Friday, March 27, 2020

December 31, 2019 – At Sea – Pacific Ocean – Partly Cloudy – 67F

It is getting warmer as we continue southwest toward Hawaii.  

I was able to walk on the outside deck a bit before heading inside and up to Horizon Court for breakfast.  Today, my plan is to eat in the annex next to the aft pool so I can have breakfast by myself.  The only issue with my table is that anytime anyone walks past the door it opens and a gust of now warmer wind blows everything around.  Today, I am trying out different things – the waffle and cottage cheese (now complete with sour cream, which was there all the time but I didn’t see it) plus a banana pancake (not so good) and some scrambled eggs.  It was mostly the waffle that was eaten and the waffle will be the go to food from here on out.  The breakfast was nice but I had to go a long way to keep the coffee going.  I don’t know why but the coffee brought by the wait staff never seems to be hot enough for me.

My third talk is in the afternoon today – at 1:00 PM – so I have the whole morning to relax.  I spent a lot of it in the Piazza with my computer.  The Piazza is a favorite gathering ground and once people find a seat, they really don’t move.  I wanted a bright seat next to the bar area but settle for a table for two in the Wine Bar, a much darker location but with a view of the ocean.  I ordered an iced mocha latte from New Grounds (I had to pry a server loose from chatting with guests to take my order).  The drink was made correctly but it was heavy with chocolate.  I wound up diluting the coffee with non-fat milk and some more ice cubes to made it more drinkable.  I touched up my talk for the afternoon and later on Ellen joined me.

For lunch today, I had a bowl of Potato Leak Soup, some Orzo/Feta Cheese Salad (with curry – unique but good) and a tuna sandwich – all from the International Café.  A nice light lunch and perfect for someone speaking a bit later on.

At 12:30 PM, I went to the Princess Theater to get ready to deliver “Forensics and History: The Lost Dauphin of France”.  There were a few people there already.  I was set up by the AV guys, who again spent about 10 minutes trying to get the image correct on the screen.  The turnout today was about the same as yesterday – maybe half of the theater seats occupied.  That may be the pool for my talks.  Today, the weather, which was great, may have been a factor – who knows and who cares.  The talk went pretty well – the last vestiges of my bronchitis are still keeping me from performing at 100 percent – and went only a couple of minutes over the allotted time.  I talked to a few people afterwards including one high school girl, who told me she was getting credit for going to these lectures – she had a form that I signed indicating that she attended.  How about that?

It was warm enough to spend the afternoon up on Deck 15 Aft.  Two issues: The couches have been removed and the smoking and non-smoking areas have been swapped.  We seemed to be able to smell the smoke a lot more – perhaps the wind patterns are now different with the new configuration.  On the plus side, all of the chairs and pads are brand new and very comfortable.  It would be perfect except for the smoke issue.

Eventually, the smoke got to be too much (adding to the craziness was that the smokers had all of their kids there inhaling all of that second hand smoke) so we went to the room to get ready. 

Tonight is formal night so dress shirt and tie – no jacket for me.

I had called in the morning and made reservations in the Michelangelo Dining Room for two at 5:15 PM.  We got there about ten minutes late but scored a really nice table for two.  The ship was all decked out in New Year's Decorations and our waiter documented our New Year's Eve dinner.

I had them make me a garden salad with Ranch Dressing (best salad I have had on Princess to date).  We both had the Baked Potato Soup.  Ellen had the poached sole (never again) and I had the Pasta (Creamed spinach topped with a lot of cheese) along with the standard Salmon (well done).  My meal was good but the sole will not make the repeat list.  Ellen had some Chocolate Pudding Cake thing and I had the New Year’s Eve special sundae with all the toppings plus the added pistachio, chocolate chips, and sprinkles.  There were more calories in the dessert than in the rest of the meal combined.

During dinner, the Captain came on the PA system to indicate that Grand Princess was changing course to minimize the rock and roll and that the stabilizers were deployed.  He cautioned everyone to take care when moving around.  Must've been pretty critical to interrupt dinner.  My take is that Captain Jon Paul was avoiding a Pacific Storm - it is raining outside.

We found two seats on Deck 7 opposite the Explorers Lounge and did some reading and then headed for the Princess Theater for Showtime – tonight’s headliner is Mike Mentz, a singer songwriter from Chicago and Nashville.  

His mentor was the late great, Lari White, who he told us passed away last year (Lari White was one of my favorite country singers and we actually saw her a few years ago at a Songwriters Show at Northwestern).  Mike put on a very entertaining show including singing with three other versions of himself (on screen) on a arrangement of “Go the Distance” (the Academy Award nominated song from “Hercules”).

After the show, I started to feel a little off so I suggested we go to the room.  That we did, as Ellen is also still fighting off the superbugs we both caught.  So another New Year’s Eve does not make it to midnight.  That’s OK, it’s 2020 in Europe.

The ship is rocking a bit but not nearly as bad as a couple of nights ago.

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