It was nice to have a sea day after the late night in Edinburgh. We enjoy sea days and this cruise was fairly port intensive with only 3 sea days out of 12 total.
We started off our day with our usual room service breakfast – which we are modifying every night so we get exactly what we want. We haven’t been disappointed yet, but I am tempted to print out little pieces of paper with our request rather than having to pencil in our changes every time. Life is going pretty good when that is the only thing I have to worry about.
The daily “When and Where” is on the blog and lists all the activities and you will find the usual activities e.g. Towel Folding demo, art auctions, martini tasting, two enrichment lectures, the usual assortment of digital workshop computer classes and so on.
I did learn a few things from people in the know about certain activities that are now no longer authorized aboard HAL ships based on guidance from Seattle: Karaoke, golf putting games in the atrium, dancing lessons using the ships dancers or those shows based on the “Newlywed game”. Not sure why – has anyone else heard this – or observed these activities recently?
Seas remain calm for the most part and there hasn’t been a lot of deck motion – no soda crackers or green apples at the front desk.
There are two Texas Hold’em tournaments every sea day: 11:30 and 1:30. I signed up for both games but there were only 4 people for the 11:30 game so that didn’t happen and we would all return at 1:30 when there were 7 people already signed up.
The Texas Hold’em game started a little late after some trouble with the Poker Pro table. We ended up getting free drinks while waiting for them to fix the problem, and we were soon underway. This was my first game in a while and it takes a little bit to try and figure out the other players. Everyone was playing conservatively and I managed to catch a Flush on “The River” that kept me in the game until we were down to 4 players. The cards were not with me any longer and I was soon knocked out of the game.
At the next table, the Blackjack tournament was in full swing. I bought a ticket and had a good run, but screwed up the final hand by not thinking thru my last bet. I had $9000 in tournament chips which put me well above the current last place contender who had $7000. The next player had $9400. Another player at the table had a pile but would need a black jack to beat me – so I felt safe and bet $100 and ended up winning. I should have bet at $500 so if I won I would have had two players below me instead of one. As it turned out, the other player got his blackjack and ended up with $9600 and I ended up at $9100 and out of the finals. You always feel a little rushed in these situations, but I should have paused and thought it thru at the time. I realized my mistake as they started to deal the cards … Oh well.
There was a little excitement during the finals as one player hit a 12 with the dealer showing a 4 – normally you would stand in this situation. He busted with a 10, but that 10 would have been the perfect card for the next player who doubled down with an 11 and drew a 3 rather than the 10 he would have had otherwise. One of the spectators criticized this player’s perceived poor play and things got heated quickly with some taunts and discussions about “taking it outside” – Geesshhh. Fortunately, the manager came over and was able to cool things off and the game proceeded without further incident.
Since the Blackjack Tournament took longer than expected I missed the 2PM Captains Q and A and virtual tour. I always find these interesting and was disappointed to miss the presentation.
The “Cast Chat” was at 3PM and I joined about 50 other folks in the Vista Lounge to listen to the Zuiderdam Singers and Dancers discuss their backgrounds and a little inside baseball about what goes on backstage during their shows. Most of the cast lives in NYC when not on ships and uses their time off contract to audition for Broadway shows. If they get picked up – its goodbye to the cruise ships, otherwise they may be back for another contract. One of the dancers had numerous contracts and over 50 months on the Zuiderdam alone – Wow!
Tonight was the second Gala night of this cruise and we decided to go to the Pinnacle Grill. In the main dining room they were serving Filet Mignon and Lobster tail, but in the Pinnacle you still had to pay for the Lobster Tail add on. I guess if I thought about it more I should have gone to the Pinnacle on another night – but I didn’t mind paying the $20 for a giant 12 oz lobster tail to complement my Filet. Service in the Pinnacle was outstanding as always. We did notice some fine print on the menu that a second entrée would cost $15 but no mention of any surcharge for extra starters. We always look at the monster “President’s Cut”. A 36-ounce bone-in ribeye handpicked by HAL President Orlando Ashford himself. One of these days we may get a group and order one for the table just to give it a try.
Most of the guests make some effort to dress up a little for the gala night. There are still some folks in tuxedos, with most in sport coats with or without ties and quite a few men with the collared shirt minimum. Anyone who is worried about what they should wear on Gala night should stop worrying – wear whatever you want and you will find plenty of people dressed just like you. We didn’t see anyone wearing jeans or other clothing not up to the very minimum gala night standard.
Tonight’s show was called “Off the Charts” featuring the Zuiderdam Singers and Dancers singing and dancing to a variety of Billboards hits from over the years. It was wonderful – lots of great songs from the Beatles to Beyoncé and more. All the shows this cruise were new to us and we enjoyed them all very much.
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