Dear Cruise Diary — Day 4, April 24, 2013

Dear Cruise Diary

Day 4 – Nassau, Bahamas

April 24, 2013

As I feared, the hour time change hit me in the morning. I woke up at 6:30 am when my alarm went off, and then fell back asleep until 7:30, so I missed stretching class and went straight to breakfast in the Windjammer buffet.

When I spent a month in Paris a few years ago, I adapted to reading books using the Amazon Kindle app on my iPhone. Once Apple introduced the iPad, I switched to the bigger screen, and it worked well for me on my last long cruise, as long as I wasn’t reading in the sun. The iPad has a lot of other uses than reading, but I did envy my mother’s Kindle reader, for its smaller size, lighter weight and screen with no glare. She doesn’t use it much, so I borrowed it for this trip.

One of the great things about the Kindle is that you can download books from virtually anywhere – including a ship at sea with (expensive) cellular service. The Kindle doesn’t use your cellular account, though, so there is no cost for the download.

Earlier this week I read in Politico (its daily emails are a great way of keeping up with the political world while traveling) about a new book published yesterday on the morning talk show wars of recent years (Top of the Morning by Brian Stelter). I downloaded it and started reading this morning. It’s pretty good if you overlook the sometimes clichéd writing. The second sentence weighs in with a whopping 106 words, 58 of which are in an independent clause. I’ll quote:

So it was with a sense of welling satisfaction, and a growing warmth that spread through his broad bosom like the aftereffect of a double jigger of single malt scotch, taken at the end of one of those five-hundred-dollar TV executive lunches that we’re told don’t happen anymore, but that most certainly do, at places like La Grenouille and the Four Seasons, every damn day, that a certain producer at NBC came to the realization, in January 2012, that he did after all know how to steer that tsunami-tossed cruise ship of a television enterprise known as the Today show into smoother seas.”

Where was the editor? Fortunately, the book doesn’t carry on like that, and I enjoyed the unfolding story of how Good Morning America crept up and finally surpassed the Today show in viewership, Ann Curry got tossed aside and Morning Joe created a new alternative.

As I ate and read, we sailed into Nassau harbor in the Bahamas, with the colorful buildings to our starboard (right if you are facing forward) and the tall and ever-growing Atlantis resort ahead of us. Three other (smaller) ships joined us: Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the seas, Norwegian’s Sun and the Carnival Ecstasy.

I wasn’t in a hurry to get off and hadn’t planned to walk the jogging track today as I would be walking ashore. I left the ship about 10 am, only to return after walking halfway out of the port because I had forgotten to move photos from an external hard drive onto my laptop for uploading. Once I got that sorted out, I headed ashore.

I don’t think I have been in Nassau for a number of years, and the port has a new terminal. We are herded through the building, surrounded by shops, to an exit with signs pointing the way for hair braiding. Apparently most of the braiding vendors have moved to a common area, so someone wanting to braid my hair didn’t accost me every few feet.

My destination was Sharkeez, facing the harbor just a block or two away. At 11 a.m., the upstairs bar and restaurant wasn’t too full. I ordered a Sex on the Beach and signed into the free wifi for an hour of uploading pictures and posts, downloading email, updating FaceBook, downloading recent issues of The Wall Street Journal, Dallas Morning News, Time, The New Yorker and New York magazine and researching topics for client projects. My sisters Eloise and Elaine were camping in the Texas Hill Country, so we texted back and forth to update each other on our trips. They took Elaine’s new dog, Sasha, who has been the perfect travel companion according to Eloise.

Other than the new terminal, Nassau’s port area hasn’t changed much. There were a number of jewelry stores and souvenir shops. I window shopped for a while, realized there was nothing I wanted to buy and headed back to the ship. Once in the terminal, the number of people on iPads and laptops clued me into the fact that it had free wifi, which I discovered was very slow, probably due to so many people using it. I settled on a bench and spent some time downloading instructional information for Word Press so I could figure out how to attach photos to my posts and use some of its other features.

Leaving NassauLeaving Nassau

Back on the Mariner I had half a hamburger for a late lunch, followed by a short nap in my stateroom. By late afternoon I went to an upper deck to watch our sail-away – the last land we will see for seven days. I showered and dressed for the casual dinner and went to the Windjammer to check out the selection of hors d’oeuvres that Larry and Meg had told me about. They were there so we visited a few minutes and then I headed for dinner.

Our table of eight at dinner was quite congenial, with a single woman from the U.K. and three couples. I was doing pretty well at my challenge to avoid dessert, especially after I remember that I can probably order a small fruit plate instead, which I did. Next challenge is to cut out the bread with dinner. Afterward I joined the crowd in the Wig and Gavel for Ned’s oldies, nursing a Jamaican Red Stripe beer at the bar, and then headed up to my stateroom and bed (28 flights of stairs today).

The daily Cruise Compass warns that we may have some spotty Internet service as we cross the Atlantic, so tomorrow I will focus on finishing client writing early to improve the odds I can send it in on time.

Tomorrow: Day 5 – At Sea in the Atlantic Ocean