Voting from Sea Just Takes a Little Effort

Day 11, South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand Cruise

Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022; At Sea, Pacific Ocean.

I’m one to settle into a routine on the ship, especially on sea days. I start early, around 6 a.m. with coffee in the Lido. My usual table is available at that time, and there are a few other regulars who sit around me. Typically, I sit for a couple of hours, slowly having some breakfast and coffee refills, and power up the laptop to catch up on other cruising blogs, get up to date on the news, start Wordle and Spelling Bee (two daily puzzles) and deal with any new email that needs my attention.

Today I moved to a new table across the Lido, and if you know me, you know it’s a big deal. A couple of the early morning risers at the next table have taken to beginning their days with a lively and somewhat loud political discussion. It’s just not the way I want to start my day.

I am noticing more political talk around the ship on this cruise than during long cruises in 2019 and early 2020. At dinner and happy hours, passengers generally follow the traditional admonition to avoid talk of politics (and religion). But once they find someone in their tribe, they don’t hesitate to talk among themselves. In the public areas of the ship, the discussions don’t always stay private.

We are polarized enough as it is. Even on our stateroom televisions, we have a choice of Fox on the right and MSNBC on the left. Thank goodness for the third news option – BBC, where I learn so much about the rest of the world. So I vote for leaving the political discussions on shore.

Speaking of voting, we have midterm elections coming up in the United States in early November, well before I will return home. As every state sets its own voting procedure, it takes some research to figure out how to vote. We left before mail-in, absentee and early voting began in most states. My home state, Texas, doesn’t make it as easy to vote as some.

But thanks to the Federal Post Card Application procedure required by the federal government for the military and other citizens who are living overseas (which I am considered to be doing), I am able to cast my ballot. As much as I love cruising, I would have to think twice if it kept me from voting.

Cruise Critic Meet and Greet

I don’t think I reported that our Cruise Critic roll call group had a “meet and greet” on our first day at sea. These groups are organized by passengers on the Cruise Critic website for virtually every cruise, but the participation varies greatly. I’ve been on cruises that had 6,000 posts before we sailed, and some that had only one.

This roll call was moderately active, with people struggling to plan private shore excursions because most of our ports are just opening up again to tourists. We also stumbled through the need for visas and the various processes to obtain them.

A few dozen people gathered in one of the lounges to meet in person, although this time without the usual introductions or meet-up plans around common interests. Still, I put several names with faces and am thankful to those who organized it.