Day 25 — Starting across the Pacific
Awaking this morning and looking out the window, we are enthralled to see the Pacific Ocean is a virtual mill pond, glassy and almost rippleless! Nothing like what we expect to see. The day progresses on smooth seas and sunny skies and all passengers seem happy. The afternoon finds us in the swim up bar having cocktails. After all, what would you expect?
The Palladium Theatre show is fun but not the caliber of last night’s show. Tonight is the anniversary of the Scottish Poet Robert “Robbie” Burns, not someone I’ve been aware of but famous in his own right back in the 1700’s in Scotland. It appears to be a very big Scottish and British Holiday and we join in the celebrations after 10PM and watch as the entertainers perform songs from the euphoric group, “The Proclaimers”. This is big in the UK area but I’m not sure us Americans have heard of this.
Also in the Robbie Burns tradition is the “Ode to the Haggis”, sort of a blessing to that offal (pun intended for awful) meal that includes animal intestines wrapped in stomach lining from a cow or pig. They commence with a reading of a poem from Burns that opens the celebration of his memory. On a side note, I tried Haggis tonight at dinner. I thought it would be rather gross, but I have to say it was flavorful yet very dry. A British tablemate commented that it needed more gravy. Okay, I at least tried it!
After listening to several poems and songs that were very Gaelic in origin, we couldn’t really relate to the show, not only that it was past our normal bedtime, so we headed to our room for the night.
Day 26 — Second Day across the Pacific
Days are quite warm and pleasant and we find out the ocean is at 28 degrees Celsius which is 82 degrees Fahrenheit! Today is overcast with occasional light rain. But it is a Holiday, to be precise, Australia Day. Small celebrations ensue in all areas of the ship and we finish the night with a tribute to ABBA in the show lounge, dinner and a trivia quiz about Food & Drink in which we did abysmally.
Day 27 — Third Day across the Pacific
Light rain and rainbows start the morning and we go about our usual routines. Today marks the longest vacation we have ever taken together at 22 days on the ship, not counting the 5 days in London before getting on the ship. Our previous long vacation was 21 days in Peru. We have joined an Escape Room team and compete this afternoon. There are 4 days of competition and we will find out how we did after they all are completed. Good news is we solved it and escaped! Fun stuff! Afternoon skies are a bit sunny but then fog sets in. Then it’s off to the afternoon quiz and a game of Majong. Now it’s time for Formal Night so it’s off to the room to put on formal wear and to the show we go! The Rat Pack tonight!
The day starts normally. Shortly before noon, Elee develops the beginnings of gastro-intestinal virus symptoms. The medical center immediately quarantines her to our room because of a Norovirus scare on board and tells her that her cabin mate, me, has to be quarantined also. So when I come back to the room an hour later, I get the bad news. 48 hours. Quarantined. They bring us menus and we give our food orders. The problem is that I feel perfectly fine and have absolutely no symptoms. Their printed paperwork states that the penalty for not following the quarantine rules is to terminate our cruise. Translation, put off the ship.
So I spend a boring day in the cabin. The entertainment system on board has only 3 movies each day. We exhaust them before dinner. I call and order a glass of wine and am told it has to be cleared with the doctor. Shortly the doctor calls me and clears me for a full menu and alcohol provided I promise to be good and not share with Elee. I proceed to read an entire book. On to game shows, music channels and the news and we retire early. But not before the cleaning crew comes in, dressed in haz-mat garb and proceeds to wipe down the room and sterilize it.
Day 29 — Wed., January 29
We awake to breakfast being delivered. All deliveries of food to our room have been made by Crew members dressed in haz-mat garb. Makes us feel really special. When they pick up the trays and plates after a meal, the come with a haz-mat bag and we have to put our empty plates and such in the bag. Shortly after breakfast, Elee calls the medical center to check on her diagnosis, having given samples for lab testing yesterday, and they give her good news that she does not have Norovirus. So when questioned about our isolation, she is told that hasn’t changed due to her having some kind of gastro-intestional virus or issue.
Well, I break free and go upstairs to watch a seminar on our upcoming ports and I stop by the game group we play with every day and let them know our situation. While I’m there, I attempt to buy a Virgin Mary, my standard morning drink, but am informed that my card is ‘locked’ and can’t be used. I endure teasing from my group that accuses me of drinking too much and I must be shut off. So I explain to them of the reason for my quarantine and one of the group offers to buy me my drink and all is good. But I tell them I won’t be sticking around, primarily because I’m attending the port seminar, but in the back of my mind I can’t help but think security might come find me and scold me for breaking the quarantine. So I attend the seminar, standing in the back of the room, well away from everybody. Information absorbed, I decide to be a good boy and I go back to spend the rest of the day in the room.
We continue to be served meals by haz-mat clothed service staff. It has become quite comical. I order a glass of wine because I am not the patient and can have a full menu and I again have to jump through hoops to get one. So I order two because I don’t want to jump through those hoops every few hours.
We watch horrid British movies and TV shows and endure our meals served to us. Mine, for the most part, are palatable but Elee’s are not only horrid but they consistently forget the most important parts and she has to call and complain on every meal.
Day 30 — Thursday, January 30
We awake and breakfast is served to us around 8:00AM. Once again, they leave out the most important part of Elee’s meal and she has to complain again. The enlightening part is the meal is delivered to us by our normal evening waiter and we have a pleasant chat with him about why he has missed us in the restaurant. We take some photos of him in his haz-mat outfit because no one is going to believe this.
After we eat, Elee calls the medical staff about our confinement and we are given the encouraging news that we should be released by 11:00AM. We hope so and do not order lunch because of the news. Now we put on a silly British WWII movie and wait.
Shortly after 11:00AM we get the call that we are cleared to leave the room and we are ecstatic. We happily head out and find our group of friends where we declare, “Free, we’re free at last!” And everyone cheers for us. Although Elee may bear the title of “Typhoid Elee” for the remainder of the cruise. We go to the Bistro for lunch and on to play cards and games in the afternoon and all is good once again. We see the show in the theatre in the evening and eat in the restaurant where we tell our story multiple times to all that wondered where we’ve been.
We go to the pub and listen to music for a bit and meet other friends, telling our story once more. By the time we arrive back at our cabin, the room has been completely sanitized and we are happy.
Day 31 — January 31
Breakfast in the restaurant and life is back to normal. Although the ships crew is sanitizing everything in sight on a minute by minute basis. We do question what can happen if they don’t get these illnesses under control before our next port in 3 more days. We find that our “Chef’s Table” that we organized for tomorrow night has been postponed because part of the dinner includes a Galley Tour. So we will wait to find out what will happen.
This afternoon I play Shuffleboard and surprise, surprise, I win! I’m now in that eclectic group of passengers with a token award with the ship’s name on it. In my case it is a key chain flashlight. Whoohoo!
So today is a normal day at sea. It is hard to believe the ocean is still calm. We only had that 2 day stretch of rough water going by the Bay of Biscayne. Ever since then it has been calm water all the way across the Atlantic and now on the eighth day across the Pacific. The Brits are calling the oceans a “Mill Pond”
Day 32 — February 1
Today is another calm day. We partake of all the normal onboard activities such as games, quizzes, cards, and more games. In the evening, we were scheduled to dine at the “Chef’s Table”, but due to the virus scare onboard, all Chef’s Tables have been postponed. So we check out the only other specialty restaurant onboard, the Fusion Restaurant, an Indian Restaurant that we would give high ratings to as the food was delicious.
Day 33 — February 2
Our 9th day at sea since departing the Panama Canal and the seas are continuing to be calm. Today’s games continue as we play at sea. This evening’s show is a “Phantom of the Opera” recreation and it garnered the second Standing Ovation of the entire trip.
We “jump ship” in the restaurant this evening and decide to find a different table to dine at. Our tablemates are likely relieved as we have felt they consider us an imposition on their time. We sit at a table for 4 with only us across from a table containing probably the youngest passengers on the ship. They are amicable though and we kabitz with them and all is good.
So it’s early to bed as we are only 100 Nautical Miles from Nuku Hiva and the prospect of stepping on land after 10 days on the ship. Land excursions will now occur approximately every other day for at least the next week or two. We have arranged for us and four other friends to go ashore and find exciting things to do! This will be a “Tender” Port, where the ship’s Tenders will courier us to shore and we will arise early to acquire our Tender Tickets.