After we leave Panama, we have two days at sea before arriving in our first
port of call in Peru. I know many people who have yet to take a cruise
have concerns about "sea days". In particular, the question is
what do you do with yourself? Please seek answers to this important
question by reading my travelogue below.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - Day 10 – At sea
Today and tomorrow are "sea days" until we reach our first port in Peru. I look
forward to sea days, however some might wonder what happens aboard ship on these
days when we are not in a port. How do you avoid tedium?
Well, for starters there are 52 activities listed on today’s program starting at
7:00AM and finishing at midnight (or later , if you are up to it)! These are just
the planned activities offered by the ship’s Explorations staff. A sampling:
listening to enrichment and travel information lectures, playing trivia, staff
interviews, spa & acupuncture treatments and exercise programs, food cooking
demos, playing games (bridge, trivia, shuffleboard, tennis, ping pong, chess),
learning to dance, wine tasting, learning about computers, watching show lounge
performances, listening to music in bars and lounges, dancing, or watching first
run movies and recorded concerts.
Activities you do by yourself or with travel companions might include: reading a
book, walking around the deck, drinking and eating, snoozing, writing a journal
or novel, working on crafts and hobbies, swimming, sunbathing, taking photos
(ships interior), planning your next cruise, cruising the Internet, calling
home, booking upcoming shore excursions, shopping, gambling, walking the decks
for exercise, or meeting and sharing stories with fellow passengers during meal
times, and of course people watching.
So what did I do today?
I have breakfast in the main La Fontaine dining room, sharing a table
with a couple from Texas. He is a dedicated birder, she is a retired Spanish
teacher, and they are both very well traveled. We spot a Spinner Dolphin out the
window as we eat and converse. After breakfast, I fast walk a kilometer around
the Lower Promenade Deck before going to the show lounge to listen to the tail
end of an interview with the three young men who are the Matinee Idols group
(on-board entertainment). I stay to listen to Lisa the travel consultant
talk about things to see and do in Peru, taking some notes. Later in the
morning, I drop into the Culinary Arts Center to see the Pinnacle Grill chef
prepare Prawn Bruschetta and Steak Diane, complete with yummy samples.
Afterward, I update my travel journal in the Explorations Lounge, and then meet
my friends beside the Lido pool for a light self-serve taco lunch.
In the early afternoon I go back to the show lounge to listen to Willie Friar,
who talks about The Life of Peru Through the Years, an enrichment
presentation that reviews the history, culture, and life today in Peru, with an
emphasis on Lima and Machu Picchu. This is the first guest lecturer on this
cruise. Both my friends and I previously mentioned this omission to Thom, the
Cruise Director. To his credit, he was already on the issue with their head
office, and Willie boarded the ship in Panama City. It’s too bad she didn’t
board the ship before we transited the Panama Canal, since she was head of the
Canal Authority’s public relations before she retired. She could have
enlightened us on the San Blas Indians and the history of the Canal earlier in
My friends and I go to the Pinnacle Grill this evening for a special dinner
since it is formal night. My friends both have Steak Diane and I have Filet Mignon
and giant prawns for our main course. For starters, we have Caesar Salad (made
from scratch) and Lobster Bisque. For dessert we all order the same: Cherries
Jubilee, which is flambéed at the table. Having Cappuccinos all around finishes
things off nicely. All the food is superb, as we always expect from the Pinnacle
Grill. The young maître ’d Martijn keeps things moving in the restaurant, and is
the gracious host. Our dinner service takes two hours, which makes for a nice
evening…worth getting dressed up for.
The ship crosses the Equator into the Southern Hemisphere around 11PM local
time. The ship is making good speed at nearly 20kts, despite having a headwind
of some 34kts. Our arrival in Trujillo, Peru the day after tomorrow appears to
be on schedule.
Thursday, December 1, 2011 - Day 11 – At sea
For breakfast this morning I again go to La Fontaine the main dining
room. This morning I have a delicious Italian Frittata, which is made with egg
whites, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and a dollop of sour cream. I also have two
cappuccinos and take my time talking with my fellow passengers at the breakfast
table, easing into the morning as I like to do when I'm home.
Although I’m getting excited about seeing Machu Picchu, our first port of call
in Peru tomorrow is Trujillo. I am taking a shore excursion to see some of the ancient
sites: Huaca Dragon (dragon temple) and Chan Chan Citadel in the nearby Moche
Valley, and the caballitos de totora (reed boats) at Huanchaco Beach. It should
be an interesting day…my first in Peru. I go to the show lounge later this
morning to listen to Willie Friar’s talk about Trujillo and Pisco, which gives
some good background information.
There is a King Neptune Ceremony held this afternoon to initiate those crew
members who have not crossed the Equator before (Pollywogs). Thom the Cruise
Director is the “Prosecutor”, and either the captain or one of the senior
officers plays “King Neptune” (hard to tell who is under that big wig). Once the
Pollywogs have been “charged”, they have to kiss a giant fish and get slimed
with spaghetti and goo before they jump into the Lido pool.
We are currently sailing down the coast of Peru, but we are sufficiently
offshore to not see any land. We do spot some fishing boats and freighters, as
well as some sea birds. We are sailing through the cold Peru ocean current (9°C
water temperature) which brings the air temperature down to 20°C this afternoon
despite us being only 5° south of the equator. Out on the open decks, people are
wearing light jackets, while many are staying inside today. Some of the
Pollywogs were visibly shivering once they got wet. Apparently tomorrow in
Trujillo we should experience mild, but not hot temperatures, although we will
still have to wear sunscreen to avoid sunburn.
We have a wonderful Indonesian-themed dinner in
La Fontaine the main dining room
this evening. I then go to the main show lounge, where the
Trio Passión Española
from Barcelona puts on a terrific show of flamenco and "Spanish jazz". Nancy
Ruth - vocals and guitar; Luis Robisco - guitar; Paquito Escudero - percussion.
Nancy happens to be from Sidney, BC, Canada, which is a half hour drive
from where I live! Looking back on the cruise so far, I have gone to more live
entertainment in the last 11 days than I have attended in the last year at home.
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