Tuesday, March 31, 2020

January 13, 2020 – At Sea – Pacific Ocean – Mostly Sunny – Cool – 50F

What a difference wind direction and force make – very smooth seas.

Smooth seas do not always make for good sleep – I am thinking someone slipped me a “caffeine mickey” at dinner last night.  Woke up with a hangover that I didn’t earn.

Walked quickly from the cabin to the aft end of the ship along Deck 7 and caught a beautiful sunrise.

Still too cold to eat in the Solarium Annex so I ate inside Horizon Court.  There I had to deal with the screaming lady and some day 1 glitches.  There were no waffles – reason: no batter and/or no conditioning spray.  So pancakes, oatmeal, cottage cheese, and some eggs (none of which was totally eaten) served as backup. 

My first talk – “Forensics and History: The Mystery of the Romanovs” – was scheduled at 10:00 AM in the Princess Theater.  I had low expectations as I always do and I had to chuckle when the PA announced the talk as “The Mystery of the Romans”.  I thought CD Steve would come by and introduce me but he was probably busy so I introduced myself.  However, I am of little faith as the theater was more than 40 percent full and only a couple left for another event late in the session.  While I did get a good response from the attendees, I found myself rushing at the end so I am going to edit the talk and remove the less important slides and information.

We went straight to the Crown Grill for the Pub Lunch – I had a Bass Ale along with my Fish and Chips, which were very good.  The mushy peas were not mushy but crunchy – and I like that texture better.  Too much food for lunch.

The rest of the afternoon was spent trying to find a warm place to sit and read (sound familiar).  We didn’t want to go to Deck 7 because there is too much people traffic and chatter going on. So we tried the couches on Deck 15 aft (too chilly) and then Club One5, which was also cold but not bronchitis inducing cold.  I had the hardest time reading and staying awake – because of the cold – so we went to Horizon Court to bask in the warm sun and thaw out.  That did help but eventually, the default condition took over and we went to the comfort and warmth of 7115.

Dinner was in the Michelangelo Dining Room – tonight, Cesar Salad, Baked Potato Soup, and Pad Thai (not as good as last cruise); Ellen had the soup and grilled salmon on a Cesar Salad.

We went to the Vista Lounge to hear Liam Stewart and his tribute to Elton John.  He did nine songs most of which are faves and he sounds quite a bit like Sir Elton and is a terrific pianist.  This is the first time we have seen him because he is on at 9:30 PM in the Crooners Lounge and we are usually done for the night by that time.  We will catch him at least once on this cruise.

We then made our way to the Theater to catch comedian Scott Wyler (our neighbor). Steve said this was Scott’s second show but there was no evidence of that in the Patter or Program schedule I had.  Another Twilight Zone moment.  Scott is pretty low intensity and the jokes are non-stop but they seemed a bit familiar – no doubt we have seen Scott somewhere before.  His show was long for Princess (about 50 minutes).  Update – we spoke to Scott later and he told us he was a last minute fill in because the drummer was unable to perform for Tommy Proulx’s show.  It was announced on the PA system but we and certainly others didn’t hear it.

I was out of gas so we went to the room.

Clocks move forward one hour tonight (now MST) and the seas are smooth.

January 12, 2020 – San Francisco, CA – Partly Cloudy – 54F

A hellish night of bounce, shimmy, and shudder but somehow, we both got some sleep.  I was up before dawn and was happy that we had actually arrived in San Francisco.  We weren’t quite there but at around 6:30 AM, the bow thruster confirmed our arrival.

I had breakfast up in Horizon Court.  A little more hectic than usual but I did get all my usual menu items – no lox today for Ellen.

At around 9:00 AM, we grabbed our Passports, old sea pass cards, and our new sea pass cards and scanned off the ship (the old cards were now cancelled). 

It was chilly but clear in the Bay Area today and we needed to find a store to get a new curling iron – Ellen’s had stopped functioning a week ago.  We walked up the street to Bay St. crossed and walked a few blocks to the North Pointe Shopping MallSafeway had no curling irons but we did buy a six pack of spring water.  Our next stop was Ross, where we did find a curling iron.  I also bought a clearance hoodie (from Phat Store - it was an S but it fit) to combat the wintry condition on the ship.  Two wins.

We walked back - made all the more difficult by my schlepping six pounds of water - and had to wait a few minutes for the ship to clear.

Our cabin would not be cleaned and straightened up today because everyone was involved in readying the ship for the new crowd. We did drop off our purchases.

We had lunch today in the Da Vinci Dining Room – a very good Tuscan Bean Soup, a salad, and a pasta (didn’t like it as it was too sweet).

After lunch, I did a load of laundry in the Guest Laundry on Deck 8 Aft.  When I got there, the doors were locked. The folks readying the rooms didn’t have a key so I called Guest Services (6000) and told them and they said the laundry wouldn’t open until the guests embarked.  I was on my way back to the room (about a 1000 steps), when two guys in the white sailor type outfits stopped me and asked me if I was going to do the laundry and they said they would unlock the door for me (I am guessing the Guest Services told them).  They did open the door and I used my sea pass card to purchase a wash and dry (each $3) and a detergent box ($1.50).  The wash cycle was 25 minutes (just enough time to go the room and then turn around and come back).  The dry cycle was 30 minutes.  The clothes were mostly dry and we hung up the moist items in the room.  The laundry worked well but it was clearly a bit pricey.  Next time, we bring our own detergent.

By this time, I had about 11,000 steps on my pedometer.

We went out on Deck 7 to check out the view and to continue my iconic picture series.

The ship is ice cold because the doors are open for embarking passengers.  One5 had a wedding going on and it was too cold outside on Deck 15.  We wound up back in the room until we attended the lifeboat drill at 3:20 PM – All aboard was 3:30 PM and soon we were making a daytime departure.

We had dinner in the Michelangelo Dining Room – very good Veggie Spring Rolls (double order), a strange iceberg type salad, cold Pina Colada Soup (surprising good) and the same sweet tomato sauce based pasta, which I didn’t eat. A nice ice cream sundae for dessert. Ellen had the quiche for dinner (it was OK).  My new hoodie prevented me from getting frostbite.

We wanted to hear Jan Gulbicki in the Wheelhouse Bar but he didn’t show up for his show.  The background music there was so loud that some guests complained and the waiter told me they were trying to turn it down.

We listed to The Supersonics for a while sitting outside the Explorers Lounge. 

They went from soft and nice to loud and unlistenable so we departed for the cabin.

We watched the passage through the Golden Gate Bridge through the window in our stateroom.

This is our new itinerary for the next cruise to Mexico.

The seas are smooth tonight - at least, so far.

January 11, 2020 – At Sea – Pacific Ocean – Mostly Cloudy – 54F

Another very rocky night – little, if any, sleep to be had.  Still bucking a strong oncoming wind and oncoming swells.

I was up early again and headed to breakfast in the Horizon Café.  It was a very cool morning - just around sunrise - 

but the windbreaker helped.  I decided that I would walk the length of the open deck (it's a ways as you can see here)

despite the temperature and enjoy the brisk ocean air.  The sea didn't look that choppy but you can't feel the waves on the open deck.

Even though this is our last day on this cruise, the breakfast was just as good.  I haven't tired of the same breakfast every morning.  The food's good so why experiment.  

Not working today either.  I spent my coffee time organizing the talks for the next leg of this back to back itinerary.

We had lunch in the International Café. A tuna sandwich (the tuna is always good but again I needed to use tuna from two sandwiches) and some watermelon Caprese salad did the trick.

Deck 15 Aft was too cold and One5 was too noisy so we spent a lot of time searching for a venue to read.  I started and read quite a bit of book called “In the Woods” by Tana French, whose main characters are Detectives Andy Ryan and Cassie Maddox, working in Ireland.  I feel I have read this book before but I read over a hundred pages until I was able to confirm this.  I don’t remember how it turned out and I’m not going to go and read the end again.  I didn’t delete the book so who knows.

Not sure what we did for dinner but I do know it was fast.  I also know that it was an icebox up in Horizon Court – with all the doors open and a headwind, you needed winter clothing to eat in there so I’m not sure we stayed.

While we were trying to straighten out our bill at Guest Services, the Captain came on again with a caution about the ship’s motion and to use handrails.  He said he was going to slow down to reduce the chop but that we would get to San Francisco on time.

At 6:30 PM, we saw Anne Martinez perform her second show in the Vista Lounge.  We sat in the bar area so we could see.  She did some soft ballads (“The Sweetest Thing” - her mother's favorite song) and a couple of louder upbeat songs.  She said she was in a Las Vegas Musical called “Baz”, based on Director Baz Lerman’s movies (e.g. Moulin Rouge).  She sang a song from “The Great Gatsby” that I didn’t recognize even though she said it was nominated for an Academy Award.  Enjoyable show.

We hustled – though we didn’t really need to – to the Princess Theater to catch headliner comedian, Kevin Jordan, do his early show.  I am pretty sure we saw him earlier – ex LAPD, uses a police flashlight to point people out in the audience.  He did a lot of stuff with some kids on board that was only marginally funny.  He was funny enough but I do remember him being funnier the other time we saw him.

After the show, we headed to the quiet and warmth of the room.

To my amazement, our in-transit envelopes were delivered along with my packet from Lee.

The Captain was indeed correct – the room was literally rising and falling and every fall was associated with at least two huge bangs (from waves hitting the bow).  At times, the shudder was a little scary as it was accompanied by the rise and fall and booms.  We could barely deal with the motion now – sleep would be interesting.

Monday, March 30, 2020

January 10, 2020 – At Sea – Pacific Ocean – Sunny – 54F

As Crystal Gayle used to sing, “Three o’clock in the morning and I couldn’t get to sleep at all…”

Another bumpy night as the ship is bucking a significant headwind.  One of those multi-shudder bumps woke me up and that was it for the night.  The seas didn't look that bad from Deck 7.  Not a cloud in the sky but it is cold out there.

I carried my tired self up to Horizon Court for my usual breakfast.  It’s a good thing I don’t have to work these last two sea days (a very unusual situation on this itinerary) because I am pretty tired from sleep deprivation.  The breakfast, was, as usual, good and the coffee was pretty hot this morning.  The ambience was not that inviting – I had to eat inside because it was chilly and there were very few people in the buffet at 7 AM.  So, there was an excess of servers and, having little else to do, the servers and suits were into chatting.  So chatting and Mexican music in the background made for a less than peaceful breakfast.

I had my usual iced decaf (they know me now as “skinny boy” because I have my latte with non-fat milk) in the Pizzeria.  I was updating my upcoming Mexico series with changes made to the Hawaii talks (to keep them in the time requirement and remove any confusion) – I also had to move any references on the slides up a bit so they would not be cut off when projected.  The AV works very well on this ship but the slides are cut off just a bit on the bottom.

We were planning to go to the Pub Lunch today but instead went back to the cabin to rest up a bit.  Lunch eventually was a combination of tuna salad sandwiches and Greek Salad (International Café) and items off the Horizon Court buffet.  A nice neat lunch which included my first French Fries of this cruise.

We went up to One5 on Deck 15 to read because the couches on 15 Aft were not open to passengers today – don’t know why but crime scene tape kept people away.  Here's the view from One5.

Besides, it was probably too cold up there.

At 3:30 PM, I met with that passenger who owns a radio station in Champagne IL for an interview on my work on the ship.  

The interview was only a few minutes but he asked some good questions and I answered as best as I could.  It was fun.  He’ll email the sound file to me and the show will air next week.  That was a first.

After another four days at sea, I was able to spot the coast of Mexico from the Starboard Deck.  

I’ll bet people were glad to see any land at all. 

We had dinner in the Michelangelo Dining Room – I have been making reservations every morning at 8:00 AM so we don’t have to stand in line.  We got a huge table for four just for us – it was good for all of the food we would order but you had to shout to be heard.  Tonight, I had the Panko/Macadamia coated Mahi-Mahi (very good) (I did not like the mushroom side).  We both had the Cheese Stuffed Ravioli in Walnut Cream Sauce (also good). Completing the dinner was a Cesar Salad, Baked Potato Soup, Watermelon in Mascarpone Cheese, ice cream sundae with chocolate brownie ice cream and a grilled banana tart (so so).  A good dinner overall.

The ship arrived in Ensenada, Mexico at 7:00 PM 

and based on the time we had here (about two hours), we decided not to get off – besides it was cold and dark.  Normally, we would have four hours here, while the Jones paperwork is filled out, and it would be warm and we would head for the main street – not today.  I did get a picture of the Moon over Ensenada.

We found seats on Deck 7 and I finished “Memory Man”.  This was probably one of the best books I have read in years.  I am hoping that Amos Decker becomes a series by David Baldacci because he is unlike any detective I’ve come across.  I’ll have to check out some other books by this author.

There is no show tonight so we are back in the room around 9:00 PM.  The bow thrusters fired up and we were soon pushing away from the pier and headed to San Francisco.

The seas seem to be smooth so far.

January 9, 2020 – Pacific Ocean – Mostly Cloudy – 64F

Seas were a little smoother last night and I got some sleep.

It’s a bit chilly today so a windbreaker was necessary for breakfast.  I had the usual breakfast but I did have a scrambled omelet with cheese (ate mostly the egg and not the cheese).  I like the pager system they use to let you know when your omelet is ready.

I went over my last talk in Alfredo’s Pizzeria over an iced mocha latte.  The Pizzeria has become a popular place in the morning because of the window tables.  The restaurant opens at 11:00 AM and the waiters are trying to get the place ready while dealing with computer folks at every table.  Ellen joined me around 10:00 AM but quickly headed to the Michelangelo Restaurant for their end of cruise “Clearance Sale”.

She came back a few minutes later with some stuff including two long sleeve pullovers for me.  It was cold so I tried one on right away but eventually decided to return that one. I’m keeping the other.  I also went to the sale and found two nice colorful Mexico T-shirts and a very nice Mexico cap.  Each item was $4.99 (although I saw the cap in the store reduced to $12.99.  I am keeping these items.

We had an early lunch/late breakfast in Horizon Court – omelets – so I could get to the Theater in time for my talk at 12:15 PM.

My final talk of this cruise, “DNA Testing:  Cold Cases Solved”, drew the largest audience of the series.  The rough attendance estimate was around 500 people (theater capacity 700).  

The talk went well – I had rearranged some items and added some new stuff – and ended right at the 45 minute time point.  Several audience participation moments were fun and there were some spontaneous claps throughout and a nice farewell round of applause.  I consider this a successful lecture series.

I spent over a half hour talking to people after the session – this was a lot of fun.

People wanted me to post the Forensic TV shows and Books I am reading on my Facebook Page.  Why not?

We spent the afternoon looking around for a semi-quiet place to sit and read – it was too cold outside so we settled for the seats on Deck 7.  That worked out until some very loud and chatty passengers sat in the next seats prompting us to find another location in the same general area.

Without changing our clothes (tonight is formal night 3), we had dinner in the Pizzeria.  I finally got the pizza made with extra sauce but I think that will do it for Pizza on this cruise.  After dinner, we went to the room so I could change into long pants and go to the show later.

While Ellen was in EFFY looking at shiny things, I was sitting in the Crooners Lounge waiting for her.  A man from Champagne IL came over and said he owned a radio station and wanted to do a five minute interview with me about my DNA talks.  I was hesitant at first but we agreed to meet tomorrow at One5 at 3:15 PM – he would record our session on his phone and it would air next week.  He said he would send me a copy via email.  That would be a first.

We went upstairs to Horizon Court for dessert and coffee and two elderly folks from my talks came over and sat with us.  She said she had a DNA question but ended up telling us her family history.  It was very interesting but they stayed past the start of tonight’s “Born to Dance” Production Show.  So instead of seeing some dancing, we went to the cabin and read our books.

The captain told us earlier that we would be arriving about three hours late into Ensenada (now around 7 PM and only staying two and half hours.  Because it will be dark, we are probably now going to get off the ship.

The seas smoothed out a bit but they are hinting at a lumpy comeback.

January 8, 2020 – Pacific Ocean – Mostly Cloudy – 68F

Another rocky night – no end in sight. At least, we are pretty sure we are sailing.

The party is over for breakfast – I was in Horizon Court at around 6:45 AM.  It was too chilly to eat in the Solarium Area because it has become a wind tunnel due to the open end at the pool area.  I had to eat inside and was treated to non-stop and not so quiet Mexican music (due to our next stop at Ensenada – a Jones port).  I sat at the last window table and today had some oatmeal (it was chilly), a pancake with the works, and a biscuit.  The music does make a difference so maybe tomorrow, I will need to wear a windbreaker to breakfast so I can sit in the Solarium.  The food was OK and the coffee refill from one of the waitresses was hot.  I brought Ellen her breakfast and was back in the room by around 7:45 AM.

I tried a new coffee this morning – an iced “white chocolate” skinny latte (because the guy in front of me ordered white chocolate and I was curious).  The drink was OK but a bit more expensive than my usual drink and much too sweet – White Chocolate is a thin liquid flavoring like vanilla.  Back to the usual tomorrow. 

I tuned up both today’s talk and some of tomorrow's talk at a window seat in Alfredo’s Pizzeria.  This place is always warm and the view again was great.  It also tends to be pretty quiet with conversation being the only background noise.

I had lunch (Ellen ate a late breakfast) in the Piazza – tuna sandwich (two tuna helping on one bun) and a green salad with Ranch and some beets on the side.  The Corn Soup, which would have been great with the tuna,  had a beef base. WHY?

My talk today – “The CSI Phenomenon: Forensics on Television” was at 12:45 PM in the Princess Theater.  

I had some reservations about this talk (it is usually the first talk of a cruise when people are recovering from jet lag and travel fatigue) but the crowd was the biggest of the cruise.  I would estimate that I had about 500 people.  Only about 10 people left early and for who knows what reason.  Everybody rooted for their favorite show and I got a nice round of applause at the end.  The talk ran about 48 minutes.  A movie was next so I had a chance to talk to a few passengers afterwards – all positive comments.

Not a whole lot to do this afternoon and it's a bit cool on the open decks, so both of us are back in the cabin – I was reading my book and now I am all caught up with the journal.  The seas are still pretty choppy out there.

We had dinner in the Michelangelo Dining Room.  HMT: Goat Cheese Tart (ET also), garden salad, mushroom soup (ET also and the soup was wonderful); potato gnocchi in tomato sauce (avoid next time – very gooey).  ET: Custom made pan fried trout without the sea food (good).  My gnocchi was subbed out for Fettuccini Alfredo (always good).  Cheesecake (good); ET: Chocolate Cake (not good). Petit Fours very good (took some to go).  I also like the palate cleansing raspberry sorbet.

There seemed to be a major scheduling mix up because the Production Show, “British Invasion”, was performed a couple of nights ago and it is scheduled again for tonight.  I am curious as to what happened.  In any event, we opted not to go to the show – we’ve seen it a few times.

After dinner, instead, we sat in the Crooners Lounge and read, etc.  Then to the room.

Clocks move forward one hour tonight.

And the for the first time this cruise, the seas are starting to become less hostile.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

January 7, 2020 – The not so pacific Pacific Ocean – Partly Cloudy – 78F

Another rough night – lots of rock and roll – up several times.

Even though the clocks changed, I was still up early and finally for good at around 6:45 AM.

I had the omelet cook make me a scrambled omelet with cheddar but only ate the parts without cheese.  The rest of the breakfast was the usual and the coffee was hot. The Solarium area was a bit chilly this morning even though the air temp was probably warm.

I made reservations for dinner tonight at 5:15 PM.

I once again went through today’s presentation over an iced latter at a window table in Alfredo’s Pizzeria.  The best seats in the house in the morning for coffee - a window and plugs.  

At 11:15 AM, I set up for my talk – “Forensic Detectives: Identifying America’s Fallen Heroes”.  It was my largest turnout of the cruise – more than half full and well over 400 people.  

I recognized veterans and military personnel at the outset of the talk.  The talk went very well and there were two rounds of spontaneous applause during the session and a nice round at the end.  

We had lunch down in the International Café – I combined the tuna salad from two sandwiches into one and also had the Baked Potato Soup and Greek Salad (first appearance this cruise).

It was a bit cooler today up on Deck 15 and people were a lot chattier so it was more difficult to read.  

About the middle of the afternoon, the winds really picked up (howling in fact) and the rain started to fall. We headed for the cabin to warm up and get ready for dinner.

We got a nice table against the wall and the initial dishes came quickly – I had the tempura sushi (actually California Rolls), a garden salad with Ranch, a side order of Fettuccini Alfredo and Salmon with wilted spinach.  The problem was that the dishes all came separately making the dinner really long – we should have mentioned that we wanted the two main dishes together.  We decided not to wait for coffee and dessert and instead went to the theater to get good seats.

We found two seats up in the “Royal Box” on the starboard side of the theater (usually good seats).  The viewing is good but the tobacco smoke escaping from the Smoking Lounge nearby wafted into the theater neutralizing our fine seats.

Tonight’s Entertainer was Anne Martinez, who is a Las Vegas vocalist (currently in the Terry Bradshaw Show - really?) at the Luxor Hotel.  She is young, flashy, and animated – she has a huge mop of ironed and thick red hair and she was dressed in a wild Vegas style outfit.  

Her first two songs were "jump around the stage rock songs" and the urge to leave was strong. But her act diversified and she sang a Disney Melody, “On my Own”. “The Power of Love”, and an obscure song from Jekyll and Hyde.  She is married to a Cirque performer and had a lot of stories to tell – she was probably pretty funny but I had trouble understanding her jokes – she spoke very softly and downward.  Bottom line – she had a terrific voice, was not too loud, and really knew how to move around the stage and get into the emotions of her songs.  Besides, she is our very quiet next door neighbor.

We went back to our room, where I finished “Unseen”.  The book was so strange and confusing but in the last 20 percent, everything now made sense and the book redeemed itself.  I am now reading “Memory Man” by David Baldacci (a recommendation made by a passenger many cruises ago).

It is beginning to look like we will be rocking and rolling for the full four and half sea days enroute to Enseneda, Mexico.  Anybody taking this cruise for the first time and a little prone to the motion of the ocean will most likely not book this as a future cruise.

Seas are far from smooth.

January 6, 2019 – On the Bumpy Pacific Ocean – Mostly Cloudy – 78F

The ride continues to be rough and we are using earplugs to muffle the “cannon shots” caused by waves hitting the sides of the ship. The shimmy and shudder are still pretty intense and sleeping is certainly not peaceful.

I was up in Horizon Court about 6:15 AM and had my usual quiet and good breakfast sitting in the Solarium. The sun came up before I left so I could see the ocean – it didn’t look as lumpy as you would think considering the ride. 

The middle of the ship is not really feeling it as much as both ends.  I brought Ellen her breakfast and made reservations for dinner tonight at the Michelangelo Dining Room for 5:15 PM.

I got to the theater about 8:40 AM for "Forensic Detectives: The Search for Jack the Ripper" and there were already a few people already in their seats.  Before I got started one of the guests came up to the stage and gave me some very positive feedback.  Another guests said she changed her usual wakeup time to be at the early talk.  Nice to hear things like that.

The talk went very well – I am almost completely recovered from my voice impairing bronchitis – and the attendance was pretty good considering the early hour – maybe half full.  Quality not quantity.  The talk ran 48 minutes and the AV worked perfectly.

I stopped off at Lee’s Office to give him my list of talks for the next cruise.

We basically had the whole day ahead of us and we decided that we would try the seats on Deck 15 Aft.  

There were already a lot of people there but we did find two seats and settled in.  The movement of the ship continued to be significant even though the winds were light and the sun was out.  I am nearing the midpoint of “Unseen” and I am a little disappointed in the overly complex nature of the book as well as the minimal role being played by Will Trent’s partner, Faith.  In previous books, Faith and Will made an interesting team – they are both brilliant detectives but Will’s dyslexia always plays into the story.  Not so in this book.  Still an interesting work and Karin Slaughter continues to throw out some nice dialogue and zingers.

We had a quick lunch in Horizon Court and then back up on Deck 15.  I changed seats because the ships movement combined with a not so level seat made for an interesting ride.

At 4:30 PM, we went to the cabin to get ready for dinner.  When we got to Deck 5, we noticed that the photographers were out in force and that some people were dressed.  While waiting to get seated, it hit us that tonight was formal night 2.  So back to the cabin for a quick change and then to dinner.  Tonight’s dinner choices were Spicy Tomato Soup (like gazpacho but not as thick – good; Cesar Salad; Pad Thai (different but good); Ellen had salmon on a Cesar Salad – the salmon was well done and good.  I had a nice sundae but Ellen was not happy with the Macadamia Chocolate Brownie.  The service was the best of the cruise tonight as demonstrated by my getting two cups of hot coffee.

We spent the evening in the Wheelhouse Bar listening to the Pacific Trio.  The group did a lot of easy listening dance tunes mostly in Spanish.  But the venue was comfortable for reading and just relaxing.

Clocks move forward one hour tonight as we pass out of Hawaiian Time.

The seas are anything but smooth – the cannons are out tonight.

January 5, 2020 – Lahaina, Maui – Mostly Sunny – 78F

A picture perfect day in Maui.

We both have to be in the Princess Theater at 7:00 AM to assist in the dispatch of passengers on excursions – this is earlier than usual because this is a tender port, which adds to the lead time for excursions.

I beat my wake up call of 5:30 AM so I both tried to cancel the call and I unplugged the phone.  The sun was just rising.

At 5:30 AM, I was in Horizon Court.  One of the staff volunteered to make me a waffle and I was able to access the cottage cheese and other items, including a biscuit.  I had a nice quiet breakfast in the Solarium and was back to the room by 5:55 AM.  Ellen had already received her room service breakfast and I brought her some additional goodies.

We were both in the theater on time and seated passengers until 8:00 AM, when we joined our group going to the tender pontoon.  The tender was there and the ride was both smooth and short. 

I did get a good shot of Maui from the tender.

We found our bus and took our seats in the back of the large bus. 

Our tour – “Maui Tropical Plantation and Maui Ocean Center” – left on time and headed Southeast down Highway 30 (Lahaina is on the Western coast of Maui).  

The mountains were on the left and the Pacific Ocean on the right.  About 30 minutes later, we pulled into the Maui Tropical Plantation complex.  From 9-10 AM, we had free time to shop at the “Made in Maui Country Store” or check out the outbuildings.  

I wound up trying a 20 oz. coffee at the Coffee Shop for $4.00.  It’s a little humorous that the coffee served was only 10 percent local coffee and 90 percent Central American, South American, and Indonesian Coffee.  In any event, I had it iced and it was pretty good – as good as the pure Kona and Kauai coffees I had earlier in the cruise.

The Plantation used to be a sugar plantation and some of the machinery and other industrial pieces have been repurposed as art installations around the buildings.  

One of the most interesting is an installation composed of massive gears used at one time to turn equipment to make sugar syrup and sugar. 

There is also a small lake inhabited by several types of water birds.  It’s definitely a photo op type of place.

At 10:00 AM, we boarded a tram and took an hour tour of the grounds – the narrator, a young woman, did a nice job of explaining the various plants on the grounds (they were labeled as well).  One of the plants was Red Ginger.

We also saw banana trees (I recognized them) and all types of tropical flowers.  The views of the mountains were also spectacular.

The tour was interesting and relaxing. When we finished, we were offered a complementary cup of Maui Gold Pineapples.  The pineapples were good but I just couldn’t finish the big cup.

Our final stop was the Maui Ocean Center.  On the way there, we could see Haleakala, the impressive volcano we've visited on earlier trips.


We’ve been here before and I recall that it was an interesting visit.  It was this time, also. We spent more of our time checking out the coral (actual living coral in an aquarium setting) and the fish aquarium.  Lots of sharks, tuna, amberjack, rays, various smaller fish, and, of course, bioluminescent jellyfish.  

We didn’t see the fish feeding today but seeing the fish swim over our heads was still fun.

At 1:00 PM, we started back to Lahaina on highway 30, which afforded a view of the Grand Princess at anchor, as well as the island of Lanai.

We arrived at the Tender Port about 15 minutes later than expected.  We were able to get on a tender right away and were back on the ship a short time later.  We were hungry so we went straight to Horizon Court where salads, pizza, fish, and assorted other items sufficed as a late lunch.

The view of Maui and Lahaina from the ship was fantastic - I also got a panoramic shot of the island.

In the room now resting up – we are both tired.

We got a bit of a late start for dinner so when we showed up at the Michelangelo Dining Room (we had already eliminated Horizon Court for tonight), there was a huge line.  The seating process is very slow on this ship as the Maitre D escorts each guest to their table then returns and fetches the next group in line (other ships have several staff showing people to their tables).  Instead of waiting, we went to Alfredo’s Pizzeria.  Along with some Baked Potato Soup and Caprese Salad, I had my usual Vegetariana Pizza.  I still haven’t been able to clearly explain the concept of extra sauce (it always comes as a topping instead of a base) so next time, I will speak to the pizza chef directly.  The pizzas were OK.

It was too late to see “Handsome Jack”, the magician (not a big fan of magicians anyway), so we found seats outside the Explorers Lounge, where we took in a set by Supersonics and then listened to a game show.  I am making progress on “Unseen” and am finding it interesting that Karin Slaughter has done a crossover with her two protagonists, Sara Linton and Will Trent.  The author uses a bang-bang style of dialogue and it’s difficult to follow but so far, the book is interesting.

Checking out tomorrow’s Patter, I found out that I have been moved from the afternoon to the “coveted” 9:00 AM slot in the Princess Theater.

The seas are starting to get a little testy as we make our way to the cabin for the night.