It must be Monday

Day 2, Grand Asia 2017

Monday, Oct. 2, 2017

After the last-minute rush of preparing to be away for 80 days, today was finally time to relax. As usual, I was up early and headed for the Lido buffet for coffee and the morning paper. Holland America provides an eight-page summary of news from The New York Times. Even better is that as part of the Times’ sponsorship of Holland America’s library, access to its news site is complementary.

Internet access is pricey and slow at sea. I paid $250 to buy 1,000 minutes (plus a 100-minute bonus for buying before the cruise). So reading the online New York Times without using my internet minutes allows me to continue my morning ritual of coffee and news. Today that brought sobering news of the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas. Sometimes it might be nice to get totally away.

Later in the morning I get to meet almost 200 people that I have been posting with online about this cruise. Our roll call message thread for this cruise has been active for a year and a half, with about 2,500 postings. Today was the first of several social gatherings we will have during the cruise. Our group filled the Crow’s Nest lounge.

For lunch there are several options, and I head to the Lido for a salad. The weather has cleared since the fog of early morning. We are following the coast of California, avoiding some heavier seas offshore. There is a definite rocking to the boat.

The daily schedule is full of lectures, art and crafts classes, and more activities that you could squeeze into the day. I check out a few of them. I have brought projects, lots of Kindle books to read and an iPad full of magazines, so I know I won’t get bored. I even squeeze in a short nap.

The days of eating with the same people throughout the cruise have passed, unless you want to do that. I’ve chosen the flexible option, so I can go eat in the dining room whenever I want. I really like the opportunity to meet new people. Tonight I sat next to a fellow quilter. My dinner mates came from Boston, Florida, New Mexico and Belgium.

We have four more sea days before our first port of Dutch Harbor, Alaska. It will give me a good chance to settle into a bit of a routine.

All these sea days can also make it difficult to remember what day it is. Holland America helps us by changing the elevator carpet daily. It’s a nice touch.