Days 7 and 8 – Cruising Home
At 3:30 pm yesterday, the captain came on the loudspeakers, and told us we were 2,400 miles from Baltimore, and we would be travelling there at full speed starting now. It was so sad! I was so glad the number was so high.
For two days, we got into a bit of a routine, having breakfast in the formal dining room with a table full of random folks, hitting the hot tub and the pool, taking a shower to get the chlorine/salt off (one pool is a salt pool, the other a chlorine pool), and then heading up to the Viking lounge on deck 11 for quiet book reading. One day I took off to get some time in the gym, and Gene waited in our stateroom, reading his book, until I returned. The cruise ship had run out of signature glasses, so our drinks were $2.50 cheaper, but still delicious, as we dulled the pain of our vacation ending with ridiculously tall mixed drinks in various flavors. Our books ran out, but we were so relaxed, we hardly cared. I’d brought my kindle, so I started another Terry Pratchett novel. Gene played with his iPad when he could remember to charge it, took a book out of the ship’s library when he couldn’t.
We went to a Q&A session in the Orpheum Theater with the captain and top officers, where two or three servers ran around the audience with microphones, letting folks ask questions of the officers- mostly smart, one kind of whiny “Why don’t we have the major television networks on our stateroom televisions!?” but generally interesting. I learned that to fill up the gas tank on a cruise ship costs around $750,000. and that the ship takes about 100 gallons to go a mile. They showed a video on how the ship was expanded (pretty cool) and the captain talked about how he’d gotten to BE a captain of a cruise ship (my question), and had some tart opinions on the media coverage of the rival cruise company’s cruise ship disaster- where the captain cowardly refused to get back on the ship to help the efforts to save the passengers. Captain Gus wanted us to remember that although 60 people died, over 4,000 were saved by the heroic efforts of many people. So while a few people were screwing up big time, many many people were doing just what they should be doing.
Captain Gus has an accent that makes him sound remarkably similar to Walter, the heavy fighter that comes to Haven practices from Germany. Walter sounds this way because he is German and French. Captain Gus is from the Netherlands. *shrug* he also LOOKS like a “Gus”. Like he should be the cook and owner of a greasy spoon somewhere, with a dirty white apron tied around that big belly. He has an amazingly calming voice, however, and had a quick wit too. “How does one come to be the captain of a cruise ship?” – Pause – “Well, it’s a three week course… I’ve only got one more week to go.” (and one of the other officers chimes in) “Yes, and when you’re done, I’d like my Nintendo back.”
Everyone was surprised when the “Compass” (the ship’s daily publication- which had ads and specials of the day and the schedule of all the activities on and off ship) declared day 8 a third formal night. All our sources had led us to believe there would be only two. Luckily, I had brought the cruise ‘uniform’ and kept it back out of the rotation, so it was still clean- a sparkly shirt and and black formal pants/skirt (I had both, but chose the pants, because all my black pantyhose were dirty). I think if you don’t bring enough formalwear, they just roll you in glitter until you’re good. I totally understand, though, why all the middle aged and older women wear sparkly shirts and flowing pants. They’re like pajamas! So totally comfortable. And when you’re eating ridiculous amounts of rich food for a week and a half straight, a girl straight up needs a set of formal pajamas. The pictures don’t come out so well, though.