Monday, November 20, 2023

October 23, 2023 – At Sea – Beautiful – Sunny – 70s

Smooth seas – it does not feel like we are moving and I didn’t hear any “wave slaps”.  The cabin was pretty quiet and the porthole lets in just enough light to maintain decent sleep schedules.  Also, our neighbor stops her rehearsing early in the evening.  I was up crazy early – maybe 5 AM – and I was able to shave and shower before the restaurants opened in the morning.  Dawn from the porthole camera.

I was up in the Oceanview Café before it opened and all the good seats by the window were already taken.  One opened up and I put my cap and magazine there as place holders.  I explored the various stations in the buffet and settle on my usual fare (as mentioned above) – waffles and cottage cheese and sour cream plus strawberry preserves and marmalade.  Scrambled eggs rounded out the meal along with a lot of Lavazza Coffee.  The waffles, regrettably, were soggy and undercooked.  There is no cottage available in the Oceanview Café according to one of the suits.  He did bring me some from another restaurant so it looks like cottage cheese will be on demand on this cruise.  Another passenger was also looking for it but it’ll be my secret for now.  Ironically, sour cream, which is rare on most ships, is on the buffet next to the herring.  The breakfast was OK – the scrambled eggs are not Beyond Level quality but OK.  The coffee is the same as on other ships and the screaming lady is on this ship as well.  I did have a nice view of the Ocean so that is always a good thing.  I think that breakfast will work out OK on this cruise.

I got dressed – dress shirt with tie and dress slacks – and headed to the Eclipse Theater for my first talk at 10:00 AM – “Forensic Detectives: Identifying America’s Fallen Heroes” – this talk usually comes at the end of the sequence so it doesn’t contain any introductory stuff or background technical information.  I added that hurriedly between breakfast and ShowTime.  We’ll see if it works. No pics for this lecture as well.  

I got a small generic introduction from Charlotte.  The Eclipse Theater hold 1115 people and based on the empty spots, I would say that about 200 people attended (Ellen said there were about 60 people in the balcony).  Not a bad turnout for the first day at 10:00 AM – honestly, I expected it would be me, Ellen, and the AV guy.  The AV on this ship does not use a high def projector so the small print is not visible from my vantage point – I have to remember a lot more stuff.  I asked the vets in the audience to stand and the crowd applauded them.  The pace was good and I did finish within the allotted time and the audience seemed to like the talk. So a good start. 

We had lunch out on the back deck and after I got my iconic shot of Ellen on the railing, 

one of the waiters took a rare shot of the two of us (using the Pro Setting on the phone camera).

After lunch, we looked for a quiet place to hang out – sometimes, Café Baccio has open seats by the window and they are far enough away from the Foyer that the music is not overbearing.

I had pretty low expectations for my second talk of the day at 4 PM in my favorite venue, Celebrity Central.  “DNA Testing: Cold Cases Solved” was not on my list as I wanted this cruise to be about history and not crime. Celebrity Central had changed a bit – the high tech screen was replaced by a standard floppy movie screen and several of the monitors had been removed leaving just two in the corners of the room.  A good number of seats near the stage were also gone.  Set up was easy and the crowd started to slowly come in.  At start time, the venue was over 90 percent full.  I love lecturing in Celebrity Central because you can really interact with the audience.  The lecture went well and I got some positive feedback.

We went to the theater at 7 PM for Showtime and the first production show. “Topper” a kind of skewed take on the Mad Hatter and Alice in Wonderland – I didn’t have a clue as to the plot (and we’ve seen it before).  The singing was good and some of the songs were familiar but overall a very confusing show. One cute segment involved the dancers doing their thing in the audience.


Our room attendant is new to the ship but she does make up the room and change the towels once a day – that’s all we need.  She doesn’t bring chocolates to our cabins but she did drop off a lot of chocolates.  The Room Service menu has gotten pretty spartan so I am not sure we will be using Room Service that much.

Pretty noisy in the public areas and not warm enough on the open deck so we wound up in our cabin.

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