Wednesday, November 2 – Of This and That
For those who are not familiar with it, Cruise Critic is an on-line group, originally started by AOL, which offers cruisers a chance to comment on current events in the cruise world. There are discussion groups arranged by cruise line and others for specific cruises. The Roll Call for this cruise over 200 people; by comparison, the GWV in 2015 had about 120.
This internet chat room allows members to discuss private tours, travel arrangements, hobbies, etc. It is a way for them to meet each other before boarding the ship. This year, several members seem to highjack the Roll Call even though they had the best intentions [and we know what road they pave]. One member established an elaborate, multi-layered Excel spreadsheet to keep track of members’ names; the private tours and who was going on them; the itinerary; even the weather. In essence, he became the Great and Good Oz.
The self-appointed Mistress of Ceremonies commandeered everything else. She has coordinated all CC activities and is sending out little reminders about luncheons, happy hours and other activities. She repeatedly posted the same message – in caps and red – about what could and could not be discussed at meetings; everyone knows that conversations about private tours are off limits as a courtesy to HAL; after all, private tours hit them in the bottom line. But the tone of these messages was almost threatening.
In the past, we have “led” 5 such groups on HAL cruises [Grand Med in ’09 and ’11; North Cape in ’10; Amazon in ’12 and the GWV in ‘15]. To put it mildly, our style was waaaay more relaxed. People arranged their tour groups by email, not through the CC website, for example, and the meetings were really a place to relax and talk to new friends.
And that, Nameless Reader Who Asked, is why we are so unimpressed and uninvolved with CC this year. And, now, back to our story.
The night may not have been stormy, but the seas were rough last night. We were reminded of crossing the Drake Passage between Argentina and Antarctica. The cabin shook, heaved, rocked and rolled. There were bumps, rattles and creaks throughout the night all of which combined to make it a sleepless night for us and many fellow passengers.
Because we were exhausted from not sleeping, we stayed in bed late and did not leave our cabin until a bit after 11 a.m. when we went to attend the Mariner Brunch, or breakfast in our case. After waiting for the MDR doors to open, we were led to a table for 7 which we shared with a Dutch couple from Rotterdam and one from Naples, Florida. Just before e usual speeches were delivered, we were joined by the ship’s Guest Relations Manager, a delightful young Spaniard. The Dutch couple was actually a three-some because they were accompanied by the wife’s guide dog, a beautiful and friendly black lab. We spoke of many things including service dogs in the Netherlands, Rotterdam and cruising experiences.
Trivia today was exciting because the venue is the Crow’s Nest, the highest enclosed spot on the ship. With the ship still gyrating, it was a challenge for people to navigate through the furniture to their places. No one was moving quickly; even the Cruise Director read the questions from a seated position to retain he balance and dignity. We came in a non-existent second today with 15 correct [the winners tied at 17]; we may be finding our rhythm.
Following Trivia, we went to the theater to hear guest speaker George’s talk on the need for predatory animals. Although we like George one-on-one, he is a boring speaker and we returned to the cabin to avoid snoring during his lecture.
Dinner tonight was French-themed so MA was able to get her beloved escargots and was in her happy place. She even had boeuf bourgeon instead of the vegetarian option. D had coq au vin which was not as good as the one MA makes.
Tonight’s show was ABBAfab again, this time in a show devoted to Billy Joel and Elton John. As usual, it was over amplified but nonetheless enjoyable.
As Mr. Pepys said, “And so to bed.”
TOMORROW – We approach land