Thursday, January 18, 2018

November 10 -14, 2017 - Westward to Bermuda - Atlantic Ocean

Friday, November 10, 2017 – At Sea – Atlantic Ocean – Partly Cloudy – Warm – high 60s

The sea has calmed down and it has gotten a bit warmer as we head toward Bermuda.

My talk today is at 11:00 AM – “Search for the Unknown Titanic Child”.  The Daily Program has me at 11:00 AM but The Insider had me at 2:00 PM.  Guest Relations told me they would tell people that called the correct time.  The turnout was great – another near full house – there were people sitting just about everywhere so I couldn’t find a good place to stand without getting in someone’s way.  No doubt, the attendance was affected a little by the conflicting schedules in the two programs.   

I tried the blackened fish panini for lunch – I hadn’t liked it in the past but it was different today – I couldn’t tell what kind of fish it was (maybe cod) but it was good.

We spent the whole afternoon out on a warm Deck 5 – I am reading another Gabriel Allon Novel by Daniel Silva, “The Secret Servant”.

We went to Friday night services at 6:00 PM up in the Drawing Room.  The service was led by Doron, the Israeli Head of Security.  He has been on Azamara for 10 years and we have seen him before.  There was a very good turnout for the service and the wine and challah were wonderful.

We didn’t want to deal with the noise and waiting in the Dining Room so we went to Windows for the Arabian Buffet.  That involved falafel, tabbouleh, a green salad, and baklava.  Much more peaceful up there – probably no more than a dozen folks in Windows.  What will they do with all of that leftover food.

We went to see Rikki Jay in the Cabaret Lounge.  He is a fast talking, frenetic, Brit comic, who works with the audience.  Although I have heard many of his jokes before, he was still funny.

The rest of the night was spent up in the Living Room.  We were sitting a bit further back from the guitar player so he was more background music. 

The clocks go back another hour tonight.  This will be the third time we have moved our clocks.

Saturday, November 11, 2017 – At Sea – Atlantic Ocean – Mostly Sunny – high 60s

A much quieter sea and a little sleep – a welcome combination.

A nice breakfast up in the Windows Café – a scrambled omelet (tomatoes, onions, and cheese) and a bagel.

My talk today is at 11:05 AM – “The Lost Dauphin of France” – following a moment of silence for “Remembrance Day” (UK – Veteran’s Day).  Tony said a few words before the moment – it was a touching experience.  A 90 percent plus turnout today – I actually spoke to a passenger who didn’t attend because she didn’t want to hear the sad story of the Dauphin.  The talk went well and ended right on time.  I’ve been pretty lucky so far in that I’ve had a full screen for all but one talk.

We had lunch out on the back deck – salad and some egg salad and a pretzel with Ranch Dressing.

We ate in Discoveries but had dessert up in Windows (Baklava).  Dinner took a long time this evening.  I had the fish and chips, which were OK but not as good as what they had a few days ago. 

It was “Voices” tonight for Showtime.  The new cast did a good job of performing this difficult show.  It is still fun.


The rest of the evening was spent in the Living Room side area.  I finished the "Silent Servant" and started “The Crossing” – the 20th book in the Harry Bosch Series.  Harry is now retired and unemployed.  Harry fought in the Vietnam War - how old must Harry be by now?

Seas are still smooth.

Sunday, November 12, 2017 – At Sea – Atlantic Ocean – mostly sunny – 70.

A beautiful day in the Central Atlantic Ocean.

The ship kicked up a lot of sea foam but the ride was smooth.

I had breakfast up in the Windows Café and still was able to attend Emerson’s 9:00 AM talk on Charles Lindbergh.

I have the day off today – no presentations.

It’s a beautiful day so a good deal of time was dedicated to being out on Deck 5.

Contrail over Atlantic

We did have to come back inside to attend a rare event – the “Broadway Matinee” scheduled for 2 PM in the Cabaret Lounge. 

Anthem from Chess

One Day More

Each of the singers had a solo number from a Broadway show.  Christine Milburn also sang a number.  It was a very entertaining afternoon and the only reason I would give up deck time for.

After the show, we felt the weather was good enough for a few laps around the deck before dinner.

Walking Deck 10


We had dinner on the back deck - warm and scenic.  

Tonight’s Showtime features “Inseparable” a musical show starring Tony and Christine at 9:45 PM  They sang “Nightingale Sang in Barkley Square” based on a request I made of Christine at the Mosaic Café a few days ago.  Very entertaining.  We may have seen a version of this show in the past but it was still good.

An hour back tonight.    


Monday, November 13, 2017 – At Sea – Atlantic Ocean – Pleasant – 70s.

A beautiful day in the Atlantic Ocean.

It is room service for breakfast today as my next talk has been scheduled for 9:00 AM.  The lecture schedule is certainly spooky. Not sure that guests are all into the early morning sessions.

“The Search for Jack the Ripper” was well attended with about 90 percent of capacity (270 folks approximately).  The pace was good and the talk ended on time.  I also had a full screen today even though tonight’s entertainer will need a piano put back on the stage along with the band guys. The full screen really helped as this talk has a lot of graphics and data.

A wonderful day of R and R – beautiful up on the deck.  Especially, when the atmosphere decided to put on a spectacular display of rainbows.


Double Rainbow

Ellen and Rainbow

Rainbow No Cloud

Storm Clouds

After capturing a particularly interesting "Magic Moment"

Sunset Through a Storm Cloud

we skipped the Indian Buffet.  After dinner in Discoveries, we attended Craig Dahn’s second show   his arrangements are so different that it is difficult to recognize the song he is playing.  He did the theme from “Exodus” but his best effort was “The Heart Will Go On”.  He showed videos from Titanic which really added to the overall effect.

My Heart Will Go On

“Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga was also a winner.  I did not know that LG was an accomplished pianist.  Turned out to be a great show.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 At Sea – Atlantic Ocean – Pleasant – 70s.

The weather continues to be pleasant with only an occasional storm passing by.

Another work free day.  No getting up early or ordering room service.

Tony gave his iconic Somali Pirate Talk – superhero Cruise Director saves the Seabourn Journey from evil pirates.  We didn't attend as we spent almost the entire day out on the open deck - beautiful out there.

We skipped the Caribbean Buffet after checking out the offerings.  Had another good dinner in Discoveries – Hernando is doing a good job as our senior waiter.

British comedian Rikki Jay put on a hilarious second show. 

Still frenetic and fast talking but I got most of it tonight.  He also threw in a Trump dig in his show so that’s good I think.

Ellen found him at the bar and told him how much we liked his show.  Talks a lot slower in person.  

We spent a little time with Simon at the Casino Lounge.  Simon has proved to be very entertaining on this voyage.

Another hour back tonight – this will put us on Bermuda Time.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Thursday, November 9, 2017 – On the Rocky Atlantic – Mostly Cloudy – mid 60s

Poseidon is in a bad mood today.

The ship is creaking (including our bed) which makes it difficult to sleep (somehow the creak is not stopped by earplugs).  NOTE:  Seasick bags are now present in all of the elevators (I wonder why they put them there).

Because the ship left so late, I was able to get some sleep until about 4 AM.  But today is going to be a strange day because I am scheduled to give two presentations.  The first one is at 9:00 AM and is the “Cold Cases Solved” one that was supposed to be given a few days ago.  The second presentation is at 2 PM – “The Mystery of the Romanovs”.  Because of the early presentation, we ordered room service.  The oatmeal was OK but I didn’t eat the omelet.

The turnout at the first talk was very disappointing – based on passenger feedback during the day, most people did not see the program in the schedule and some people thought that the talk was being done twice that day and opted for the afternoon session.  Only about 60 people showed up.  I did a pretty good job of dealing with the motion of the ship – I still delivered the presentation in the front of the dance floor near the audience.

The 2 PM talk had a great turnout – about 90 percent full (270 guests).  The talks are running just about 45-50 minutes long and I have been monitoring the time carefully.  Just before the talk, the stage crew put the orchestra instruments back on the stage so that I just had the two side screens.  I couldn’t see them all that well but feedback from some passengers said that they still got the information. 

Despite the choppy seas, it is very nice out on the open deck so that’s where we spent the rest of the afternoon.   

We had dinner in the Discoveries Dining Room: Veggie Onion Soup, Cesar Salad and Horseradish crusted salmon and gnocchi for dinner – Delicious.

We passed on Craig Dahn the piano player who was discovered by Liberace.  Instead we went to the Living Room to listen to the guitar player and read.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 – Funchal, Madeira – Mostly Cloudy – 68 – 72F

Distance from Gibraltar to Madeira: 615 Nautical Miles

I am so old.

Funchal from Quest

We got room service (pancakes and eggs and oatmeal) because we have an early excursion – “Emblematic Madeira”- that departs the port at 9:45 AM.  Ellen is the escort on this tour and I am a passenger.  When I walked down the gangway to go to the bus, the Captain and Tony were sending all the passengers on their way.  Tony wished me a “Happy Birthday”.  How nice is that and how did know?

The bus is comfortable and Susannah, the guide, is personable and informative.  The tour takes us up the many mountains

so we can see the acclaimed terraced farming of Madeira (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). 

Our first stop is the Pico de Torre viewpoint. 

At the Pico Torre Viewpoint

The viewpoint does afford great views of the Madeira countryside, including the coastline, and a scenic village.

We drove by the town that Winston Churchill visited (and painted).  We stopped by a nice restaurant to try the local drink, Poncha, a concoction of sugar cane run, honey, and lemon juice.  Sweet but good – I had two of them.  The views from the restaurant were fantastic.

Poncha Break

From there, the bus took us up the narrow roads to the highest sea cliff in Europe – Cabo Girao – more than 1900 feet above the ocean surface.  The old wooden railing (very scary) has been replaced by a glass and metal mesh platform (scary in a different way).  Now you can stand on a see through glass floor and look down from a height equal to two Empire State Buildings.  Pretty awesome.

Cabo Girao

Our last stop is the seaside town of Ribeiro Brava, one of the first parishes on the island. 

This is essentially a shopping stop as the main street is a line of small shops selling items made of cork.  To get to the sea, you can go through a crude tunnel carved into the mountain.  The sand is black and volcanic and not all that inviting.  You can get a great view of the coast line from this spot.

The Tunnel

Ribeira Brava Coastline and Beach

We went back to the ship for lunch.  But I got a great surprise – the room had been decorated with “Happy Birthday” banners and goodies.

I also found out that the Captain had announced my birthday during his noon announcement.  Azamara knows how to make its passengers feel special – even the speakers.

After lunch, we took the ship supplied shuttle bus to downtown Funchal.  The bus, which ran every 30 minutes, saved us a 30 minute plus walk.  Our goal was to find a nice Madeiran spa, where we could neutralize some of the rock and roll experience at sea.  We were able to locate a few, with some help from locals, but everyone was booked for the day.  We will know for next time to get out early and book.  Instead of spending the time in a spa, we walked the town.  We went beyond the Park Area into some of the non-tourist areas.  The streets were teeming with residents and the drivers were very polite to pedestrians.  It was still pretty warm but it looked like it might rain and it was getting colder.  We took the bus back to the ship (door to door service).

It was a very nice day in Maderia – tour and walking.

I had a salad and Ravioli in Tomato Sauce for dinner.  I must have been hungry because all of the ravioli was gone.  I also had three full glasses of iced tea. 

We stayed for dessert and what showed up – a “Birthday” Cake.  We split it (it was like a flat Napoleon) and it was good. 

The cap on a nice day.

We spent the rest of the evening reading – passing on the Folkloric Show and “Danzera”.

It was warm enough on the deck to take a nice picture of Funchal at night.

Captain Jose said that the ship would be staying beyond the 9 PM departure to allow some of the weather to pass through.  The ship actually departed at 4 AM – the bow thrusters were not used at full power so people wouldn’t be awakened.  The seas ahead are still rocky.