Australia and South Pacific travel blog

It's almost 1pm 0n the 13th here, and almost 10pm on the 12th in Houston. We're still in the Philippine Sea, having covered about half of the 1,400 nautical miles between Jayapura and Cebu. The chart plotter indicates that Morotai is on the port side and that Palau is on the starboard side, but both are more than 200 miles distant. The captain has chosen a course different than the one we aniticipated, and we will not sail via the Celebes Sea and Sulu Sea. We're sailing a straight line course from Jayapura to the mouth of the Suragao Strait, between Samar and Mindanao, and will then undoubtedly take the Suragao Strait to the Bohai Sea, south of Cebu. The Suragao Strait was the site of the last great sea battle of WW II, and of all time for that matter, since battleships have gone out of style.

Since we have no sightseeing to report upon today, I thought that I would report on the activities that occupy our arduous days at sea. Pete gets up at about 7am and makes himself a cup of cappuchino with the expresso machine in our stateroom (this ship may fly the Bahamas flag, but it's a very italian ship). After Mary Ann wakes, we call the butler and order coffee and toast. Then we lounge around for about two hours with the coffee, reading The Houston Chronicle, which has been downloaded and reproduced in full size, though it's the prior day's newspaper.

After that, we go to La Terraza for breakfast. This is a buffet restaurant for breakfast and lunch, and a fine italian restaurant in the evenings. Then its off to the Observation Lounge for reading and gin rummy until one o'clock or so, when we go to the main dining room for lunch (four courses, five choices for each course). After lunch, Pete goes for a cigar and we spend the rest of the afternoon reading until it's time to clean up, make cocktails (we have a fully stocked bar in the stateroom) and then change clothes for dinner which starts at 7:30 (one dinner seating on this ship, and open seating, but $50 in the right place at the start of the cruise gets us table # 23 every evening). Dinner is again four courses, with five choices in each course.

We're back in the stateroom by 9:30 for a movie and a nightcap. There are shows and other entertainment on board, as well as a casino, but we're happy to "stay home". But thank goodness that there is no midnight buffet!

Tough day, but someone must do it.

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