2006 Cruise - Hawaii/Tahiti
April 18- Leaving San Francisco
Hello from the Regent Mariner.
Was picked up by Vintage Limousine Services at 10:30AM for the ride to San Francisco.
I arrived at Pier 35 at 12:30 and they were allowing guests to board. The embarkation process went very quickly and within 5 minutes, I was onboard...champagne in hand. Once onboard, we were welcomed by several crew members and taken to the Horizon Lounge where we had our picture taken, our passports taken away (until the end of the cruise) and our room keys given to us. We were not yet allowed to go to our rooms, so I wandered up to the 11th deck (of 12), where the pool is. They had the buffet restaurant open for lunch as well as the poolside grill. I had a great Chicken Breast Sandwich and just sat and looked over San Francisco. At 2:30, we were allowed into our rooms. Mine is cabin 1022. My stewardess is Sylvia who is from Austria. She will be very nice to have as a stewardess. Baggage arrived shortly after 3:30, and I unpacked, and made my way to the laundry room with 3 shirts that wrinkled pretty badly. Only one other person in there at the time, so I was in and out in a hurry. There is one laundry room on each deck and is free to use. The laundry room on my deck is just a few doors down from my cabin, making it very convenient. There are 3 sets of washer/dryers and 2 ironing boards with irons. No irons are allowed in cabins. There is also a TV in the laundry room and a few chairs for those who want to wait for their laundry to be done.
Next was a trip to "Club.com", the internet room to set up my account so that I can send messages to all of you on a daily basis. A bit of a problem getting things connected with their system, but, as you can tell, I am up and running. There is a full-time computer technician here who is on duty in the mornings, and again mid-afternoon to early evening.
At 5:00, there was a big ceremony around the pool for the unveiling of the new "Regent" Logo (the company was formerly named Radisson) on the smokestacks and on the bottom of the pool. More champagne for everyone, a welcome from the Captain, a long blast from the ships' horn and the new logo was unveiled.
In the room, there is a copy of "Passages", the daily listings of events, service hours of all of the offices, casino, restaurants, etc. It also includes the biographies of several of the crew members. It is a nice presentation, unlike the one-sheets I have seen before.
Menus of the
restaurants are shown on TV. This makes it very easy to choose which selections
you want before getting to the dining room.
We really began rocking and rolling in the evening, and I started sweating. Got the Dramamine out and went to bed. That helped.
April 19th - Day 2 (first full sea day)
Awoke at 7:00AM and wrote a letter to my stewardess to have a top sheet and blanket put onto the bed. With just a bottom sheet and top fluffy comforter, I just did not feel fully tucked in. They have 2 down comforters on the bed. One for each half, so you can't do a lot of tossing and turning at night...and with no top sheet, the feet hang out the bottom.
Went up one floor to the pool deck, also home to La Veranda Restaurant. This is always buffet style, which works just fine for me for breakfast. Eggs, potatoes, bacon, a lot of fruit and a glass of orange juice and I am just fine. Walking out of the restaurant and over to the staircase, I noticed that the art work in this area is all Disney.
As a side note, the internet service is still not available this morning, so am just waiting.
While my room was being made
up, I took the computer down to the 6th floor near the library to do this
typing. They have jigsaw puzzles partly done on 2 tables, and people walk by,
stick in a piece and head on down the hall to the main dining room. Clever idea.
It is cloudy this morning, and a bit windy outside, but there are a few joggers up on the top level doing their thing. The ship is still rocking, but not anywhere near as bad as last night. The stewardess said that it is always like this going out of S.F....rocky for 2 days.
The Emergency Drill for guests was held at 10:15. At the sound of the ship's alarm, we grab our lifejacket and head to our Muster Station which is the theater for me. This drill is much different from other ships in that you do not go outside to the lifeboats. You stay in the theater and are instructed on the use of the lifejackets and how you will follow crew members to the lifeboats if necessary.
I went out to the pool deck for lunch at noon. It was a bit breezy and chilly. The pool is covered and is splashing water pretty good. Had a steak sandwich. I think these, and the chicken sandwiches will become a daily habit.
Then it was down to the Art Auction. Quite a collection. I asked that they bring down the "Mickey Prints" from the 11th deck, which they did. They were asking WAY too much as starting bids, so everything up for bid was passed on.
There is quite a bit to do each day with Fitness programs in the morning, a few games and usually an Enrichment Lecture. Afternoons include a mid-day interview (the Cruise Director interviewing entertainers or lecturers), Art Auctions, Afternoon Movie in the theater, more games, dance classes and the popular tea time with trivia and bingo.
The internet is working (as you all found out), but I am not able to send out batch messages, which means I have to copy/paste the message to everyone individually...SO...I have cut down my e-mail list to only a select few. The internet guy here is trying to work on my problem.
Caught sight of a school of dolphin at around 5:00. They were having a great time jumping near the ship. By the time I made it to the room and got the camera, we had passed them by.
Tonight is the first formal night...so on with the tux. The Captain had his reception at 6:15 in the Atrium, then it was off to dinner at 6:30 in the main dining room. Had a great Veal Medallion Dinner that took 2 hours. My waiter is Daniel. I have chosen to ask for him each evening. This ship has "anytime" seating and you can eat with whom you want, when you want. 2 of the restaurants, "Signatures" (the Cordon Bleu) and "Latitudes" (Indochine), require reservations...at no extra cost. "La Veranda" changes from a buffet to an Italian Steakhouse for dinner. Compass Rose is the main dining room. I mostly choose to sit by myself at a table for two.
Tonight we will be turning the clocks back one hour, so I will be one hour earlier than at home.
I have decided to skip the magician (Mark Haslam) tonight, and instead watch "Oceans Twelve" here in the room.
That's my report for today.
April 20th - At Sea
It is Day 3 of the trip, and we are on our way back to San Francisco. Boy was that a fast trip. Don't even remember seeing Hawaii and Tahiti.
What I have been able to cipher out is that last night in La Veranda (the Italian Restaurant), a woman collapsed and was given CPR. She is not able to be airlifted, so we have to go to port. (I think it also has to do with liability of the ship passing her off to someone else). We are still scheduled to arrive back in S.F at 7am.
Still not sure how the schedule will go, but we are heading back at breakneck speeds. It will be interesting to see how they adjust our cruise to make up for lost time. The downside to this is that we will be going back through the rough seas again TWICE.
It is still cloudy outside, so have not been able to get any tanning time yet.
Had breakfast in the room this morning. Did not feel like having a big breakfast in the Restaurants.
I have met some wonderful people onboard. Last night was a gentleman from Germany who works in Chemical Spectrography. This morning, while up walking on the track on the upper deck, I met 2 younger women (Nanette and Chris) who are onboard with their mother. They are from Southern California.
Lunch was out by the pool. I enjoy having lunch fresh from the grill. I was the only one eating out there as it was a bit windy...40mph...and 59 degrees.
In the afternoon, I watched "Madagascar" in my room. Cute animated film, but will probably not hold up over time. I also checked out the Mariner Logo items on sale in the Boutique. I purchased a long sleeve shirt for $20. Not too bad. Will probably come in handy as we head back out to sea tomorrow.
As you can probably tell, I am not one for the Bridge Games, Game shows, Dance classes, Afternoon Tea or other offerings aboard. I did stick my head into the Digital Photography class, but it was very basic, so I did not stay.
Made my way to the casino. The machines are a bit tight (no surprise there), so I only dropped a little bit just to keep me amused. There are some wonderful dealers here including Daniela and Lee. I can tell that they will help make this a very enjoyable cruise. There are a few Blackjack Tables, a 3 Card Poker Table, Craps and Oasis Stud Poker (which I think will become my favorite).
The sun peaked though the clouds at about 4:30, so I had a chance to sit out on my deck for a few minutes before it disappeared again.
I can tell we are heading toward San Francisco as we are starting to rock again.
I did want to mention my room. It is VERY nice (thank you Candi), port side on the 10th deck mid-ship, with a large bathroom (about 6X8) with walk-in shower (with a rain type shower head and a bench), that is located right near the front door. Next is a make-up table (that houses the plug I need for the bathroom. I was told online to bring an extension cord), then the walk-in closet (also a 6X8 with plenty of hanging space and drawers). The bed is next in an 8 foot area that has a curtain that can be drawn to separate it from the sitting area with full size couch, coffee table and 2 chairs. It also houses the desk unit with cupboards above (with wine and champagne glasses), a TV, and a small refrigerator below that is stocked with soda, beer and wine. All but the beer are replenished each day. This area is also about 8 feet long. Then there is the outside deck with 2 chairs and a small table.
Before dinner we were told that our itinerary will indeed be changed. They will not know changes until after we begin heading back out west.
Dinner tonight was at the Compass Rose. One of the Entrees was Ostrich Medallions. I figured where else am I going to be able to try this...it is more in the steak family rather than the chicken family of meats.
Tonight's review in the theater is called "Here, There and Everywhere". It is billed as a "Broadway style musical review inspired by the music of The Beatles." It begins at 9:45, so I will let you know in tomorrow's report how it was.
Until then (as we start the cruise over again)....
April 21st- At Sea
Got to an early start with a 6:00AM message that was broadcast to every room. It was a "Code Blue" for the hospital team. At 6:30, we all learned what it was about as a very loud noise was suddenly coming from outside (ocean side). Opening my sliding door to the deck, there was a Coast Guard helicopter hovering right out my balcony. They were doing an airlift of our sick passenger. We were about a half hour away from San Francisco (you could make out the city in the distance). Once she was airlifted, the boat stopped, turned, and headed back out towards Hawaii without having to go to port.
The show last night was nicely done. 6 dancers and 4 singers in a 45 minute musical review. I am sure there is a challenge to dancing on a floor that keeps moving up and down with the rocking of the ship. Shows are presented with a soundtrack (no band or back-up singers). The 4 singers do the lead vocals live.
Early breakfast this morning, then time spent in the Observation Lounge just watching the waves and fill out a few Sudoku puzzles. The outside decks were closed in the early morning due to the rough seas and high winds (60 kilometers). By 9:30 the decks were open and the wind down to 47km.
Lunch was in "La Veranda", the breakfast and buffet room. Not an overly impressive buffet, but the carved turkey hit the spot.
As the ship was rocking pretty good all afternoon (even the Captain calls it "rough seas"), I settled into my room for a movie. Watched "Garden State" and it is not one I would recommend.
Tonight's dress is "Informal", which means coat required. Ties are optional, but I decided to pull out one of the Mickey Mouse ties (any surprise there?) My choice for dinner in the Compass Rose this evening was Spring Rolls, salad and Grilled Sirloin Steak.
I should mention that the staff has gone out of their way to make everyone feel comfortable. Any of them you pass have a greeting. If you happen to sit in the same section of the Restaurant, the waiters and staff will say "Welcome Back Mr. Bill, it is nice to see you back in our section"
The entertainment for this evening is Paul Edison. He is a singer in styles of Sinatra, Tom Jones and Bobby Darin...pass.
As the Captain promised this afternoon, the long-awaited revised itinerary was waiting for us upon return from dinner:
We now arrive in Honolulu on the 26th, and Lahaina, Maui on the 27th. This leaves out visits to Nawiliwili, Hawaii and Hilo, Hawaii.
We also skip the 5 hour visit to the Fanning Islands.
The rest of the schedule stays the same with Bora Bora on the 2nd, Moorea on the 3rd, Papeete on the 4th and Nuku Hiva (French Polynesia) on the 6th.
One of the things that becomes a bit of a nuisance is that "Park West", the Art Company on the ship, places ads and invitations either on your door or in your room almost daily after attending any one of their events. The Spa has also been doing some extra advertising also. I think the mentions in the "Passages" is more than enough.
A nice touch is the invitations/confirmations that are placed on your door either the night before or the morning of the event. In this case, it was for my 6:30PM dinner tomorrow night at Signatures.
April 22nd - Day 5 - At Sea
Awoke at 7:00AM after a very rough sea night. More of the nose to stern bouncing than the side-to-side type, but it calmed down in the early morning hours back to a fairly mild sea by wake-up. Still overcast. Would love to see some sun sometime.
After breakfast, did the normal e-mail check, then walked close to a mile on the upper deck track. Our new Hawaii tickets arrived for port tours.
At 9:45, attended a lecture on the ports of Hawaii that we will be visiting. This was put on by Christine, the Travel Concierge Manager. I had to cut that short, as I had signed up for a tour of the bridge which began at 10:10.
Quite an operation up there. We are running on "auto pilot" at sea, but the Captain does everything manually when we get to ports. The ship uses about 80 tons of fuel each day. They told us that we should be in sunny weather tomorrow.
Got back to my room to find that my stewardess had placed 4 balloons, streamers and flowers on my bed with a nice birthday note. I also got a Birthday card from Dave and Curtis (from San Francisco). I had talked to Dave via a Travel web site before the trip. He is a travel agent checking out this line.
A bit more walking with the girls (Nanette and Chris) from Southern California before lunch, which I ate out by the pool. I like the grill for lunch. Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Steak Sandwich or Chicken Sandwich to choose from, all served with French Fries.
Decided to do a load of laundry after lunch. Once you get the instructions on how to run the machines down, it is a pretty easy process....and only about 4 doors down.
Came back to the room after ironing to find a bag attached to my door. It was a box of chocolates from Nanette and Chris and their mother, then caught a repeat (on TV) of the speech given this morning on the tours. There was also another nice Birthday Card from George and Susan Alameda.
This afternoon I decided to play "Baggo", bean bag tossing onto a board with a hole in it. 1 point if it stays on the board, 3 points if it goes in. Our team (of 5) won.
Returning to the room, there was a plate with a piece of chocolate mousse cake with "Happy Birthday" on it, with 2 glasses of champagne. It also came with a nice card from the Captain.
Dinner tonight (Informal wear) was at Signatures. I made this reservation before leaving on the trip. It is the Cordon Bleu Restaurant. A full 5 course meal with Rack of Lamb as the main entree. Another chocolate mousse cake arrived at the table, and I had it sent to my room. One could chocolate out here. I decided to send this cake to the crew area (via Silvia).
The evening's show is the 2nd of Magician Mark Haslam...not sure if I will do that or not. Let you know tomorrow.
April 23rd - Day 6 - At Sea
I did go to the magic show last night. He did a nice job...some "mind reading" and some slight-of-hand. One of the tricks was an escape from a straightjacket. Helping on the stage was Phil (of Phil and Janet from Missouri). Tonight is a piano player, Donovan Le Nabat, who I have talked to onboard. He will be doing all styles of music in his 45 minute show. I plan on seeing that and will report on it tomorrow.
After the show, I went to the casino. The slots here are VERY tight, so am about done playing those. I played "Oasis Poker" and won $100. Will probably stick with that...although I do not expect the same results.
Woke up at 6:45 this morning. The seas are getting much calmer. Still a bit overcast, but am sure the sun will break through today.
We turned the clocks back one hour last night, and will do so again tonight, which will put us 2 hours earlier than home, and on Hawaiian Time.
Had my usual in-room breakfast at 7:30, then out to the computer area at 8:00 (while the room is being made up), then for a walk on the upper deck.
Had a hamburger for lunch out by the pool, and lo and behold, the sun came out. A quick change into the swimsuit, and the tanning has begun. Was out for 3 hours. Happened to lay between my next door neighbors (the two Barbara's) and Nanette, one of the girls I walk with. I had just finished my first glass of iced tea, closed my eyes for a sec, opened them, and there was another glass sitting on the table beside me. The great service continues. Was 71 degrees today.
They did have a "Tex-Mex" day out by the pool. They will be featuring special buffets throughout the cruise. As I am not a buffet person, I will probably pass on most of these.
There are a few special guest lecturers aboard. Included are Captain Larry Rudner, who is talking about the Tahitian Islands, and Judge James Kulp, who will be talking about politics and the Supreme Court. Also onboard is Naturalist Estelle Davies from the Jean-Michel Cousteau Ocean Society. She will be giving lectures on the water life of Hawaii and Tahiti.
Ran into Donovan this afternoon. He is very excited about his show this evening.
Spent the mid-afternoon in my room out on the deck (I get morning sun on this half of the trip), and just watched the ocean go by. Very peaceful.
Tonight's dress was informal (khaki pants and open collared shirt), and had dinner in the Compass Rose. Had the turkey dinner. The 2 other choices were: Poached Flounder and Stir Fry Shrimp. Pasta, Steak and Breast of Chicken are always available any evening.
April 24 - Day 7 - At Sea
After receiving today's "Passages", our onboard newspaper/guide, I realize I have made a mistake. We once again turn back our clocks this evening, which will make us 3 hours earlier than home. That means that these updates are not going to get to you until 11:00PM, as I send them out between dinner and the evening shows.
We also received information that our evacuee is now in Stable Condition.
Speaking of which, last night Donavan Le Nabat did a terrific job. He can really play the piano in many styles, from classical to rock to blues.
Tried the Oasis Poker again last night. Played for an hour and a half and only lost $20.
Awoke this morning at 6:45. Had the sliding door open most of the evening to hear the waves. Got up at 4:00 and shut it. The workers upstairs (the pool deck is right above me) begin moving all of the lounge chairs out onto the deck at 6:30AM, so I will have to find a way to block that out in my mind.
It is 68 degrees at 7:00AM, so it looks like it will be another day of tanning. Got a bit pink yesterday, so will have to watch the tanning time today.
After breakfast went for my daily walk on the top deck.
Went out for some tanning before lunch, which today was a full barbecue spread on the pool deck. Great barbeque chicken. Was in the 78-79 degree range this afternoon. Still a bit overcast. In fact, we caught 2 quick light showers (the 10 minute variety).
A bit more afternoon tanning and a nice chat with Paul, our Assistant Cruise Director. Also met Barry, our Cruise Director for the first time. Have seen him out and about, just have never had the chance to introduce myself.
We have been told that we will be arriving in Honolulu by 7:00PM tomorrow night.
Tonight was the "Friends of Dorothy" get-together. As expected, Paul the Assistant Cruise Director was there, as well as Sam, the other Assistant Cruise Director, Barry, the Cruise Director, Dave and Curtis, and Bill and Brian (an older/younger couple from San Francisco).
Tonight was once again Country Club Casual and I had the Jamaican Fruit Cocktail, salad and Chicken Parmigiana.
Tonight's entertainment is Paul Edison, the vocalist (again), so will go to the Casino instead.
April 25th - Day 8 - Arrival in Honolulu
Awoke at 6:30 this morning. It is already 74 degrees with 75% humidity.
Had my breakfast, e-mail check and walk. Everyone on board is excited about arriving in Hawaii this evening rather than tomorrow morning. The only excursion they have added is a one hour magic show ($72)...pass.
Watched the movie "Flight Plan" in the room mid-morning.
At 11:00, I went out to the pool to tan and have my cheeseburger. They did have a German barbeque today, but I passed on that.
One of the Barbara's from next door wants to go for a walk in Honolulu tonight and asked if I would join her. She does not want to go by herself, so I will join her.
At 3:15, went to play Shuffle bag, throwing bean bags on the shuffle board. Our team (of 4) won.
At 4:00, our ship passed by the islands of Molokai and Maui (ok...right now I will apologize for spelling. I barely get English correct, so the next few days are really going to strain me).
Up to the top deck at 6:00 for a cocktail party and the porting of the ship. It was a beautiful ride in, past Diamond Head. Gave my camera to someone who took my photo of me with Diamond Head in the background, and have now found out that all the photos I took from the ship tonight are gone. They must have hit the delete button. Oh well....I will get more photos tomorrow on the tour.
We are docked next to the Aloha Tower Marketplace, so at 8:00, it was off the ship with Barbara and dinner at Don Ho's, which is located in the Marketplace. Had macadamia encrusted Pork Chops.
After dinner with Barbara, I came back to the ship and was met by Paul, one of the cruise directors. He wanted me to have a drink with him, so we went up to the "Observation Room" which is the piano bar on the top deck.
We ended up talking from 11:00 - 2:30AM. When they closed down the bar, he sat down and played piano. I ended up with a concert given just for me.
He used to manage theater groups in London, and is trained in classical piano. I think he will be doing some Classical Music Appreciation seminars (where he also plays the pieces) later in the cruise.
April 26th - Day 9 - Honolulu
Awoke at 6:30 and had breakfast.
Tour began with a gathering in the Theater at 9:30. At this point, I should tell you that I did not pick the helicopter rides or snorkeling adventures on any of the islands. I wanted to get an overview of the islands and more of the "photographic" opportunities.
Today is a 2 1/2 hour bus tour called "Historic and Panoramic Honolulu" that includes: a drive through Honolulu and the heart of Waikiki. Then to Diamond Head lookout. We then stop at Pali lookout point in the Koolau mountain range. We then drive through Punchbowl National Cemetery, then see Iolani Palace, the King Kamehameha statue, City Hall, the State Capital building, China Town and Kawaiahao Church.
It was a great overview of the city, and with the camera back up and working properly, I was able to get many photos.
Was back onboard the ship around 12:30 and had a steak sandwich. Then it was to the Tower Marketplace to see what they had to offer in the way of shopping.
Back onboard and a bit of tanning on my private deck. It did cloud up at about 4:00.
Tonight at 7:00 was the "BBQ Under the Hawaiian Night Sky" on the pool deck with Hawaiian Music provided by local talent. BBQ pork, chicken, ribs, and so much more. Spent a lot of the time with Phil and Janet, who I am having a great time visiting with.
At 8:30, the children of the Halau Hula Olana Show performed hula. They did a wonderful job.
We are on our way to Maui at midnight. Expected to anchor at 7:00AM.
April 27th - Day 10 - Lahaina
Awoke at 5:30 to watch the ship anchor in Maui. We will be tendering to shore (Lahaina) today.
Had breakfast in the room, and then off to a 4 1/2 hour tour of "Iao Valley and Maui Tropical Plantation".
Described as 2 of Maui's most beautiful and popular attractions. First is the Iao Valley State Park, which features the Iao Needle, a 2,250 foot cinder cone pinnacle surrounded by lush terrain. Then off to the plantation, which features a 35 minute tram tour of the plantation's sugarcane fields, Macadamia nut orchards and flower gardens. This is followed by an island style lunch, then time to stroll the property observing coconut husking, glass crystal blowing, and lei making.
The sites were ok. We could not hear the driver for the first 2/3 of the ride, and he could not figure how to fix things...and they forgot about the lunch deal, so most on the tour were upset. The old folks on board love to complain about every little thing. Makes them feel good, I guess. I look at it as "stuff happens", go with the flow and enjoy the tour.
Anyway...got lots of GREAT photos on the tour.
The tender back to the ship was a little rough, especially when we got tied to the ship and had to make the crossover from the tender to the ship. A few people had a tough time with timing the waves to make it an even cross over. They had 3 crew members helping.
Came back to the room at 2:00 and did a load of laundry. Sat out by the pool during the dryer cycle. Ironed my clothes and then another half hour by the pool.
We raised anchor right around 5:30 and now will be at sea until Tuesday when we arrive in Bora Bora.
Another Country Casual Evening (as we were in port today). Dinner in the Compass Rose Restaurant. Had Prime Rib.
The entertainment tonight is Panos Karan, who came aboard in Honolulu. He will be doing a classical piano concert this evening.
April 28th - Day 11 - At Sea
Awoke just before 7:00AM and had my breakfast and walk.
We are back to rocking quite a bit since taking up anchor last night. Just when everyone on board got used to having sea legs, after 3 days of being mostly at ports, we are all back to learning to walk again.
Spent most of the mid-morning first watching the ship head through a rain storm (from the observation lounge), then chatting with a few of the passengers, then up to the pool for some tanning. Had a steak sandwich for lunch, then another hour of tanning.
We are still in slightly overcast weather, and we get the quick rain showers off and on. Several today.
Took a nap mid afternoon, and ran into Paul, one of the Assistant Cruise Directors. He asked if I would like to join him and another couple for dinner tonight. It is a formal night, and I told him I would be delighted. We are to meet at "half 7".
Should mention that there was a note on my door this morning from the tour staff. It is an apology for the missing lunch yesterday during the tour, and a refund for part of that trip.
Went to a presentation on all of the stops remaining in Tahiti and the Marquises. It let us know about each of the excursions.
I will send this out early, then get ready for dinner.
April 29th - Day 12 - At Sea
Had a wonderful dinner last night (Formal) with Paul, the assistant cruise director and David and Curtis (from San Francisco). The individual chocolate soufflés at desert were wonderful.
Spent an hour after dinner in the casino, then off to the room.
Awoke this morning at the usual 7:00 time, with breakfast in the room, the normal daily walk and computer time.
I know I showed many of you pictures of the ship from the brochures, but I did want to send you this photo I took of the ship at Lahaina. It is not the side I am staying on, but the starboard side. I thought I was taking it of our side, but did not realize that the boat was just out there spinning around its anchor.
Last night I set off the smoke detector in my room. It is not that I have taken up smoking on the trip, but was caused by me opening the sliding door to listen to the ocean very early in the morning. At 2:30 it went off. I called the reception desk, where they told me how to take it apart and take out the battery. The cause was the humidity inside the room caused by leaving the door open. Who knew?
At 7:00AM was 80 degrees out with 90% humidity. You can sure feel it.
We will be crossing the equator early tomorrow morning. Captain tells us that should happen around 7:30. I calculate it earlier, but he should know.
Had lunch up at the pool deck, undercover, as showers continue off and on all day. Not the weather I was expecting on this trip....but I am sure it will change as we get closer to the South Seas.
The sun finally broke out at around 1:30, so went out on the pool deck for some tanning and to play Baggo (our team won) and ring toss (I came in 2nd). Most of the games are "hosted" by the entertainers on the ship. It is nice to see them out and about mingling with the passengers.
Back in the room by 4:00.
Tonight is Informal (jacket required), so ate in the Compass Rose. Had Melon Cocktail, lettuce salad with bacon dressing, and Chicken stuffed with spinach and red peppers.
Tonight's show is called "Beyond Imagination". It is done by the Singers and Dancers onboard. I will catch the show and let you know tomorrow how it was.
April 30th - Day 13 - At Sea - Equator Crossing
Last night's show was nicely done. It included segments of Sea Songs, Gilbert and Sullivan and Lord of the Dance. The only problem is that it has no real plot, which kind of makes it all over the place.
I finished the evening by playing "Oasis Poker" and coming out $50 ahead.
Woke up this morning at 6:30 in preparation to catch the TV set showing our position once we cross the equator, which happened right at 8:00. Took a picture of the TV when we hit the equator.
Had breakfast and did my normal routine of checking e-mail and walking.
9:30 brought about the Shuffle Baggo game played on the shuffleboard court. Placed 5th. Not good. We had a strong wind.
By 10:30, the skys had cleared and we have sun!!! Went out to the pool deck. They served an "American BBQ" lunch at noon, and then at 1:30 was the King Triton Ceremony. It is for those who have never crossed the equator by ship (known as pollywogs). Crew members who have not done the crossing before are our proxies and go through a sliming process, kiss a fish, then get thrown into the pool. Quite a fun event.
Went back to the room at about 3:00 to rest.
Dinner this evening was with Bill and Brian who invited me to join them at Compass Rose.
Decided to skip the entertainment (singer Lisa Donovan) this evening and instead, went to the casino.
One more day at sea before Bora Bora.
May 1st - Day 14 - At Sea
Today marks the halfway point in the cruise, and the last sea day until Friday. Tomorrow morning is arrival in Bora Bora and I will be taking a ride in a glass bottom boat.
Awoke at 6:00AM and went to the laundry room to get a machine. The ship is very quiet until about 8:00 most mornings, and dies at about 10:30 at night.
Breakfast in the room at 7:30, then ironing, then walking.
It is mostly sunny today and still quite humid. Staff tells me it will get even more humid over the next few days. (oh boy).
Spent most of the afternoon at the pool deck. It did sprinkle for about 3 minutes, but cleared after that. By 3:00, it was 88 degrees with 65% humidity.
Played "Extreme Baggo" today and lost.
Dinner tonight was with Gabriel and Matthew, the 2 singers from the shows onboard.
Made it an early night for arrival in Bora Bora tomorrow, so did not attend George Casey, the comedian in the theater.
I also missed the Star Gazing (sorry I did not attend) where they pointed out the stars of the Southern Hemisphere.
May 2nd - Day 15 - Bora Bora
Bora Bora is seven
million years old and arose from an active volcano. Bora Bora means "first
born". It was discovered by the Dutch in 1722. Captain James Cook arrived some
50 years later and claimed it for the British Isles, but a century later, France
annexed it. The island was a crucial refueling station during WWII.
Awoke at 6:30, had breakfast and went up to the observation deck to watch the approach of the ship to Bora Bora.
We arrived and anchored at 10:00. This is a beautiful island, just what I had hoped the South Pacific Islands would be.
I ate lunch at the grill, then went ashore for the 1:00 Glass Bottom Boat tour. Great photos from the boat, and a wonderful lesson about the coral areas. I did a bit of walking around, although there is not a lot to see here. There are a few small shops along the main street and a church nearby. It would be a bit of a walk (or ride) to "Bloody Mary's" or one of the nearby resorts.
Back on board the ship at 3:00, with some time up at the pool area. They did offer a tender to the "Paul Gauguin", a sister ship to the Mariner, which does cruises of the Tahiti area year round. There was not enough time to go see her.
Had dinner in the Compass Rose before a 9:30 French Polynesian Show on deck. This featured the "Gauguines", the entertainers from the "Paul Gauguin". After the show, they set up an impromptu movie theater in the pool deck area for an outdoor showing of "South Pacific" under the stars at 10:00. I watched it for awhile until I got tired.
We pulled up anchor at 10:00, heading for Moorea arriving at 8AM tomorrow.
May 3rd - Day 16 - Moorea/ Papeete
Before I begin with today's activities, I was asked to give my impression of Bora Bora itself. There is not much to see or do on the island itself if you are not doing an activity/excursion.
The town has one small road (not the best paved) running through it with small shops on either side of the road, many just small shacks. There are a few black pearl shops, shirt shops, boutiques, and restaurants. There are also a few temples/churches on the road. No sidewalk. The main part of the town, near the pier, is about 2 blocks long.
The road was quite busy when I was there, with the taxi vans and small scooters making up most of the traffic. There also seems to be a large population of mutts. Not one dog looked to be a true breed of any kind.
Everyone who went on an excursion, whether snorkeling, helicopter riding, etc. loved the area. The huge reef that surrounds the island makes for beautiful changes in the color of the sea...from dark blue to light aqua. You can see the surf crashing into the coral reef about a half mile to mile offshore. It is possible to wade in waist-deep water clear out to the reef boundary.
The high point of the island is Mt. Otemanu, whose peak was covered by a cloud the entire length of our visit.
Ok...on with today....
Moorea was originally called "Tahiti-iti" meaning "Little Fish of Tahiti". It was also known as Aimeo and Fe'e. It is a rugged, mountainous island, roughly triangular in shape, measuring approx. 10 miles on each side. The coral reef that surrounds the island is approx. half to three quarters of a mile from shore. The most famous peak on the island is Mouaroa, known to many as James Michener's "Bali Hai".
Awoke shortly after 6:00 to watch our arrival in Moorea. We entered through the reef into their bay. Anchor was dropped at about 7:30.
My camera is starting to have issues and gets stuck at times. I have had to take out the memory card, then the battery, and then re-insert them. I only lose one photo that way, so I am very lucky. I have learned, however, to put the pictures onto my laptop whenever I can.
My tour "Photo Adventure" met at 8:00AM. Our guide is Renaud Sayada, a professional photographer. Only 6 guests are allowed on this tour, and one did not show. Renaud is young and VERY knowledgeable about photography. Our first stop was Belvedere Lookout Point, which every bus tour stops at. We were in a 4X4, all sitting in the back on covered benches. Good first stop, and we were there before any of the other 4X4's or busses arrived. We made stops at a plantation, along the West coast of the island, then to the very top of "Magic Mountain", which overlooks the blue lagoons of Cook's Bay and Opunohu Bay. Getting up this mountain is a chore for the 4X4. Very steep dirt road with a few patches of cement when they really needed traction. We did have to walk a trail to the very top...not very far, but fairly steep. Well worth the effort. Best photos I have taken on the trip.
This is the most beautiful island I have ever seen. About 15,000 people live here.
Arrived back at the ship by 12:30, had lunch and laid out for about an hour. It is 86 degrees with 66 percent humidity.
Since I know the rest of the day, I will get this sent out early.
Plans are to eat dinner in the Compass Rose, then just relax. There is another Polynesian Show in the theater tonight, but I think I will pass. They are starting to look alike.
At 5:00, we lift anchor and head to Papeete, Tahiti, which we will arrive at about 7:30 tonight.
Tomorrow is another tour..."Tahiti's Natural Treasures".
May 4th - Day 17 - Papeete, Tahiti
We docked at 7:00PM last night as planned....and this is not what I expected.
The main road is right at the end of the dock, and in the evening there are 4 bars playing loud music. All of the bars are lit in blinking neon. There is also the town square where musicians are playing. This 5-6 block area is very busy. I am hoping that the "Tahiti's Natural Treasures" tour at 8:15AM is more of what I expect Tahiti to be. (At docking time, it was 80 degrees with 73 percent humidity).
Now I should say that I was warned. The "Passages" stated that Papeete, being the Capital is a busy trading port and that there is no shortage of activities day and night...but outside the city, the old ways still survive.
The tour was taken around the island by the main road that encircles Tahiti. It begins with a stop at Tahara Lookout Point with a view of Matavia Bay and the black beaches. Moorea can be seen across the bay. Then off to the Arahoho Blowhole. Next was the Vaipahi Gardens and then to Maraa Grottos. Final stop was Marae Arahurahu, an ancient sacred site where sacrifices were done (slaves were chosen first, then farmers, then fisherman). 4 were sacrificed at a time (earth, wind, fire, sea).
Everything but the actual downtown Papeete is fine.
Back to the ship shortly after noon...lunch...and a few hours of laying out. It was 94 degrees, overcast and 46% humidity.
We left the pier at 5:00, heading to Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands (which we get to on Saturday at noon).
Dinner (casual) was in the Compass Rose.
Entertainment this evening is by Eric Comstock, vocalist and pianist, which I will not be attending.
May 5th - Day 18 - At Sea
We turned our clocks ahead one half hour last night/this morning, putting us on the same time as Nuku Hiva, which we arrive at noon tomorrow.
Woke up early this morning and went to the laundry room and got a machine. Ate breakfast, did the ironing and a bit of walking.
At 10:15, we had our second safety drill. This ship does drills at least once a week. Most of them are crew only. Really does make you feel safe and they do seem to know what they are doing.
Had an early lunch at the grill and laid out a bit. Still quite humid here, but bearable.
Dinner tonight is at the Signatures Restaurant. It is formal night, and there are 4 of us getting together for dinner. (Paul, David, Curtis and myself)
We do have some new guest lecturers aboard for this part of the cruise. They include Jon Lomberg, an artist who is inspired by "the Cosmos", and Thomas Eley, a geographer.
May 6th - Day 19 - Nuku Hiva
Awoke at 6:45, with the usual routine. It is currently 81 degrees with 72% humidity.
A bit about Nuku Hiva. It is the largest island in the Marquesas archipelago with 127 square miles. Population is 2,100 and most live in Taiohae, where we are dropping anchor.
Everything we have been given about the island warns us to wear insect repellant to ward off the "nonos" (beach mosquitoes).
The 3 hour tour today is by 4X4's and visits the coastline, bays and valleys, including the Taipivai Valley where Herman Melville deserted his ship and hid.
Before the tour, a group of Marquesian Warriors came onboard to perform.
Quite a nice tour. Many horses, pigs and sheep on the island. This is the island where all of the carvings are made that go to the other islands, so I made my trip purchase of a small tiki. Our driver was a toothless native woman who spoke no English, French, or anything. When we would go over a major sinkhole in the road, she would turn to me, give me a smile and the "thumbs up" sign.
Tonight is dinner in the Compass Rose with Matthew and Gabriel, then some gambling.
Anchor up at 5:00 and we are off to Los Angeles.
May 7th - Day 20 - At Sea
Awoke at 7:00 with the usual morning routine.
Spent time sending e-mails.
Forgot to mention about the 4X4's yesterday. There were only 4 cruise passengers per vehicle, and about 20 different 4X4's all caravanning through the countryside.
Most of the roads were paved, but it seemed that when we came to a small populated area, the road would turn to dirt.
Tons of potholes everywhere.
Our guide, who barely spoke English, was in one of the 4X4's and spoke to us whenever we got to a place where all the vehicles could assemble, mentioned that they do these excursions about once a month, with the exception of November/December when they get about 5 ships a month in port.
I went up to the pool deck at 10:00 to get some sun, and then had lunch at 11:00.
Being that the afternoon sun is now on my side of the ship, I now sit out on my deck in the afternoon and play Sudoku.
Today was one of those lazy days.
Dinner tonight (Informal) was in the Compass Rose.
Tonight's entertainment is Rodi Alexander, a singer/comedienne. I will go gambling instead.
May 8th - Day 21 - At Sea
Turned the clock ahead a half hour last night, so we are now back to 2 hours ahead of Pacific Time.
Awoke at 7:00, with the normal breakfast and walk.
Still nothing exciting on the ship's schedule during the day.
I did play in a "Oasis Poker" tournament and came in 2nd. No prize for that, although they gave us more in Match Play for future use than it cost to join the tournament. I also played "shuffle bag", and our team won, thanks to my 14 points. It kind of ticked off the gentleman that always HAS to win.
Time for a few stories about the people onboard. They have nicknames:
First are "The Sisters", both in their 90's and in wheelchairs. There is no caregiver for them (which is odd). They seem to begin their day at about 11:00 by the pool with martinis, more martinis, some lunch and then some martinis. They usually end up yelling at each other. We see them again before dinner in the lounge having martinis, then at dinner where martinis are their main course. They also have a habit of knocking over their glasses and breaking them. The other night, when 5 of the waiters were trying to help them from their dinner seats into their wheelchairs, the elder one began yelling at the top of her lungs.."I don't want to go", "don't touch me" and "leave me alone". She then started coughing, then yelled "Oh my god". I thought that was going to be the end of her, but she just kept on yelling. They finally got her into her wheelchair and out of the restaurant.
Our next couple are 2 men who are in their early 70's and trying to act 40. They have dyed their hair black, then added blonde streaks. They have jewelry all over their fingers and wrists, and they seem to not want to talk to anyone. They also have learned that if you order martinis in the restaurant, there is no charge....SO..they begin dinner with 5 each. They are always seen together and in some very bright colors. They are known as "Siegfried and Roy".
Tonight is "English Pub" night in the Horizon Lounge. Staff has decorated the room and are perfuming English songs. Being that the entire Cruise Director staff is from England, they wanted to show all of us how they enjoy their evenings. They went through their performance twice...once at 6:30, then again at 9:45.
May 9th - Day 22 - At Sea
The pub show last night was very well done. All of the dancers/singers/cruise director staff all got involved.
Awoke this morning at 7:00 with the usual breakfast/walk. The humidity is starting to drop a bit (down to 75% this morning).
Out to the pool deck at 9:30, with lunch at the grill.
I missed the "floor show" at the pool deck yesterday. Seems "The Sisters" had a bit too much to drink and the elder one decided to take off her blouse and bra. The other, who is mostly blind, had no idea what was going on, but staff caught it quickly and had things pretty much under control within minutes. Probably better that I was not there.
Watch the flying fish from my deck in the afternoon and caught a quick nap.
Dinner this evening was at the Compass Rose with Matthew and Gabriel from the Production Cast.
Plans are to meet up with a few of the production members in the Observation Lounge after my hour and a half in the Casino. The entertainers are the "welcomers" at the evening performances. They are at the theater entrances greeting the guests.
We turn the clocks ahead by one hour tonight, which puts us one hour earlier than home time. Losing that hour of sleep will make it a VERY quiet ship in the morning.
May 10th - Day 23 - At Sea
As predicted, a very quiet morning on the ship with the time change.
Awoke at 6:30 to do laundry and have breakfast. Went out by the pool to play Sudoku.
Today is Country Fair Day onboard. From 2:00 to 2:45, each crew department set up a booth or activity for passengers to participate in (for free). Winners received tickets for a drawing.
There was a running contest with the egg in the spoon. Picking which of the 3 cups a ball was under, darts, throwing "pies" (whipped cream) at the cooking staff, and "pick the swimmer" (all production staff) contest where you picked which of the 3 came in first. Somehow, I ended up in the pool and racing against 2 of the female staff. Had a great time.
When I jumped into the pool, the water went to the other end (low tide for me) and I slammed my left heel onto the bottom of the pool. I am ok, but limping a bit. Aspirin is helping.
Spent the rest of the afternoon sitting out my deck watching the ocean go by. As of 7AM this morning, there were 1,200 miles left to travel to Los Angeles.
Dinner this evening was with Rebecca and Gabriel of the production staff in the Compass Rose, then off to the Casino for more "Oasis Poker".
May 11th - Day 24 - At Sea
Awoke at 7:30 with the usual routine (except the daily walking part), although a bit slower with the bad heel.
Kept hearing this terrible noise last night as if they were dropping girders above my room. Realized this morning that it was the pool. With the rocking the ship is doing again, and the pool being half full, the water is hitting the ends of the pool very hard and splashing straight up in the air (we keep expecting Shamoo to appear). Anyway, when the water hits the end of the pool it makes a very loud thud that can be heard one floor down where I am. Neighbors were also wondering what it was. They finally emptied the pool around 11:00AM.
The sun is gone, so tanning is out for the day.
By looking at our direction on the TV, it looks like we will be heading more towards Baja California/San Diego, then going up the coast towards LA.
Had a grilled hot dog on the pool deck. Still love their daily grilling. They also had an Ice Cream buffet, which topped off lunch nicely.
Attended the last Art Auction. They still wanted too much for the Disney prints. Will try to find them on art.com or e-bay.
Tonight is the last formal night, and I ate at the Compass Rose.
Tonight's show is "Thoroughly Modern Broadway", which I will attend, then it will be off to the Casino for an hour of play.
We just received our disembarkation tags for Sunday. I get to be in the Red group, one of the last to get off the ship. (Those with airline flights or hotel arrangements through the ship go first).
They want bags out at 11:00PM on Saturday night, and us out of our rooms by 9:00AM on Sunday, with arrival in SF at 11:00. Disembarkation may take until 2:00. We will be going through customs in Los Angeles, so they doubt it will take until that late. The ship will arrive back at Pier 35 in SF.
Until tomorrow (our last full sea day)....
May 12 - Day 25 - At Sea
Last night's show, "Thoroughly Modern Broadway", was excellent. The cast really works hard at these shows. There were a few technical glitches, but most of the audience never knew. The cast was pretty upset that things did not go perfectly, as this is their favorite show and the biggest production/costume show. The orchestration and back-up singing is all pre-recorded in Florida. Each ship has it's own set of 4 shows.
Awoke at 7:30 and went down to the computer area and had breakfast there.
There is no sun today and we are back to rocking a little bit. Can tell we are getting close to land. In fact, they have slowed the ship down to half speed to time our entry into LA.
Had my usual grilled lunch, then a game of Baggo (came in 3rd).
Traded in my winning chips (7 of the 8) for an electronic calculator/calendar.
Had dinner tonight in the Signatures Restaurant.
Will be spending an hour in the Casino a bit later on this evening.
May 13th - Day 26 - Los Angeles
This will be the last update, as bags must be out tonight.
Awoke this morning at 6:30, as we were pulling into port and in preparation for customs. The process began shortly after 7:00. Our deck was called at about 8:20 and we were done with the process by 8:35.
We were allowed to go ashore at about 9:30, and I had a great visit with Dale Jackson for an hour and a half.
Back onboard at 12:30 with anchor up at 1:00.
Just relaxed and began packing in the afternoon.
Dinner tonight will be with Gabriel of the Production Cast, then finishing packing for "bags out".
Hope you enjoyed the updates. I'll chat with you all soon.
May 14th - Day 27 - San Francisco
Awoke at 6:30, out of the room at 8:30 with breakfast in the Observation Lounge.
Chatted with passengers until 10:00, when we went up to the top deck to go under the Golden Gate Bridge.
Docked at 11:00.
Chatted with Gabe.
Lunch at pool deck with Janet and Phil.
Baggage call at 1:00.
Met the Carey Limousine driver at 1:30..home at 3:00.