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20 April 2020 - Day 9 – Third of four days At Sea

No clock change today. Not wanting to face too many choices, I again just walked to the stern for sit-down breakfast at Waves. Seated at a table for 6, we were all singles, although a pair of Irish women were travelling together. Two men, one German and the other from Utah, and a third woman from Louisiana filled out the table. I went simple, a bowl of cold mixed cereal with a banana and coffee. It seemed that we were all casting about for something to do for the next two days, as there didn’t seem to be too many activities announced.

The two Irish women left for the gym, to join a Zumba class, and I followed after a bit to do my stretching exercises. Then I made four laps and climbed to the top deck to check out the view from the stern. No one was in the pool as the skies were again overcast and the temperatures about 60°F.

After descending to Deck 6, I hit the Brass Anchor again to have fish and chips and a draft amber. I had to send the chips back to be refried, as I really prefer mine extra crispy. For dessert, I left the “Pub” and headed to the gelato bar, getting a single small scoop of raspberry, which was delicious.

Off to the kitchen/galley tour. We met in the Panorama Restaurant, descended to Deck 4, and divided into two groups of 10. We had to put on booties and a face mask, as we’d be passing through food preparation areas. The first group headed off with a French/Spanish guide, while our group was all English speaking. The 25-minute tour moved smartly through 5 stations and brought us out near where we entered the ship when boarding. There is another partial kitchen up on Deck15, surrounded by the buffet. Since the buffet was available 20-hours, we’d never be able to amble through it.

MSC's passenger fleet, including the #Meraviglia, divides its passengers into four categories, based on the service levels provided and equate to price paid. At the low end is Bella followed by Fantastica which are both relatively no frills. I was travelling Fantastica and paid about 10% more than someone in Bella, and I can’t really explain the difference. The next level is Aurea, which started with balcony options and upgrades to suites. Cost was about 35% again over Fantastica. Then there’s Yacht Club. This is a ship-within-a-ship exclusive area with large suites and butler service. They have their own pool, bar and restaurant. From what I read, YC passengers will rarely leave their space to mingle with the rest of us. I only met a few at shows. They even have their own boarding process.

After the galley tour I headed up to the Sky Lounge to sit and relax with my e-reader and a glass of sauvignon blanc. One of two fairly quiet spaces onboard, it was fairly full of readers and small groups in quiet conversation or playing cards. I managed to get through half my novel before returning to the cabin to drop off the reader and grab the #CathedralsToTheGloryOfGod photobook, as several of my martini buddies hadn’t had a chance to look at it.

Ramon used tequila in the martinis tonight, as well as serving a margarita. The flavors were lime and jalapeño and included a splash of triple sec. Interesting, but nothing to write home about. I asked for a dry Manhattan on the rocks to sip on while biding my time for dinner.

Our table was full, as the Canadians had found a solo Winnipegger while having lunch at the buffet. Jaime is a retired techie, having worked in the financial sector. It was nice to find a techie who preferred Windows and Android, since we seemed to be surrounded with iPads and iPhones. I started with mussels, which came as a small perfectly sized portion.

Choosing to upgrade, I opted for lobster tails which were sweet, tender and not a fuss. And for dessert I had these two small square sponge cake filled with a berry puree – but I didn’t write down the name.

Tomorrow would be our third time adjustment, so I opted to skip the white party festivities, even though I didn’t really have appropriate attire anyway. I think about half the table headed up to the Carousel Lounge to at least check it out. After advising hat I’d miss dinner with them tomorrow, I headed down the stairs and wrote this blog, and downloaded photos to the netbook. I swear that I’ve got to change my password for my primary email account, as it has been taking 3 or 4 tries every night on this small keyboard.

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