Swells continue to keep the ship in constant motion as we push southwest toward Waitangi, New Zealand. I haven’t noticed anyone complaining of seasickness, as it is pretty mild as far as ship motion goes, but you can definitely tell you are no longer on land. We have traveled over 7300 nautical miles since we began our journey January 5th.
Good Morning Amsterdam was an ½ hour early today to avoid conflicting with a crew fire drill. I think many people didn’t realize they moved it up a half hour as the room was never full and there were plenty of seats available when the show began.
Today’s guests included the Maori On Location team, known for their fearsome Haka Dance that was made famous by the “All Black” New Zealand rugby team. They surprised Gene when they leapt to their feet after being introduced and began performing a beautiful song with a choreographed dance that was not fearsome at all. The team members are very big and with their expressions and tattoos, appear quite fierce even when sitting still. This song and dance burst that bubble as the song was gentle and welcoming. They have a wonderful sense of humor and traded playful jabs with Gene throughout the interview.
Next up was Bobby Brooks Wilson who was on his way to the US Navy Officer Candidate School when a series of Kidney Stones resulted in his medical discharge. Now out of the Navy and down on his luck, he found himself in a Honolulu Karaoke Bar where he was encouraged to sing by some of the local Hawaii Artists who frequented the bar. His talent was obvious and they encouraged him to pursue a singing career. The rest is history.
The two new guest speakers are gaining a loyal following. The morning lecture by Joseph Kess, “Peopling the Pacific” was an interesting review of the many different cultures and civilizations in the south pacific. While he uses many slides in his lecture, he keeps the talk moving at just the right pace. Don’t make the mistake of saying, I will just stop by for a second, because before you know it, you will be hearing him wrap it up at the end of 45 minutes. If only all my old college professors were as interesting as Joseph.
The Wajang theater hosts many events during the day and this morning I attended my first Cooking demo hosted by Donna with guest chef David. A copy of the recipes is available on a table as you enter the theater which was about half full when the demo started. David would be preparing Green Lipped Mussels with Fennel & Tomato plus Pecan Crusted Rack of Lamb with a Honey Thyme Glaze. About ½ way thru the demo, a waiter arrives with a tray of the Green Lipped Mussels. They were quite good. I am not sure if every demo involves passing out samples, but I will have to stop by and check, not that we need any more reasons to eat food.
There are at least 4 or 5 Grand Dollar events every day and after my basketball practice I went up to the court to try my hand again at shooting baskets for another Grand Dollar Basketball Shootout. This event was different than the earlier versions in that the guests were separated into two teams who would attempt one free throw shot forward and then a second while facing backward. I elected not to participate as the payout was only $3 and the event would take ½ hour. I was hoping for another shot at the $500 half court shot!
The 12:30 timeslot where they used to teach the Ukelele was replaced by the Maori team teaching the Haka dance in two consecutive sessions. The 45 minute session started with learning the words to the song that accompanied the dance, followed by some of the basic moves. After the guests gave it their best shot, the Haka team performed an amazing rendition of the song and dance.
An interesting aside regarding seat saving. Most of the time a lonely “On Location” guide is sufficient to save a seat even with the guest is nowhere in sight. But today, during the Haka class, a friend of my was working on his laptop before class and when everyone stood up to dance, he placed the laptop on the chair while remaining within a few feet. Within a few minutes another guest picks up his laptop and placed it on the floor and proceeds to sit in the chair. Quite surprised my friend challenges the laptop mover who states that her husband needed a chair. He moves his laptop to another nearby empty chair and life goes on, but it was an interesting interaction.
The afternoon lecture was by Alan Wright on the topic: “Our Moon, Goddess of the Night”.
We decided to walk on the promenade deck and see the damage to Tender 9 first hand. A new addition to the deck were “One Way” signs indicating that counter clockwise flow is preferred during peak hours. I don’t know if this is fleet wide or was painted in response to a specific incident here. During my morning walks, everyone seem to go counter clockwise anyway, but I suppose there may have been a collision near one of the corners. Probably not a bad idea.
Today’s Arts and Crafts project was decorating a folding greeting card with a picture of the ship. One of the simpler and faster projects of the cruise.
Dinner tonight was a joy as always. The big hit was the Old Fashioned Wiener Schnitzel which was very good. Wine, beer and all soft drinks were complimentary due to yesterday’s tender incident. However it wasn’t clear if the beverage staff would lose their tips on the lost sales – hopefully the ship will ensure the beverage waiters are kept whole. The Dining Room Manager Tom Grindlay made the rounds with Executive Chef Peter Nozaki who made pleasant chit chat with all the tables in our zone. We told them that the food was outstanding this cruise and they hinted that their budget for Grand Voyages was a little more generous than normal and they had other flexibility not possible on shorter cruises. Tomorrow is another Gala Night with the theme “Bumpers and Bowlers” – they smiled when we asked what to expect and said we would have to wait for the surprise.
The show this evening “Made in England” was performed by the Amsterdam Singers and Dancers which was tribute to Elton John Songs. The singing and dancing was first class and very good. We enjoyed the show very much. Free Champagne was available at the Theater entrance in addition to the free beer/wine at dinner. We heard that the people directly affected by the tender incident received $250 in OBC, some nice chocolates and personal letters.
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