Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – December 20, 21, 22, 2011 – Cloudy and Cool – 50s

The itinerary for this cruise has been completely revised.  The new schedule and ports of call


Three sea days in a row…

Tuesday, 12/20 – It was a rough ride last night – bumpy and rocky rolly – I was awakened about 4 AM by a big jolt and that was just about it for the night. 

There are three speakers on board:  A NASA Engineer, who worked on the Moon Landings; a Broadway Producer (current show is “Memphis”); and an art restorer (specializing in statues and monuments).  Also, on board is Roger McGuinn, lead singer of the 60s folk rock group, the Byrds.  There are at least three speakers scheduled for each sea day so the days are pretty filled if you attend all of them. 

My first talk – “The CSI Phenomenon” – is scheduled for 11:15 AM in the Illuminations Theater, which is the only Planetarium on the High Seas. 

There are some very interesting, mythological based, statues at the theater entrance.

Hermes Delivering (Small)

Zeus waiting for FEDEX (Small)

Top: Hermes delivering his message; Bottom: Zeus awaits the message

The ship does a good job of letting people know about their speaker’s program. 

It pays to advertise (Small)

I am directly after the Producer, who is a good speaker and has a very high tech Mac PowerPoint presentation.  He has a good crowd and I am getting very antsy.

Paul O’Loughlin, the Entertainment Director, introduced me.

Intro by Paul Talk 1 (Small)

Talk 1 (Small)


It is difficult to estimate the crowd.  Based on guessing the total capacity (approximately 300), the attendance is pretty good – better than I expected - maybe 120 – 150. 

Talk 1 Audience (Small)

Three neat things about speaking on the QM2.  The venue is terrific – tiered seats – a nice stage and podium – and good seating capacity.  The AV group – extremely good and professional -  also provided me with the first comfortable headset mic, thereby freeing up both hands.  There is also a large digital clock in the back of the theater – like the clocks in the end zone at football stadiums - so you can judge your presentation pace. 

The crowd was filled with CSI fans – maybe 90 percent - so the first talk went pretty well.  It will also run all night on the in-cabin TV.

We attended all of the presentations.

In the afternoon, we attended the Planetarium Show, “Cosmic Collisions” narrated by Robert Redford.  Amazing – I love Planetarium shows.

Tonight is Formal Night (the first of six formal nights) and we are decked out in our fineries. 

Formal Night 1 (Small)

Formal Night 1

The ship has a rabbi on board who will preside over services and Chanukah candle lighting.  The first candle lighting tonight drew over 150 people and was very nice.  The ship provided latkes and jelly donuts are in the works.

We also scored big with our dining situation.  We were put at a table for four but told that the other two might show.  They didn’t.  We had terrific service and terrific meals. Tonight: Pan Seared Salmon.

Showtime tonight consisted of a tribute to Nat King Cole.  The singer did resemble Nat Cole and was able to get is voice almost right.  It was an entertaining if not exciting show.

Wednesday, 12/21 – The shortest day of the year.  Cool and cloudy outside.  The open decks are still windy so there is little traffic out there. 

2011-12-21 At Sea (Small) 

At Sea – December 21, 2011

The photo below confirms the amazing length of this ship.

2011-12-21 A very long ship (Small)

In the morning,  we went to the Royal Court Theater to see Roger McGuinn,  Using slides and singing some songs, he put on a very entertaining and informative talk.  He has been involved with some many groups in his career even though most people associate him with the Byrds and “Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man”. 

My second talk - “Cold Cases Solved” – is scheduled for 3:30 PM in the Illusions Theater.  The Talk on the International Space Station is right before me and he has a good crowd (similar to his first talk) so again there is some apprehension about passengers coming back for the second talk.

People do come in at the last minute but by the time I got started, the crowd was larger than the day before – perhaps 200 or so.  I was told I should have re-introduced myself to the new folks – maybe tomorrow.  The talk went very well – finished on time and got the appropriate response during the Jack the Ripper segment.

Dress tonight is “Formal” once again – this time I wear a dark coat and slacks along with my tux tie.  It works and is more comfortable.

We went to candle lighting again and this time I managed to get some latkes (the donuts went quickly).

        2011-12-21 Chanukah Formal night (Small)

Ellen at Candle lighting

2011-12-21 Chanukah Candlelighting (Small)

Children and the Rabbi do the honors

When we arrived for dinner, the Maitre D’ informed us that Table 179 would be ours exclusively for the remainder of the cruise.  Score…Another excellent meal - “Pan Seared Flounder” and “Cheese Tortellini”.

Show time is the production show “Viva Italia”.  Just as the show was about to begin, Paul announced that there was a water leak in the control room and the show would have to be rescheduled.  We all relocated to the various lounges.

Thursday, 12-22 – Slightly warmer today but still windy.

My third talk in a row is today at 11:15 AM.  The word must be getting out because this was the biggest turnout yet.  I estimated about 250 attendees based on the remaining empty seats.  I was also pleased that this longest talk finished on time. 

Talk 2 Near Full House (Small) Talk 2 (Small)

“Secrets of the Royal Families” – a healthy crowd

Right near the end of my talk, the Commodore made his noon announcement so it gave me a chance to rest and pose for a picture.

Taking a break while the Commodore is speaking (Small)

We are semi-formal tonight.

2011-12-22 E and Beefeater (Small)

We know this Guard won’t move

Another great dinner along with excellent service - “Pan Seared Haddock” and another fine pasta.

Table 179 (Small)

The Headliner tonight was John Joseph – comedian.  He was an absolute hoot. 

We did find a pianist vocalist in the Lions Head Pub.

Tomorrow we are in St. Thomas.

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