Friday, January 2, 2015

Alaska - Day 2, At Sea

Monday, September 22

Weather:  Mid 60'sF
Partly cloudy with some mist in the afternoon
"No Coat" weather (no jacket or sweatshirt, either)
A smooth day at sea!
Unusually for us, we woke up about 7:30, so we got up, dressed, and attempted breakfast in the dining room. This is something we are hardly up in time to do on the ship, preferring to sleep in a bit and go to the buffet. We were the last ones through the door...whew! A very nice couple from Brazil shared our table, and it was their first cruise to Alaska, too. Most of the people we've been chatting with have been several times already, solidifying the perception that Alaska is a place you want to visit again and again. I hope so!

After breakfast, we went to a trivia game, which was a lot of fun. If we'd had a group of six like most of the others (instead of just the two of us), I think we might have won the game, because it was so close! Six heads are better than two, yes?

On the schedule today, I noticed a lot of activities designed to encourage passengers to go to the spa or the gym or both (“How to Look 10 Years Younger” and “Secrets to a Flatter Stomach”). I know! How about serving fewer sweets and closing the buffet for a couple of hours during the night? Nah.

After a very relaxed and enjoyable lunch in the dining room with some nice folks from the Bay Area, we went to the theater to watch a movie, “Chef,” starring Jon Favreau and Sofia Vergara. There should be a law against looking like that girl. She is gorgeous! 

Napping on the deck chairs...ahhhh.
Or napping on the bed?
You decide. 
And then we decided to hang out on our balcony and take a nap. I love days at sea. Nothing is rushed. If you want to sleep, you can sleep. If you want to eat, you can eat. If you want to read, you can read. If you want to get a massage and hang out in the hot tub or the gym, you can do that. If you want to go from class to class to class and activity to activity to activity, you can do that, too. But, to me, days at sea are synonymous with relaxation.

Table mates Judy & Mark
Before we knew it, it was time to get ready for formal night. If you don't want to dress up for formal night, you don't have to. But please honor others by being dressed at least “smart casual” in the public areas. Exercise clothing, torn jeans, t-shirts, and sweats seem disrespectful when others have gotten into the spirit of the event. That being said, there were a number of lovely evening gowns to be seen, as well as men in tuxes. Very nice indeed! I heard that the Alaska cruise is generally more casual than some. So, a ballgown is probably a bit much. But a cocktail dress would be just fine. Guys, you'll look great in the pictures with a suit and tie, or at least a sports coat, slacks, and tie. Yes, please wear a shirt. What a question!

Table mates Nona & Phil
Table mates Lorene & Jeff
We stopped on our way to the dining room to have our picture taken. We hardly ever get all dressed up, so it's a good opportunity to look decent in a photo. There were photography stations all over the ship, and people still had to stand in line. Note to self: Get the photo taken after dinner, when the photographers are standing around with nothing to do. And speaking of dinner, here's what we ate: My appetizer was Stilton mousse, creamy and bursting with flavor. Harry had the duck breast. We both had cream of asparagus soup. For a main course, I tried the barramundi on a bed of creamed leek. The creamed leek reminded me of my mom's. So good! Harry had lamb with mint sauce, and it was prepared perfectly pink. I was stuffed, so I just had mango ice cream for dessert. Harry surprised me by ordering the fresh fruit cream pie, which was delicious. This was a surprise because, as we all know by now, Harry always orders crème brulée if it's on the menu.

After dinner, we went to see the evening's production, “Stardust,” with the Princess singers and dancers. They are so talented! It was a great show of “standards,” sung expertly, with complicated and well-executed choreography. Then it was off to the Vista Lounge for the “Marriage Match” game. When people are put on the spot and have been poured generous helpings of champagne, it's amazing what they will reveal about each other. Remind me to never, ever, volunteer for that one! But it's highly entertaining to watch. And after that, also at the Vista Lounge, it was time for the first round of the “Princess Pop Star” karaoke competition. Half the singers were surprisingly good. The other half? Well, they were sincere and tried hard. We had a wonderful time cheering everyone on.

We weren't ready to turn in yet, so we went up to the buffet in search of a cup of tea. There, we ran into Brian and Sylvia from our car club back home again. They'd been sitting behind us at the movie this afternoon, but we didn't know until the lights came on. It's a small world! They are traveling with a very large group, and it looks as though they are the organizers. Good luck herding everyone, you guys!

The captain made an announcement today that the seas, which have been very smooth so far, will be much roughter tonight. This is because we won't be able to outrun a low pressure system due to our delay leaving San Francisco. He confirmed that the delay was caused by work stoppages and slow-downs by the Longshoremen, and we will be very late arriving in Juneau (our scheduled first stop). I don't know what that will mean for our excursion to Mendenhall Glacier. Sigh.

Note:  Harry misplaced his good, bi-focal glasses today. It's a good thing we had his reading glasses with us. Pack a spare pair of glasses!

Cautionary tale:  Did I tell you about the couple from Sacramento who drove themselves to San Francisco a couple of trips ago (we met them at embarkation)? They were stuck in traffic and arrived just in time to see the ship sail away. Imagine the sinking feeling when you realize your vacation is over before it begins. ACK! This time, they arrived the day before and spent the night at a hotel in the city. Good plan!

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