Friday, March 18, 2016

Sunday, November 29 – Sunday, December 6, 2015 - Transatlantic Crossing – Western Direction

Sunday, November 29, 2015 - Day 1 – Sunny – 66F

We are on the first day of our eight day crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.  The seas were a bit bumpy last night but I actually got the best night of sleep so far on this cruise. 

Breakfast (Windows Café) consisted of oatmeal, scrambled eggs, waffle (Cottage cheese and frozen strawberries) – The coffee has been a bit strong and tepid so I made by own coffee (half decaf, half hot water, and skim milk).  There were more people up here than I expected (due to our first time change).  The background music was “Guilty” by Barbra (soothing music for breakfast). 

Am now in the Mosaic Café with my decaf mocha skinny latte.  I like the iced version better but it’s just not warm enough for them yet.  I am taking a last look at the slides for my initial presentation and stuffing all of the facts into my head that will fit.

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The Drink of Champions

My first talk - “The CSI Phenomenon” - is at 11:00 AM in the Cabaret Lounge.  When I arrive, there is an art auction presentation in progress (about eight people).  When I start to set up, there are about 10 people in the audience but when the bell rings, the crowd is up around 150 (based on Cabaret Lounge Seating Capacity of 280 [per front desk]).  I think this is a good start for the series.

After the talk, we went to lunch in the Windows Café.  I had a Tuna Salad sandwich with the works, fries, and Cesar Salad.  All yummy.

We found a nice spot on the pool deck under the cover.  The area has very comfortable couches out of the sun. 

At 2 PM,  I went to hear Chuck speak about Columbus.  It will be interesting to see what everyone thinks when I give my Columbus lecture.

We had dinner in Windows, where tonight is was Italian Buffet.  I had the made to order pasta (pasta primavera) – absolutely wonderful.

Showtime tonight featured Pianist/Magician Garin Bader.  We had seen him on an previous cruise and again, his show was very good.

We spent a little time with Max in the Casino Lounge and then to the rooms.


Day 2 - Monday, November 30, 2015 – Sunny – Warmer – high 68F.

Slept so so – not much ship motion during the night.

The Pursuits ran the new bio I had sent in.  I think it is just long enough with just the right information.


Breakfast – Windows – Oatmeal, Pancake with cottage cheese and fruit (strawberries, blue berries, bananas), scrambled eggs (small portions of each).  Still not able to eat on the back deck – too chilly and breezy.

Tuned and trimmed my second talk over an iced decaf mocha skinny latte (helps me think).

Talk 2 - “Forensic Milestones – The Discovery of DNA Fingerprinting” (slightly new title) is at 11:00 AM in the Cabaret Lounge.  This time more people showed us and they came earlier.  The theater was about 80 percent full - maybe 220 people – not too many empty seats.

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Discovery of DNA Fingerprinting

Lunch – Windows:  Cesar Salad – Tuna sandwich with the works, watermelon.  They make good tuna salad on this ship.

Newsflash:  At 4:00 PM, I went to the Gym.  The workout involved the treadmill  (20 min/1.2 miles/6 km/hour) plus machines.  It felt good but it is still not easy walking the treadmill on a moving ship.

Dinner in the Windows Café – Vietnamese Buffet – not much on the actual buffet for us but they also had a pasta bar so again I had made to order spaghetti primavera.  Very good.

Two shows tonight – Katy Monroe – the tall blond singer dancer is on first followed by Eric’s show.  Katy’s show is entertaining – she has a very good voice – her banter with the audience works.




Katy Monroe

After Katy, Eric took the stage.  Did some Josh Groban, some Broadway Tunes (his “This is the Moment” from Jekyll and Hyde was terrific and his medley from “Phantom of the Opera” just as good) and then he cam over and grabbed Ellen for “Surrey with a Fringe on Top” from Oklahoma.  When he brought her back to her seat, he noticed me and said he didn’t know she was my wife.  Anyhow, Ellen did a great job and I got most of it on my camera.

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Eric and Ellen (“Surrey With a Fringe on Top”)




Phantom of the Opera Medley


When the Saints Go Marching In (Mardi Gras)

A great show – I’m tired just being in the audience and watching and because it is a late show, we went back to the room.


Day 3 - Tuesday, December 1, 2015 – Mostly Sunny – 72F

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Starting to warm up to beautiful days at sea…The Captain has also altered course (to avoid weather and chop) to a more southerly one (parallel to the coast of Africa), which brings on the warmer weather faster.

The usual sea day with breakfast on the deck, lunch in the Windows Café.

The Third talk in my series – “Cold Cases Solved” – draws a near full house (approximately 250 people).  It’s a long talk but it ended on time.

The deck is warm so the afternoon is spent on Deck 5.

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The Windows Café Dinner offering is the Turkish Dinner Buffet – lots of honey dripping stuff for dessert.

Tonight’s Showtime is the unusual and highly entertaining “Voices”  Production Show.  A multimedia production involving background visuals and vocals and the Singers and Dancers.  It’s the reason that the Journey has the multi-monitor screen.  Natalie, one of the singers, has much of the vocal duties on this show and she is terrific (and a great dancer, too).  The Voices Series is shown below.

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Day 4 - Wednesday, December  2, 2015 – Mostly Sunny – 72F

Having breakfast on the back deck as the sun comes up.  That is the best…

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Sunrise in the Atlantic Ocean

It is so nice on the open deck, that I went over today’s presentation out there. 

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My Office on Deck 5

We also had lunch outside today.  Wonderful.  And no seagulls around to grab our food.

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The Best Seat for Lunch

“The Mystery of the Romanovs” is scheduled for 2 PM.  The talk draws a near full house of enthusiastic attendees. This is another long talk that also ended on time.

We had arranged to have dinner with Chuck and Sidney (Bridge Instructor) and wives in the Discoveries Dining Room.  I think I had the standard Salmon.  Dinner took a while and that’s why we prefer the Windows Café for Dinner – quieter and quicker.

Tonight is Max DiFaz’s Big Show – “Grand” – in the Cabaret Theater.  We have seen it before but it is entertaining and he added some new visuals.

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Day 5 - Thursday, December 3, 2015 – Mostly Sunny – 72F

The temp is supposed to be in the low 70s but it is warmer than that. I’m up early enough to catch the sunrise from the back deck. 

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Sunrise From the Back Deck

Breakfast on the deck was again terrific.  Where can you get a view like below anywhere else.

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At 10:30 AM, I made my way to the theater for my 11 AM presentation – “Search for the Unknown Titanic Child”.  Today, I am treated to a full house – 275 people (only empty seats side front, where you can’t see the screen).

And then it became “Rainbow Day”.  The first rainbow was spotted on the back deck during lunch.  But it didn’t stop there.

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Rainbow at Lunch

After lunch, we spent the rest of the afternoon reading on Deck 5.  And more rainbows showed up.

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Rainbows and a Submerged Pot of Gold

By the time I got my picture taken, the rainbow fest was over.  Still, it was a pretty good picture.

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After a tiring day of doing nothing, we had dinner in the Windows Café.  Although it was French Buffet night, they still offered the Pasta Bar.  I had a wonderful veggie pasta made to order – new utensils to keep the meat out of the dish.  To shake things up, I added garbanzo beans to the mix – great.

After dinner, we attended Joe West Show 2 – this one had more boogie-woogie and less tap (we like Joe when he taps).

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Joe West Encore Show

A day full of rainbows and warm weather…

Day 6 - Friday, December 4, 2015 – Mostly Sunny – 72F

Another beautiful day at sea and another spectacular sunrise…

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Hello, Sun

I could see some rain in the distance.

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Atlantic Ocean

My talk today is at 11:00 AM. “The Lost Dauphin of France” draws a near full house (275 attendees).  I should mention that Eric has attended all of my talks so far and has stayed all the way through them (when he gets a call he leaves but generally comes back).  Must be a forensics fan.  I was not supposed to be on the schedule tomorrow so when I ended the talk so I told the audience to check the Pursuit for the next session.  At that point, Eric chimed in and told the audience that I would be on tomorrow afternoon at 5:00 PM (only open slot).

At 2:00 PM Ellen and I went to the Looking Glass Lounge for a drawing class with Garin Bader.  The project was to draw a Donald Duck type character but Garin mixes in some Zen stuff along with the art.  Entertaining and different – he had a good turnout.

We attended Friday Night services in the Drawing Room

We had dinner at the International Buffet – Another pasta bar another great pasta

Showtime tonight featured Laura Carter – Vocalist and wife of Joe West.  She is a cabaret type singer with a very good voice.  Near the end of her show, she was joined by Joe for several duets and dance numbers.  A very entertaining show.  I should mention that we ran into Joe and Laura in the Mosaic Café – he is a big fan of forensics and the four of us chatted for over an hour. 

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The Laura Carter Show (plus Joe)

Day 7 - Saturday, December 5, 2015 – Mostly Sunny – mid 70sF

The weather continues to be great…

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Sunrise at Breakfast

We had pretty much the whole morning to ourselves.  The weather was warm and the seas smooth but Deck 5 was deserted. 

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Where is Everybody?

I tried something different in the Windows Café for Lunch.  The Seared tuna spinach wrap is one of the options on the Patio Grill.  Real good.

The Ship “Fashion Show” started at around 4:30 PM in the Mosaic Café and had great attendance.  The show recruits several women on the ship to model Stella Sarmiento’s Pre-Colombian Jewelry creations.  The women also are fitted with very chic outfits for the show.  Ellen did this last time on the cruise and she looks just as great this time around.  The Fashion Show series follows:

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A’int She Cute?

I didn’t see the end of the Fashion Show because I had to run to the Theater to set up for the 5:00 PM start of “The Life and Death of Pharaohs”. There was a good turnout (260) despite butting up against the Fashion Show and being so close to dinner time.

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Tonight was Greek Dinner Buffet in the Café.  No pasta bar so we had the chef make us plain grilled snapper.  Adding to the good dinner was being able to eat on the warm and windless back deck.

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Al Fresco Dining Back Deck

We sat up front for tonight’s Production Show - “Café del Amor” – Energetic dancing from Dima, Sasha, Natalie, and Markos – story seemed familiar though the title did not.  Entertaining and colorful.

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Café Del Amor

After the show, we listened to Max for a while and even got his picture for the record.

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Day 8 - Sunday, December 6, 2015 – Partly Cloudy – low 80F

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Sunrise and Breakfast – A Winning Combination

The 11:00 AM presentation of “The Secret Identity of Christopher Columbus” – pretty much another full house with just a few empty seats behind me.

I experimented again with Lunch by having the Blackened Snapper Panini from the Patio Grill.  Not nearly as good as the Tuna Wrap.

We did some walking up on the jogging track (Deck 10), which gave us a good view of the Pool Deck. 

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After spending the afternoon on the warm open deck, we went to Dinner in the Café – Thai Buffet – I had made to order stir fry then we went down to the Discoveries Restaurant for dessert.

We wound up spending the entire evening chatting with passengers and the rabbi and wife.  The passengers were very interested in the Columbus lecture and the religious background of our mysterious Cristobal Colon.  I had no voice left after this discussion.

We also ran into Laura and Joe and managed to get a photo of the four of us.

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Laura Carter, Joe West, and us

Tonight is our last night on the Atlantic Ocean for this cruise.

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