Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sea Days to Hawaii

Crossing the North Pacific from San Diego to Hawaii takes 5 days. 5 1/2 if you count an extra evening. 

These sea days are some of my favorite times to be on a ship. We've been lucky to have weathered a potential storm quite handily. The captain took us about 300 miles south of the worst of the storm so we experienced only mild to moderate swells along the way. 

What does one do all day long while at sea? The answer is always the same - as much or as little as you want. The ship's schedule is full of a variety of activities and presentations and lectures to hold your attention from sunrise to well past sunset. Games, crafts, lectures about stars (the celestial kind) and Hawaiian history and what to do in ports abound. Pickleball, basketball, ping pong. The NFL playoffs and the inauguration on TV big screens. Movie nights. Bridge, Mah Jong, gin rummy, canasta. A library full of books and current magazines. 

Walking laps around the promenade deck. 3 1/2 laps is one mile. I do 21 laps a day. According to the ship that's about 6 miles. But according to my Fitbit it's only about 4.5 miles. I'd like to think my Fitbit is wrong. But I drag my ass out of bed before 6 every morning and hit the teak boards. The bonus of walking then is that it's quiet and I get to see beautiful sunrises while I walk. 

You tend to get into a routine when you're at sea. I do my laps then shower then have breakfast. Then I go get the newspaper, a sudoku puzzle and a big crossword puzzle and head to the library to sit and chat with some friends while commiserating over the day's puzzles. That puts me out of my cabin for awhile so my magical fairy cabin stewards come in and make my bed and leave me fresh towels. 

I've brought a dozen books with me to read so I spend close to an hour every day at a minimum reading. I usually do that sitting on my balcony, listening to the whoosh of the waves down below. The weather is warming and it's quite pleasant outside there. Today I brought Snort and his towel buddy out to enjoy the waves as well (there'll be a picture). 

A couple of days ago I went to a napkin folding class. It was fun and I learned a few things. When I get home I'm going to teach my granddaughter Ori how to fold some. She'll be 5 by the time I get home in April and it's something fun she and I can do together. Speaking of Ori, I had a short bout of homesickness yesterday. I just felt like I needed a hug and there wasn't anyone to hug. My youngest granddaughter, Yuval, (I call her Goose) who just turned 2, gives the best hugs ever. She gobbles you in her pudgy little arms, rests her head on your shoulder and pats your back. It's heaven on earth. Sigh. I had a glass of wine and that seemed to help. 

Oh, I also tried a Tai Chi class. It's fun but also kind of tiring, especially after my 21 laps in the morning. The class is held every sea day at 9:00 AM. I'm going to try and go back often. 

Tonight I get to go to a special dinner with our captain. He hosts an evening in the Pinnacle. At first I thought it was just one table but it turns out it's basically the whole restaurant and maybe you might get to sit at his table but probably not. And, he hosts them about once a week so I guess just about everyone on the full world cruise gets the invite during the trip. My dinner table mates all also received invitations, each for different dates. So much for feeling special. 

Speaking of feeling special - the infamous "they" all have said how special a world cruise is, but I've got to say that so far, I'm not seeing it. The food is pretty much the same as I've experienced on my other HAL cruises - it is very very good - and service is always there with a smile and a kind word - but again, no different from other cruises. Same nightly chocolates on my bed, same quality of showtime entertainment, same onboard activities, same kinds of lectures, same "deer in headlights" expressions from the front desk staff when you ask them a simple question. Don't get me wrong, they are very polite and nice, but there's something about them that goes off kilter when you ask them a question. Try it sometime when those of you who cruise next find yourself on a ship. 

I'm trying to lose some weight on this cruise. Go ahead, laugh all you want, I know that seems hysterically impossible given the reputation that most cruises enjoy - food everywhere all the time - but I'm trying really hard to exercise a lot and eat very healthy. Low on the carbs (I save them for my daily wine drinking) and heavy on salads and fruits and lean proteins. So far I don't think I'm all that successful. Jimmy pointed out to me that the pounds would melt right off if I was just willing to forgo the daily wine. BAH!! Clearly he has forgotten my 2017 resolutions - more joy, more travel, more champagne. In any regard, I'll know tomorrow when we are docked in port and I can weigh myself on the scale up in the gym. (The scale doesn't work too well when the shop is pitching and rocking about at sea).  It tells you your weight in kilograms which is awesome because it's a much lower number than pounds! Psychologically speaking, it's a big boost. 

In the afternoons, after lunch, I usually wander about. If there's a craft I want to do I'll go do that. Yesterday I made a pair of earrings! I proudly wore them at dinner. Sometimes I go sit out at the aft deck by the pool and read or work on my puzzles.  Sometimes I go to a cooking demonstration. Our culinary hostess is Jessica, a thirty-ish young woman from Australia who is perky and downright sweet. Of all the staff so far, I like her the best. Past cruisers who are world cruise experts seem to rave about our cruise director, but so far I haven't felt the warm and fuzzy from him. Maybe in time he might grow on me but so far not even close. 

In the evenings before dinner I often step in to the Sip 'n Savor event, where you can join hostess Jessica at the piano bar for a glass of wine and a special appetizer. Cost: $4.00. It's usually a nice selection of a red or white wine (you get to pick which one you want) and Jessica describes the special appetizer while the sommelier tells you about the wine. It's fun to socialize with other guests for a half hour. 

After that I usually toddle off to the Explorers Lounge and sit with one of my table mates, Jack, to listen to Adagio Strings for a few minutes before heading in to the dining room for dinner. Adagio is a duo comprised of a piano player and a violinist. They play mostly classical type music and these guys are excellent! My table mate Jack is fast becoming a friend and one of my favorite companions on board. He's 91 and is from Massachusetts. He's an awesome dude! In great shape - he walks a mile around the promenade deck every morning and he's really good at The NY Times crossword puzzles. Plus he does Tai Chi every day. And I make him laugh. 

My other table mates are a married couple from Florida - Patricia and Wayne. Both Pat and Jack have been on a bunch of world cruises. Wayne has only been on two so far, as he and Pat only married 2 years ago. Pat was widowed when she met Wayne at church. They are super nice too and I feel like I have a nice bond with them as well. I often sit with or near them at the daily after dinner shows in the big theater. 

I also go to Mass a lot when I'm at sea. It may sound funny, but I feel closer to God out here. And I pray to him and thank him every day for the blessings he's bestowed on me. Having survived a serious cancer diagnosis 15 months ago I truly feel God's hand (and my fantastic surgeon) in curing me. 

So that's how I spend my sea days. 

Tomorrow we're in Hilo and I've rented a car for the day. I've got a few places I want to go see and then I'm going to head to the bookstore for the next book in my Outlander series (I just can't wait until I get home) and then I want to pick up some more Hawaiian fabrics to bring home. It should be a nice day! Weather forecast calls for temps in the 70's. 

The few pictures I've posted include a few from late in the day in San Diego before our sail away. I was sitting just inside my balcony in my cabin when this seagull landed on my railing. He stayed there for close to 5 minutes. 


  1. I am enjoying your blog immensely! Today's post was fantastic! I like your honesty and great descriptions.
    LOVE your description of the Front Desk people and have to agree that this is common behaviour. We've cruised a lot on HAL and see the very same thing over and over. Maybe it is a part of their job description, but having seen some really nasty, complaining and rude pax reduce a couple of the ladies to tears, I can imagine some days are bad for them and they get to the point of expecting the worst. For them to prejudge pax is easy to do, but I wish they wouldn't!

    Just my opinion from a lot of HAL experience, but the CD knows all the serial pax (WCers or otherwise) very well and the rest of the pax are generally considered quite generic. If you go to Team Trivia all the time or otherwise come to his attention, you might get that warm and fuzzy feeling from him. Example: when we started cruising on one 60+ day cruise, with a cabin close to the HM's office that we passed multiple times a day, he actually said hello to us once, the day we were disembarking. We knew we were of the generic variety then!

    Enjoy Hawaii!


  2. I found this link on the cruise critic site and I really am enjoying reading your trip report A world cruise is my dream too! Do you mind telling me who your travel agent is?

  3. I love your posts!! You are so funny and tell a great story!! Thanks so much for the entertainment and I am learning a lot too! Soon to be retired and will be traveling more and you have given me some great ideas! Thanks. Lisa