I normally have lots of observations and interesting experiences on board cruise ships.
This cruise, however, has been rather sedate. Yawn.
Nothing exciting like a few years ago when there was the "Dutchman And the Drapes" encounter. Nothing as sweet as the "Greek Man on Street Bench" incident. Or the bemusing "Hairy Man at the Turkish Bath" story.
However, there have been some interesting and curious people that I have met on board.
There are some great people that I have met as part of the cruise critic group, and we've had a number of days together on tour in which to get to know one another more than just in passing.
The oldest members in our group are a pair of women friends from southern California. They are 82 and 79 years old and are a hoot and a half. They remind me of the energizer bunnies, because nothing stops or slows these women down! They hop in and out of rickety boats and have an opinion about everything they see and do. I adored them!
One member of our group is a published author, with several books to her credit, each of which is about a very different subject from the next. For example, one is about auras, and another one is about archeology of the oceans.
We are a diverse group - we come from Canada, Macau, Greece, U.S., Australia, U.K., Scotland. We are single, married, aunts, nieces, sons and daughters. Retired, in school, working. First time cruisers, long time cruisers.
I've had "anytime dining" option this cruise and it has had its benefits and its drawbacks. Benefits are that you get to meet more people because you generally sit with different people every meal. The downside to this is that you generally have to reintroduce yourself to people anew each night, you have to try to remember people's names, and as the days go by that list of names grows longer. You have to repeat where you're from, what you do, how long you've cruised, why are you cruising alone, do you have children, blah blah blah.
Ack, it just wears you OUT!
On sea days, there are always at least three things to do in any given hour. And those are just what's listed on our daily program. That doesn't count eating, reading, swimming, working out, walking, people watching, drinking, gambling, shopping, and sleeping. Haha!
I downloaded four books onto my iPad, filled with a lofty idea that I would be able to read all of them with all this TIME I was going to have. Well. I am only into my first book, and while I have nearly finished it, it is still a pitiful showing. There's just been too many other distractions.
Yesterday was our fourth sea day and I attended three talks - one was a Q and A with the Captain. People asked him all sorts of questions and I found it fascinating. I might add that Holland America has its first ever female Staff Captain aboard our ship. The Staff Captain is second in command, although not second most important. That dubious honor goes to the ship's chef. The Captain told us the ship would sail without him, but never without the chef! Hahahahahahahahha.
The second talk I attended was a slide show given by our ship's travel guide. He shared with us his favorite places in the world, and his pictures were beautiful, especially those taken in Iceland. That location just got bumped up a couple of notches on my "must go" list.
The third talk I attended was a presentation, via slides, of the hotel manager reviewing what goes on in dry dock and how our ship was redecorated in just 14 days. Absolutely amazing what was accomplished in just two short weeks. Now, if only our mother ship could be so efficient.........(for those of you who don't know what I mean by that, well, never mind...)
Next came happy hour. Two for one drinks in the Crow's Nest, the bar and lounge area on the top deck. Can't pass that up on a lazy sea day. Daily trivia game also is during happy hour, and although I did not join a team, I did have a boisterous team of Australians sitting next to my lounge chair, so as each question was asked, I muttered the answer. I was supposed to be reading my book, but i couldn't help butting in. One of the team members argued with me occasionally and at the end, he was right once and I was right twice. Either way, his team lost, because the winning team got a perfect score, but it was great fun!
We had a man at dinner the other night who got something stuck in his throat and began to choke. Fortunately, someone was able to perform the Heimlich and the offending morsel was expelled from his throat. The funny thing about the whole incident (since it ended well we can laugh at it now) was that the man was yelling help me, help me, I'm choking, and don't we all know that when you are actually choking, you cannot speak.......first a small woman tried to wrap her arms around the large man to try the Heimlich, and that didn't work. Then another woman, who is a nurse, ran over and whacked him on the back, and that did not work. Then, out of nowhere came a large Dutch woman, a ship's officer, and she grabbed that man from behind and gave him one big thrust and out popped the food. I am just glad I was not at that table. I was there, but on the other side of the dining room, and barely heard the commotion, but for the next two nights, someone at my table had been nearby, including the back-thumping nurse and all were fascinated listening to the re-telling of the "choking incident."
I haven't done the daily quizzes this time because there is some guy who is more rabid than I and grabs the quiz at the strike of 8:00 each morning, rushes away to his little corner of the library, and scribbles his answers in about two minutes, then strides over to the desk librarian like he's king of the world or something, and ceremonially drops his quiz into the box. Hrrrmph. I tried to beat him once, but the quizzes are exceptionally difficult and I ended up missing more answers than he, so I gave up trying. Add to that, when the librarian saw my name on my quiz, she recoiled in horror and promptly informed me that my name was on the list of "Banned Persons For Purposes of Quiz Contests". When I asked her why, she narrowed her eyes, and hissed at me "you've maxed out at winning - now get out of my library!" I guess my reign as Queen of the Quizzes has ended.
I've also taken a few tech courses with our techspert on board. He is a retired engineer-type guy from Intel and teaches a series of classes on how to use your digital camera, using the new Windows 8 operating system, editing photos, setting up files and folders, etc. Some of the courses are very basic, which I skipped, but others have been quite helpful. I have learned all about Windows 8, how to use Skydrive, which is the Windows version of the Apple iCloud, and how to edit my photos using Photo Gallery, another Windows application. I learned how to take a series of photos in preparation for combining them into one panoramic picture once downloaded into Photo Gallery. Really neat!