A great night’s sleep but the sun was up early enough to remind us why one of the reasons for preferring the port side, certainly heading north, is that we would rather have the spectacular sunsets from our cabin rather than sun rises.
We switched on the TV for the morning wake show, with cruise director Warren and his enormous sidekick, Eric.
The phone rang. It was Head Purser Angus offering us a move to a mini-suite, but still on the starboard side, nearer the front of the ship. Angus was as frustrated and annoyed about our cabin change as we were, as he, like us, believed that if you booked a specific cabin and opted out of any upgrades, that cabin was secure.
As we were unpacked and the cabin itself is fine, we couldn’t see any advantage in just moving forwards, so we asked that if possible, we’d prefer to change back to a port side cabin at the changeover port of Beijing, which then gives us a decent run up to Alaska and back to San Francisco.
As I write this now, there is land to be seen from the port side, but nothing but ocean on the starboard side.
Anyway, the sun shone for the day, though it was still a bit chilly out on deck, so we spent the day inside. That is no hardship at all.
We kicked off with breakfast of course (no photos!) and then headed for the Princess theatre for a lecture “Spying for Your Country Series Australian Intelligence Organizations and Operations”, with guest lecturer Col. Frank (Fuzz) Furr. Interesting! There was a bit of debate from a couple of the audience regarding the perceptions of an obviously well known spy saga of the early 1950’s involving the Petrovs. Meant nothing to us of course, but it was still interesting.
We then headed back up to the Horizon Court for a proper coffee and here, we realised that a lot of info we disseminated earlier, is now out of date! I purchased a new coffee card at $35 (15 coffees) but now there is no ‘free’ mug included. That offer expired at the end of 2011, so now, if you want the takeaway mug, it will be an extra $5. Still good value for a mug maybe, but it put up the price of the coffee. For those new to my blogs, this is only regarding espresso coffee. The standard free ship coffee, could best be assessed as true ground coffee - it tastes like mud. I now travel with several boxes of Robert Timms individual coffee bags...
Next item was carpet bowls, run by the entertainment staff. Our host was Bogdan, from Romania. Each host seems to put their own spin on how to run the bowls and Bogdan’s was that whoever scored best in the first game, stayed in the competition. So if you scored just one bowl, you were still in. If the next game, the score was still by 1, then the two winners were still in. If however, someone then scored two, all the previous winners on one, were then out. It made it a bit odd as you hung around not knowing how long you’d be there. We had one game – which we won, but then were out later, without playing again.
I caught up with blogs from the previous couple of days before our next appointment. A 2pm beginners dance class with Alana. Hugely popular the floor was pretty full and man by there were past ‘pupils’ which just goes to show the enduring popularity if Alana’s classes. With beginner’s cha-cha to kick off, we still did it – for the exercise. Having then dismissed the beginners, Alana moved on to another simple step – “Cuban Breaks”.
Now 3pm and time for a very late lunch, as the late dining at 7:45pm was a fair way away. Soup and the famous fresh rolls (both x 2...) then onto afternoon trivia.
Again, as many will know, this is one of the rituals of our shipboard life. With Mal & Megan, we were joined by another couple, Thane & Tony. As the “Interlopers”, we scored well - for the 7 questions, then we fell apart a wee bit through our lack of knowledge of Judaism, literature, commerce, dance(!), birds and art... So we ended up with 13 and top score was about 16.
For our first late afternoon at sea, we felt it wasn’t warm enough for a swim (how sad, such suffering) so dinner at 7:45. Late for us really as traditionally, at home, we eat about 6pm. Mal and Megan were with us of course and we met Robert & Sharon (from Perth) but the other two weren’t present, so there were just the six of us. Nothing like our wonderful table of ten, but happy enough.
As last year, nice food though we have yet to train our waiter (Allan) and assistant (Ronaldo) as to a balance of more brown dinner rolls than white.
We opted to go straight to the atrium afterwards for Alan & Alana’s quiz. Always fun and we caught up with more couples from last year and even managed a dance or two, including Alana’s disco samba. We suggested that the Rock & Roll Waltz (thanks Joy & Selwyn!) might be a useful addition, given the somewhat restricted dance area! After a quick demo, Alana agreed, so we now need a link to a download. I have it on the PC but not on the laptop. We finally crashed at 12:25am... Our legs ached a wee bit after all the usual stair climbing but a good day.
Quite what will happen regarding the cabin is anyone’s guess. Oh and for last year’s group, virtually no staff seem to be on again this time. I think we have only come across one. The same Senior staff are Purser Angus, Hotel Manager Oswaldo, the Senior Doctor and that is about it, so it is a totally new cruise on several counts.