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16 April 2020 - Day 5 – (Third) At Sea

Under the door were two envelopes when I got up. The first was an invitation to join the second Meet&Mingle, which would include the newly boarded passengers. This would be at 2 in the lounge. The reason for an afternoon meet became apparent when I opened the second envelope, and two quarters hit the floor. With my slot pull winnings was a note to join the group for another pull, this at 11am in the casino. I guessed that (#CruiseCritic coordinator) Sharon and (slot pull champion) Kevin had worked with the crew to avoid an overlap.

Cleaning up and dressing in slacks and a polo with a light jacket, I headed to Waves for breakfast. I passed my dinner pals, the Canadians, who were finishing up, and wound up at a big table of singles, including David and Gordon, a pair of retired gentlemen with flowing white beards. Gordon had been a vigorous contributor to the Roll Call, and he was travelling with David, whom he had met aboard the #Meraviglia last fall. They were making this the first leg of a round the world trip. Gordon’s down-home Texan accent kept most of us listening to him through breakfast.

After breakfast I headed up to the gym to do my stretching exercises, and to get 2 laps on the track under my feet. A quick trip down to the cabin for the photobook #CathedralsToTheGloryOfGod and I headed up the stairs again to the casino. Forking over another $15, I opted in for my turn at the slot machine, doing better this time and increasing the pot by $20. Meanwhile, the book was making its rounds with those who’d seen or heard about it pre-New York. We collectively did better this round, and the 65 of us were splitting a $900 pot, missing break even by less than a buck and a quarter.

Since viewing the book was still in demand, I joined a group as we headed up to the buffet. We found a section that was relatively empty toward the stern and several “stood guard” and looked at the book as the rest went and snagged their lunches. I hung back with the “guards” and was able to expound on several locations and their cathedrals featured in the book. We were close to the salad station, so when most of the group returned, I was able to get another chopped salad and a draft beer. Pizza seemed to be very popular, as the stations could barely keep up with demand.

As the next meeting was imminent, we left for the Sky Lounge on 18, overlooking the pool deck. Bigger crowd than Monday, I think we numbered somewhere near 140. The captain came with the chief engineer, and the customer service manager returned. Along with cake and cookies, they offered mimosas as well as soft drinks. Again, the photobook made a hit, and I was able to find one of the couples for our São Miguel tour, Shirley and Brendan from Oswego (NY). As it began breaking up, I joined a group as we headed aft to the Horizons Bar. It was a bit warmer than the day before, and the sky had been clear, so we sat out on the Sun Deck to watch our progress south and east.

Off then to Magic Martini time, introducing about a dozen newbies to this daily gathering. We’d probably have to start being quiet about it, as the TV Studio Bar was reaching capacity! Ramon prepared two martinis: chocolate and vanilla, which both featured actual beans, and a cosmo. Quite the flavor palate. We were approaching a time zone change, so the sunset was earlier, and we had a nice show out the portholes.

With an hour to spare, I crossed to the Brass Anchor and asked after their single malts. I was hoping for one of the ones I’d tasted in Scotland last year, but the bartender Maria made a suggestion for an Irish Whiskey: Knappogue Castle 14 Year Old Twin Wood Single Malt. With just a single small ice cube, I swirled and savored this smoky bit of heaven until it was time to head down to dinner.

I know that I’d begun to achieve a bit of notoriety, as I was waving and greeting folks from about a dozen tables as I headed to table 413. The four couples were seated awaiting me (I was only 5 minutes tardy), and Carol asked for the book, which I still had since I hadn’t returned to my cabin. She and her brother began pouring over it, and Art mentioned his pleasure when seeing several Lutheran churches included (mainly in Germany.) Selecting the asparagus starter and duck a l’orange, half the table joined me in “pre-ordering” the cheese plate. I asked for a glass of red wine, per the menu recommendation, which turned out to be a La Crema pinot noir. It was pleasant, and I did get a second glass during the meal. And the tiramisu looked so good that I asked for a serving with my decaf cappuccino.

The show at the theater was Born to Rock, which had great raves on Facebook, so we all sauntered down the promenade and waited a few minutes to let those with reservations for the late show enter. We found a group of seats, and settled in. I’d picked up another Knappogue on the way, so I was set with my nightcap. The show was spectacular (I even recognized half the songs) and all left smiling.

Back to the cabin, I put away the book, downloaded the camera, wrote this blog and will post it. Phone and camera batteries were set to charge, and I am ready for slumberland.

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