Sunday, March 11, 2012

To Cruise or Not To Cruise - Day 2

This was going to be a whole day of sailing with no stops until we hit Grenada the following day.  We steamed south against a stiff wind in a choppy turqoise sea.  You could barely feel her even roll.  It was like science fiction standing there on the bow, 12 decks above the white-capped ocean.  We were like gods surrounded by wild water and puff ball clouds.
            We did the buffet for breakfast and late afternoon snacks each day.  And while eating lunch I noticed that we were banging a hard left. 

            Soon thereafter, we heard the, BING-Bong!  which preceeded each public adress announcement - usually from the Captain, or the terribly happy cruise director taunting us to come to some simply marvelous extravaganza somewhere on the giant ship. 
            Our Captain, a Sweedish lady, and the only lady Captain in the Royal Caribbean fleet, announced that we were taking a major detour to St. Kitts to drop off a medical emergency.  The wind was howling and choppers would have had a hard time performing an airlift.  So, we got to sail very slowly into St. Kitts and Nevis for about an hour.  I stood out on the helicopter pad at the bow of the ship as we churned into this volcanic jewel in a very dark green sea, and I was completely blown away - literally. The warm wind was absolutely howling.
            We off-loaded the patient by boat and then headed south for Granada at full speed.  The giant stabilizers could not stop the the ship from rocking when we were cruising along at 30 knots and battling a stiff headwind.
            The dinner that night was a formal affair and we all dressed up. 
            That was yet another thing that I had envisoned as pretentious, and which turned out to be very nice.  Even cool.
            After dinner, we attended the Captain's Reception in the Safari Club.  We had our pictures snapped with our nattily-attired Captain, wearing this rather Star Trek-looking black & white dress uniform. We wished her well and then joined hundreds of people drinking free boat drinks.

            The Captain then told us a little bit about herself and introduced her staff officers. 

            There were over 850 crewmembers, hailing from 49 countries, and  they were a very diverse mix indeed.

            The boat was maxed out with 2,200 paying customers from 29 nations - mostly Americans, Canadians, Germans, French, and Brits.
            They served 16,000 meals a day.

            One of the officers stood out.  A bubbly little man named Brent from Trinidad, was the ship's language juke-box, and he rapidly welcomed us in about ten different languages.  He handled all the foreign language announcements over the ship's intercom and we ran into him a lot.  We wanted to take him home with us he was so fun.

            Sunday was the the night of the Super Bowl. The Giants against the Patriots.  I dislike both teams, but I was rooting for the Giants.  By the time we walked out of the Captain's party, Inna went to bed and I immediately hit the Sports Bar.  They were also showing the game in the Tropical Theater where they staged Broadway-style shows each night.
             I was unsure as to where I would land.  As I walked through Casino Royale, the whole place was pulsing with electric excitement.  There were winners all around me.

             I came to the Sports Bar, where TV screens ruled.  There was a commercial on for rugby.  I knew that the Super Bowl attracted odd ads, but this one seemed to take the cake.  The next ad was for FIFA soccer.  We must have been getting a feed from somewhere in Europe.  I suddenly noticed Scott from my dinner table sitting at the bar and next to him was an empty seat.  It was about 5 minutes into the second half.  I ordered a Balvenie scotch on the rocks, rolled a Drum, and settled in for what turned out to be great game.

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