We’re into our first span of 3 sea days before returning to Cabo on the 16th. We’ll have several longer sailing stretches as we continue south around the tip of South America and cross the Atlantic.
There are lots of things to do on sea days: lectures, movies, musical entertainment, laundry, spa and gym time, socializing, and of course eating and drinking.
The old joke goes: “I’m on a seafood diet. If I see food, I eat it.” That could too easily be true on the Star, where there is tempting, beautifully presented, tantalizing fragrant food everywhere. Thank goodness that plated portions are right-sized to prevent “accidental” overeating.
My blog/diary entry for these 3 days is mostly food and the evening entertainment (plus a wee bit of venting – sorry). Skip it if you’re looking for lots of scenery, wildlife, or history. Those will all be back soon.
January 13, 2022. 65°F/18°C
We were treated to a guest performer, cellist Wendy Law, who in addition to her many worldwide performing credits is a Teaching Artist at the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and founder and Artistic Director of Classical Jam. Her show was called “Cello In Love”, featuring iconic love songs of every genre. She wowed the audience with her final piece: a Gershwin medley bookended by the intro and finale to Rhapsody in Blue. Her self-described “princess dress” was pretty wow too!
January 14, 2022. 80°F/27°C
There were some logistics to be dealt with today as every passenger needed to complete the process for a Chilean vaccine verification card. We don’t reach Santiago until February 1st, but processing can take up to 15 days, so there was some urgency involved. Each person needed to set up an account, verify their email address, upload passport and vaccine documentation, and also take their photograph holding their passport under their chin. Ship’s staff were assigned to help everyone through the steps, and staggered the process into 3 sessions so that all 500 of us could complete it on time.
VENT ALERT: Unfortunately, walking through an online process with a group of 150 or so seniors on a variety of phones, tablets, and laptops was the definition of herding cats. Ted kept telling me to “just sit down” as I flitted between folks trying to help them navigate the process; the number of hands in the air looking for help far outnumbered the officers present to provide support.
Having spent much of my career training people to use new unfamiliar software, much of which they really didn’t want to learn, I admit to wanting to grab our Financial Officer’s microphone and take over. (Plus, he often left it “on” when helping individuals, causing everyone else to second guess their own screens). To start with, in a room full of old folks sitting in theatre seats trying to see a projection screen, giving them a URL to type in instead of needing to photograph a QR code over people’s heads would – to me – have been the logical starting point. So would demonstrating each individual step on the big screen. S-L-O-W-L-Y. Some older folks with android or Windows Surface tablets had never even taken a photo with them before! Our session was the first one, at 10:30, with the next group scheduled for 11:15. At 11:15, our group was only about 50% of the way through the process, with the next session’s participants trying to find seats, so I came back to our cabin to complete mine. By that time the number of extra officers recruited to help out in the theater had tripled from the initial allocation. I was frustrated because I wanted to make the process better, smoother, friendlier … RIGHT NOW. Ted was frustrated because I can’t mind my own business and go to a place of Zen.
11:30 a.m. and I needed a Bloody Mary. Thank God for Yoyo and the staff in the Pool Grille.
Our new Executive Chef Thomas Noack is making his mark already. Yesterday’s lunch theme was “Pastrami”, with all kinds of inventive takes on the iconic deli sandwich (of course, as well as all the myriad other foods offered daily). Today’s lunch theme was “Tropical”, but I just needed some saucy, spicy chicken wings with my drink. There’s nothing like getting your hands messy to relieve frustration.
Dinner tonight was a tomahawk steak special served on the pool deck. Pool deck food events tend to be big, splashy shows, complete with multiple chefs, signature drinks, and extra attractive food displays. We originally had reservations at Manfredi’s, but….. tomahawk steak!
Dinner was stunning and mouthwateringly delicious. Music by resident guitarist King during dinner was a prelude to dancing under the stars to the Viking Band. I really can’t say enough about how great these 4 musicians (Enrico on piano, London on drums, Henji on lead guitar, and Jerome on bass guitar) are. On their own or fronted by their 2 vocalists they create an absolutely dynamite show. In addition, there were “surprise” vocal performances by our Cruise Director Aaron, and our two new Assistant Cruise Directors Damian and Sarah-Leanne. It made for a really fun evening!
We twisted, samba-ed and generally rocked to the music. I added 2000 “steps” on my Garmin doing Flashdance steps to “Johnny B Goode” !
Pinch me. Who knew retirement could feel like this?