At Sea: Friday (9th) Late Night Update - When I last left you, it was five o’clock and the ship was scheduled to leave. 3000+ people onboard, and there always are a straggler or two. At five, there were announcements again calling-out the names of missing passengers. (Our cruise/key card is scanned every time we leave/enter the ship, and our faces are also scanned.) This time, there were about 10 errant passengers called. (NOTE: the ship sails without you if you do not return on time. Exceptions are provided for tourist excursions booked through the ship. If you go out wandering on your own and fail to return, hopefully you have your passport with you because you are flying to the next port-o-call. On your own dime.)
All the “welcome back” pop-up tents holding glasses of ice water, cold wet face cloths, music, and for some reason a line of crew members welcoming us back on board… like we have just returned for a lunar mission rather than a museum or shopping, had been stowed. Where four or five gangways had been extended to get us all back on board, at five o’clock, one lone ramp remained. Our slider was open to the balcony and at 5:10, we heard cheers and clapping from surrounding balcony’s – we are on the port side of the ship – and went outside to see 10 passengers jogging across a walkway, sprinting along the pier, and hopping on the gangway. I don’t know where they had been, but they had been together. The pilot came onboard, and we headed out to sea, setting a southerly course to Panama.
Our day – all that walking on cobblestones and 3 hours in a bus – did us in. We had a drink in the Observation Lounge, and salads in the Savor dining room. No mind-reader show. We were in bed by nine and asleep by 9:01.
Okay - now here is what we did Saturday (Day 9): A long day at sea, and we are not scheduled to reach Panama City until 4p TOMORROW. DT is on book #2 (The Lincoln Highway, by Amor Towles), and I am officially half-way-plus through my needlepoint project. Super enjoying it still. The sea and wind were calm, so we spent a lot of time on the balcony… except when we were watching the World Cup.
I haven’t mentioned too much about what we see from our balcony. You would think being so far off shore (we can never see land), there wouldn’t be too many aquatic creatures, but you would be wrong. Your mother was right - there ARE plenty of fish in the sea! The number one fish we have seen over the past several days are Flying Fish. We have an odd perspective being 10 floors above sea level, so can’t say exactly how large the fish are, but at least a foot long. They are almost transparenty-whitish and look like swallows – if someone were “skipping” swallows, as if they were stones. We see hundreds of them at a time, flying/skipping across the top of the water. Fascinating. For the first time today, we saw hundreds of Dorado (2-3 feet long?) chasing/catching the Flying Fish! Wow, the speed of the Dorado is very impressive and their skin is fluorescent blue-green in the sunshine. Again, we had large pods of dolphin playing the ship’s wake. So much fun to watch this. Dave saw a sea turtle, and then he saw a shark! You know what we don’t see? Trash.
Between matches, we had lunch in the Taste dining room, and could see a cargo ship off in the distance. We both ordered Italian Wedding Soup. The broth was just lovely, obviously bolstered with a little Parmesan rind during the stock process. I had an arugula salad with chicken and My Driver had the cheeseburger (but with my trick: no bun). Coco Flan with kiwi and mango for lunch dessert
Later, we saw the Norwegian Joy sail past our ship, headed north. The Joy is the same model as the ship we are on… so we think, as we could make-out a go-cart track and a water tube slide with our binoculars.
We have been having cocktails at the Observation Lounge, and hanging with the same peeps all week. Tonight, one of our New Best Friends called our room to report there would be a private party in the Observation Lounge for long-time cruisers tonight and we should maybe meet in another bar for drinks? We did. Fun time. Same people, same drinks, different bar. Did I previously mention there are 18 bars on this ship?
After drinks with Amar, Dave and I had reservations at Los Lobos, the Mexican restaurant on the ship. We were seated right away at the nearly-empty restaurant and ordered the signature guacamole – made table-side. It was good (but again, what is the thing with no cilantro in guacamole?) and though the chef kept adding jalapeño, it was not even a teeny bit spicy. No cumin either. (DT thinks I am the only person who adds cumin to guacamole.) Either way, the dip was very good. Dave had the Chile Rellano. We both tried this dish and found it good, but the pepper was not cooked enough, making it a bit tough. I ordered the chicken enchilada mole. Very delicious; no complaints. Just too much food.
After dinner we were lucky enough to make the last-minute line to the comedy club for Julie Barr’s show. Dang, this girl is funny. She took a bit of heckling from the crowd in front of the stage (Indiana people), but shut the house down COMPLETELY with her tales of doing comedy shows on a (un-named cruise line/not this cruise line) cruise for nudists. We were all laughing as she told about the cruisers having to sit on towels at restaurants. What if you went on this cruise, not knowing it was a nudist cruise? Ms. Barr said there was not even one person on that cruise you would want to see naked (she wore clothing). Ah, the life of a cruise ship entertainer.
A few days ago, Christmas trees (artificial and silver) started popping-up around the ship, then garlands. Today we found a gingerbread village complete with model choo-choo train.
One more day at sea tomorrow, as we do not dock until late afternoon, and will not leave the ship until the next day. Until, my next update, from Panama City, Panama, I remain, your ship-bound correspondent.