Day 10, Enroute Nuku Hiva
Our steady progress across the Pacific continues and we continue to close on the equator and will soon enter the South Pacific. The weather continues to cooperate, and while a little on the warm side, it is quite pleasant on deck especially in the morning. We are back on California time and as the daily drumbeat of retarding clocks continue, it gets easier and easier to get up early.
It is already very light outside at 6:45 am when I head up to the gym to exercise and check out the crowds. On my last cruise(Alaska – Oosterdam) , the gyms were packed at 6:45 and I had to wait a few minutes for exercise machines to open. Not today. Only about 1/3 of the machines were in use. They had a nice assortment of equipment and to my pleasant surprise, more cycling machines than was on the Oosterdam. First stop was the dreaded scale, which I was hesitant to use, but I needed to establish my baseline. For better or worse, the scale was unusable today since the ships motion caused a 10% swing in your displayed weight. I will probably have to wait for our next port to get an accurate reading as the ocean swell is creating too much movement.
Here is a rundown of the equipment in the gym:
A standard set of dumbbells.
The usual assortment of workout stations/resistance machines
7 Treadmills with TVs
5 Elliptoid machines with TVs
3 recumbent bicycles
3 upright bicycles
2 recumbent bicycles with software and a screen that allowed you to race other simulated cyclists. As I used to race bicycles this machine was my instant favorite. You are required to steer the bike around a course and can shift gears easily – a lot of fun to try and win against the other “cyclists”. I would normally read a book on my kindle or listen to an audio book, but today it was more fun to race the other bikes and the exertion required made reading or listening impossible.
I enjoy attending Good Morning Amsterdam. They always have an interesting guest and I can meet and chat with fellow passengers and pick up a vibe for how the cruise is going for others. The show is taped for broadcast later on the ships TV. It is not shown live. Gene starts the taping with explanation of the “Greeting Protocol” that must be followed: Gene says Good Morning to the guest who then says Good Morning to Gene – then Gene says Good Morning to the co-host Donna (The Culinary Arts Center host) who replies in kind. Then Donna and the guest exchange a similar series of “Good Mornings” – followed by a crowing rooster and shouting Good Morning Amsterdam. I don’t think this exchange has been successfully completed on the first take yet. But it is all very light and puts the audience in a good mood.
Today our guest was the Onboard Events Manager, a positon we learned will be eliminated on future sailings. I suspect that more and more functions will be managed by people in Seattle and only jobs that require customer interface will remain onboard. The event manager is responsible for coordinating and scheduling the various on board events published in the daily “On Location” We learned that the daily On Location is sent to the Ship by Seattle as a template that the ship can modify based on local conditions. He mentioned that they have a lot more flexibility on a World Cruise to schedule events than they do on shorter sailings.
The “reward” for attendance at Good Morning Amsterdam continues to dwindle. We received 10 Dam Dollars for the second show. 3 dollars a few days ago and now it is down to 2 dollars. My “bank” is now about $20 – not sure what this will get me during the first redemption opportunity.
I find myself passing by the Hudson room frequently and have noticed the Bridge classes remain full. They have a beginners class at 9am and an intermediate class at 10 am.
I had planned on playing blackjack during the cruise, but the casino dealers remain the “Maytag Repairmen” of this cruise. I have yet to see more than 3 people playing any card game – except for Texas Hold’em – which always seems to have a lively group. While I have never played Texas Hold’em in a casino, I decided to get up to speed so I could join in on the fun. I was able to download the book “Texas Hold’em for Dummies” while in Panama and have been reading away for the last few days. One of our dinner companions is quite good (having won several of the tournaments) and he has been generous sharing his strategy and tips. Today the casino held a Texas Hold’em class which was well attended.
NOTE: I have learned that if an event you would like to attend has limited space – best to get there early – until you can gauge the actual interest. The Texas Hold’em call filled up 15 minutes ahead of the starting time, but they could accommodate all who stopped by if they chose to stand around the table.
The class focused on the mechanics of the Texas Hold’em game on the Amsterdam and assumed you already knew poker hands and the basics of betting and poker terms. After I finish reading up, I will jump into a game and see how it goes. My tablemate says that the atmosphere on the ship for the Texas Hold’em game is great and very friendly and no one takes it too seriously.
We had a little time to practice our Ukuleles before the class started at 12:30. We are learning to play – as well as sing – the song “Vini Vini Vana Vana”. The class is well attended and with two sessions, you don’t have to get there 30 minutes in advance to find a seat. Today we learned a new chord “D” which requires covering 3 strings with one finger – a little more difficult than most, but this was only the second day.
We usually have lunch in the Lido as we enjoy the selection and it is easier to control portion size. Judy and I will typically share a single plate – I will get the entrees while she gets some sushi and other sides. We never had any trouble finding a table, regardless of the time. Beverage service is prompt.
We have become regulars at Judi and Skip’s Arts & Crafts class. Unlike some of the other activities – where you have to join at the beginning of the cruise or miss out – Crafts is easy to join at any lesson so we are always meeting new people. Working on a simple project is a great way to start the conversation. Today we started the first of 4 lessons where we will make some kind of paper beads. I’m not sure exactly how it will end up, but fortunately knowing that wasn’t necessary to finish.
After crafts I stopped by the Casino to watch the end of the Texas- Hold’em tournament. They have one every day with a $60 buy in with winner getting $250 to $350 or so depending the number of players. Our tablemate won and he was once again generous with his strategy and tips. The atmosphere at the table was fun and lively and I am looking forward to joining in once I finish my homework.
Tonight’s show was “The Evasons” with Jeff and Tessa Evason who put on a single show at 7:15pm. I learned that they only did a single show since it requires a full audience and the usual turnout at the late show would not create the right atmosphere since the show involves significant audience participation. Jeff was the host with his wife, Tessa, the mind reader. She would turn from the audience or be blindfolded and proceed to call out peoples names Jeff would point to, or identify people in photographs on their phones. One of the more amazing feats, was when Jeff went around the audience and people would write various numbers on a whiteboard – year of first cruise etc and after about 5 people provide numbers, another person added all the numbers which then matched a number that had been previously sealed in an envelope on stage. A very well done performance and we had no idea how they managed to pull it off. It was a lot of fun and everyone seemed to enjoy the show.
Kermet Apio, the comedian from a few nights ago, joined our table for dinner. We have an empty seat at our table so our group is always on the lookout for interesting people to invite to our table for dinner. We have learned that HAL employees need clearance from management, which we are told is almost automatic. The entertainers seem to be able to accept invitations on their own and we only need to let the dining room staff know so they can set an extra table.
Our table is always lively and Kermet was very interesting and made for a wonderful evening. One of the people at our table purchased the “glass of wine” a day promotion and she received a 4×6 card with numbers 1-115 printed in a table. Each day they cross off another number, so if she misses a day, she can make it up on another. She was also able to easily use the card at the specialty restaurants.
There was no late show tonight but the ships musicians gathered in the Ocean Bar for a Jazz Jam. I was too tired to attend, but Judy said that the “Neptunes” were very good and enjoyed the performance. The hit of the performance was with the classically trained Hungarian piano/violin duo putting a jazz spin on their performance. After performing three tunes, including ‘Take the A Train’, the clarinet player commented on how amazing they were at playing jazz.
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