Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Our 115 day World Cruise, day 80, at sea!

Hello you all!  All 2    of you!  lol!  Today is day 80 and if the ship makes it around Africa without the pirates getting them, then all will be well!

Today was Sandi and Irwin's 30th Anniversary!  We all had a nice coffee hour and then we all went our separate ways!
                                                                  The happy couple!

         We are meeting Bonnie and Diane here at Applebee's for lunch.     We have already been to Curves and after we eat we are going to go to the mall.  We can get in our 10 minute walk there!                                                      
                                         Diane and Bonnie!  Vicki has known Bonnie for over 40 years!  We had a nice visit and played catch up with all that is going on.  They will be going back to Denver in a few weeks as they are...Snow Birds!  After they leave the roads won't be as congested! lol!                    

We have all been fed and it is time to go merrily on our ways!  We had a nice visit ......I won't say ...it is time for you to fly home!  Oops...lol!
Pictures of the day, from Kween Karen's Blog!   taken in Sri Lanka on 3/24/2013
                                                                 All I can say is OMG!                  
                               This is Kween Karen and her friend and all I can say is....OMG! YIKES!                                                      
NOW THIS IS MY KINDA GUY AND MY KINDA PICTURE! aT LEAST i CAN TOUCH IT!                                   

Where we did not go today....but the Amsterdam did!

Postcards from Paradise!  OMG its a pirate drill not a fire drill!!!

 Day at Sea

Forgot to mention that we got back 1/2 hour on the clock last night, which is odd, but we are on the even side now. It is a funny thing, but most people we talk to do not like the 1/2 hour change, because it is more difficult to adjust digital clocks. Boy, do we have it hard or what?

The most excitement today was the special "pirate" drill that took place at 9:30am. The entire crew was required to participate in one way or another.....either outside or behind the scenes. Usually, during a regular drill, only a select number of crew are involved in a particular area of the ship. Of course, Captain Jonathon announced prior to this exercise that it was a practice drill only, so not to be alarmed. We heard one long ring of the ship's alarm, then an announcement came saying "testing, testing, testing". This is confusing to us, since how are we to know for sure, if this was a test or not? The choice of words is contradictory. Anyway, with that, all of us on the promenade deck had to go inside the ship to take cover. Everyone on outside decks had to go inside. We were asked to stay in corridors or interior spaces, and sit down. Sitting was required in case the Captain had to maneuver quickly, like take a sudden sharp turn, which could cause injuries if standing. Now the only problem we could see was that dozens of folks used the stairs to sit down. That blocked the way for the rest of those who wished to sit in the hallways outside their rooms.

While we were cooling our heels inside, security teams were manning the decks and testing the firehoses. This time we did not see how effective it was. Perhaps we don't want to know. We did notice that right before the drill, helmets and large axes were being distributed to these fellows.

Other precautions described to us were reassuring news. The UKMTO in Dubai (United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organization) is an agency that the Amsterdam reports regularly to. They are responsible for the coalition of warships in the area assigned to anti-piracy operations. We are being tracked for our entire transit. Good news. We may not see them, but they are there.

Extra security guards are on a rotating 24 hour watch, as well as radar watch on the bridge. Four LRADS (Long Range Acoustical Devices) are rigged, manned, and ready to use. On past cruises, we have seen these devices stationed on the promenade deck. Problem with that was they were touched and examined by the passengers. And what tipped us off to this in the beginning is the razor wire that was added yesterday. The final word from the Captain was that these precautions are in the unlikely event of a boarding attempt. He does not want to alarm us, only clarify the subject. Yes, we are clear. We promise to go inside and stay away from windows and doors. The Captain added that we were to take no video and post it on Facebook, please.

There were no exploration lectures this morning, except Barbara H, who talked about Madagascar. This will be a new port for us. We almost made it there in 2009, but had to pass on by, because the area we intended to visit was in a civil war of sorts. So this time, we are looking forward to seeing the lemur sanctuary on one of the islands near the port of Nosy-be.

Cooking classes have continued, and today's was given by George Geary. We did sign up for his classes, but he is booked with a long wait-list. Anyway, we got a report today from Ellen W., who was disappointed that the only thing they made was salad and dressings. Last year, we were told that all the students worked hands on with the preparation, followed by dining on the same food prepared by everyone. And naturally, the highlite for most was the glass of wine included with this paid class. Now Ellen told us that they are not allowed to eat the food they handled. While the students are preparing the dishes, the real cooks are making their lunch in the kitchen under "sterile" conditions. That way, no one can contaminate the food by accident, perhaps getting everyone sick. And the one glass of wine was excellent of course, according to Ellen.

We relaxed at the aft pool until 3pm under very cloudy skies. It was still warm and humid, especially now that we are heading south towards the Equator once again. We still take precautions against sunburn, because the conditions can be deceiving for sure. The skies began to get darker when we heard the cover closing over the mid pool area. That usually means rain is coming. We picked up our stuff, and went to have a bite to eat.

By late afternoon, the rains came and never let up for the rest of the day. It turned out to be another movie day in our room. The side effects of the cold has really kept one of us down, and it turned out to be another evening of room service for us. We do like sharing dinnertime with our tablemates, but we are certain they do not want to share the cold.

More good news........the clocks went back for a whole hour tonight.....an extra hour of sleep won't hurt either of us.

Mary Ann & Bill

 At Sea

Today was a really wonderful day at sea, darn near perfect….  The sun was shining all day with a wonderful breeze.  We have crossed the Equator again and are now in the southern hemisphere once again.  Tonight we had another formal night.  The theme was white, don’t really know what that was all about but the evening was enjoyable.  We had Rene, the Spa Manager, as our hostess for dinner and, as usual, she was delightful.  Nice day and evening……

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