At Sea Toward Nuku Hiva
Between Panama City & Nuku Hiva we had 8 sea days in a row. That’s a lot. It gives you an appreciation for how really, really big the Pacific Ocean is. The Captain commented that with the vastness of this ocean he sometimes wonders how the opposing fleets found each other during World War II. Actually, they sometimes had difficulty doing that.
After we were all aboard in Panama City the Captain came on the loudspeaker and welcomed all our newly arrived passengers. From this we take it that all the folks who missed the boat in Ft Lauderdale made it here by Panama City. Some had caught up with us earlier, but now all are aboard for the long sail to the South Pacific.
Life on board is pretty relaxing, if that’s what you are looking for. If not, there are games, lectures, movies, shows, eating (of course) and other things to do just about every minute of the day. Often, there are sunsets, especially as you near the South Pacific.
We usually eat breakfast & dinner in the main dining room, where the food has been really very good with a lot of variety. Sometimes food on a cruise ship can get a little bland, presumably to ensure that everyone on board is able to enjoy it. But the food on this trip has often been fairly spicy. We generally eat lunch on the Lido deck near the pool. The Dive In there serves very good hamburgers & hot dogs & the Lido buffet serves a wide variety of dishes every day, including some kind of meat that is sliced to order, an Asian station that prepares foods from a rotating selection of countries, and a sandwich station where you can get a sandwich made to your specifications. All are very good. They also have a variety of pastry, pies & ice cream for dessert. We are slowly getting control of our appetites.
Outside our cabin is a deck that extends all the way around the ship, for sitting on deck chairs & walking. A mile is 3.5 laps of the ship & we walk every day, at least once. Have to keep the muscles tuned for some of the more demanding port visits! Sometimes we see birds out there, much less often sea life.
We go to the Explorer’s Lounge almost every night to listen to Adagio, the Hungarian violin & piano duo. David & Attila, the duo on this ship (same as in 2016), are really terrific, playing flawless show tunes & light classics with flair & improvising jazz, together & solo. An intimate concert before dinner every night really enhances this voyage for us.
Almost every night after dinner there is a show in the main lounge, which we attend about half the time. We generally skip the comedians & magicians, but some of the musical performances have been very enjoyable. The Amsterdam Singers & Dancers are the in-house performers (4 singers & 6 dancers). Last time the singers were very good but the choreography left a lot to be desired. This year the dancing has, at least, caught up to the singing. The dancers have been pretty spectacular & the choreography is worlds ahead of last time. Photography during shows has been difficult, so some of these are not very sharp.
A Polynesian location team has been on board since Panama City, demonstrating dances, giving music & dance classes & presenting lectures. Kainoa, who is from Hawaii, is the lecturer & his presentations have been informative & enjoyable. There are four younger people who make up the dance group. Again, pictures are not very sharp.
There have been several special nights. We had a Black & Silver Ball on one formal night. Masks were provided to everyone at their table at dinner, & some actually wore them. At the end of the ball waiters circulated with trays of various kinds of chocolate.
One night was designated Dutch Night. Dutch cuisine was on the menu, orange lights filled the dining room & Dutch hats were distributed to the diners. Below is our usual table array (front: Bob, Judy, Bill, back of table: Rick, Mary, Lee, Robert, & standing behind our friends Corinne, Kathy, Peggy). Some of these photos were by Lee.
Robert & Bill inhabit a spacious Neptune Suite & they invited the rest of us to a party after we crossed the Equator (first of four times this trip). Wine was plentiful, canapes were provided by the ship & a good time was had by all. Apparently the ship has a rule against having more than 8 people in a room; don’t tell anybody, but the eight at this party was more than the usual 8 you learned about in school (photos by Lee).
After all this time at sea most folks are looking forward to getting their feet on dry land in Nuku Hiva. Abbafab, one of the entertainment groups, had an song for that feeling, which went (to the tune of the Beatles’ Let It Be):
“Day at sea, day at sea, day at sea, day at sea. What’s on for tomorrow? Day at sea.”
To finish off this segment, here are a couple of the towel animals we received during this period.