We woke up at 7 am to torrential rain, high winds (50 knots plus) and heavy seas. It certainly didn’t look like we would be in port in less than 1 hour and sure enough – the Captain came on the public address system at 7:30 and made what was pretty apparent by looking out the windows official – Charlottetown was cancelled and we would proceed directly to our next port of Sydney and hope that the weather would improve in time to permit a safe arrival.
Charlottetown is home to the site behind the character in the novel Anne of Green Gables and is quite popular with many tourists and surprising to us, Japanese tourists. We learned on our last visit here a couple of years back that the Anne of Green Gables books are quite popular in Japan and are required reading in many of the Japanese schools.
Although disappointed that we would miss our scheduled Craft Cruise tour to the Belfast Mini Mill, it did feel a little like when they would declare a snow day and cancel schools back when I was in grade school. I have to admit it was nice to crawl back in bed and get a little more sleep.
While many passengers were catching up on sleep and staring out the windows at the terrible weather, the ships staff was busily putting together a new schedule of onboard activities to fill in the gaps of the normally light in port on board activities. Within an hour, new programs were posted in all of the elevator lobbies that filled up the day with the activities that are typical for a scheduled sea day.
After a bit I wandered around the ship and everyone seemed to be in good spirits. There weren’t any long lines at the front desk nor did I pick up on anyone claiming their cruise was “ruined” because we missed Charlottetown. The fact that the weather was absolutely horrible around the ship made it obvious that even had we managed to get into port, the day ashore would have been a miserable experience regardless.
I took a little time to check out the Lido Breakfast. Very nice setup as usual. I took a few pics that you can see on the blog. We still get room service breakfast every day and have been using the standard menu. No sign of the new and “improved” menu they are experimenting with on other ships. Hopefully they will leave this area alone. If all cruise lines adopt all the same policies then I guess we will all select cruises based only on price. I like the enhanced room service menu as compared to other lines in addition to the best disembarkation process on the high seas. (You can get room service on the final day and stay in your cabin till you get off) If HAL “enhances” these two areas, then the difference between Princess and HAL and others will continue to shrink. The day may come where a cruise cabin is a commodity and everything is ala carte like at a land based hotel.
The casino on the Zuiderdam is much larger than the one on the Amsterdam. They have a crap table that doesn’t see a lot of action in addition to plenty of slots. There is one Black Jack Table with a $10 minimum which pays 3 to 2 on blackjack. The other Black Jack table has a $6 minimum but only pays 6-5 on blackjack. Why $6 – not $5? They REALLY want you to place a $1 side bet on the “Lucky Ladies” (The $1 Lucky Lady side bet has a 25% house edge for most variations – ouch!). The house edge on a 6-5 blackjack table is significantly higher than on a 3-2 table which translates to almost 3 times the loss rate on a per hour basis. Don’t play the 6-5 tables even if they are single deck – not a good deal. If you can play the basic strategy perfectly you will lose less on a $10 table over 80 hands than you will on the $6 table over 80 hands. There are plenty of books and websites that describe the Blackjack “Basic Strategy” – a little research before you leave will save you some money in the casino.
I got a Bloody Mary while playing Texas Hold’em and discovered that the red thing in one of the olives that I thought was a pimento turned out to be a red hot chili pepper. Pretty hot.
I wasn’t in the money on either of the 2 Hold’em games today – so far I have been in the money in 1 game out of 4. We have 7 hard core Hold’em players. Everyone is friendly and the games are fun and social.
After the Hold’em game I had some good luck on the Video Poker machine and won $50 when I hit 4 of a kind on one spin.
With the unscheduled day at sea, Judy was able to get an appointment for a massage and facial in the Spa. The massage was so relaxing and the facial was a treat. She was very refreshed when she came back to the cabin.
Since it was Canadian Thanksgiving today they served some Turkey and stuffing which was very good. I also tried the Yankee Pot Roast which was also excellent. While perusing the wine list, I spotted a new entry: Orlando Ashford’s “Presidents Blend” wine ($49) and I couldn’t resist ordering a bottle. Pretty good, but I am not much of a wine connoisseur so judge for yourself. Judy had the molasses lamb chops which she enjoyed very much. For dessert we shared a delicious slice of Pumpkin Pie.
While we were enjoying dinner, the Captain broke in over the ships public address system to announce that he made the decision to cancel our scheduled visit to Sydney tomorrow because of continuing high winds and heavy seas. He went on to warn us that we could expect extremely high winds tonight and would experience a noticeable list once we rounded the tip of Cape Breton Island’s north coast and turned to the south which would shift the relative wind from our bow to our beam until we could settle on a more southwesterly course.
Everyone took the news in stride as it was evident by looking outside that venturing out in this horrible weather while inport was nothing we wanted to experience.
After dinner, I took a picture of channel 40 on our TV which gives an update of our position and current weather. Please note that it says the wind was 88 miles per hour! The ship handled itself fairly well and was moving around pretty good at times. Our cabin, all the way aft, experienced more of a sideways shimmy rather than the noticeable pitching we experience while in a more forward cabin.
Pianist Hyperion Knight, from New York City, was the headliner in the Vista Lounge and he was fabulous. During the first few moments of his show he explained the origin of his unique first name, Hyperion, by remarking that he was raised in Berkley California – nuff said. Hyperion is the name of a Greek God, one of the 12 Titan Children of Gaia.
During his show he played a series of Rhapsodies ranging from Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” to the “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. While playing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody he reached inside the open piano with his right hand to pluck some of the strings individually using a guitar pick while playing the keys with his left hand which produced an amazing effect. Throughout his show, he discussed with the audience the background and some insight into the origins and inspirations of the various songs he would be performing.
Once we were back in our cabin, we noticed the ship was listing and glasses would slide across the table. Before heading to bed, we put everything on the floor that could possibly slide off the desks or table.
We are looking forward to another sea day tomorrow and some better weather in the afternoon.
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