloudy in the sky.  The temperature is in the mid 70s and there is no breeze to speak of – the seas are calm.

Breakfast today in the buffet – by the way, my standard breakfast for almost the entire cruise:  Oatmeal, waffle with cottage cheese, blueberry compote, and whipped cream.  Predictably good.

Sea Day 3-18 Florida Straits (Small) Sea Day H 3-18 (Small)

My final talk - “Forensic Science:  Novel DNA Testing” is at 3:00 PM in Celebrity Central.  The audience should be OK since I was told the evening before that the Trivia Challenge would not compete directly with me but would be an hour later.  Two couples indicated they would be at the talk.  Trivia is probably a big thing on the ship but we haven’t played even once.

As always, I arrived early to make sure that everything worked OK.  I had also heard that a passenger in a wheelchair (from the UK) was a big fan – her caretaker had told Ellen earlier in the cruise that she really wanted to meet me.  She came early and I spent a few minutes with her discussing the CSI shows.  She is indeed a big fan and watches all of the shows including NCIS and House.  I asked her to give “Bones” a look and told her she would find it amusing.  A very nice chat.  By the way, she made all of the talks.

The last talk was well attended – more than 200 people – and went well.  I thanked the audience for their loyalty and attendance at my talks.  A number of passengers stopped by afterwards to indicate they had loved the presentation series.

Ellen had done a lot of packing during the day so we could attend the farewell show tonight.  We also decided not to walk off with our bags – we would place them in the hall (but on the other side of the crew door so they would be picked up). 

The Farewell Show involved These Guys and Greg London and was entertaining – Greg sang in his own voice – I wish more impressionists would do that since they usually have great voices.  They played the DVD of the cruise and again we failed to get into the video on both of our cruises.  I guess we just don’t do the activities that make it to the cruise DVD.

After the show, we went to our final set at Michael’s Club.  We gave Alexandra a tip for her service for the week (we only had ice water the whole time).  We said goodbye to Max and called it a night.  We had an early wakeup call for the morning.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 – Cozumel, Mexico – 65F – Rain - Wind

Happy Saint Patty’s Day…

Cozumel (“Land of the Swallows” in Mayan) is an island only 12 miles from the mainland and 36 miles from Cancun.  No tours for us today since most of the excursions are water sports related.  We generally walk through the town and do some shopping. 

The weather and location will not cooperate today…

 Mainland Mexico (Small)

Mainland Mexico as we approach Cozumel

 Approaching Cozumel (Small)

Approaching Cozumel

Complicating our plans, the Equinox is not docked at the town pier but instead some 30 minutes walking time from downtown.  We have never docked here in our many times to the island.  Always looking for a new experience.  The Equinox is not the only cruise ship here today; docked or anchored (poor folks that have to tender to shore) are at least three other ships – Carnival Imagination, Carnival Legend, and Crown Princess.

Thinking it wasn’t going to be that cold and rainy, we both started out in relatively light clothes.  We didn’t get 100 yards down the pier when we (well, Ellen) realized it was that cold and rainy and we needed some warmer clothes.  I went to the shopping center near the pier and Ellen went back to the ship to change.  Fortunately, she didn’t pay any attention to me and brought me a windbreaker. 

Equinox in Cozumel (Small) 

Equinox docked at remote pier

Thinking that this might be a good day to find a day spa and get some treatments, we walked over to the El Cid Hotel located next to the pier shopping center.  We did find the Spa – which looked very nice – but decided not to spend the time – maybe next time.

We did find out that there was an internet store about a block away so we took the opportunity to catch up with the kids.  The price was right ($2.00 for 30 minutes).  We tried to walk a bit to see what the area was like but it was simply too cold and wet.  We did manage to get some good shots of the ships visiting today.

Carnival Imagination Equinox Crown Princess (Small)

Carnival Imagination and the Equinox

Carnival Legane Crown Princess (Small)

Carnival Legend and Crown Princess

After a few minutes, we headed back to the ship to dry off and have some lunch.

On board, we could feel the buffeting of the wind.  This was probably the only time we felt the ship move and it was docked. 

The main town of San Miguel was visible on the horizon across the deck of our neighbor, the Carnival Imagination. 

Carnival Imagination and Cozumel City in distance (Small)

San Miguel in the distance

The afternoon was spent in the Solarium.  I was updating my final talk and Ellen was reading.  Eventually, the sun did make an appearance and the sea settled down but most of the day was gone.  At least, the sail away would be smoother now.

David and Joan Dubov, from Florida, and attendees at my presentations had invited us to dinner tonight at the Tuscan Grill, one of the specialty restaurants on board.  There was an initial concern about the dress code but we were told that the restaurant was smart casual – that’s me. 

Dinner was at 6:00 PM but we were also invited to a private concert by Bev from Florida – Bev had won the Celebrity Talent Contest a few nights before – in Michael’s Club at 5:00 PM.  The place was packed with a large Florida contingent traveling together.  Bev sang some great songs – including her winning song, “What I Did for Love”.  There were also some piano instrumentals by her accompanist.  It was very relaxing and enjoyable.

Bev from Chicago in Concert (Small)

Bev in Concert (Small)

Bev in concert in Michael’s Club

After the concert, we made the very short walk to the Tuscan Grill.  There were six of us at dinner – Bev (singer) and her husband (Sam), Bev (from Libertyville), Bernie (a friend), and the Dubovs.  Ellen had the salmon and I had the eggplant parmigian.  The restaurant had great service and ambiance and the conversation was fun and light.  Dinner took over two hours and we were a bit rushed because we wanted to make the show. 

Tonight’s show was the a variety show starring Doug Cameron and Tony Daro, the comedian who caught up with the ship in Roatan.  Doug was very good again.  Tony Daro’s material seemed so familiar that we were sure we had seen him on a previous cruise.  He was funny in a kind of subtle way.  Best line of the night- “You’re not like the 7 PM audience.  They were so rude, applauding and clapping”.

We caught Max after the show (he had given Ellen a signed CD earlier) and watched Alexandra do her signature waitress dance.

A long day and worst of all – our clocks moved forward two hours (going to EDT) this evening.  We called it a day at 1:45 AM EDT.  This should make for an interesting morning…

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 – Roatan, Honduras – 86F – Partly Cloudy

Roatan is one of the Bay Islands, just off the coast of Honduras.  It is a tiny island measuring 37 by 5 miles with a population of about 30,000.  We have been here a few times in the past and the pier used to lead from the ship directly to the little town.  The pier has had some major upgrades.  Diamonds International and the other retailers are now housed in a very nice new Shopping Center walking distance from the pier.

Roatan (Small)

Roatan pier with new shopping center

There must be another pier on the other side of the island since another cruise ship is visible from the Equinox.

Roatan - another ship in distance (Small) 

Roatan – note cruise ship behind hill in distance

We are not on tour today – we have an early departure and I have a talk later today.  It is a short walk to the town and I recall from our last trip that there is an internet store nearby.  Our our way, we check out the Shopping Center and manage to get our picture taken together.

H and C Roatan Cruise center (Small) 

Checking out the stone work at the Shopping Center

Roatan Harbor and C (Small)

Our lady of the sea

We did find the Internet store ($2 for 30 minutes).  It was a little warm inside but the connection was fast so we could catch up with our e-mails and bring everyone up to date.  We looked at a number of the vendors but decided to go back to the ship for lunch.  We planned to go back to the Internet Place after lunch to check if we received any responses.

That’s exactly what we did – a tuna sandwich, ice teas, and some sorbet for lunch and then back to the town.  When we got there, we were told that the servers were down – they came back on in about five minutes and we checked our mail and caught up with a little news.  We wound up not buying anything and headed back to the Equinox ahead of the 3:45 PM All Aboard.

Today’s talk - “DNA Testing: Solving History’s Mysteries” is back at Celebrity Central at 4:30 PM.  It is another good crowd (200 plus) considering the talk was competing with the Helipad Sail Away at 4:00 PM (If I weren’t speaking, I might have gone there myself). Also, attendance is usually less on port days.

The talk went well – I think the attendees appreciated the Copernicus and “Earthquake” McGovern sections.  Also, a passenger had asked me at the last talk if I would be speaking about Thomas Jefferson – I had originally dropped that section for the Copernicus story but put it back in for her.  She met me afterwards and thanked me for the Jefferson segment. 

An old friend was docked just off the Equinox’s starboard side – the NCL Jewel.  The Jewel is dwarfed by the Equinox. 

Roatan NCL Jewel (Small)

NCL Jewel anchored near the Equinox

After Dinner, we passed by Celebrity Central and noted the sign announcing my talk earlier in the day.  My name in lights…

Sign outside Celeb Central 12PM (Small)

Tonight was the final production show - “Limelight”.  I liked the show just as much the second time around.

A nice day…

Monday, March 15, 2010 – At Sea – Caribbean Sea – 80s – Partly Cloudy

Our next port of call is Roatan, Honduras – about 650 nautical miles away – but today is another wonderful day at sea.  Calm seas, a little breezy, but warm. 

C at Sea 3-15 (Small)

At Sea – it takes work to get that hair just right

I do have a talk scheduled for today but the logistics are a little different.  The talk is earlier at 2:00 PM (good – gives me more time to come down to earth before dinner) but in the Equinox Theater (not Celebrity Central), which is a big place.  Also, the title in the Daily has not been updated and says: “DNA Testing:  Cold Cases Solved”.  I spoke to Ian and asked him to see if Dru could make an announcement correcting the title – I didn’t want people to think we were in reruns already.

Today’s talk is “DNA Testing:  Secrets of the Royal Families”.  I got to the theater at 1:30 PM to make sure that the AV would be OK in this new venue.   Just a few people were there and some were in the balcony.  The AV worked out just fine.  Ian also found a way to get my wheelchair attendees down to the ground level right near the stage (via a special elevator backstage) so they didn’t have to sit at the back of the lower level.  I’m sure that they appreciated that.

At show time, we guesstimated the attendance at over 250 – maybe 275.  I delivered my talk from in front of the stage because I couldn’t see the slides from the stage and I had a little difficulty connecting with such a scattered audience.  I think it worked out OK – based on feedback.  Ian thought having the talk in the theater had turned out to be a benefit since Celebrity Central might have been SRO with his crowd.

Secreta of the Royal Fam in Theater (Small) 

“Secrets of the Royal Families” in the Equinox Theater

After the talk, some downtime at the Solarium and then on to Dinner.

Another nice day at sea…

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010 – Puerto Limon, Costa Rica – 86F – Partly Cloudy

Puerto Limon is just up the “road” (186 nautical miles) from Colon Panama.  The city, with a population of about 60,000,  was established in 1502 during one of Christopher Columbus’ voyages.  It is about three hours away by car from the capital city of San Jose.

The Equinox is docked a few hundred yards from the Visitor/Shopping Center.  We do have a tour in the afternoon but our plan for the morning is to head to the shopping area to see what there is to see and buy.

Equinox Puerto Limon (Small)

Celebrity Equinox docked at Puerto Limon

There is no tram and it is hot so we scamper to the Shopping center. As we enter the area, we are somewhat surprised to see that the entire left side of the entrance is taken up by several Spa type places – massages, manicures, pedicures.  A little native – only sheets separate the patrons getting massages – but we are in a tropical environment.  The places were busy with pedicures in progress everywhere.  We did a little negotiating and agreed on an hour massage for $45.  I actually did a bit better since I was quoted 75 minutes for $45.  I must admit, despite the somewhat primitive conditions, the massages were not bad.  A bit hot (there was a fan) but very relaxing and not a lot different than a stateside spa treatment.  One thing you don’t see in the states is the rubbing alcohol spray used to clean off the massage oil.  All in all, it was very relaxing.

Back to the ship for lunch and to get ready for our afternoon excursion - “Old Banana Route Train Adventure” at 1:15 PM.  At 1:00 PM, we are back on the pier and into our air-conditioned bus and on our way.  Eric, who speaks very good English, is our guide and Edgar is our driver.  Also on board is a photographer from the Equinox.

The ride takes us through the city of Limon – baseball field, shops, gas stations, lots of locals walking.  Then, out into the country where our first stop is a banana plantation. 

On the way to Banana Plant PL CR (Small)

On the way to the banana plantation

On the way, Eric invites us to try a “pygmy banana”, which is sweeter than the bananas back home.  We both try them and they are sweet without being mushy.

Mini Bananas on Tour Puerto Limon (Small)

Pygmy Banana – Ellen’s hand

Since it is Sunday, the plant is closed but we can still see the equipment.  Eric warned us not to take any pictures with kids holding wild animals (sloths or monkeys) as it is illegal to keep animals as pets in Costa Rica.  Once the bus stops, Eric tells us that there is a mechanical problem with the bus (gear shift) so we will be getting on a new bus after the plantation.  Not much to see at the plantation.

Banana Plant Puerto Limon (Small)

Guess who owns this plantation

As the crowd walks toward the plant and the equipment, we noticed some kids playing in the processing area along with one kid holding a sloth.  Now the excitement:  The kids scatter and a police officer comes out of nowhere from behind us and chases the kids around the side the plant. 

“Pop” “Pop”

We duck behind the cement wall for cover – these are gunshots (perhaps from a rifle and hopefully warning shots).  The rest of our tour group doesn’t react at all.  We stay down until Eric shows up again and we don’t see any one chasing anyone.  We were happy to be back on our new and functioning bus.

As we drive along, the bus stops occasionally – Edgar is out gathering wildlife – poison dart frogs (not poisonous in Costa Rica), flowers, coca plants, and ginger plants.  These are then passed around the bus – I even bit into a raw coca bean – never again – not quite Godiva.

We eventually reach the old banana processing town of Estrada, where we will catch our 1960 vintage (non-air-conditioned) train that will take us through the countryside to the pier.  The train has only two cars – our tour group is in one and the other one is empty.  Eric passes out bags of plantain chips and drinks (coke, cerveza -poured from a 64 oz bottle [never knew they existed], and bottled water) to all of the passengers.  Nice treat. 

The back of the car is open and you can stand (if you are the risky type) on the back landing and get a picture of the narrow gauge tracks on which this train is running.

View back of Train (Small)

View from back of the car

Banana Train PL (Small)

Ellen chilling on the banana train

Actually, with the windows open and the train moving, it is cooler than the bus.  The foliage is so close to the windows that you have to be careful not to get slapped by a tree limb or branch. 

Vegetation PL CR (Small)

Vegetation along the train route

The route is very scenic as you can tell by the following pictures.

River and House from Train (Small)

River and house from the train 

Lagoon and train tracks (Small)

Lagoon from Train (Small)

Lagoon from train (note tracks – top picture)

Caribbean from Train (Small)         Caribbean from Train 2 (Small) Caribbean from Train 3 (Small) 

Three shots of the Caribbean Sea from the train

The trip ended up near a highway about five minutes from the pier.  Edgar and the bus were waiting for us and soon we were back on the ship.  A very nice tour. 

After two showers, we head for Dinner and then to the big show.  The headliner tonight is Greg London, another entertainer from Las Vegas, who is also a vocal impressionist.  His impressions are not bad but his real voice is quite good.  The show is pretty good and Greg will be back later in the cruise.

Just to show you that it does happen, Dru announces that the comedian, Tony Daro, missed the ship in Puerto Limon and will join up in Roatan. 

As they say in Costa Rica - “Pura Vida”…

Saturday, March 13, 2010 – Colon, Panama – 86F – Partly Cloudy

Just a short commute to Colon (262 nautical miles) from Cartagena.  The last time we were here in 2003 (Celebrity Horizon – RIP), there was not much in the port area.  Today, there is a shopping center and a new Radisson Hotel.

New Radisson and Shopping Colon (Small)

Radisson Hotel (tall building) and new shopping center

From the ship, you can see the ships in the Caribbean Sea awaiting their turn for transit through the Panama Canal.  FYI – it costs about $400,000 or more for a large cruise ship to transit the canal (about $120 per person and $80 for an empty stateroom).

Ships in line for the Canal (Small) 

Colon, Panama – Ships lining up for the Canal

No tour today so our plan is to explore the shopping facility and nearby streets in the Colon pier.  Before we could get to the shopping area, we had to run the gauntlet of taxi and tour operators eager to get us on a tour of Colon and the Panama Canal.  Having survived that, we did check out the shops – not all air-conditioned – and looked for an internet cafe.

Having no luck, we decided to see what the new hotel was like.  It was like an oasis in the desert.  A classy looking hotel with spiffily dressed staff was a strong contrast to the frantic scene going on outside.  Noticing a business center in the lobby, we asked if we could use the computers.  Even though we were clearly not guests, the desk clerk said it would be OK.  So, thank you Radisson for allowing us to touch base with people back home – the internet was quick and we checked our mail and a few other things before wrapping up.  

The streets near the shopping facility did not look too inviting so we headed back to the Equinox for lunch and some quiet time.  Before we boarded, I managed to document our stay in Colon with this picture.

Equinox Colon Panama (Small)

The rest of the day was spent in the Solarium relaxing and sipping iced tea.

After Dinner, we caught Greg Bonham again in the theater.  Ellen caught up with him after the show and he gave her a CD (signed and all).  He also said he would drop off a copy of his song - “Who Will Stand for Freedom” to our stateroom before he left the ship.

I really like that song.

Friday, March 12, 2010 – Cartagena, Colombia – 86F – Partly Cloudy

The Equinox has arrived in Cartagena, Colombia after logging more than 630 nautical miles.  Cartagena is known as Cartagena de Indias (of the West Indies) to differentiate it from its namesake city in Spain (which we visited on our transatlantic cruise).  It is, of course, famous for being the location for the movie, “Romancing the Stone”.  The city has a population of just over a million people.

Cartagena (Small)

Cartagena from the ship

The ship has docked in a location different from last year (Panama Canal cruise).  There is a new visitor center within walking (or, in this weather, within shuttle) distance from the ship. 

The ship departs at 4:00 PM today and all the excursions are early morning.  We did get on the “Panoramic Tour Around the Bay” excursion at 9:15 AM.  A wakeup call, quick breakfast in the Ocean View Cafe, and we are on the pier at 9:00 AM for our tour.

We board a replica of a 17th century Spanish Galleon – the “Bucaner” - for this cruise around the bay.

The Galleon Bucaner (Small)

Ellen on her way to our Galleon

Already in action are local dancers demonstrating area folk dances.

Local Dancers on the Galleon (Small)

The “Stars of Bucaner” perform

They did a number of dances at the start and finish of the cruise. I thought that they were entertaining and the dances were interesting.

Although it was hot, the ship kept moving so there was a breeze – not so nice was the engine exhaust that wafted across the deck every so often.  I thought we should get moving so I took the helm.

 Me at the Helm (Small)

Heading plotted – ENGAGE…

 The Pirate Queen (Small)

The pirate queen relaxes 

From the Galleon, we could get a good view of the new condos near the bay.  Also visible is a US Naval Ship (unusual since it was painted white and not navy gray).  The guide told us that the US and Colombian Navies carry out a lot of joint operations.

Cartagena Condos (Small)

Cartagena Condos and US Navy Ship

The tour continued to the Old City.  Visible from the water was the Church of San Pedro Claver and docked at the pier was another historical Spanish ship (this was something a bit more than a Galleon).

 Cartagena Old City (Small)

Cartagena Old City and another vintage Spanish ship

We had visited the monastery, La Popa, the last time we were here.  Now, we had a good look at it from the bay.  The hill on which La Popa is situated in the highest point in the city at only 420 feet.

La Popa (Small)

La Popa

We also got a very nice view of Fort San Felipe de Barajas, which we toured in the past – this time we did not have to climb all those stairs in the heat.  San Felipe is the largest Spanish Fort in the New World. 

Fort San Felipe (Small)

Fort San Felipe de Barajas

The ride back was very slow – the boat was almost idling as the guide described some facts about Cartagena and Colombia.  With the ship moving so slowly, the heat became an issue.  We did get a fine view of the Equinox in the distance.  In front of our ship was a statue of the Virgin of Carmen, whose placement in the bay is to protect the city.

Virgin Carmen Equinox (Small) 

The Celebrity Equinox and the Virgin of Carmen

On the Galleon (Small)

Just relaxing in the heat on the way back

We stopped at the new visitor’s center after the tour to check out souvenirs.  It is a nice place and the prices were reasonable.  I did manage to pick up a “Cartagena de Indias Cruise Terminal” cap – you won’t find many of those in Libertyville.  We did find out that there was WIFI (no computers) available in the area outside the visitor’s center.

Back to the ship to get lunch and stop sweating and then back to the Center to get on their WIFI.  We purchased 30 minutes of connect time for $2.00.  Every table was occupied with mostly young folks with their laptop computers.  We did manage to find a table that we eventually would up sharing with an older couple from the other ship in town – the Olsen “Black Watch”.  Typing and sweating occurred simultaneously as we checked our e-mails and caught up with everyone back home.  We wound up chatting a bit with the couple from the Black Watch – they shared their opinion of their on-board lecturers.  As we headed back to the ship, I couldn’t pass up this photo op. 

C and Equinox from Visitor Center (Small)

I had just a little time to relax before my scheduled talk today.  Again, this is one of those post-departure talks.  Talk number 3 - “DNA Testing:  Cold Cases Solved” is at 4:30 PM in Celebrity Central.  Passengers need to be on board by 3:45 PM so that gives them a little time to grab their iced teas and head to the theater.

Again, the turnout is surprisingly good (about 200 people) and this lecture is well received – people love cold cases – especially those that are solved. 

Dinner in the Dining Room, show in the Theater, and a little smooth jazz from Max rounded out the evening.