Aboard the Silver Spirit, Day 8: Saturday, November 20
We’re “At Sea” for the next two days, which everyone agrees will be a welcome respite from the daily go-onshore rat race, although the veterans tell me that pool chairs will hereafter be at a premium. This morning we are being given a chance to view some of the large suites on the ship and invariably receive a sales pitch about signing up for future cruises (as a Venetian Club member, I’m entitled to a 5% discount). Then I’m going up and fight for one of those pool chairs.
Of course, now that we’re all packed together they’ve upped the onboard offerings so that there’s something you can attend literally every half-hour if you want to. E.g., ballroom dancing (no), wine tasting (no), Introduction to Botox (?), arts & crafts (no), water volleyball (maybe), ab class (don’t need it), shuffleboard (no), Bingo (no…been a disappointment), Team Trivia (definitely), dozens of others, and my absolute favorite: Blackjack Tournament, which according to our activities sheet urges one to, and I quote, “put your skills at stake against other BJ aficionados.,” the morning line favorites being the gay guys on board.
Speaking of which, I should mention another daily activity listed in the newsletter each day: “5:00 – Friends of Bill meet.” All, or at least most, the Americans know what this is, but the Europeans have no idea. Yesterday afternoon at the Pool deck bar one of the English gay guys (a bunch of very nice guys, by the way, a lot of them flight attendants with British Airways) came up to me, drink in hand, and clearly supposing this meeting was designed for him and his buddies, mentioned that he was thinking of giving the FOB meeting a try. When I explained that old Bill was the founder of AA and that walking in there with a cocktail might not be the most PC thing, he almost dropped his drink.
Report on the Silver Suite and Owner’s Suite: both a lot larger than I had anticipated, with lots of unnecessary sinks and closets and doors, but not much of an improvement décor-wise. I had expected really nice colors and fabrics Nope. Same old drab monochromatic stuff that’s in all of the rooms. Worth it? Here with a family, maybe. Here as a solo or couple, nah.
Chose as my activities this afternoon (a) to be a spectator at the blackjack tournament, which produced a turnout of about 14 hard-nosed players who weren’t fooling around; you pay only $20 to play, they give you $300 worth of “tournament” ships and play off against six other competitors per table for seven hands of blackjack, until they get to the final seven, who then play off until there is a winner; was great to watch and I’m signing on tomorrow now that I’ve had a chance to observe the winning strategies; (b) Team Trivia where the Soloists came in second against seven other teams, all of which are comprised of very, VERY tough trivia players; and (c) galley tour with the ship’s executive chef, who took us through the kitchens, dishwashing areas, etc.– pretty impressive.
. . .
Whoa!!! What’s going on here? All of a sudden our sunny, balmy day and calm seas have been replaced in short order by a dome of clouds and very rough waters. In the fore and aft parts of the ship, it’s pitching and rolling so hard that it’s actually difficult to stand. The talk everywhere is about queasy stomachs and the availability of Dramamine (which I have, but haven’t taken because while I feel a little disoriented, I don’t feel ill. Matter of fact, I’m ready for a drink pretty soon.) People are walking down the halls, swaying and stumbling like drunken sailors. It’s not raining and according to the Captain, it’s not threatening to do so, but our dinner tonight is a barbeque on the Pool Deck and sweaters are advised.
. . .
Because of the weather, which isn’t conducive to late night bar time, I’m back early from the night’s activities, so I’ve decided to go ahead and compose my report now (please excuse misspellings, grammatical and syntax errors).
The Soloists group reunion dinner was held this evening at the deck barbeque. Except for a Team Trivia or two, we hadn’t gotten together since Day 2. Dinner was windy and cool and rocky, but fun and interesting. Wildwoman Liz was much subdued (and slightly under the weather because of the rough seas), but her sidekick, Karen, whose boisterous, window-cracking cackle has become a topic of conversation around the ship and among the staff (during cocktails one night, hostess Isabelita actually came over with a microphone and asked Karen to give the room a sample; Karen looked like she wanted to kill her), was her old self. English gal Rachel said we hadn’t seen much of her because she’s been suffering all week from a sunburned back incurred while snorkeling the second day. Blabbermouth centenarian Mary was at it again, having decided that the topics of the evening would be (a) the history of English royalty, about which she is an expert, having attended Oxford on a scholarship, and (b) her late husband Basil, whom I suspect willed himself to death so he wouldn’t have to listen to her any longer. Quiet Wendy was the same. And we were joined at the table by shopping huckster Philip and personable Cruise Director Mike, who unfailingly remembers the name of everyone on the ship, here on Silversea following a several-year stint as “CD” aboard a Disney ship (can you imagine that job?).
Tonight was also karaoke night, which ended up being completely dominated by the Soloists (excluding me…please!), as former professional singer Karen led off with a remarkably fine version of “Over The Rainbow” and Liz did “Hotel California” and Rachel did a couple of great numbers (forget the titles) and one of Rachel’s buddies from England sang “Sweet Caroline.” The only person not intimidated by this lineup of ringers was a Mexican doctor who ran up and butchered a song, leaving the audience embarrassed and causing the pool of potential performers to dry up, forcing our Ship D.J. David to come up and do an Elvis number and CD Mike to do a Billy Joel song he claimed he had never done before, but which had been clearly rehearsed (e.g., during the song’s Interlude, he had a fancy little dance number all ready to go).