At Sea, Thursday March 6 ~ Panama Canal Cruise

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Weather Forecast:  Sunny High 82 / Low 77

Sunrise 7:15 am / Sunset 6:58 pm

New Time Zone, one hour ahead

From the Navigator: Throughout the day, Coral Princess will continue to maintain a southwesterly course across the Caribbean Sea towards the island of Aruba.  The Caribbean Sea is part of the Atlantic Ocean and lies between the Islands of the Greater and Lesser Antillies and the coasts of South and Central America.  It covers an area of over 2,500,000 km2 and is considered one of the World’s most marine-rich bodies of water.

We spent this day mostly wandering around and eating.

Tom had a Veteran’s Gathering that started about 15 minutes before Pop Choir so he started there then joined me in choir.

We learned the difference between port and starboard.  According to our guest lecturer, “starboard” is from the old practice of having a steering oar on one side of the ship with the right side thought to be chosen simply because most people are right handed.

The word starboard comes from Old English steorbord, literally meaning the side on which the ship is steered.

The captains didn’t want to damage their oars, so they usually docked with the left side facing the port – and that became the port side.

I saw an interesting brown bird.  Tom said he thought that it was a frigate bird but that they couldn’t get wet.  When I saw the bird dive into the water and come up with a fish, it disproved one or both of Tom’s thoughts.

This may have been what Tom was thinking of:

Frigate birds cannot plunge like pelicans, when wet they can’t take off without difficulty. If their wing span got fully wet it might drown them. Even with a 90 inch wing span water sopping adult frigate birds may have trouble from taking off in water. Surface dipping and fixed habitat feeding may explain species limitations in survival.

From http://www.tropicalbirds.com/frigatebird.php

libraryEventually, we ended up in the library.  Very comfortable chairs!  There were headphone ports with some kind of music available, as well as footstools.

I settled down in my chair with my book and most likely dozed off for a bit.  Next thing I knew, 2 (or more) women were talking behind me.  I heard the entire life story of one of them, I think.

Then, I had a little headache and an ache at the back of my neck.  We went to MUTS to see Mamma Mia! and my headache got a lot worse so we left.

By the time we got back to the cabin, the headache circled my whole head.  I took 2 Tylenol (the only thing I’m allowed to take post-kidney cancer) and lay down a bit with a pillow over my head.  Then 2 more.

About 7ish, I was feeling mostly better so I got up and we went to eat, followed by the movie Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks.

We decided that one of the library talking-women was wearing a perfume I was allergic to.  Tom will be more aware of potential scents in the future.

We had a small bit of rain…

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November 17, Leaving NoLa Behind

New Orleans

Not too much exciting in the morning.  Mostly posting yesterday’s blog post and pictures and packing up.

Tom went to Walgreens for some last minute stuff – again – and he got me the pink fleur-de-lis studded T-shirt I wore to board the ship (official boarding picture coming later).

We got our stuff together and headed to the lobby to check out.  Lots of folks coming in, off our ship!  Many had been on a B2B (Back to Back):  the same cruise we’re doing plus a week like we did on this ship in 2009 to Belize, Roatan, Costa Maya.

There was some snafu at the port and the taxi couldn’t get us all the way to the luggage drop off so he sort of stopped in the street and took our luggage across the street for us.  Then a porter took it the rest of the way.

We got into the building and into Group B.  We were at check-in within about 10 minutes and on the ship within about 30 or so.

Embarkation pictures were taken in front of a green screen which I thought was weird since I knew that we’d eventually have the ship behind us.  Whatever!

We were early enough that we got a nice round table by a window in the Garden Cafe on 12 and had some lunch.

Another couple from Anaheim, CA joined us.  They’d stayed the night at Harrah’s and this cruise (except for port charges) was comped to them.  Depending on how well they do in the casino on this cruise, the port charges may be waived.  She explained to us about how Indian-run casinos pay out compared to non-Indian and said that Harrah’s paid like an Indian casino and didn’t know why.  She was using a “buffalo machine(?)” as an example as my eyes started to glaze over.

The announcement came that our cabins were ready so there was a mass exodus.

We opted for the stairs.  On our last Jewel cruise, Michael had us walking up and down the stairs most all the time and it looks like we’ll continue the tradition.

Checked out the balcony, took some pictures, Tom took a little nap.

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Tom napping

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Watching the busy port

I was reading on the balcony, and this machinery rolled by on a little track.  I got a couple pictures and the guys on it said hello.  I guess it will be to wash windows later, or the ship?  We’ll see!

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Another couple dropped by – part of their luggage had been delivered to our closet.  We opened ours and – Voila! – their stuff was in there.  They tried to tell us that maybe we were in their cabin, too, but that didn’t go over too well.

At 3:15 we went to the Tsar’s Palace for the mandatory life boat drill.  We didn’t have to take our life jackets or stand on deck waiting for stragglers.  Hooray!

After the muster, we went out on deck just to watch the last-minute luggage coming on board and ships and barges on the river.

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Tom under a lifeboat

About 4:00 we set out to find the Chapel since Tom was going to meet some folks there.  It turned out to be tucked away next to the Spinnaker Lounge on deck 13, forward.  I went out on deck to get some sunset pictures and listen to the band during the “Party Like a Norwegian!” SailAway.

About 5:00 the ship finally began to turn around for it’s journey down the Mississippi amid lots of cheers from the folks at the SailAway.  I must have napped just a bit…

Got some good pictures, and some sunset pictures.  I overheard one confused young woman who thought we were heading the wrong way on the river.  Hmmm… Do they teach geography anymore in school or did she plan to go to Ohio?

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Sail Away

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Sail Away sunset

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It started to get a bit chilly on 13 so I headed down to the cabin for my hoodie.  Tom was already there and so was our luggage.  Yea!

Major unpacking and figuring where to put stuff.  Everything away, suitcases under bed. Made good use of the hanging shoe bag I usually carry around. Done.

We’re doing “Freestyle Dining” so we can eat wherever/whenever we want.

On the way to Azura (6, Midship) we ran into the Photo Gallery (7, Aft).  We saw our Embarkation pictures and decided to get those.  When they added the ship in (remember we were in front of a green screen) it made it appear that portions of the ship were “bunny ears”  behind my head.  Luckily – thanks to the green screen – that’s being adjusted.  Isn’t technology grand?

We went to Azura about 6:30, when lots of folks apparently wanted to eat, too.  Because we had to wait for 30 minutes, we got coupons for free soda or champaign in the bar.  We learned that “only Pepsi products” are available on Norwegian.  Luckily, we don’t have a very strong brand loyalty to anyone.

The wait was less than 30 minutes and we had a nice table for 2.  We both had French onion soup.  He had salmon, mashed potatoes and green beans and I had BBQ chicken breast, Caribbean vegetables and sweet potato fries  Yummy!

During dinner they announced that the Saints had won.  Lots of fans on this ship!

We chatted with the folks next to us – they’re from Canada.  She was from Canada originally, he was from England.  They’d been married 36 years and this was their first cruise.  She wanted to cruise the Mediterranean and this is a “trial cruise” to see it they like it.

Their daughter, son-in-law and grandchild live in London so they only see them a couple times a year.

Dessert time.  We had coffee, of course.  I had key lime pie, Tom had lemon sorbet.  Mmmmm.

8:20 – we hustled off to the Stardust Theater to see the show.  Since we were already on 6, Midship we’d just head to 6, Forward.

Unfortunately, we had to head through the Casino to do that.  We saw the Anaheim folks from lunch and said hi but they didn’t see us.  Maybe they weren’t doing too well and wouldn’t be comped.

I always hate going through the casino.  It’s always too smoky!  I understand that our next cruise to Panama on Princess won’t even allow smoking in the casinos.  Yea!

I held my breath and we got through ok.  The Stardust Theater was pretty full so we sat in about the 3rd row.

This preview show was called “A Taste of Things to Come” and was pretty good.  The cruise director (Alex) is from Uruguay.  He gave away some champaign to newlyweds (1 and 2 days each) and some jewelry to a couple married for 62 years.  The man thought it was 66 until his wife corrected him.

The house singers/dancers were quite good.  I always prefer live singing/dancing/music to recorded so I’m pretty easy to please.  They did a song and dance about vacations that showed a lot of good energy.

A comedian came out and he was pretty funny, although I don’t like when they comment on latecomers and possibly embarrass folks.  Other than that, he was funny – and wore a silly suit.

The band was from the Philippines but they managed to channel the Beatles and did I Want To Hold Your Hand.  Apparently, they do a Beatles tribute show at some point during the cruise.  They also appeared around the ship singing I Want To Wash Your Hands at meal time.

A selection of characters from Nickelodeon shows sang and danced.  Most, except for Spongebob Squarepants and Dora, the Explorer I didn’t recognize but the kids in the audience did.  Maybe this is the Norwegian answer to the Disney ships?

The singers/dancers came back for a selection of Mamma Mia! songs like Waterloo, Dancing Girl, Mamma Mia and more.  Love it!  There was a *bit* of singing along.

Back to the cabin by way of Guest Services (7, mid) and Decks 12 (walking around we ran into the Canadian couple) and 13.

The first day, at least, we got a lot of exercise walking and climbing.

Sat on the balcony a bit.  I tried to get picture of the pilot boat leaving us but it was just too foggy.

We saw a bit of the movie Chicago on TV.  I have the movie on my iPad so it didn’t matter that I shut it down early.

Tom went to bed and I got online to do my “Pender work”.  I like to keep that site updated daily, no matter where I am.

I read for about 1 minute maybe, then fast asleep.

Today’s Stats:

Sunday November 17th, 2013

New Orleans, Louisiana

Today’s Forecast:  Chance of Rain, 81F/27C

Sunrise: 6:29 am

Sunset: 5:02 pm

All Aboard: 3:20 pm

Just, You Know, Testing…

We’re going to go see the Broadway Touring Company of Mamma Mia at Wolf Trap on Sunday!

Mammamia

We had gotten the brochure several months ago and so many things looked interesting and I couldn’t choose just one (or two…).  So, I chose nothing.

Then, last week Tom asked if there was anything coming up soon so I looked online and saw that Mamma Mia was coming (among other things) but the cost was a bit much so I figured I’d watch the movie – again.  I love looking at Pierce Brosnan anyway :)

A few minutes ago I got an email for a service I must have signed up for at some time, and right at the top of the list was Mamma Mia at half price.  I figured they’d be lawn seats on Friday afternoon or something but went to their website and they had inside seats at both 2 and 8 on both Friday and Sunday.

I was able to log on ok so I must have signed up for this.  A few clicks later and we have 2 tickets for the price of one.

My account says I’ve been a member since 2010.  I’ll have to check my emails from Goldstar more often.  Maybe they have other good stuff!

A bit about Wolf Trap…

As America’s National Park for the Performing Arts, Wolf Trap plays a valuable leadership role in both the local and national performing arts communities. Through a wide range of artistic and education programs, Wolf Trap enhances our nation’s cultural life and ensures that the arts remain accessible and affordable to the broadest possible audience.

A typical season at Wolf Trap includes something for everyone with performances ranging from pop, country, folk, and blues to orchestra, dance, theater, and opera, as well as innovative performance art and multimedia presentations.

The Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing ArtsThe late Catherine Filene Shouse founded Wolf Trap through a donation of 100 acres of her Vienna, Virginia farmland (near Washington, DC) to the U.S. Government, as well as funds for construction of a 6,800-seat indoor/outdoor theater. The gift was accepted by an Act of Congress in 1966 and Wolf Trap’s larger venue, the Filene Center, opened in 1971. The Filene Center season usually runs from the end of May to the beginning of September with an average of 90 performances each year.

I’m So Excited!

We’re going to go see the Broadway Touring Company of Mamma Mia at Wolf Trap on Sunday!

 

Mammamia

We had gotten the brochure several months ago and so many things looked interesting and I couldn’t choose just one (or two…).  So, I chose nothing.

Then, last week Tom asked if there was anything coming up soon so I looked online and saw that Mamma Mia was coming (among other things) but the cost was a bit much so I figured I’d watch the movie – again.  I love looking at Pierce Brosnan anyway :)

A few minutes ago I got an email for a service I must have signed up for at some time, and right at the top of the list was Mamma Mia at half price.  I figured they’d be lawn seats on Friday afternoon or something but went to their website and they had inside seats at both 2 and 8 on both Friday and Sunday.

I was able to log on ok so I must have signed up for this.  A few clicks later and we have 2 tickets for the price of one.

My account says I’ve been a member since 2010.  I’ll have to check my emails from Goldstar more often.  Maybe they have other good stuff!

A bit about Wolf Trap…

As America’s National Park for the Performing Arts, Wolf Trap plays a valuable leadership role in both the local and national performing arts communities. Through a wide range of artistic and education programs, Wolf Trap enhances our nation’s cultural life and ensures that the arts remain accessible and affordable to the broadest possible audience.

A typical season at Wolf Trap includes something for everyone with performances ranging from pop, country, folk, and blues to orchestra, dance, theater, and opera, as well as innovative performance art and multimedia presentations.

 

 

The Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

 

Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing ArtsThe late Catherine Filene Shouse founded Wolf Trap through a donation of 100 acres of her Vienna, Virginia farmland (near Washington, DC) to the U.S. Government, as well as funds for construction of a 6,800-seat indoor/outdoor theater. The gift was accepted by an Act of Congress in 1966 and Wolf Trap’s larger venue, the Filene Center, opened in 1971. The Filene Center season usually runs from the end of May to the beginning of September with an average of 90 performances each year.