Dear Cruise Diary — Day 6, April 26, 2013

Dear Cruise Diary

Day 6 – At Sea in the Atlantic Ocean

April 26, 2013

Once again, I slept in and while I dressed for walking or perhaps taking the short stretching class poolside at mid morning, I did neither. Instead, I headed for the Windjammer, had my usual bagel and lox with fruit and coffee, and downloaded the Wall Street Journal to read. I guess some habits are hard to break. Again, the download took about seven minutes; this probably won’t be a daily habit. And because the Dallas Morning News typically took much longer than the WSJ to download, I was sure I won’t see an issue of it until the next with faster and cheaper wifi.

I like to think of myself as a fast writer, but keeping up on the blog was more time consuming than I thought it would be. I spent the rest of the morning at a table in the coffee shop catching up on the last three days of my daily cruise journal. Lesson learned: Never get more than a day behind. Despite making notes during the day and using the Cruise Compass (daily schedule of activities) as a mind-jogger, one day sure ran into the next easily.

Again a time change – we were doing five days in a row, so 11:30 am instantly became 12:30 pm and time for lunch. Today lunch was scheduled with almost 200 other members of our Cruise Critic roll call. Cruise Critic is a website about all things cruising with a very active forum community. (Trip Advisor now owns the site.) One of my favorite Cruise Critic features is the roll call – threads sorted by cruise line, then ship, then individual cruises. It’s a great opportunity to meet fellow cruisers ahead of time. We had about 300 people at a “meet and mingle” on day 2. It was good at lunch to put more faces with screen names and real names of people who have contributed to 2,000+ posts on our roll call thread.

Since early morning I hadn’t been able to get a wifi signal on my laptop. We were warned that service might be interrupted at times during the crossing, so I didn’t think much of it. But after lunch I ran into Janice and Bill (whom I had met at an earlier dinner). They were getting a wifi signal. So I rebooted my laptop and voila! I’ll have to remember that trick next time.

Good news — no new work assignments in my email. At some point I’ll remember that assignments equal earnings, but at the moment I was happy to have time to finish updating my journal.

The Mariner has four large elevator and stairway lobbies – two forward and two aft, one on each side of the ship at each end. My closest stairway is the port forward stairway, and the art theme on each level is cars, which I consider appropriate as I do like driving. I finished the afternoon by taking pictures of all the car artwork – I wasn’t too sure what I would do with it but I would be ready when the opportunity arose. An added benefit was that it forced me to add a few more stair flights to my daily tally (which ended up totaling 23 for the day).

Seemingly little tasks took a long time to do. I uploaded the new photos, culled out the best and deleted the others, then checked my email once again and suddenly it was 5:30 pm. If I was going to get in any exercise, I needed to do it then. Another clothing change and I headed to the fitness center for a ride on the exercise bike. I could only bring myself to do 20 minutes, but figured it was better than nothing and headed back to the stateroom to clean up for dinner.

As I headed toward the main dining room, I was swept up in a sea of people headed in the same direction. Obviously, the early show had just ended and everyone wanted dinner. Rather than stand in line waiting to be seated, I detoured to Boleros, a bar on Deck 4 that featured Latin music. I enjoyed the music and a gin and tonic at the bar for 30 minutes before heading back to the dining room, where there was no line.

Tonight our table for six had four single travelers and one couple. This was the second dinner I had with Bonnie, also from Dallas. I earlier thought she was traveling with a gentleman, but she said he had just asked her to join him for dinner one night. Robert shared his decades of travel experiences during which he frequently stayed in hostels for weeks at a time. It sounded like an interesting and inexpensive way to travel and to meet others. We had a fun table until, during dessert, Vera started ranting about how many “old people” were on the ship. The funny thing was that Vera was solidly in that category. Frankly, I was surprised at how many people in their 50s and 60s (seeming younger all the time) and even younger were on this cruise, considering it is a longer cruise which frequently excludes people who are not retired.

Ron wasn’t playing the guitar in the Wig and Gavel, and there weren’t singers in any of the various bars and lounges on the Royal Promenade deck. Instead, we had a big 70s party throughout the promenade. It was a “Stayin’ Alive!” kind of night with lots of dancing. I don’t think I will be getting up too early in the morning.

Tomorrow: Day 7 – At Sea in the Atlantic Ocean