After nine days at sea it is amazing that we have seen nothing off our balcony or out the windows but the deep blue sea. When you sail in the Caribbean it is common to see two or three ships coming or going in the same general direction you are. The waters around Alaska can get congested, too. We know that other Princess ships left Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday and Sunday (we left on Friday) and they are headed toward some part of Europe as well, but they were never within sight even on the farthest horizon. The seas have been calm and the weather warm enough to sit outside and read with a light jacket. When we do our daily laps around deck 7 we even work up a sweat.
The Princess staff has done a wonderful job of keeping us entertained and the time has gone by quickly. Their plans were challenged when we did not pick up the new entertainers and port lecturer in the Azores, but the entertainers trapped on board with us have stepped into the breech and put on extra shows. The soprano said she was pleased that she got a chance to sing some music that is not part of her regular program. (We heard the missed stop has caused her to miss her friend’s wedding.) The comedian demonstrated that he was just as good at sparring with audience members and riffing as he went along, as he was at his planned schtick. The string quartet that usually just plays in the atrium put on a special concert in the night club. The ship downloaded the port lectures complete with photos and videos from the speaker’s website and we can watch them on TV. It’s a shame he’s not here to answer questions, but his comprehensive approach to our next two scheduled stops has us feeling well informed. It still is not clear if the new entertainers will be able to join us. They got caught in the Azores by the local airline strike and from there they have to fly to Lisbon, fly to London, fly to Cork, and then drive to Cobh where we hopefully will be docked tomorrow. That’s a lot of connections for you and your luggage to make especially when fancy clothes, music and props are a must for your act.
The rest of the staff has stepped in to help as well. We went to a Q&A attended by the singers, dancers and tech staff of the production shows. They took us back stage and Ken had an uninterrupted fifteen minutes with the stage manager who seemed pleased that someone was so interested in his work and asked such high tech questions. I was especially impressed by their electronic curtain which not only is wired with twinkle lights for a starlight effect, but has LED’s that cab show video images and patterns. The tech staff has had some challenges this week as well. One of the curtains got stuck in the down position and the computerized system would not allow it to be raised. It insisted that two error messages had to be resolved and the crew ended up tying ropes around the bottom and raising it a few stories by hand and tying it up. They too, were looking forward to some stability while we should have been docked in the Azores to diagnose the problem.
We’re still eating fresh berries and green crisp lettuce. The kitchen was clearly not impacted by the missed Azores stop. Although it was a struggle the first few days we’ve conquered five time zones thus far and feel like we’re really here, wherever here is.