Our first full day at sea was not nearly as action-packed or adventurous as yesterday. For starters, we did not go back to West Palm Beach although we are already getting a lot of mileage out of the story.
After breakfast in the Lido restaurant, site of the buffet service, we returned to the room to gather goodies for the Cruise Critic meet-and-greet which was scheduled for 10:00. We arrived at the Crow’s Nest bar at 9:25 to discover that there were folks already there. D spoke with the staff members to make some final arrangements [i.e., large serving bowls instead of soup bowls, etc.] and found the staff to be very personable and professional.
Once the appropriate serving pieces were delivered, both D and MA began arranging Berger Cookies and Goetze’s Caramel Creams for people to eat later. Other members arrived with their offerings and we were able to find room among the HAL cookies for chocolate covered peanuts, NY baseball-oriented items and Florida goodies. D had suggested on the CC message board [chat room] for this cruise that participants bring something representative of their home cities. Nothing says Baltimore like Berger’s and Geotze’s. D also unloaded Bra!nchild pens as souvenirs and another couple had small pill containers which were perfect for this crowd.
A word of explanation may be in order: Cruise Critic is a website devoted, obviously, to cruise ship passengers and wannabes. In addition to general cruise news, it also provides what are essentially chat rooms so people who are on the same trip can meet each other, albeit anonymously. We all have screen names; some post their pictures; countdown calendars showing their next cruise; or even pithy sayings. We first discovered CC prior to a 2007 Mediterranean voyage which we canceled. CCers exchange information, tips and complaints. We found our friends Ed and Roxanne via CC last year and enjoyed many wonderful field trips with them. This year, we are teaming up with Scott and Karen, as mentioned yesterday, and Bill and Sharon whom we met on line. We have become our own little Facebook.
Once everyone seemed settled, D started the meeting off by having everyone introduce and tell a little about themselves. It was interesting to find so many retired teachers in the group as well as a surprising number of former engineering/science professionals. Several were relative newlyweds who had met on line. All in all, it was a very compatible group. Once everyone had spoken, we just broke into little knots of conversation before everyone drifted away around 11. Although there are no firm plans yet, we anticipate several more meetings. One member who works in elder law has even volunteered to give a presentation to the group. Sadly, we certainly all qualify!
Karen left ahead of the rest of our little group to stake out a table for Team Trivia, hereinafter called TT. As mentioned before, she and Scott are holdovers from the ship’s last cruise and knew that the Ocean Bar would be crowded for TT. It was. We had invited another CC couple [Kay and Norm] to join us and were able to defeat all of the other teams by scoring 22 of 23 possible points. Although we won cheap ship stuff [try saying that fast three times], we fear that we have only one direction to go now.
We went to lunch just before the dining room closed at 1:00 [chicken Caesar salads, Jon] and then ran some errands at the front desk. We spent the rest of the awake portion of the afternoon struggling with the New York Times crossword puzzle. It tired out so much that we had to take a long nap. Dinner was at 8:00, as usual, so we went for a drink first.
Yesterday, we thought we had solved our dinner dilemma by ourselves, but today, as predicted, we received a new table assignment. We became the 6th and 7th members of a table for 8. We decided to see if yesterday’s table for two was still available, but it had been assigned to someone else. The maitre d’ found us an empty table for 4, so we will, hopefully, be able to invite new friends either occasionally or even permanently unless they send someone to us unannounced.
The entertainment tonight was Ian Finkle who played [tortured?] the xylophone. He was really good and included both classical, semi-classical, pop, rock and other genres in his performance. He worked hard for the money, as they say. He comes from a performing family; his father is Fyvush Finkle who has had recurring roles in several TV shows and who won an Emmy some years ago. He has a recognizable face even if his name may not be familiar. Then it was time for bed and journal writing.
Tomorrow is more TT and a lecture by Frank Buckingham, the port expert. Since there is an overlap, we may have to watch him on the televised rerun; it is our turn to get the TT table ahead of the crowd.