Thursday, July 30, 2009

Voyage of the Vikings, Day 06 - At Sea, Labrador to Greenland

"If you want sunshine and fair temperatures, cruise the South Pacific. This is the North Atlantic; cold and fog are to be expected. Deal with it."

The above is a direct, verbatim quote made by our Captain at 12:00 noon today, just before he stole another hour from us. Why the change of clocks was made at noon, instead of the middle of the night, is nobody's business but the Dutch, who run this bote. This policy probably was set by the same pinheads who stole the trays from the cafeteria.


Another Foggy North Atlantic Morning"

So what does one do with another day at sea? To provide a sense of the options, we provide below a schedule of events for this day, a typical sea day except for being impoverished by one hour. For the majority of you who aren't interested, just scroll through it.


Schedule for a day at sea

Thursday, 30, July 2009

Red Bay to Nanortilick

7:30 Fitness classes - aerobics

8:00 Walk-a-mile (Lower Promenade Deck)

Fitness classes - stretches

8:30 Catholic Mass

9:00 Bridge Lectures

Champagne Tasting (Special Charge)

9:30 Celebrity Chat

Shore excursion presentation

10:00 Advanced photo editing

Spa seminar - eat more to weigh less

Diamond seminar

10:30 Arctic wildlife lecture

11:00 Culinary demonstration - Mille Feuille of Halibut

Digital workshop

12:00 Noon - Set Clock Forward One Hour

1:00 Singles & Solos

Advanced photo editing

Spa secrets - make-up demonstration

Texas hold'em tournament

Bridge 'till 4

Informal card players meet

1:30 Line dance class

Hands on cooking class

Bean bag toss

2:00 Afternoon movie

Premium wine tasting (mucho extra charge)

2:30 Port presentation

Free throw sports challenge

3:00 Digital video workshop

Indonesian tea cerimony

3:30 Trivia games

Evolution of art lecture

4:00 Friends of Bill W. Meeting

Scrapbooking classes

4:30 Bingo

5:00 Friends of Dorothy Meeting

6:30 Early Showtime

9:00 Specialty coffees, cognacs, & classical strings

9:30 Name that tune

10:00 Icelandic ball in the Crows Nest

10:30 Cigars under the stars

11:00 DJ requests in the Crows Nest

With no port arrival to observe, we both slept until 7, then showered and went topsides for breakfast. Keith had his usual smoked salmon with lemon, capers, and onion, then departed from the routine egg Benedict in favor of a small (3 inch) waffle. With cruise fares slashed, the food servers are exercising strict portion control. They will give all you ask for, but you must ask; the default portions are quite small. The eggs Benedict, for example, are made with very thin slices of Canadian bacon. They will cheerfully make them with two slices, but you must ask. Shown below are a few of the breakfast serving stations.


Smoked Salmon & Trimmings


Cooked to Order Breakfast Station


Breakfast Meats


Breakfast Consumer

Today being a slow day for those of us who don’t care so much for the frenetic pace suggested above, we mostly just relaxed. After breakfast we moved out by the pool. Keith spent his time transcribing the schedule shown above, while Kathy read.


A HAL Entertainer Relaxes in the Hot Tub

At 10 Kathy went below to hear a lecture about the next two ports of call, while Keith attended a class on the use of Microsoft Live Photo. Jointly sponsored by HAL and Microsoft, this was one of a series of classes about Microsoft photo, video, and bloging software. Keith plans to attend more classes. They are taught in a dedicated meeting room with 20 Sony laptop computers, plus two 50 inch monitors for instruction. The instructor is ok, but he is nowhere near as good as the team who taught us to Blog ( at Nick Russell's Gypsy Rally ( last year. The Geeks are a truly professional team who have chosen to make a career educating RV'rs about computers.


“Techspert” Will Teaches Windows Live Photo

Following the hour of instruction is a second hour when students may use the computers to practice what they have learned, with the instructor available to answer questions. Keith is going to test this system by attempting to prepare these blogs for publication while we are at sea. The computers have two of the three programs which he uses for this purpose (MS Word and Windows Live Writer). Keith also uses Photoshop and Google's Picasa to "polish" and resize photos for our Blogs, but these programs, not being Microsoft products, are not available on the instructional computers. It remains to to be seen whether Keith can learn Windows Live Photo well enough to substitute for the software he knows. It also remains to be seen whether the instructor will put up with this use of his computers.

Flashforward – After we got back home in August, Keith downloaded the Windows Live Photo, but did not find it as capable, or as easy to use, as Picasa. This is just a personal opinion. We continue to recommend Picasa for daily photo editing, and the geeks as the best place to learn it.

We hate to keep harping on food, but it's a big part of the cruising thing. Lunch yesterday was an Indonesian buffet served poolside. Today's poolside theme was Indian. Keith has little experience with Indonesian food, but if anyone should be able to do it right, it should be the Dutch (recall the Dutch East India Company). Their Indian was palatable, but far from the best we Indian we have eaten. The Indian restaurant in Worcester does a far better job.

After lunch Keith napped, while Kathy donated once again to the HAL Memorial Blackjack Fund. Keith makes her use her own discretionary money for these donations. T'aint fair, but then, fare is just something you pay on the subway.

We currently are sitting in the Crow's Nest, Kathy nursing a Mohito while Keith composes on his PDA. Tonight is another formal night in the dining room. The theme is French, and Kathy just can't wait for those snails. Keith is hoping for a well done steak.

Stay tuned!

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